Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

Posted on 23. Oct, 2014 by in News

This past weekend was one of the warmste days in October since record keeping began. Temperatures reached a high of 23 degrees Celsius (around 73 degrees Fahrenheit). After a couple of days of rain and cooler temperatures, the warm sunny weekend was very much welcome. The zonnige weekend was the beginning of fall break, and many took advantage of the weather to go to the beach in Scheveningen or Zandvoort. Saturday was a great day for walking around markets and drinking a cold beer on a terrace. Sunday was also a very warm day, although in the evenings, clouds were filling the sky for what has been a very cloudy and rainy week.

On Tuesday, the tropical depression Gonzalo, the first herfst storm of the season, traveled the Atlantic and hit the UK and later the Netherlands, Belgium and France causing strong winds, rain, and flooding. Winds exceeded 65 kph (40 mph) and the dijken in the Netherlands were closed to minimize flooding damages. Wednesday’s news was filled with images of flooded parking lots and streets near the coast. Although the material damage totals about 2 million euros, there were no lives lost in the Netherlands. The storm was expected to reach northern Italy, Slovakia and Serbia today.

If you want more info, visit the previous posts about the Dikes in Zeeland and the Bassie and Adriaan post about the weather.

Harry Mulisch: One of the Greatest

Posted on 16. Oct, 2014 by in Literature

When I’ve asked people to tell me who they consider the best Dutch writer to be, Harry Mulisch has been everyone’s answer. Having read his novel The Assault, I understand why.

The Assault, or De Aanslag in its original Dutch title, tells the story of Anton Steenwijk right at the end of the World War II and his life after the war. His family falls victim to an injustice while the Nazi military is still in the Netherlands. Anton tries to forget this tragedy and move on with his life, however, the more he tries to forget, the more destiny forces him to face what happened. As his past visits his present life, Anton discovers what truly happened that night, and he attempts to come to terms with the way his life played out.

There are many stories about World War II and, although I’ve read only a handful, I find this one to be the best one in regards to style. Every story is interesting and unique, and I am particularly fond of memoirs from the Hunger Winter. Although Mulisch’s story is fictional, it is full of the details of the suffering, the hardships of the war, as well as the joy when the country was liberated and the rebuilding process.

Personally, I’ve never lived a war in my home country, and I know that makes me very fortunate. The wars my family has lived have been old old wars. Although it has been many years since World War II, to me it feels recent; it is part of modern history. I am intrigued by the stories of grandparents who survived, who fought against the Nazis, who helped rebuild the country. The Assault is one of those novels that fit together with all the stories I’ve heard and read.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so I am including this short clip of the movie version of the book.

Mulisch, H. (1986). The Assault. New York: Pantheon.

How to Say You are Awesome in Dutch

Posted on 09. Oct, 2014 by in Dutch Vocabulary

Everyone has a unique set of eigenschappen or characteristics that make them who they are. This mixture is made up of positief and negatief, all of which is relative to the person in question. Some job interviewers like to ask about these eigenshcappen to test the person interviewed. In these situations, saying you are not punctual or lazy might not be the best idea.

When someone asks you Wat zijn twee positieve eigenschappen van jezelf? You can answer with Ik heb gevoel goed humor or Ik ben heel vrolijk. The following are some of the most common characteristics you might want need:

eerlijk- honest

beleefd- polite

behulpzaam- helpful

sociaal­- social

leergierig- studious

oplossingsgericht­- problem solver

gemotiveerd- motivated

een goede luisteraar- a good listener

geduldig- patient

vastbesloten- determined

vrolijk- happy or cheerful

optimistisch- optimistic

pessimistisch- pessimistic

knorrig- grumpy

gemeen- mean

verantwoordelijk­- responsible

moedig- brave

mededogend- compassionate

meedogenloos - ruthless

creatief- creative

geweldig- awesome

If you are like me, many of these are characteristics you hope to have one day. In that case, you would say ik zou graag sociaal willen zijn or ik zou graag minder knorrig willen zijn.

What are your eigenschappen?

Image by stevendepolo found in

Image by stevendepolo found in