Category Archives: Europe

EuroPride 2016, The Party Is Almost Over…

Yesterday was the main event of EuroPride2016, our world-famous Canal Parade. I didn’t make photos, others have better equipment and a more steady hand than I do. Below you find some impressions and on Facebook you’ll find another 595+ photos…

May 5, 71 years later

embrace-freedom-vrijheid-geef-je-door-hajo_de_reijger

The Netherlands is the only country in Europe that commemorates the victims of the Second World War and celebrates its liberation on two separate but consecutive days. We remember the Dutch victims of wartime violence on May 4, and on May 5 we celebrate our freedom.

The fact that the Netherlands observes Remembrance Day and celebrates Liberation Day, the day on which the German army capitulated, on two separate days is primarily the result of the strong influence that former members of the resistance had in Dutch society directly after the Second World War. The Dutch resistance had already gained considerable authority during the war. After the country had been liberated, the former resistance was relatively well organized and prominently represented in government circles. The most important reason why the national commemoration of Remembrance Day takes place on May 4 and not on May 5 is that directly after the Second World War, both the survivors and the bereaved in the former resistance circles found it inappropriate to mourn the victims of war and to celebrate the liberation on the same day. In their view, the emotions that went along with both sets of memories were incompatible. As the Netherlands had not played an active role in the First World War, the country did not already have a tradition of commemoration in the mid-1940s. Whereas most other European countries had commemoration traditions of a military character stemming from the First World War, the Netherlands was free to commemorate and celebrate in its own distinct manner.

The Dutch tradition of remembrance and celebration that developed in response to the Second World War had a primarily local character. In all Dutch cities and villages, local committees, organizations, associations or municipal officials organize a remembrance ceremony on May 4 or on another day in connection with the local war history and on May 5 there is often a celebration in honor of the liberation and freedom. In addition to all the local groups, there are also numerous other organizations in the Netherlands founded by people who have been affected by wars. They often organize their own ceremonies of remembrance in connection with various different historical events. For example commemorations are organized in reference to (the liberation of) various extermination and concentration camps, such as those in Mauthausen, Auschwitz and Ravensbruck, where Dutch citizens were killed. While other gatherings commemorate specific events such as the bombardment of Rotterdam or the massive razzias in Putten, in the northeast of the Netherlands. The Netherlands also commemorates the war in its former colony the Dutch East Indies and the end of the Second World War on August 15. And each year the Auschwitz Committee organizes the Holocaust/Auschwitz commemoration on the last Sunday in January.

So besides May 4 and 5, there are over 40 other occasions throughout the year when victims are remembered and survivors and people concerned get together to commemorate. All these different experiences and stories converge on May 4. On that day, at 8pm, the entire country – including those who experienced the war first hand and everyone else who recognizes the civic importance of remembering – commemorates the victims of wartime violence in silence.

Day 6 – Another Day At Sea

imageThe comment by Anne-Mary about going to Lisbon, “and all I got was a lousy saucepan” was a good one. The pan is better than a lousy T-shirt.

We’re another day at sea, traveling from Lisbon to Bilbao. The seas are rough and walking the deck is out of the question. All the outdoor entertainment is now indoors, from bingo to line dancing and aerobics to a dull quiz.

i enjoyed myself with a lecture over the Atlantic, then lunch, maybe a nap or a quiet place to read and later tonight another show and gala dinner. Hurray! We can dress up as penguins again!

One of the things I’ve noticed is we’re living from meal to meal, 8.30 to 9 breakfast, then a good cup of coffee, or two, lunch at 13, a snack around 17.00 hours and dinner at 21.00. By eleven we’re back in bed, maybe read something, or in my case check email and post comments on Facebook, and before you know it its breakfast time again.

EMTC2014 Basel – Day 1

Basler-LeckerliAfter a good night’s sleep (what a nice bed !), the day started early again. Retrieving the conference documents could be done as early as 11 AM and we walked as cattle along with the crowd. It did not really matter if you just arrived three hours later, but… if that stuff is handled you can just paint the town red. And the well stocked goody-bag, with Basler Leckerli and ‘mountains’ of Toblerone can count as emergency rations. Many of the conference participants just went their own way..

There are more than 120 people signed up for these days, the only absentee is South Tyrol . They can’t come because in this period many marriages and fests are planned and somebody has to make costumes and outfits. Just remember that the South Tyrol region is the province of Trentino and contains only a handful of tailors. In two years time in Austria they hope to be there again, the Congress is then also in early May.

Even though we see our colleagues only once every two years during an EMTC event, or in the odd years at a World Convention, the atmosphere between these two international meetings is totally different. The EMTC feels like a warm bath, visitors are like family, and everyone gets right back to memories of previous years. They also ask us immediately if we will be organizing this event in 2016 and whether it will be held in Amsterdam, unfortunately… we have to wait until 2018. First it’s Austria’s turn.

museum-kulturenThe official opening was performed in the courtyard of the Museum der Kulturen ‘Museum of Ethnology’ While enjoying a glass of wine, beer or juice and snacks. Hans Luginbuhl, president of the Swiss Tailor Association opened, with his trademark comic speech the Congress. Not only the organizers were thanked, but also the three female presidents of Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, but also all the tailors present, partners and interested people.

