Archive for the 'Crazy Dutch' Category

Jun
04

Bezoek Nederland

Nog 7 weken en dan zijn we in Nederland voor vakantie met de hele familie. Gavin en Saige kijken ernaar uit. We komen aan op Woensdag 20 Juli in Amsterdam en blijven daar tot Vrijdag de 22e alvorens we naar Zeeland afreizen. In Zeeland zijn we dan voor 2 weken in de Roompot Beach Resort in Kamperland aan het strand tot 5 Augustus en daarna enkele dagen nog in Goes/Kapelle voordat we op Maandag 8 Augustus weer vertrekken.

Ik hoop heel veel vrienden en famile te kunnen zien, iedereen is welkom op de Roompot zal komende weken iedereen wel benaderen om een datum te prikken en lokatie voor een borrel, lunch, bbq of etentje.

Groeten
Arnold


Jan
15

New Year 2010 and Reflection on 2009

Well lets see I made 9 goals last year for 2009… Which one did I achieve?

1. Loose some pounds….(probably yearly a goal but food is to good in America ;) )

I started with 238 pounds on Jan 5th and I just weighted myself the other day, 213 pounds, but i have to say my lowest was 192 end of April in 2009. So look at my 2010 goals 😉

2. Make a trip to the Netherlands in the summer (as I need to spend my vacation time under the new Staples rules this might be an obvious opportunity in August)
Again did not make it this time, however the reason for this was that both my parents and brother visited for around 5 weeks in total so I took most of that time off in 2009.

3. A bigger LCD tv (nice wish, probably ain’t gonna happen till maybe sales by end of the year ;) )
Yes although we bought a new tv stand, did not buy one yet but expect on the short term a 47” showing up

4. A nice office (well the room is ready, just need to save up a bit for the furniture)
Almost, we have turned the room into an office, but the furniture we bought did not fit into the room so we returned it and placed another smaller desk for my wife into it.

5. Make some trips in the US to maybe Main and California to our friends.
Didn’t make this one..

6. Have fun at work with the remaining five folks in our BI team..
I think this was a good transfer year we kept the happy hours going and try to keep the spirit up. 2010 will bring some moving changes inside the office and hopefully we can attend some more conferences.

7. Have my parents and brother flying in to the US for a visit..
This happened as planned.

8. Learning Golf this spring/summer (with the new neighborhood golf course, this is definitely on my wish list).
That did not happen, with family visiting and busy schedule with kids. Golf is probably still a while away. Maybe just an intro course for 2010

9. Write a bit more on my blog (just too busy with kids to take some time to write
That did not really happen.

 

So end score: 1,4,6,7 achieved, 2 partially. 3,5,8,9 not achieved, so 50% score….

 

New goals for 2010

1. Weight loss, definitely again a goal, started an intensity bootcamp training this week in our community center. Goal: 180 pounds by the summer.

2. Family vacation trip in the US/Mexico.

3. A bigger LCD tv (hopefully this time?)

4. Bike purchase and biking in the spring

5. Do some small improvements in the Garage and Basement

6. Learning Golf intro course

7. Write more on the blog….


Mar
07

Biezelinge my old home town.

So my dad pointed out the developments in the town I grew up when I was a kid. This picture shows the area where I played a lot as kid, like soccer on the park North West on the picture and fishing in the  pond, on the south east side. Now they are building and making the old –harbor from like 1500 back in place. One house remains and was not destroyed. And in this house my Grand father grew up as a kid. You can see this house just a little south east of the green park where I learned to play soccer. Click on the image to enlarge.

biezelinge_g


Jan
01

Ice Skating and a cold swim in the north sea

Yes, under the crazy Dutch section, I noticed today it is ice-skating all over holland. imageThe temperatures have been below 0 Celsius for a couple weeks and it is ice-skating for everyone with skates. This has been a long time ago since that was possible across the Netherlands…

 

Well and then below as our Dutch tradition the yearly New Years dive in the North sea, sponsored by Unox the local Dutch sausage manufacturer, some 10.000 crazy ones are running from the beach into the sea. With sub zero temperatures it must have been  very cold this year.
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Dec
31

New Year 2009 and Reflection on 2008

While I am writing this New York is just celebrating New Year, we still have 2 hours to go but its definitely a bit different from the lots of fireworks we have in the Netherlands on the streets, nothing here at all that is the Colorado law.

Tonight me and Christy made lots of food for tomorrow when a couple of our friends and their kids will visit, smokies, spinach artichoke dip, salmon cream cheese tortilla rolls, chocolate fondue, its going to be fun.

A short reflection on 2008…..

On a personal note 2008 probably encompassed two major changes. First of all my company Corporate Express was taken over by Staples Inc. in July of this year. Many changes, some good and some of course a bit sad if you loose a couple of good colleagues and friends who either left voluntarily or where part of the integration restructure process. That said there are many challenges ahead and opportunities with the new company. I am looking forward to 2009 although it will be difficult considering the current Economic conditions in the US.

