I must confess…I am a yogi!

Posted on 20. May, 2015 by in Dutch Grammar, Dutch Vocabulary

I wrote recently about working out and I have a confession to make: I am a yogi! I do not mean yogi in that I can fold myself like an origami figure, I just simply LOVE doing yoga! It all started about three years ago when my mom talked me into going with her to yoga.  I was skeptical, but my mother reassured me the teacher came highly recommended. After the first class and my realization that I had almost no flexibility (nor did I know very many body parts or muscles by name), I was hooked! One of the first things I bought when I moved to the Netherlands was a yoga mat and I continued doing yoga following videos on YouTube and recommendations on Pinterest.

Although I wanted to join a yoga class in the Netherlands, the language barrier really REALLY intimidated me. How could I possibly understand the explanations in Dutch? It wasn’t until I met another fellow Mexican who was here visiting friends and traveling that I got the courage. This friend was going to all sorts of work out classes not knowing any Dutch, and she didn’t seem worried or troubled by it. Thanks to her, I got the courage to just give it a try and have been a happy Dutch yogi for about a year now!

Instead of just giving yoga-related vocabulary for this post, I thought it would be more interesting to choose my favorite positions and describe them in Dutch. Its an interesting exercise because explanations can vary so join me and give it a try!

De Berg

Dit is de meest basis positie voor yoga. Je moet recht staan. Jou rug moet recht staan en jou armen moeten boven staan alsof je de lucht wilt aanraken.

De Berg  (photo by Run Mizumushi-Kun taken from Flickr.com)

De Berg
(photo by Run Mizumushi-Kun taken from Flickr.com)

Downward Dog

Dit is mijn favoriete positie want ik heb veel rugpijn nadat ik op de computer heb gewerkt. Je moet op jou benen en handen staan en jou rug houden zodat jou licham een driehoek maakt. Jou knieën en armen moet recht zijn maar je moet altijd onspannen. Breng jou bovenlichaam naast jou benen om je rug een beetje meer te onstpannen.

Downward Dog (photo by Taro Taylor taken from Flickr.com)

Downward Dog
(photo by Taro Taylor taken from Flickr.com)

Upward Dog of Cobra

Lig op jou buik met jou benen recht. Met jou armen, duw je jou bovenlicham op. Jou benen moeten op de grond blijven. Als je kan, zet jou gewicht niet op je bekken maar op jou dijen.

Upward Dog or Cobra Pose (photo by Mathew Ragan taken from Flickr.com)

Upward Dog or Cobra Pose
(photo by Mathew Ragan taken from Flickr.com)


Sta met jou benen gespreid zodat zij een driehoek maken. Breng jour armen omhoog, parallel met de grond. Kijk naar de rechterkant. Jou linker been moet gestrekt zijn terwijl je je rechter been een beetje buigt.

Warrior pose  (photo by Dave Rosenblum taken from Flickr.com)

Warrior pose
(photo by Dave Rosenblum taken from Flickr.com)

Give it a try and describe one of these poses (or another one if you are a yogi like me)!

Offending the King or Freedom of Speech?

Posted on 18. May, 2015 by in News, Politics

The morning of Thursday May 7th, the Paleis op de Dam woke up with a strong message: F*** de Koning. Whoever is responsible for this graffitied the place Wednesday night. It seems the message is in reaction to a previous incident. An activist protesting Zwarte Piet yelled out f*** de koning, f**** de koning, f*** het koningshuis and was arrested for offending the king. This person is due to pay a fine of €500 but does not agree with this fine.

The Dutch laws related to this situation are the following:

Artikel 111: Opzettelijke belediging van de Koning wordt gestraft met een gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste vijf jaar of een geldboete van de vierde categorie (met een maximum van 20.250 euro).

Artikel 112: Opzettelijke belediging van de echtgenoot van de Koning, van de vermoedelijke opvolger van de Koning, van diens echtgenoot, of van de Regent, wordt gestraft met een gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste vier jaar of een geldboete van de vierde categorie.

Artikel 113: Hij die een geschrift of afbeelding waarin een belediging voorkomt voor de Koning, de echtgenoot van de Koning, de vermoedelijke opvolger van de Koning, diens echtgenoot of de Regent, verspreidt, openlijk tentoonstelt of aanslaat of, om verspreid, openlijk tentoongesteld of aangeslagen te worden in voorraad heeft, wordt, indien hij weet of ernstige reden heeft om te vermoeden dat in het geschrift of de afbeelding zodanige belediging voorkomt, gestraft met gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste een jaar of geldboete van de derde categorie (met een maximum van 8.100 euro).

In short, if you say something offensive, you will be imprisoned and will have to pay a fine. If you have images or written threads, you will be imprisoned and will have to pay a bigger fine.

While I am completely against vandalizing property let alone something as iconic as the Paleis op de Dam, I don’t know how I feel about the arrest. Should this activist be free to say what he/she wants? Is the arrest an infringement of his/her freedom of speech? Is “freedom of speech” sometimes used to cover up for offending behavior?

What are your thoughts on this situation? Do you agree with these laws? Why or why not?


National Windmill Day (Because such a day exists in the Netherlands!)

Posted on 14. May, 2015 by in Culture

This past weekend was “National Windmill Day” or Nationale Molendag in the Netherlands. The approximately 900 windmills in the Netherlands were open for people to visit, and many people made a day of it!

Nationale Molendag 2015

By coincidence, Riccardo and I had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Beek which is right in front of a windmill. Because I had never gone in despite the many times we had eaten at this restaurant, we decided to explore the windmill. It was a great experience to see the inside of the windmill and the mechanisms used to mill. I was a bit scared because of the light movement I could feel with the wind, but I was brave and worked with my fear.

Molen in Beek, Limburg

A family that was also visiting the windmill commented that they had spent the morning visiting all the windmills in the area and would continue to do so for the rest of the day. A friend from Den Haag was surprised to see long lines to visit a windmill in Leiden. It seems that the Dutch (and tourists as well) enjoyed the windmill weekend!

View of Limburg from the windmill

Inside the windmill, we saw many poems related to windmills. I am a big poetry/literature nerd and found this incredibly interesting because…who writes poems about windmills! I don’t say it to criticize, but more as a sign of surprise. I would have never thought of writing a poem about windmills!

Poem to the Windmill

If I were to write a windmill poem or a molengedicht, I think it would go something like this:

Mensen uit diverse landen willen komen
Om naar molens en polders te kijken
Want Nederland is het molenland!

Van Rotterdam tot Friesland,
Van Zeeland tot Groningen
Molens zijn hier en daar en in het hele land!

Maar de beste molen voor me is een kleintje dichtbij
Met colas en biertjes en tostis en bitterballen
De Beek molen is de mooiste volgens mij!

Clearly I am no poet, but this is my lame attempt at the molengedichten. What would your molengedicht say?