Afterwards there was a visit to the museum, which was kept open especially for this occasion. At half past seven we were invited to the restaurant of the museum where dinner would be served. While enjoying a glass of wine… or two… a tasty meal was served. Before we knew it, it was already 10 PM.

After a short tram ride -yes, we know which line number we need to take- some of us reached the hotel. The rest is still painting the town red. Dutiful as I am, (ahumm) I’m writing my report and put it online.

And then… tired but satisfied I will roll in my bed. Tomorrow will be another day! There are eight different readings that can be followed, technical issues such as working with CAD-CAM programs, and to how to deal with a customer, but also fashion drawings and the best fit will be discussed. And of course the show of compairing models. Each country will receive the same materials only the end result will be different.

See you tomorrow !

EMTC2014 Basel – Day Zero

Basel-city_240-animated-flag-gifsBasel, May 28, 2014 – Tomorrow the tailors convention starts, but some of us like relaxed driving and so you just leave a day early. At 6.15 am we left from Alphen aan den Rijn towards Basel. In one way or another ‘Claire’ (the voice of the Garmin planner) wanted to send us to Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. However, our drive , a tough cookie, did not budge and we continued our way to ‘s – Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Venlo and beyond.

Finally we have arrived . 8 hours later at our destination, after the peaceful route, far from the traffic jams of Düsseldorf, Cologne and Karlsruhe. Even though we sometimes asked ourselves whether we were on the right track. Germany, little piece of France and then Germany again.

After checking into the hotel, unpacking suitcases, bags and garment bags, we went to visit our colleague Oliver Häberli in the St. Alban Vorstadt where he has his shop and workshop. A nice quiet street, old houses – one has 1440 on the facade – with specialty shops and restaurants. Oliver is also one of the organizers of the conference which starts tomorrow.

After visiting the company and some directions from the owner , we walkled to the center of Great Basel. As in Amsterdam, Basel is a kind of open-air museum, beautiful old buildings, tinkling super long trams, no ‘canals’ except the one that crosses the city, the Rhine River.

Basel-country_240-animated-flag-gifsOn a terrace , we enjoyed the beautiful weather, the rain we had left behind around Koblenz. Later we were joined by two other conference delegates from the Dutch southern Region, Even the organiser found us at this relaxing bar..

Later we went to a restaurant on ‘Barfi’ or the Barfüssplatz. We are fashion makers so to stay in the theme we went to “Zum Braunen Mutze” Beerhall. Unfortunately, a “Mutze” is not a hat but a bear, again we learned something!

One of the hotel amenities is a card for public transport. This transport is not checked as we know it by officials, but the penalties for jumping the bus are high. We had heard that line 6 would bring us to the hotel and back. So we boarded on Barfi and we would figure out where we needed to get off. First to the end of the line and then back, but at the super modern Messe, on the other side of the river we disembarked. Line 2 brought more outcome and put us after 7 stops in front of the hotel. At least we saw some more of the city and the outskirts of town.

The black flag above is that of Basel City and Basel Country is the one in red. They both show the culmination of a crosier. Since 749 Basel is a a cathedral city.

More tomorrow!

Published in Dutch on the BMA website.

A New Queen In Europe

Austria-Conchita-WurstI have to hand-in my Gay-card, I’m not a Eurovision Song Contest follower. I missed both semi finals earlier this week, but heard last night the final in the background, while reading the paper and surfing the internet.  Miss Conchita Wurst aka Tom Neuwirth of Austria won with flying colors with her/his song “Rise Like A Phoenix”.

During the results of the voting you could see the difference between Eastern and Western Europe. The eastern countries voted mostly for their neighbors, while the western counties including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (as former east-block countries) voted for a song with a message: Equality for all

BTW, the Dutch came in second, something that hasn’t happened in all the 54 (out of 59) times we send a team. We only won in 1957, 1959, 1969 (ex aequo with France, Spain and the UK) and 1975. (I used Wiki for this)

Rise Like a Phoenix lyrics

Waking in the rubble
Walking over glass
Neighbors say we’re trouble
Well that time has passed

Peering from the mirror
No, that isn’t me
Stranger getting nearer
Who can this person be

You wouldn’t know me at all today
From the fading light I fly

Rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
Retribution
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn
You know I will rise like a phoenix
But you’re my flame

Go about your business
Act as if you’re free
No one could have witnessed
What you did to me

Cause you wouldn’t know me today
And you have got to see
To believe
From the fading light I fly

Rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
Retribution
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn

I rise up to the sky
You threw me down but
I’m gonna fly

And rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
Retribution
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn
You know I will rise like a phoenix
But you’re my flame