Monthly Archives: September 2015

“We Never Go Places…”

Famous words by our friend Adrie, and she ends the sentence with “We Always Stay Home!”

Just like last Saturday… It all started a little while ago, on August 3, during the opening of the photo exhibition of our friend Jan van Breda. One hall was decked out with photos of Kotomisi.  We came back on September 4 to see the expo in more detail, something we couldn’t do on opening day. We had a blast after seeing the photos again with the Surinam woman. They invited us to visit them on the groups 5 year jubilee.

This happened last Saturday. All three of us stuck out, as white as we are, but we felt like we had fallen in a warm bath, the way we were welcomed and put at ease, but also the talks, the food, drink and the music were wonderful. Below is an impression of our time at the museum, on September 4th, but also of September 26, with the headdress in copper bowls or just a plain platter, the women dancing with those said copper bowls, and NO I wasn’t dressed up as a Kotomisi but instead they asked me to dance… something I haven’t done in public for eons. Just enjoy, just as we did.

Photos by Nicky, Adrie and me. Klick on a photo and it opens in a new window.

The next day “We Never Go Places, We Always Stay Home…” was at the ‘Belly of Amsterdam’ or the Central Food Market, just to see what kind of different foods are sold around the city. Okay, we tasted some of it too. 😉

And He’s A Jolly Good Fellow…

One year later, and my Dad is again in Southampton, this time day two of his vacation, but also his birthday, his 92nd one. Last year we both celebrated it with fish and chips at West Quay mall. This year I’m at home and he’s sailing the Seven Sea’s on HAL’s Rotterdam.

Congrats Dad! Enjoy your time on and off-board!


Photo taken early June at a fish restaurant in IJmuiden.

Celebrating 200 Years of Monarchy… But Nobody Noticed

Today is the last day of the 2 year celebration of 200 years Dutch Monarchy, but until now nobody noticed we were celebrating. Let’s go back in time, not 2 years when it started (November 30) but 200 years.

Coat of arms of the Netherlands
Coat of arms of the Netherlands

The Dutch monarchy is still relatively young. She began in 1806 when Louis Napoleon was appointed King of Holland by his brother Napoleon Bonaparte. They continued in 1813 when Willem Frederik from the house of Orange-Nassau, a son of stadtholder William V, accepted the title sovereign prince of the United Netherlands. Previously, the former Netherlands was briefly a vassal state of the First French Empire and before that a republic after in 1581 the monarchy of the lords of the house of Habsburg was abandoned.

The Monarchy of the Netherlands is constitutional and as such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a fairly large portion of the Dutch constitution is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the constitution describes the succession, mechanisms of accession and abdication to the throne, the roles and responsibilities of the monarch and the formalities of communication between the States-General of the Netherlands and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Belgium
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Belgium

In 1815 the United Netherlands consisted of the, as they’re known now, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kingdom of Belgium and Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Belgian monarchy was formed in 1831 when Belgium, fought for independence of the Netherlands, and formed their own kingdom. The royal title was meant to play Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which – became King of the Belgians – the idea of the people’s monarchy. After him ruled Leopold II, Albert I, Leopold III, Baudouin, Albert II and Philippe. With the exception of Leopold I, who remained Lutheran, the Belgian monarchs are Roman Catholic.

Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since March 15, 1815, when it was elevated from a duchy, and was in personal union with the Netherlands until 1890. Since 1815, there have been nine monarchs of Luxembourg, including the incumbent, Henri.

American Cookbook #10 – Zucchini

American-Cookbook2 Zucchini Patties

Makes 4 servings (12 patties)

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 225 gr or 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 40 gr or ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 60 gr or ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 40 gr or ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 55 gr or ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper to taste
  • a clove of crushed garlic to taste
  • 30 ml or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

courgette-largeTO MAKE:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, onion, flour, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, freshly ground black pepper and crushed garlic.
  2. Stir well enough to distribute ingredients evenly.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoonful, and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden.

Note 1: You can substitute instant mashed potato flakes for the flour.

Note 2: Throw in some chopped mushrooms since they go so well with zucchini.


Amount Per Serving Main recipe.
Calories: 245
Total Fat: 14.7g
Cholesterol: 111mg
Sodium: 282mg
Total Carbohydrates: 15.7g
Dietary Fiber: 1.2g
Protein: 12.8g

Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and Lap-band [WLS] persons can eat a serving max !

PDF of this recipe: 20150924-AC-10-Zucchini-Patties

They’re Coming Home…

Two masterpieces by Rembrandt come to the Netherlands from France for good. The Rijksmuseum and the Dutch government put together 160 million euro. In The Rijksmuseum’s own words, they do everything in their power to get the financing for this purchase.

In 1634 Rembrandt painted the marriage portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, daughter of an Amsterdam elite family, which had in recent years been in the possession of the wealthy French family Rothschild. The two paintings are the greatest portraits by Rembrandt: they both measure 2.10 meters tall and 1.35 meters wide. (7 x 4.48 feet)

The government will take half of the purchase price on its behalf, confirmed a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to press agency ANP after a report in De Telegraaf newspaper, which is a reconstruction of the secret negotiations held in recent weeks about the acquisition . The Rijksmuseum must now care for the remainder of the funding, says director Wim Pijbes of the National Museum in NRC newspaper.


