Friday, October 30, 2009

Backyard chalets [Schuurtjes]

In my previous post today I wrote about a thief who tried to steal bikes from a chalet in the backyard of a house in Almere. Such chalets are very common in villages and are used by the Dutch people to keep their bicycles, gardening tools, some pots and bags containing earth/fetilizer and maybe some garden furniture. Here I post some photos of my faves.
Nesse post vocês podem ter uma ideia do que são o os chalezinhos no quintal das casas holandesas nas cidadezinhas. Eles servem para armazenar artigos de jardinagem, sacos de terra e fertilizantes, potes de plantas, alguns móveis de jardim que são usados durante a primavera e verão. Eles principalmente servem de abrigo para as bicicletas, e muitos chalés são cobiçados pelos ladrões (de quinta categoria). Qual é o seu favorito ?

This one above seems to be a joke but it is indeed a storage chalet for a bike (and not a dog's or gnome's house).
Esse aí de cima vocês devem estar achando que é piada ou casa de gnomo. Mas ele serve mesmo para guardar uma bicicleta e não é nenhuma casinha de cachorro não!

The World Upside Down

In the Dutch paper Telegraaf on line today I have just read something interesting: "Teenager Indicted After Conflict with Thief". I will try to make a summary of the story.

Tim and his friend are sleeping at home in Almere when they hear noises at the back yard. They both look throught the windows and see a junk in the little chalet in the backyard where bikes and garden gadgets are kept. Tim, a 17 year old and hockey player, tells his friend to call the police and goes to the back yard to stop the man. He is hit by the junk on his face and fights back. His friend arrives and they both immobilize the man (Ben G. 47 y. old) against the wall. They keep telling him he shouldn't move and wait for the police. They say it more than 15 times and the man keeps saying it was a Moroccan citizen who had broken into the chalet, not him. Tim's friend grabs a hockeystick and Tim grabs a honkbalknuppel (a wooden club, a toy from his little brother, sold at most Dutch Bart Smit shops) and hits the man on his legs. The purpose according to the teenager was to frighten the junk so that he wouldn't hit them or scape. They were also afraid he would own a knife. The police arrives.

Ben G., after being released by the police, decides to make an offical complaint against Tim. A doctor declares Ben G. was indeed very hurt in the legs - but no bones were broken. Everything happened in the beginning of July and now end of October Tim must appear on court to defend himself. His lawyer, Ms. Emma Hoffman from Cleerdin & Hamer Lawyers says her client hit the thief as self defense. "This case sets the world upside down: someone who defends his property against a burglar is now being indicted by the criminal himself."

The article in de Telegraaf of today 30th of October has had so far more than 1250 reactions from readers. This type of attitude from the criminal is not unusual in the Netherlands, by the way. It seems you cannot hurt a thief in your own property. Wish to know more ? Go to the site below while the link lasts:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Garden Features [Spionnetje]

This display is placed oppositte the front door of a house. The owners change frequently the objects and plants on the table, according to the changing of seasons or holidays. The mirror is always very clean. The front door is also over decorated, but I was not so lucky with the opportunities for a good picture.
Have a nice weekend you all !

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oktoberfest 2009

(German readers please skip this post)

When I was in Zaandam a couple of days ago I had to laugh out loud when I noticed this poster below. I didn't have my atomic camera with me, therefore I snatched the photo from the net:

On the web pag they stat that "The virus of this festival has also reached Zaandam." Virus ? I beg your pardon ? Dutch people celebrating Oktoberfest ? In Holland ? I don't think so. EVERYBODY knows the hottest Oktoberfest is celebrated in this city and its environs. Check also: (put the volume high !). With an advantage: no understanding of German language required. LOL .

Alô Blumenau, Bom dia Brasil
17 dias de folia
Música, cerveja e alegria

Alô Blumenau, Bom dia Brasil
Festa para o povo da cidade
Musica para nossa mocidade
Alô Blumenau, Bom dia Brasil
Hoje todo mundo está dançando
Hoje todo mundo está cantando

Upadate: while during the last years the number of participants of the Oktoberfest in Munich has progressivelly declined (due fear of terrorrist attacks according to some Dutch newspapers) the number of people visiting Blumenau increases year after year after year (1 million in 2009). LOL.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dutchy & Girlie

Se essa loja fosse minha eu colocava uma estatua de Iemanja na vitrine, muitos anjos e velas...
Jewelry shop Lucie's, Amsterdam. Lindonaaaaa !!

