Wijk aan Zee, North Holland in The Netherlands Winter 2018

wijkaanzeerkThis 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.









Amsterdam, The Netherlands Dec. 2017

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

Engaging in a conversation, 2017

When you engage in a conversation, and the other starts judging you based on factors that are beyond your control – the best thing you can do is lead by example, by:

  1. not being afraid
  2. identify what is happening
  3. put the experience into perspective
  4. have an open mind

In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, try hard not to judge them.

When you feel yourself scanning the other person and creating your first impression on anything but the facts, try hard to contain that thought pattern and go back to listening with your heart to what the other is saying and base your impression on that instead.

You can learn techniques to enhance a good experience and there are ways to diffuse a bad experience but if the dynamic is not right, the best thing that you can do is acknowledge it within yourself and not to fight it. It is one of those mysteries of life.

Not everything in life can be controlled.

Not all conversations will flow smoothly.

In these cases, there are no techniques to use – the only thing you need to do is experience this when it happens.

Appreciate the mystery and respect the fact that life is full of surprises, unexplained circumstances and enriching enigma’s.

On a practical note, this invisible dynamic component could be:

  1. the positioning of your facial features
  2. the sound of your voice
  3. stereotypes
  4. prejudice

This secondary component can also be solely based on instinct and not on facts, emotion or logic of any kind.

When the secondary – dynamic component is in sync, this can lead to a good experience. For example, a good experience is shared when both parties resonate with each other i.e

  1. by sharing some kind of common ground
  2. having the same interests and
  3. sharing information with each other openly

When a secondary – dynamic component is off- balance – this can lead to a bad experience. For example, a bad experience could occur when:

  1. there is a personality conflict
  2. when information is kept secret
  3. when there is some kind of invisible unidentifiable tension between the two parties

This kind of conversation experience could occur on a conscious or unconscious level. It slips into the conversation like a garden snake slips through the grass and can leave the two conversationalists feeling very uncomfortable around each other.

In a conversation there are two primary components that highlight how to have a good flow conversation: on the one hand is the emotional intelligence component and on the other is the intellectual intelligence component.

Emotional intelligence means when you listen you use empathy to really feel what the other is saying to you.

You would say things like: “I feel (….)”

Intellectual intelligence means that you use common-sense, logic and rational thought to decipher the message conveyed to you.

You would say things like: “I think (…)”

However it is neither the emotional nor the intellectual intelligence components that makes the conversation flow. There is something else.

That something else is the third secondary component which is the invisible dynamic component. It can be considered the glue that pastes the emotional and intellectual intelligence components together. It makes everything fit  together like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. It is this invisible component that makes you succeed in the interview, share enriching conversations with friends and family and enables you to succeed in a personal relationship. It is the connection between you and the other that makes you a match and compatible with each other.

Funny enough this component is the most important but – it is also the one you have least control over.

Photo, September 19, 2017. Title: “Fall in Victoria”


Eindhoven city, The Netherlands

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.17170342157_5156ab17d2_b



Operation Satsang

  1. Operation Satsang is the name of an act of visually documenting the deconstruction of something old in order to reconstruct something new.
  2. It involves the organizing, triaging, selecting, packaging and transporting of specific items for long-term storage; like the storage of museum pieces for long-term preservation, conservation and protection.
  3. This act will take place from August 2017 and September 2017 with the possibility of extension. [Sister operations are Operation Maple Bay and Operation Five Easy Pieces – except their guidelines and playbooks are different to Operation Satsang]. Greater Victoria Area, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Photograph shot on August 22nd, 2017 UVic camp, Gordon Head.

Title:  “Windows spy through trees”


Operation Five Easy Pieces

Operation Five Easy Pieces is a solo creative visually documented work program used to dismantle something that is broken by donating selected books out of a unique book collection to the University of Victoria, McPherson’s Library with the hope of the selected books to be preserved and conserved for the education of others in the Greater Victoria Area, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canadian area.

The picture is of Five books that were donated, August 22nd, 2017.


Operation Maple Bay

Operation Maple Bay is the name of an art project that is happening in the sub-section called Fernwood, found in the Victoria City of British Columbia, Canada and it involves passing personally owned books to the community at large. It also involves creating drawings and art work between passing personally owned books to the community at large. Operation Maple Bay will be a project lasting August to the end of September 2017 (with the possibility of an extension – yet to be determined).