The second major event in 2008 was probably the sell of Christy’s house and the purchase of my first real house ever. This was both exciting as well as really scary considering we did this in a period, the economy was going down and the house/mortgage financial crisis was really hitting everyone in the US. But with lots of luck and some help we managed to both sell and buy our houses in the same week. Just a week before the big collapse of Lehman brothers on Sept 15 and the Economic and Financial crisis was becoming a major issue.
We are now 2.5 months in our new house and we love it. So much more room for the kids to play and also the view of the mountains and neighborhood are great. The distance to work is about 20 minutes and 15 if I take the toll way.
We are looking forward to 2009 to further enjoy our house and plan to have a real office for Christy in place.

 

So what else sticks in my mind when looking back to 2008, well just a few words with some explanation.

Bailout
Yes the US government decided to basically spend tons of tax money on Financial institutions like Banks and Insurance companies as well as the Car Manufacturers in amounts of 700 billion dollar to prevent bankruptcy and job losses. Not sure if this is really going to help in 2009, I think certain companies will not get enough to survive after all…

Obama / Clinton
Yes for the first time in history this country selected a Democratic Black President. A milestone I believe and a good thing for America and the world after the Bush disaster. It will be though the first years to get back on track with the current financial crisis but with better spending of funds from ending the war in Iraq to internal infrastructure, education and health care projects so job creation can take place  inside this country. I think in a few years the Economic growth will come back. Also remarkable was that Hillary Clinton will take place in Obama’s cabinet after all the mud throwing campaigns during the pre-election period for the Democratic candidate. But yeah that only happens in America right.

Mumbai
The horrifying terror attacks in Mumbai, India are probably the 2nd worst after 911 I can remember. 5 days of terror in several hotels in this capital of India made the world shock and still alert that terrorism is something nobody will ever be prepared for or can protect itself  against completely. Innocent people lost their lives mostly native people from India. Another proof to me that the US should focus more on Afghanistan/Pakistan to destroy any taliban al queda cells hiding in those countries.

Gas cheaper then a glass of beer?
Due to decreasing demand in oil, gas prices have dropped in the US to the lowest levels since years. I gassed up the cars for less then 20 dollars the other day. With 1.48 per gallon, lets say 35 Euro cent per liter, this is even cheaper then drinking a glass of beer in the pub 😉

Sport moments?

I don’t think there are a lot of sport moments I remember this year. The European soccer championship did not bring what I expected from the Dutch national team. Also further in Soccer the Dutch teams seem to loose track with other European countries. Olympic Summer Games where ok, but I think we lost to many spots in the finals when it really became important to win some medals.

Change
Probably the most spoken worth after bailout this year was Change. All around the election in November for the new presidency in the US. Change will definitely be needed after the last 8 years of screw up under Bush and to see in which state he left this country. Lets see how much Change Obama can bring to Washington and how fast he can turn the economy back on track.
That’s probably it right now for 2008, lets see what 2009 will bring…


2009 outlook..

Well not sure what to say about 2009 but there are of course always a couple of goals we have.
Ok the obvious is to say to stay healthy with the whole family and to enjoy every moment with the kids and the wife. But here is my personal small list..

1. Loose some pounds….(probably yearly a goal but food is to good in America 😉 )

2. Make a trip to the Netherlands in the summer (as I need to spend my vacation time under the new Staples rules this might be an obvious opportunity in August)

3. A bigger LCD tv (nice wish, probably ain’t gonna happen till maybe sales by end of the year 😉 )

4. A nice office (well the room is ready, just need to save up a bit for the furniture)

5. Make some trips in the US to maybe Main and California to our friends.

6. Have fun at work with the remaining five folks in our BI team..

7. Have my parents and brother flying in to the US for a visit..

8. Learning Golf this spring/summer (with the new neighborhood golf course, this is definitely on my wish list).
9. Write a bit more on my blog (just too busy with kids to take some time to write)

A pretty long list but we will see next year how far we accomplished that…

 

I WISH EVERYONE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY 2009!!

ARNOLD


Jul
07

Crazy Dutch Bike Stuff

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My niece sent me the link to this page, this guy took 80 pictures in 1.5 hour in Amsterdam about how Dutch people are biking. It remembered me about the fun days I had when learning to bike, sitting in front and later behind on the bike with my mother, going grocery shopping with 2 bags on the steering wheel to balance it out.

Yes you definitely don’t see a lot of carrying support on the back of bikes in the US and also you mostly don’t need the chains to hook up your bike.

image

Here is the link to the complete blog and all the fun pictures: Biking in Amsterdam!


Jan
08

Uggs are booming in the Netherlands

So in November my niece asked me if I could get her some Ugg boots from the US, as they are so expensive in the Netherlands. I thought those were trendy years ago, but it seems it picked back up in our crazy country.