I absolutely looove this wall.
E colocaria micos leões-dourados (de pelúcia, claro) na paredes cheios de bijuterias. Muita pena de pavão, zebrinha e onca...
Deixaria o espirito do Joãozinho XXX baixar e transformava isso no maior carro alegórico nunca dantes visto em países baixos. "Pobre gosta de glamour, quem gosta de pobreza e' intelectual".
Address: St. Luciensteeg 22, Amsterdam

Monday, October 19, 2009

Castle Groeneveld

Last Sunday I visited with hubby and kids "Landgoed Groeneveld" - Estate Greenfield. It was described on the net as a romantic estate in English style. Here goes the translation into English from the text on the board above (and from the folder distributed at the reception):

"Castle Groeneveld is an imposing country house from the XVIII century. It was built around 1710 under the command of huguenotte Marcus de Mamuchet van Houdringe, from the French nobility. Later on, the mansion served for a long time as a summer house for well stablished Amsterdammers. In the castle, expositions and activities are organised in the fields of culture and landscaping. During the end of the XVIII and beginning of the XIX centuries its landscape was completely modified. From its original French charactheristics it acquired a more English style. (...)"

With a total of 120 hectare, Groeneveld is located in the Vuursche, a 1200 hectare area among Hiversum, Baarn, Soest and Bilthoven. Coming from the parking area (the parking is free) you reach the castle on foot. There is a huge orchard some meters away with free entrance. At this time of the year lots of flowers and herbs were dead. I guess best time of the year to visit it is indeed spring - or summer. The orchard was marvellou, anyway.

A closer view.

The original castle front door. But visitors reach the interior by a side door.

Detail from the castle entrance. Notice how clean and well preserved it is.

Here you can enjoy a view from the back of the castle with a terrace and huge lawn where kids could run around and play. And there were LOTS of kids around, really.

All the toys for the kids had information about the local wild animals - wolves, deers, skunks and birds.
Now we go inside the castle. The ticket entrance was a 4 euro fee per adult and 2 euros for a child from 6 to 12 years old. I think the prices were reasonable. The reception is situated near the entrance to the Grand Cafe and restrooms. The Grand Cafe is stunning with big aquariums and old furniture. There were flower arrangements in purple and orange colours everywhere: reception halls, corridors and near the stairs. I will be posting the flower displays latter on this week. They deserve a post apart !

Some of the salons located on the upper floor.

The salons, china, clocks and furniture collection are indeed pretty, but not impressive. I say that because I was comparing all the time to what I have already seen in the Rijksmuseum.

What is this ? A table with a lid ?

Aaaah, I see...
Owners of the castle along the centuries, coats of arms.

This was the stunning stairs that conducted us to the highest floor of the building.

This hanging arrangement gave the tone to what we were supposed to experience. While the first floor was more about culture and interiors, the following floor was more interactive and focused on bringing some awareness to pre teeners and children about nutrition, food industry, genetic manipulation and environment.

Children could play with these huge cubes and see a slide show about what used to be (animal) farming a century ago and what is now. You do not associate any longer the pices of meat you see in the display windows of shops and supermarkets and creatures which they once were. Living in the cities, you do not see animals grown for human consumption at all. You do not know how they are treated or slaughtered.
Thats a very interesting part: an interactive table where you can see (and read with subtitles in Dutch and English) short films about fish farming, green houses, nutrition and more. I discovered that salmon kept in artifical tanks get lots of antibiotics, bleargh ! And if one eventually escapes the tanks and mate a wild salmon then they will generate a type of sterile salmon.

These cabinets contained lots of information about the dangers of genetic manipulation.

Back to the interactive table: there were also lots of information from books of Michael Pollan and some of his most famous advices: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants".

"Food is only food if your grandmother would recognise it (as such). Instead of food we consume "edible foodlike substances" - and not products from the nature but from the food industry". (Michael Pollan, American bestseller author)

This was an area for very young kids. They could play and watch some films about the domestication of animals along the centuries in order to make they more suitable for human consumption. This is called in Dutch "verkipping".

In Holland there are 16 million people, almost 4 million cows, 12 million pigs and...

more than 96 million chickens !! This takes us to the attic.

De verkipping: once in the past there were the wild ox, the wild chicken and a type of wild boar. Due to domestication they all developed "softer" characterists more proper to human consumption. Now in the domains of Groeneveld farmers are trying to develop "wilder" cattle (terugfokken).

Lets go into the chicken machine, shall we ?
How does it feel being a chicken ? Do they have fun ? Would you like to become something else than a human ? Then what ?
Who shall win the competition ? Who can get more milk: the machine or the farmer ?
Photo below: Levi van Veluw.
There were also some salons were you could see videos about human action in the Dutch landscape in general. And the opportunity to think philosophically about nature. Interesting because while in Brazil "nature" is considered a wild place, where nobody wishes to live nor you would go for a couple of leisure hours, a place associated to myths, awe and fear... in Holland (and maybe Europe in general?) nature means a well organized place with fences and paths, sculptures and bridges connecting the parts, a domesticated and friendly area with visiting hours, trash bins everywhere and location maps. No unpleasant surprises, no attacks from animals or bandids, a place where people can enjoy their snacks (no fruits, please) and wear beautiful clothes. A place where they recover their energies for the week to come.

If you wish to know more about Castle Greenfield just check the site indicated on the photo below.