(If) the deal goes through, it would be the largest acquisition in the history of the Rijksmuseum until now. The Rembrandt Association sets a contribution in prospect. In a morning RTL News program the president of the association said that it is emphatically the idea that the paintings go on tour once they are in the Netherlands because they are “national treasures”.

Minister Dijsselbloem, of the Department of Finance would use 50 million euros in dividends from state-owned companies for the purchase, Minister Bussemaker of the Department of Education, Culture and Science would fetch 30 million from a special fund for art purchases. In recent weeks, the Rijksmuseum spoken to several individuals.

media_xl_3129571Late last year, the Rijksmuseum bought a bronze statue of a Bacchante by Adriaen de Vries for the record sum of 22.5 million euros*. That was the highest amount ever paid by the Rijksmuseum for a piece of art. The largest art acquisition by the Netherlands was the purchase of the “Victory Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian in 1997 for 37 million euros. The work since then can be found in the Municipal Museum in The Hague.

*I went to a lecture last week about this statue and the life and work of Adriaen de Vries.

Dam to Dam…

The Dam to Dam Weekend with over 88 000 participants, is the largest sporting weekend in the Netherlands. Besides the Dam to Dam Walk (13th year) there’s also a Dam to Dam Bike Classic (9th year), a Dam by night run (2nd year) and the Dam to Dam run (31st year).

On Saturday, September 19, 17,000 people walked from Dam Square in Amsterdam to Dam in Zaandam, a tour which was held for the 13th time. Two girlfriends walked the 20 km / 12,5 miles, first to the back of Amsterdam Central Station to cross by ferry the IJ waterway, and then through the garden-villages and outskirts of town before they reached the outskirts of Zaandam, the alleyways toward the center and to end near the Dam of said town.

During the night another event took place, a night run over 5 English miles / 8 km through the streets of Zaandam. 15,000 people took part and they passed de Burcht, Zuiddijk and the wetland areas around Voorzaan. Some used it as training for the 10 miles / 16,1 km of the next morning.

Damloop-tunnelOn Sunday, September 20, I stood next to my mobility scooter on Buiksloterdijk bridge, which goes over the North-Holland waterway, in my part of town. I was waiting for a friend, AJ to pass. He was one of the 50,000 who took part at this run. We high fived when he passed and later I found out he made a good time, running this distance in 1:41. He ran for Dance-4-Life and I was one of his sponsors. As we don’t have mountains, they make the trip harder by letting them run under the IJ waterway, going down hill for 700 meters is something easy to do, but then you have to run up for another 700 meters and cover a 21 meters height. Later in the polders they had a few of those obstacles too but never more than 8 meters height difference.

Earlier that same morning, another girlfriend put her feet to the pedals… She was one of 6,000 bikers at the start of the Dam to Dam Bicycle Classic. The start and finish of the 40, 60, 105 and 145 km was in front of the Royal Palace on Dam Square in Amsterdam. It included the unique passage by bike through the IJ-tunnel and the beautiful trails along North-Holland places with ‘Dam’ in their name, including Zaandam, Schoorldam, Edam, Volendam and Monnickendam before they ended back in Amsterdam. She cycled  60 km / 37,3 miles.

I’m happy they all had a good day, and for a change these last few days, the weather was right too!

American Cookbook #09 – Cabbage

American-Cookbook2Kraut Bierocks

Makes 10 servings

Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 60 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 11 gr or 1½ (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 100 gr or ½ cup white sugar
  • 475 ml or 2 cups warm water
  • 500 gr or 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 65 gr or ½ cup powdered milk
  • 5 gr or 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 100 gr or ½ cup shortening
  • 455 gr or 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 455 gr or 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 160 gr or 1 cup chopped onion
  • 210 gr or 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 45 ml or 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 10 gr or 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 gr or 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 55 gr or ½ cup shredded, processed American cheese
  • 55 gr or ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

shredded-cabbageTO MAKE:
To Make Sweet Dough:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the yeast, sugar and water and mix together.
  2. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour, dry milk, baking powder and shortening, then knead mixture for 10 minutes, adding as little flour as necessary.
  4. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, then knead again.

To Make Filling:

  1. Meanwhile, brown beef, sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Drain extra fat from skillet, then stir in cabbage, mustard, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted.
  4. Preheat oven to 175° C or 350 degrees F.
  5. Flatten a piece of dough.
  6. Place large spoonful of meat filling onto dough and fold over to form a round bun.
  7. Lay folded-side-down in a lightly greased 23 x 33 cm or 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: These meat-and-cabbage-mixture filled sweet rolls make a great main dish, and are also great as a snack. They reheat well, so leftovers are also great! Sauerkraut can be used in place of the cabbage for more of a ‘kraut flavor’.


Amount Per Serving
Calories: 630
Total Fat: 34.3g
Cholesterol: 69mg
Sodium: 1129mg
Total Carbohydrates: 55g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2g
Protein: 24.6g
Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and Lap-band [WLS] persons can eat only half a serving max !

PDF of this recipe: 20150917-AC-09-Kraut-Bierocks