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Category Archives: Life in the Dam

Holland vs The Netherlands

Hi All,

The blog has emerged from the mothballs briefly to share a video that may be of interest. This video came out a few months ago, so many of you have probably already seen it, but I do still encounter people who don’t know where the Netherlands is, or the difference between the Netherlands and Holland. I’ve also run across people who lump it in with Denmark or Germany, but that’s besides the point. Enjoy, and I hope you learn something! I’ll try to post more again in the near future!

 

Autumn in Amsterdam

Today, while taking Churchill for one of his daily walks, I really noticed how much autumn has hit Amsterdam. The leaves are all changing colors and falling off the trees, giving Amsterdam an extra splash of color. I think Amsterdam is already a beautiful city, but the leaves just amplify things. I had to run some errands over lunch, taking me into the Jordaan district, which is one of the prettiest in the city. I took a few photos in Instagram, and here they are.

Bikes, benches, and leaves along the Amstel River in the Weesperzijde neighborhood.

Vines can have colors too.

A boat is sinking while leaves are falling.

A canal flows quietly in the middle of the busy city.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Life in the Dam, Photo Posts

 

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Ik Neem Je Mee

It’s been 2 months since my last post. Sorry! I’ve been quite busy during that time. I have some posts I want to make, but I’ll save those for a later date when I have more time. Until then…

I’ve made fun of Dutch music a few times on this blog, so it’s only fair that I post about a Dutch song that I actually like. I’ve been going running lately, either along the Amstel River or in Oosterpark, and I listen to the radio while jogging. Most of the songs are American or British, but a few Dutch ones make it. I don’t quite understand all of the words in this song, but I understand enough to get the gist of it. Here are 2 videos: the actual music video for the song, and then one with the words.

The song is “Ik Neem Je Mee” by Gers Pardoel. “Ik Neem Je Mee” means “I’ll take you along”

Music Video:

GERS PARDOEL – ‘IK NEEM JE MEE’ (I’ll take you with me) from Job, Joris & Marieke on Vimeo.

Lyrics (aka “Songtekst” in Dutch):

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Life in the Dam, Spreek'ing Nederlands

 

Gay Pride 2012

I’ve attended several parades here in Amsterdam. They’re always fun because they’re done on the water via boats rather than on land-based vehicles like most other cities. Ever since seeing my first parade here, I’d hoped to one-day be on a float rather than on the sidelines watching.

There are plenty of parades here, including the winter parade. I’d always assumed that Koninginnedag, while technically not a parade, would be my best chance. As a straight man, imagine my surprise when the opportunity arose to be on Gay Pride Parade float.

Through meeting other Expats, I’ve come to befriend a number of folks who work for Google, and YouTube was sponsoring a float, so I was invited along. We were all requested to dress in red & white, so I hunted around town for a pair of red pants. This is not as hard as you might think, as red pants are a somewhat common item to see Dutch males wearing. I guess now I can fit in even more.

After a bit of a snafu regarding what time we needed to arrive to board the boat, we finally hopped on near Westerpark. We floated down to the holding area where the authorities all organize the boats into their proper order before the parade begins. Some light rain passed over us for a bit, but quickly dissipated, so we thought all might be well. Hah! Right as we began moving our boat towards the parade route, the skies opened and it absolutely POURED rain for about 10 minutes. We did stop under a bridge for a bit, but were forced to move along to keep up with the floats in front of us.

The pouring rain at the beginning

The crowd tries to stay dry under a bridge

After the rain stopped, the sun came out, and it turned into an absolutely beautiful day. It took us about 4 hours to traverse the entire parade route, with a DJ spinning tunes the entire way. We had plenty of alcohol, snacks, and cameras aboard the boat, though I had only my iPhone to document the experience.

The Westerkerk displays their pride.

Somewhere near the Westerkerk, our boat’s engine decided to stop, and we sat in the middle of the canal for about 15 minutes, with no way to get moving. The authorities tried pushing us a bit, but their boat was not powerful enough to move us fast enough. Finally, some spectators on the side of the canal started up their boat and offered to tow us the rest of the way. Probably 10 floats had passed us in the meantime, but we were once again under way.

After finishing the parade, we walked to the nearby houseboat of a friend and watched the last few floats go by. It was a fun day (even if I’m not really much of a dancer), and a very unique way to see Amsterdam.

Lots of folks dressed up in costume, even those not actually on a float.

