Picture of the Week

3 November 2021

Week 42: Netherlands

Filed under: — Administrator @ 11:44

I spent most of the week in the Netherlands, mostly work but also some pleasure, and all the photos in this week’s blog are from there.

42_1:
Our office sponsors a DesignEuropa Award every two years. The 2020 award ceremony was supposed to be held in Eindhoven, but Covid put paid to that. But now we were able to put on the event in the proper way. It was held at the Evoluon conference centre, opened in 1966 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Philips, the company that tranformed Eindhoven from a small town to a proper city during the past century:
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42_2:
Upon landing at Eindhoven airport, I went straight to the conference centre. The main lobby was teeming with people:
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42_3:
Two lovely ladies, my colleague Stephanie and our friend Linda from the Latvian Ministry of Culture:
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42_4:
The ceremony got under way, with two very professional masters of ceremony running the proceedings:
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42_5:
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42_6:
The winner in the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises category was the Italian designer Marco Bozzola for his professional lighting system Relio2:
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42_7:
The ceremony has ended, and all the finalists (4 in each of the two categories, large companies and small companies) are on the stage:
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42_8:
In the evening we had an official dinner for the working group meetings we were hosting in Eindhoven the next two days, but before that my Finnish colleague Kari and I had time to go and enjoy a beer at one of the outdoor cafés near our hotel:
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42_9:
I was busy with the meetings on Wednesday morning, but had the afternoon free. I used the time to take a long walk in the centre of Eindhoven, trying to remember some of the places I used to visit when I worked there. One of them is the central square Markt. Almost every bar I saw was looking for staff, and this one advertised it in really big type:
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42_10:
The Netherlands is a windy country, and with bicycles parked close together, a domino effect is not uncommon:
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42_11:
The Philips museum is on the site of the original factory from the 1890s, not far from Markt. I spent an interesting hour or so there, looking at things such as the very first product of the company:
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42_12:
A recreation of a teenager’s bedroom from the 1970s. Except for the wallpaper, this could very well be my room back then:
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42_13:
I continued my walk on Stratumsedijk, Eindhoven’s main bar street, where I sat down to enjoy one of the world’s great pleasures, a Tripel Karmeliet on tap:
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42_14:
Another Dutch delight. Febo machines dispense hot snacks such as croquettes or small burgers, mostly falling in the “mystery meat” category. I had a snack from this machine for old times’ sake. Not something you want to make part of your regular diet:
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42_15:
I turned onto this small side street. The sign is often seen on such streets in the Netherlands. It basically says that the street is mainly for cyclists. Car may “visit” but should behave:
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42_16:
My goal was the local craft brewery, Eindhoven Stadsbrouwerij, which makes an excellent line of beer called 100 Watt. On the wall of the building were these words of wisdom, “Each bread is a tragic tale of grain that was not allowed to become beer”:
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42_17:
Inside the Stadsbrouwerij. I just managed to come in and get a table before my phone’s battery died–it was at 1%. In the Netherlands, you have to show your Covid passport to go inside bars and restaurants, and while I also have a paper copy of it, I had left it the hotel. But fortunately the phone held up long enough for the waitress to scan the magic QR code and I could enjoy the fine products of the brewery:
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42_18:
I walked back to my hotel on a major street called Vestdijk, which is home to Eindhoven’s version of New York’s Flatiron Building:
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42_19:
This is how many Dutch children get around:
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42_20:
Back in the summer of 2006, a lovely couple, both of whom worked for the company I managed, got married, and I photographed their wedding. I have kept in touch with Anna and Geert since I moved to Spain, and on Wednesday evening I had dinner at their house. Here is Anna with one of her two dogs:
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42_21:
And with her daughter Nora, whom I remember as a big belly on Anna all those years ago:
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42_22:
Anna and Geert live just under 2 km from my hotel, so I had a nice after-dinner walk. Their neighbourhood is quite lively, with many shops (which were mostly closed at this point, so not many people out and about):
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42_23:
De Bijenkorf is the leading department store chain in the Netherlands:
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42_24:
I loved this colourful entrance to an underground bicycle parking:
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42_25:
I had a busy day on Thursday, with meetings both morning and afternoon. I did take a few snaps of my co-workers, here Stephanie who was in charge of the overall arrangements, something she does very well:
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42_26:
My Polish colleague Michał talking to a couple of our stakeholders:
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The meetings ended around 5 p.m. on Thursday, and since there were no flights back to Alicante that evening, I had to stay until Friday anyway. So I decided to spend a day in Amsterdam and fly home from there Friday evening. I took the train from Eindhoven to Amsterdam, checked into a hotel near the Central Station there, and set out to enjoy the city.

