High Tech Centre Delft

Delft promotes itself as a city of innovation and technology.  This is in large part due to the presence of TU Delft (Technical University Delft), which this year are this year celebrating their 175th anniversary!

So there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about technology, including the international festival of technology and the Science Centre Delft.  A recent discovery I didn’t yet know about is the High Tech Centre Delft.

This is a not for profit organisation, which offers a work environment and technology meeting point for organisations and students.  They have a regular HighTechCafe and other events and partnerships, including both primary schools and higher education.

The way I discovered it was due to their Techniek Educatie Delft Summerlab for 8-12 year olds.  A friend highly recommended it and my 8 year old and her friend attended the last day.  They loved it!  From 9am-4pm, they (and about 15 other children) had a choice of workshops including robotics, coding and design (such as clothing and fidget spinners).

I saw on the HighTechCentreDelft website that they also do projects with school children through the year, like this neat one where children designed ways to better learn their times tables.

For more information:

www.htcdelft.nl

2017 Golden Tenloop Delft

On Thursday 25th May 2017, I ran 5km in the Golden Tenloop Delft.  This was my first ever running event and a beautiful location to start in the beautiful city of Delft and surrounding countryside.  I started vlogging in October 2016 about my personal challenge to go from “couch to 5km” and it was a great feeling to be able to complete the course in a reasonable time.

This event was the 30th edition and is held annually on the Hemelvaartdag public holiday.  The 5km circuit followed a pretty route, leaving from the centre of Delft and heading into the Delftse Hout. This is close to where I live, so I was familiar with the area, but have never run it with so many people before!  I believe there were about 5000 participants overall, but this includes the children’s 1km and 2.5km, as well as the 5km and 10km.

I registered online some time in advance, which is usually necessary as start numbers sell out.  It was only 10 euros to take part in the 5km, which included the t-shirt as well. I picked up my start number at the beautiful Delft city hall before the race.

It was a really festive atmosphere in the Delft city centre, and considering the number of participants and supporters, was busy but still well organised.

Here I am smiling before the start in the Delft Markt.  The race started and finished at the Beestemarkt and when I was nearing this at the end, I sped up with my last burst of energy.  What I didn’t realise though is that instead of heading straight there, the course took us on a last loop through the Markt.  So I needed to find an extra bit of energy to finish!  It was a lovely location though to complete my first ever 5km race though.

Here’s a photo my husband took en route, you can just make me out in about the middle of this photo.

I didn’t get to see this bike in the photo below during the race, it was way up front I imagine!  The fastest time for my 5km race was just over 15 minutes.  Amazing!  Took me more than twice that, though I managed my best ever time for 5km in 34.33 minutes.  I was pretty proud of this, especially considering I had a stitch from the first 100m (but which I managed to shake about 1.5km in), and the evening before had such a sore ankle I thought I wouldn’t be able to run (but was ok once strapped).  It was also a very warm day by Dutch standards at about 22 degrees.  I was so thirsty by about 1.5km I could barely swallow, but there was some water at 3.5km.  I had to remind myself to not gulp it so I could finish the last 1.5km.

At the end, I had actually thought we may get all get a medal, but that was apparently for kids only!  The CPC in The Hague does a medal for all participants, I’ll have to do that next year.  But we did get a lovely t-shirt, designed by a talented graphic artist in my neighbourhood: https://www.studiozomereik.nl 

It was a really well organised event and I’m glad I took part.  The only negative experience for me was something I already struggle with in NL regularly – inhaling 2nd hand smoke.  Not only do I simply not like it, I suffer from asthma and am intensely sensitive to it, even from metres away.  I find it near impossible to avoid in daily life in the Netherlands anywhere there are crowds and outdoor events – even at children’s theme parks and zoos.  There were spectators smoking right near the starting gates and at other locations along the sidelines, it’s never pleasant to have an unexpected lungful of smoke, and certainly not when you’re running a race.

Was great to have my husband and daughter cheering me along the way.  They’d jump on their bike and cycle ahead so I saw them at a few points along the way.

There are a number of running races each year in the Netherlands, including some fun ones like the Bubble Race and Colour Run.  Even if you’re far from the fastest, it’s a great experience to challenge yourself, and I think I’ll get my girls involved in the future.

