When I was a child I visited my grandparents in a section of the Netherlands called Westfriesland, Noord Holland, the Netherlands. My grandfather owned a house and a piece of land that he took care of. The house on the land was a very nice house and the land was very flat. It was always plowed neatly in straight lines, as that is what all farmers did and still do. Because my last name is van der Pol I get associated with tulips and flowers. It is in my dna. Tulips are the main industry in the province of the North Holland, the Netherlands and when strangers in the Netherlands or outside of the Netherlands have looked into my eyes all they can see is my grandfather and how he sowed tulips in the fields in Westfriesland. When I applied for jobs I got jobs in the tulip industry even though I was never taught anything about tulips – it was automatically assumed that by my heritage I was a tulip expert because it is in my genes, engineered into my brain and a skill untaught by passed down subliemely from grandfather to granddaughter.
Took this photograph last Sunday. It is of a yellow bulldozer on the Dutch Coast close to Wijk aan Zee. The vehicle is driving up to the Dutch protected sand dunes and shoveling in to the mountain of sand and vegetation and scoping the beach soil up and driving to the new mounting sand barrier and dropping it down there. This act may seem like a simple enough mechanism but it is actually so much more then that. This North Sea Beach engineer is actually doing two things:  saving the Dutch coast from ruin  protecting the village Wijk aan Zee from the North Sea.
Current location: Amsterdam Centrum location, date December 10th, 2017.
Recently there has been an Amsterdam Mayor, named Van der Laan who passed away in 2017. The Dutch media and the locals I have talked to in Amsterdam say that Van der Laan was a great man. Previous to being appointed Mayor of Amsterdam he was member of the Dutch Resistence museum and he was a trained lawyer, receiving his education in Amsterdam (not sure if he practiced law in Amsterdam though).
Through my own observation, from the view point of an artist, who is to some, the lowest level of a human being on earth – but something I myself do not believe to be true – and despite everything I feel I have the need and the right to express myself through the motion of the freedom of expression codes – with that in mind – my opinion of the Mayor of Amsterdam, the former Mayor is probably not the same as the others in Amsterdam. My reflection of Van der Laan’s work as the Amsterdam Mayor is one of question. For example, I have noticed that many citizens of Amsterdam are no longer living in Amsterdam. Instead there are infinite amounts of tourists. To me, it seems like Van der Laan put the municipal financial into marketing Amsterdam to the rest of the world – and in this process forgot to protect and care for the Amsterdam citizens who were living in Amsterdam under his leadership. In my opinion, this act alone means that Amsterdam has architecture protected and restored for the needs to satisfy the tourists but not to protect the city citizens. As a Socialist myself, I disagree with this act of culture before humans.
Amsterdam in the country the Netherlands is a very objective city. It is a very globalized place. That means that Amsterdam has become one of the first cities in the whole world that has followed almost 100% of the European Guidelines of city centers within the Eurozone.
The Amsterdam CS train station has tight barriers allowing only people with paid tickets to enter the train station site. There are a number of security guards checking the passengers travel tickets in the train station so this completely eliminates theft.
Amsterdam has a huge tourist industry. 90% of the people walking the streets of Amsterdam are tourists,coming mostly from Portugal and Spain.
The architecture in this city has two sides. On the one hand lots of the architecture is traditional (Amsterdam School, Middle Ages and from the Golden Age) and on the other hand there is new hyper modern architecture arising like a Phoenix into the city.
I recall my teacher Emmie Neut, telling me, that from the traditional comes the modern. One does not destroy the former to gain the newer but instead builds from it. I agree with this idea, however I worry that Amsterdam may one day become all hyper modern architecture because the upkeep of the former traditional architecture will be too expensive. But I guess I do not need to worry about that now as that is probably something that may or may not take place in the very distance future.
The Dutch love their financial equations, as capitalism was born in Amsterdam centuries ago. The bottomline is this: the incoming tourism pays for the upkeep of the Dutch traditional architecture which draws in the tourism who pay for the upkeep of the architecture. They are interlinked.
Written Dec 07, 2017 corresponding from Amsterdam, NL, Europe
Eindhoven is a city in the South of Holland. It started off as a small municipality and once Philips started his famous Philips company the village started to grow. now it is considered to be Holland’s fifth largest cities. What makes Eindhoven a special city? Well it all starts at the Central train station (Eindhoven CS).
In the main hall, there is a quote in large neon yellow letters that reads:
“Conventie, een soort herinnering, is het grootste beletsel om te genieten van leven en kunst.” Piet Mondriaan
Which means convention is the obstacle between art and life.
It is the kind of quote that makes you question your life, your actions and your independent role as an individual. It is because of this one quote that I changed. I changed my vision of the world, my vision of people, my goals, dreams and aspirations, I no longer could find peace within tradition or culture instead I knew I needed to follow my own way.
To me, going to Eindhoven and seeing that quote in the CS was the most valuable experience in my world travels.
A Stop Gap is a method that is used to prevent something from happening. It starts as a short-term situation and it can then lead to a longer term situation. The idea of a Stop Gap is to prevent something unwanted to occur. It is often used in business communications.
(Photograph of Vincent van Gogh, with one ear cut off)
In 1945 January my father was born in Amsterdam during the Hunger Winter. It is a miracle my father was born at all because there was virtually zero food in Amsterdam at that time. It was a time was a lot of Dutch citizen in this area were forced to eat tulips. Later on in my life, I learnt that both of my grandparents worked in the tulip industries in the province, North Holland in the Netherlands. When I was 17 years old in the Netherlands in the city of Haarlem, my grandfather took in to Hillegom to peel tulips for summer job. It was a hard job, and I could not peel as fast as the other Dutch people in my group. Later that week my grandfather took me to a tulip factory that he knew about in Velsen-Zuid and got me a job auditing the tulip bulbs. I did that job for 4 – 5 months. Later on in life, I moved to Victoria, Vancouver Island and when I landed at Company X they forwarded me directly on to the Garden Center because my last name was van der Pol. Somehow the upper management of Company X could stereotype me and my Dutch heritage in a matter of a micro-second based on my last name. But in actual fact I do not like tulips myself, I am allegic to them. I get an adversary emotional reaction to the different colors of live flowers – especially tulips.