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.
This is a picture of a Roman Catholic Church in the village of Wijk aan Zee. Winter 2018.
The Netherlands can often been seen as a hyper futuristic country however like many countries – the Netherlands is a country of contrasts. Right now in the winter of 2018 many parts of the Netherlands have been forced to change and to adapt to the digitalization era. For example, in this photograph, if you look very closely, you can see smoke stacks and smoke coming up into the blue sky. This year, that technical industry of the Steel industry, called the Hoogovens locally, will be celebrating the 100 year anniversary. In the past 20 years, the company called the Hoogovens used to have about 24 Thousand workers to take care of the steel industry. Whereas now it is under 7000 workers. This is a concrete example, in my opinion of a combination of digitalization and industrialization.
On the one hand, Wijk aan Zee is beautiful but on the other hand, Wijk aan Zee is a Dutch village that is often torn between digitalization and industry development. The Hoogovens Steel Industry actually has a lot of land around this tiny village and there are lots of stacks of steel extracted water vapour pouring out over the village and the area of Beverwijk, in the regio of IJmond Noord and the Dutch province of North Holland.
A few short years ago this village of Wijk aan Zee was called the Cultural Village of Europe. To me this is a puzzle because what is cultural about Wijk aan Zee? Does culture have to do with people and identity? Or unity and community? Or is there something different all together, such as historic architecture that sums up what one European village has more status and standing then the other one?
In the winter of 2018 this village has almost zero cultural activities. There is a huge amount of individualization and privatization. Most people from the community who were born in this sand-grain pebble size of a city really have no interest in the rest of the world, and their only aim is to keep to themselves and protect their own turf. This is not an altruistic village.
A few years ago, the Dutch Federal Government and the National Schiphol Airport managers were engineering an idea to extend Schiphol International Airport into the North Sea, right outside of Wijk aan Zee. The development of that project is currently dormant, but it goes to show you that globalization en enhanced industrialization and digitalization all have priority over environment and historical architecture. The Netherlands is the same as all the other countries in the world. More often than not, the most powerful override the voices of the small and having high finances and plans of expansion crush villages even when they look special.
In the past Amsterdam used to have a big culture of Gabbers. Gabbers was a street name kind of like skaters was meant for th skateboarders. Gabbers were a group of people from Amsterdam who wore expensive training suits and expensive state of the art Nike Air shoes. Gabbers were mostly men from the age 20 to 45 years old. Many shaved their head completely. Gabbers was this very big Amsterdam sub-culture of fun-loving, fast, speed, hyper-modern, futuristic types. They were the major new trendsetters of Amsterdam. They owned Amsterdam and were mostly light-hearted people. The main thing the Gabbers were interested in was what was referred to in Amsterdam as House music. House music in Amsterdam is digital fast beat music which uses modern noises, like train sounds, whistles and other repeat industrial noises. Gabbers and House Music went hand in hand. The House Music was often performed by DJ’s in very specially assigned clubs in Amsterdam Centrum. The DJ’s used LP and Record Player combinations, sometimes two record players or sometimes 10 Record players at the same time. The music was of synchronize to the lazer beams that shot off in all directions on a dancefloor. The Gabbers in their training suits and their state of the art Nike Air shoes would dance a specific way to the House music. It was a one unit experience. All Gabbers in Amsterdam in 2017 have become extinct. They are gone and disappeared completely. (I am writing this from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Dec. 12, 2017
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
Our world is as fragile as a piece of cedar wood, that stands tall in the rainforest and who over time goes right back into nature, through decay and rotting. Very aspect of humanity is precious and needs to be protected from harm. The natural act of nature that was caused by the lone shooter in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017 must have taken every human being by surprise, as his behaviour was unpredictable. It is very hard to find shelter and protection when an act like this happens. I am only one human in a sea of humans, however I would like to offer my sympathy to the victims of this mass event. I wish acts like this would not happen. I believe in pacifism and not violence.
Photograph from the City of Duncan Railway station last day of September 2017.
Photographs taken in the Greater Victoria Area and vicinity Sept 28 and Sep 29, 2017
Often politicians on the municipal and provincial levels in British Columbia believe in the notion of trickle down economics; however I believe in bottom-up economics. I believe it is by listening to the low level employees first in order for the economy to grow. Without the low level employees, the small business in the city would not exist, the middle class would disappear and so would most of the professionals. So the key to a healthy economy is to pay special attention to the needs of the low level workers in Victoria city first and foremost.