The 2018 Golden Tenloop Delft is on 10 May 2017 and you can sign up here:

http://www.goldentenloop.nl

 

Australian circus-cabaret LIMBO in Amsterdam this summer

The Australian circus-cabaret LIMBO plays hard and fast in Amsterdam this summer. Having sold out London, Sydney, Melbourne and Munich seasons LIMBO now brings it’s thrilling live band with over 50 instruments to accompany jaw dropping contortion, gut-churning aerial acrobatics, nail-biting stunts and staggering illusions. For 7 weeks the theater on the Rozengracht is transformed into a circus and cabaret space with the stage in the center of the venue so the audience can be close to the action. With only 350 seats, this intimate venue is the best place to see this big show.

LIMBO’s stellar international cast includes Coney Island’s fire-breathing, sword-swallowing vintage beauty Heather Holliday, Europe’s gravity-defying Chinese pole master and beat boxer Mikael Bres,  the aerial grace of Canadian acrobat Evelyne Allard, alongside Australia’s tap dancing sensation Hilton Denis.

Music is one of the driving forces in LIMBO, created by New York’s Sxip Shirey. Sxip has created a musical genre called JANK; constantly surprising, always funky and very sexy Shirey describes the music as “a New York brass band marching through New Orleans on its way to an all-night party in Berlin. It’s brass, electronics, surprising sounds, hip-hop and club beats.”

LIMBOS Melbourne based Creator and Director Scott Maidment (Tom Tom Crew, Cantina, Blanc de Blanc)  of Strut & Fret Production House can’t wait.  “We are over the moon that the award winning sensation LIMBO is finally coming to delight Dutch audiences,” said Mr Maidment.  “Since the start in Adelaide in 2013, the show has since traveled non-stop around the world and I’m really excited to finally get the opportunity to present LIMBO in Amsterdam for the first time.”

Buy your tickets here:

http://www.boomchicago.nl/limbo/ 

The show lasts 1 hours and 35 minutes, including intermission

An Alternative City Guide to Amsterdam

The wonderful city of Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and this is for very good reason. It seems that everybody has been and has their favourite places to go, but there are a few fantastic alternative places that tourists or newbies to the city are not so familiar with. These hidden gems show the real heart and soul of the city and are, typically, much quieter than the busier areas.

Whether you’re a tourist or an adopted local, there are plenty of “best-kept secrets” dotted around the city for you to uncover.

Food

Food is a key part of any vacation and Amsterdam has many great eateries. Here are a few of the best spots in town.

Mazzo – Head here for the best authentic Italian food in Amsterdam. It has a relaxed and cool vibe inside with a stylish interior, but it is also affordable too. In addition to the food, this is also a great space for drinking in the evening.

The Butcher – You can’t beat a good burger and the burgers at The Butcher are the best in the city. It may not look like the best, but this place stays open late and has a high-end speakeasy cocktail bar at the back – but shh, don’t tell everyone!

Rotisserie – This Brooklynese bar serves up tantalising chicken dishes and delicious burgers in a friendly and welcoming setting. They also have take-away if you want to enjoy your meal out in the streets or settle in for a cosy night at your hotel.

Food Hallen – A converted tram shed with dozens of cool food stalls and bars – Food Hallen is one of the newer and trendier places in the city and is extremely popular with the locals.

The Sea Food Bar – Craving seafood? The Sea Food Bar is the best place for fish and there are 2 restaurants in Amsterdam (you may want to book in advance, or have a drink at the bar whilst you wait).

Omelegg – Head here for breakfast. They only serve omelettes, but they are the tastiest omelettes you have ever eaten! Well worth the wait.

Nightlife

Amsterdam is famous for its brilliant nightlife and there are many excellent venues no matter what type of mood you are in. Generally speaking, the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein areas are the most fun and have a handful of vibrant and fun pubs, bars and clubs. De Kroon in Rembrandtplein is a local favourite and free to get in, whilst Jimmy Woo is a swanky place if you are out for a fancy evening.

Beer

Beer lovers will adore Troost, which serves amazing burgers along with its very own craft beer. There are two places, both in the city centre.

Neighbourhoods

Part of Amsterdam’s charm comes from simply wandering the streets and popping into the local stores and cafes. The best neighbourhoods to do this are the very picturesque Jordaan, and the trendy De Pijp neighbourhood where there are plenty of vibrant bars, cafes and restaurants – this is authentic Amsterdam. Gerard Doustraat is a street worth visiting with a number of cute shops and a friendly atmosphere. To get the most out of your trip, it is worth booking into a hotel near the city centre, like CitizenM, which allows you to get out and explore the neighbourhoods each day.