Some costumes were a bit more revealing than others…

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Life in the Dam, Photo Posts

 

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Far East Movement in Amsterdam

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Usual excuses. Right now, I’m enjoying the sun in Greece! The other day, while on the ferry from Athens to Santorini, I saw a music video that was set in Amsterdam. I haven’t actually heard the music yet (the TV was on mute), and even now, Roxy is asleep next to me, so if the music is horrible, my apologies. Anyway, without further delay, here it is:

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Life in the Dam, Misc, Travel

 

Photos: An Evening in Amsterdam

When I lived in the US, I, like most Americans, took good weather for granted. Occasionally I’d go to the park with my dog, and I was in a few sporting leagues (softball and sand volleyball), but that’s about the limit of my time spent outdoors. Even when I’d grill in my backyard, I’d take the food inside to eat. Part of that was because of the heat, humidity, and mosquitos, but part of it was because I always figured I could enjoy the weather “some other time.”

Living in Amsterdam has taught me that that is not always true. The next “nice” day may not be for a few weeks, and may not fall on a weekend, so you have to enjoy them when you can. We’ve actually had some pretty nice weather here over the last few weeks. Sunny, warm, just a light breeze. I even saw some people swimming and sunbathing on the Amstel river a week ago. Amsterdammers know, when the weather is even somewhat nice, you go outside and enjoy it.

Our apartment has a nice terrace deck on the back, and we finally got around to ordering furniture for it, as well as some cushions for the wooden bench that is already out there. Delivery was scheduled for yesterday, so we waited anxiously, since it was actually a nice day (if a bit on the cool side). The delivery time kept getting pushed back farther and farther into the afternoon, until it finally arrived at 16:15. The delivery man got lost, and then once he found us, he informed us that he “doesn’t go upstairs”, so he left all the furniture on the sidewalk outside. We carried it in, and began assembling it.

Once we were done, it was still warm enough that we sat outside and enjoyed the weather. I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

Churchill and I wait for the furniture to be delivered

The new furniture (complete with large umbrella, for when the weather isn’t quite so dry, plus one of Churchill’s beds and his favorite toy.)

Furniture assembled, time for a beer in the sun!

What do you do when it’s nice outside on a weekend evening? Grill!

After the sun set and the weather turned cold, we moved inside for some Dutch Appeltaart (apple pie), and chocolate chip ice cream.

Finally, Torii the cat demands play-time.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Life in the Dam, Photo Posts

 

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Celebration: 100 posts, & Koninginnedag

This is my 100th post to this blog. Wow, that feels like a lot for someone who isn’t a writer, and doesn’t post that often. Anyway, on with the blog….

Yesterday was Koninginnedag in the Netherlands. Every blog about living in the Netherlands covers it, and indeed I posted about it last year. Thus, I’ll save you the re-hash, and just get right to it.

We met up with some friends, and started the day with pannenkoeken. From there, we just randomly walked around. This year, all big outdoor celebrations were banned from within the city-limits, so all of the DJs and big parties went outside of the city. That opened up some of the outdoor spaces, such as Marie Heinekenplein, Museumplein, and Leidseplein, for people to just walk through. Lots of people took blankets to Museumplein and just laid out in the sun.

Oh yes, the sun. The weather had been nothing but cold and rainy for weeks now, but yesterday it was absolutely glorious. The Queen could not have ordered better weather. It was 70 degrees F and sunny all day long, with nary a cloud in the sky. It’s back to being rainy today, but I’m happy we got 1 good day.

We visited Vondelpark, but it was overwhelmed with families, so we headed elsewhere. Upon leaving the park and going towards the Overtoom, we saw some creative decorations:

Legs

We stopped for a quick snack at Cafe Toom, and then headed towards the Jordaan district. As we turned onto the Prinsengracht canal, it was madness. Orange people everywhere, and boats floating by pumping out music.

Koninginnedag 1

We had some friends who were having a party, and they happened to have a roof deck right on Prinsengracht. Score! We stopped in, and watched the craziness from above.

Koninginnedag 2

Eventually, a drunk Dutchman came up onto the roof and started shoving people around, accusing us of pouring beer onto his baby down on the street. Nobody did, but he got us all off the roof and into the apartment. Still not a bad view, and a great way to wind down the day. We then biked home, and Roxy passed out on the bed while I grabbed a pizza from the Italian restaurant next door. The day was pretty much perfect.

This last picture has nothing to do with Queen’s Day, but I’ll share it anyway. It’s a variety of different Heineken bottles you can buy at the Heineken store between Waterlooplein and Rembrantplein.
Until next year!

Heineken Bottles