In memory…

Flags around the Netherlands are at half mast today in memory of the victims of the crash of MH17 in Ukraine, 173 of whom are reckoned to be Dutch citizens.

This is a flight I’ve taken more than once in the past, so seeing it come up in the news like this was somehow extra shocking. The reasons behind this accident aren’t clear yet, there will no doubt be multiple investigations. But today I’m thinking of all the families, friends and colleagues of those who died.

(This is the flag on the Noorderkerk, unfortunately the flag has become twisted).

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Pimp My Bike #24

Floral and loyally orange!

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Saturday Market; Pink Couscous

I haven’t been doing market shopping in the last three weeks, I got a bit carried away today. Luscious pomegranates caught my eye, teamed with scented fresh herbs and couscous. The juice of the pomegranate does turn the couscous slightly pink. It’s a delicious fresh combination for summer. We’ll be having it with lamb chops tonight.

I used;
1 1/2 cups couscous, added 3 cups of boiling water and let it soak up the water, fluffed it with a fork and added about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then added the pomegranate seeds and about a cup of finely chopped mint and parsley (about 1/3 parsley to 2/3 mint). I finished it with a little lemon juice to taste.

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That was exciting #wk2014

So last night the Dutch Football team played their first match of the World Cup. Yes, this is another football post.  The match was against Spain – who beat the Dutch in the final of the last world cup – so expectations weren’t high.

The Dutch won.


By 5 goals to just 1.

Before the match had even finished the jokes had started on twitter.

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Which references the incredible goal Robin van Persie headed, to equalise the score. I don’t know much about football, but it looked amazing to me! You can see the relevant six seconds here;

The jokes kept coming, this is a tweet from a local police station; it reads “There are lots of Spanish visitors to the police station to submit a claim for a lost match”. The hashtag #Helaas, translates literally as “Alas” or “what a pity”, here it’s a little sarcastic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 12.09.19My favourite joke relates to Sinterklaas, who lives in Spain and visits the Netherlands in December. Unfortunately I can’t find the original tweet now, but it went something like “I guess Sinterklaas won’t be visiting this year #worldcup”.

There was a lot of “orange-fever” around last night, and I’m guessing it will continue – the next game is next Wednesday against Australia who lost to Chile last night.

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It starts… The World Cup begins today

One of the local cafes has already hung out their Dutch flag.
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At the last World Cup four years ago the Netherlands made it all the way to the final, with each stage of the competition orange-fever increased in my neighbourhood. Bars set up large flat-screen TVs on the square, there was orange bunting and a party atmosphere. Actually not just a party atmosphere – but street parties across the city. Everyone wore orange, including me.

And then the  Elftal, as the Dutch national team is known in Dutch, lost to Spain 1-0 in the final. The country plunged into mourning.

So today the World Cup begins, and approximately 50% of the ads on TV are trying to exploit it. The best I’ve seen so far shows some Dutch fans looking for something to eat; they look at the menu for a German restaurants – and recall the 1974 final when the Dutch lost to West Germany. Then they see an Argentinian restaurant – but recall the 1978 final when the Dutch lost to Argentina 3-1, they walk away and consider a tapas bar – but decide against it considering the last World Cup result. It seems hopeless, but then they spot McDonalds.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 21.22.23The Netherlands has the sad record of qualifying the most often, without ever winning it. Perhaps this is the year. Wall Street journal came up with the World Cup of everything else. Netherlands already wins for most number of internet users and the most water within its borders. It would also win for the lowest country but that wasn’t included.

The first game for the Dutch team is the Netherlands vs Spain tomorrow night. Let’s see how long the orange-fever lasts.

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Rolling Kitchens

This weekend it’s the “Rollende Keukens” which translates as rolling kitchens, or as my friend calls them “Roach Coaches”. Yeah, she doesn’t work in marketing any more. It’s a food festival with music held every year up at the Westergasfabriek. It was pretty crowded – but gezellig. I went up there on Saturday evening for a walking dinner; Cajun potato, barbecue chicken and fresh lemonade. Followed by icecream for a walk through the park. Very gezellig.

(Sorry about the slightly soft-focus effect, I think I got some grease on the camera lens.)

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Open Day at Amsterdam Central Station

“Come and see how we build it” is the slogan on this banner and it refers to an open day at Amsterdam Central Station tomorrow. If you’ve been through central station recently you’ll know it’s a building site, in fact it’s been that way for years. When it’s finished the new station will be fantastic. Tomorrow, between 10am and 4pm you’re able to visit the site.

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