Happy fourth Sunday in the Advent

My youngest daughter Lise and I are celebrating Christmas together with my sisters and brothers and their families this year, and like last year, when we celebrated Christmas together with my oldest daughter Julie and her boyfriend Per and Lises and Julies father and his wife and her daughter and son in law, we rented […]

Inventions of a lifetime

Do you ever think about how much things have changed in your lifetime? Things we never thought of before, but then we got them and they have become a very important part of our lives? When I was a child my family wasn’t rich, but my parents owned a house, so we were better off […]

About German Carnival

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in Germany carnival officially started yesterday. Not that I know that much about it. It has never been a part of my families tradition, and living in the northern part of Germany until I was 20, I haven’t been to a single grown up carnival […]

How the Dutch speak

I realize that I’ve been rambling on about Amsterdam for more than 5 month now, so maybe it’s time to wrap it up and start writing about something else, but before I do that I would like to write just a tiny little bit about the Dutch language. Historically the name Nederlande (which means low […]


Between Zwanenburgwal, Amstel, Houtgracht and Leprozengracht (the latter two lay, where the Waterlooplein is now) the people of Amsterdam reclaimed at the end of the 16th century a piece of land that was named Vlooienburg. The name does not refer to fleas, but to the fact that the ground in the early years was flooded […]

Amsterdam’s Painters – Gillis van Coninxloo

Gillis van Coninxloo, was born in Antwerp in 1544 – died in Amsterdam in 1606, and painted landscapes Van Coninxloo was an apprentice of Pieter Coecke van Aelst de Jonge, Lenaert Kroes and Gillis Mostaert. He was a protestant, and after Antwerp fell in 1585 he felt the need to leave town. He first fled to […]

Mostly about shrimps

Originally I come from the northern part of Germany near the North Sea, and in the olden days, when I was a child, there were lots of small fishing boats going out to fish for shrimps, the small brown kind, near the shore. Back then you could have it as a job to take the […]

The hanging of Anabaptists

When the Augustinian monk and theologian Martin Luther on October 31st 1517 nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg in Germany, his deed had major implications for Amsterdam, because it was the start of a reformation that rolled through Europe, where especially the urban populations had great sympathy for the reformists, also in Amsterdam.   Map made by Maximilian […]

Holland versus Netherlands

Holland consists of the 2 provinces Noordholland and Zuidholland Noordholland is a peninsula between the Northsea and the Ijsselmeer. More than half of Noordhollands surface consists of drained land. The island of Texel in the Wadden Sea is part of the province Noordholland. Amsterdam is the largest city of the province. The province Zuidholland is […]

About moving between countries

So, the first time I moved between countries was in 1977, when I was 20. By then I’d been working at something called Fernmeldeamt, which was part of the German postal service, where I’d worked with phone services and radio transmissions to ships and far away places, first in Hamburg and then in Kiel in […]