42_27:
Most visitors to Amsterdam arrive at the Central Station (even if they fly in, since the vast majority use the train from the airport to the city). Hence the wide street called Damrak, connecting the Central Station to the Dam Square, is usually the first sight of Amsterdam they experience. It was a bit wet, but the Christmas decorations made the city look beautiful:
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42_28:
This is Kalverstraat, Amsterdam’s main shopping street, where I wasted many hours waiting for my wife when we lived in nearby Almere from 2003 to 2007 and going into the city on a Sunday was a common weekend pastime:
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42_29:
It was time for dinner, so I went to a reasonable-looking restaurant near the Dam Square. My appetiser was another Dutch classic called bitterballen, a kind of round croquettes with a tasty filling of…I am not sure what, but it’s tasty, especially when washed down with the excellent local beer:
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42_30:
I had bought a ticket to the Rijksmuseum for 10 a.m. on Friday (these days, it is best to buy tickets to such places online in advance), but I left the hotel early, before 8, to walk around a bit first. Amsterdam is a very compact city, and most of the locations in the centre can be reached on foot. I do not recall ever using the public transport there, except for the train to and from the airport. So I walked down the Damrak again, passing the Amsterdam stock exchange. Some company was going to list on the exchange that morning, so there were a couple of buses full of company employees and various invited people to witness the event:
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42_31:
I passed the National Monument on the Dam Square, with heavy clouds threatening a shower, which duly arrived later in the day:
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42_32:
A bit further south, I stopped by the flower market on the Singel to buy a couple of amarylis bulbs that I had promised to a colleague back in Alicante. The market gets visited by many tourists, but local people shop there too:
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42_33:
Autumn in Amsterdam:
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42_34:
Finally I reached Museumplein, the square behind the Rijksmuseum, home also to two or three other museums:
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42_35:
My destination, as seen from the Museumplein:
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42_36:
Urban fauna:
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42_37:
Rijksmuseum was wonderful as always. One of the main attractions is the ongoing restoration of Rembrandt’s Night Watch:
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42_38:
A shepherdess, painted in 1630. I must say that while I see many goat and sheep herders during my bike rides around Alicante, I have never seen one who looks like this lady:
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42_39:
The Milkmaid by Vermeer, probably the painting most people want to see at the Rijksmuseum:
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42_40:
The Rijksmuseum is at the southern edge of the centre while the train station is to the north. After a couple of hours enjoying the art, I slowly made my way northwards, passing lovely streets and canals:
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42_41:
There are many art shops and galleries around the Rijksmuseum. This one caught my eye for obvious reasons, and a visit to the web page indicated is definitely worth it:
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42_42:
Another favourite art place for me is the FOAM photo gallery on Keizersgracht:
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42_43:
The next place on my itinerary was an English language bookshop which we used to visit often, the American Book Center on Spui. Just before reaching it, I stopped for another classic Dutch snack, this time on the more natural/healthy side, a matjes herring, served with onions in large hot dog bun. Absolutely delicious, and this place has been at this location forever, it seems:
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42_44:
A new addition to the menu are oysters, which this man was shucking–seemingly this was his job at Frens:
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42_45:
On the small square in front of the American Book Center is an outdoor second-hand book market, rain or shine. I lingered there for a little while. The man sitting on the stool is one of the stall holders, but he seemed to spend more time conversing with passers-by (many of whom he seemed to know) than selling books:
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Then the rain started coming down harder, and I decided to find a place for lunch and then make my way to the airport a bit early.

In addition to the photos shown here, I have uploaded proper galleries for both Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

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