So my parents where visiting and I bought her some boots to take back for almost half the price as she would have to buy them in the Netherlands.

Now today she even made the newspapers with it as in her local province they are phoning shoe shops in Amsterdam for more supply..

Maybe I should export some of the boots from here….crazy Dutch..

Uggs in Zeeland

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My niece Elles van den Berge and her friend Isolde Matthijsse showing off there Uggs!


Dec
17

Crazy Dutch

IslandSometimes I believe we Dutch are too crazy. Now after the Palm shape Island and World in Dubai, we think we can build this kind of Islands also in our own Nord Sea.

Reuters Report

While a poll in October by research company TNS NIPO with the Red Cross showed the Dutch are more afraid of flooding than a terrorist attack, many have a strong faith in Dutch expertise and technology to protect them from the water.

The Dutch parliament has asked a commission on coastal development to look into the idea of building islands in the North Sea that could be used for housing, farming or a nature reserve, while at the same time helping to protect the coast.

“People live on top of each other in the Netherlands,” said Christian Democrat politician Joop Atsma, who sponsored a parliamentary motion on building in the North Sea. “We are hungry for land. A huge area is needed for building.”

Atsma says high land prices threaten the country’s position as the world’s third biggest exporter of agricultural products, and make a 100,000 hectare island potentially worth 10 billion euros ($14.69 billion) — enough of a return to fund the project.

A government body set up to promote innovation has drawn up proposals for an island about 50 km long, sparking fierce debate which inspired one blogger to joke that a cannabis leaf may be a more suitable shape than the tulip on the formal plans.

The Netherlands has a lot of know-how in terms of water. It exports this knowledge but it is missing out on innovation. More experiments are needed in the fields of alternative energy, tides and wind,” said Maria Henneman of Innovation Platform.

“Of course it is an expensive investment but with current technology a lot is possible.”

NO WET FEET

The Netherlands — literally the Low Countries — has a long history of pioneering technology to help it claw back land from the sea and fight recurrent flooding.

U.S. officials sought advice from Dutch experts on water management after floods devastated New Orleans in 2005, and Dutch firms have been central in major coastal developments worldwide.

Dutch firm Boskalis developed techniques during the Zuiderzee and Delta projects to become the world’s largest dredger, helping build the island for Hong Kong’s airport and now working on Oman’s “Wave” project — a huge resort added to the coast.

Dubai’s island, that juts into the shallow waters of the Gulf in the shape of a palm tree, was built by Dutch marine contractor Van Oord using more than 100 million cubic metres of sand.

“I live far below sea level and I have never had wet feet at home,” Atsma said. “So much can be done with water management.”

One of the world’s most densely populated countries with 16 million people living in an area about half the size of Scotland (or 485 people per square km), a quarter of the Netherlands is below sea-level and it lies on the flood plains of three big rivers.

The country’s earliest inhabitants built their homes and farmsteads on mounds to protect them from flooding. From around 1300, windmills were developed to pump water off low-lying land. Steam-driven pumps accelerated the process in the 19th century.

In 1932, work was completed on a mammoth 32-km dike that closed the Zuiderzee off from the North Sea and allowed 1,650 square km of land to be drained.

After devastating floods in 1953 killed more than 1,800 people, the Dutch launched one of the world’s largest construction schemes — the Delta project — to raise dikes, close sea estuaries and build a huge storm-surge barrier.

Scientists expect global warming to raise sea levels along the Dutch coast by up to 85 cms in the next century, and cause more severe storms that could make rivers more likely to flood.

NORTH SEA CHALLENGE

“Funny shapes like tulips, clogs and windmills are a good way to start a debate, but they should not be considered as realistic,” said Bert Groothuizen, spokesman for Van Oord, the builder of the Dubai palm island.

While Dubai’s Gulf rarely sees waves above two meters high, the North Sea is much stormier with waves of up to 10 meters.

“The seaward protection must be stronger than in the Arabian Gulf which means that construction costs are greater,” he said, adding it might be more realistic to extend current Dutch beaches into the sea or move the main airport onto a new island.

That idea was already floated after a plane crashed into an apartment block in Amsterdam in 1992, but it was was shelved due to cost and environmental concerns. Nature-lovers have also scuppered plans to drain more land onshore.

Independent environmental group the North Sea Foundation notes that an artificial island could disrupt shipping, fishing and migrating birds.

“The North Sea is not a wasteland where you can do whatever you want. Especially the coastal zone is one of the most fertile seas in the world. An island would do a lot of damage to the animal life,” said the foundation’s Lisa van der Veen.

Given rising sea levels, Van der Veen said it made more sense to protect existing land than build a new island:

“If you build houses on it you would have to build it really high to protect it from storms and waves. Building an island is a huge investment and you could much easier fortify the dikes.”