Art

The city is well-known for its thriving art scene, but it doesn’t stop at just Rembrandt and Van Gogh. A great way to discover some of the alternative masterpieces on show is to take the Street Art and Alternative Walking Tour, or by checking out the independent art galleries, like Aschenbach & Hofland. You should also keep your eyes peeled for any art exhibitions happening during your stay, as this is a terrific way to immerse yourself in the local scene.

Can you add to this list?  Please comment below!

This is a guest post by Alexa Cobbold.  Alexa lives in a little village just outside of York, England and works in PR and Digital Marketing with a number of brands across the globe. Outside of work she loves photography (Instagram has become a little bit of an obsession…), getting out in to the countryside, buying way too many housewares and spending far too much money on photobooth photos.

2017 ANZAC Day Ceremony The Hague

Each year, the Australian Embassy and New Zealand Embassy in The Hague organise an ANZAC Day ceremony. I’ve attended several of these now, and they are always special:

The ceremony has additional meaning for me as both my parents served in the Australian navy (before I was born).  I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to observe this day with fellow Antipodeans in the Netherlands each year.  I came prepared with my traditional poppy and rosemary (from my garden, which happened to be in bloom).  The scent was beautiful and stayed with me all day.

The 25th April 2017 was a cold 5 degrees, with intermittent rain and hail.  With an 8am start, the sun did make an effort to join us at the Commonwealth War Graves section at the Westduin Cemetery, The Hague.

Each year, the increadibly beautiful haunting tones of a Karanga, by Ms Kylie Martin always gives me goosebumps.

I also enjoy seeing several of the same wonderfully charismatic faces each year of the service men and women in their smart uniforms.

Below is a Facebook Live Broadcast I shared.  When watching it back though, I realise you can’t hear very much, especially due to the rain on my umbrella.  Also a bit shaky as I had freezing fingers – but you at least get the idea of what it was like to be there.

The program follows a similar format each year, with a solemn ceremony of prayers, readings, hymns and the laying of wreaths.

A traditional “Ode of Remembrance” was read by Wing Commander Ruth Elsley of the Australian Defence Force:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”

Readings were given by Lieutenant Commander Tony McCall from the New Zealand Defence Force, His Excellency Dr Brett Mason, Ambassador of Australia and Her Excellency Ms Janet Lowe, Ambassador of New Zealand and Ms Ozge Demirkurt Atahan, Counsellor of the Embassy of Turkey.

I always find hope each year in the words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1934), which to me represent how it is possible for nations to go from being at war to acknowledging that essentially, we are all one:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.  Therefore rest in peace.  There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehemets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…you, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.  After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well”

The national anthems of the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia were sung beautifully by Emma Brown and the ceremony was officiated by Reverend Paul Falke of the Church of Our Saviour.

Beautiful wreaths were laid at the memorial by representatives from a number of embassies and organisations including the OPCW, Kiwis in The Netherlands and The Australian and New Zealand Club.

The Last Post, this year with bugler Corporal 1st Class, Patrick van Leeuwen, Fanfare Corps National Reserve, is always a very special part of the ceremony, and is followed by 2 minutes silence.

After the respectful ceremony, the mood becomes lighter as we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast together.

There was even some Australian Bundaberg Rum to warm up after the cold outside!

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to talk to a number of men and women in active service. I love that the spirit of ANZAC Day encompasses both remembering those who have lost their lives, but also recognises the talent, dedication and importance of those who serve in the military today.

You can view all of my images and short videos over at my Google Photos album:

Click to visit my Google Photos album

New to the Netherlands / Net in Nederland

In April of 2016 the New to the Netherlands website was launched. This is a website from the Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO where you can watch popular Dutch television programs and the daily Dutch NOS news all with Dutch, English and Arabic subtitles. By using a selection of on-demand media, New to the Netherlands wants to offer refugees and immigrants a guide to Dutch society and a unique way of learning Dutch.

New to the Netherlands is a so-called ‘experimental channel’ from the NPO and is financed with the own funding from the participating public broadcasters. An independent editorial staff selects videos from the existing programming from the participating public broadcasters. There are programs for all ages. One of our most popular programs is the NOS News which is posted on our website every weekday. The website is updated on a daily basis and we also offer a great Facebook page with lots of useful information including short original in-house clips and numerous interesting links in Dutch, English and Arabic.

In November of 2016 there were 5 internship positions created at New to the Netherlands for refugees with a media background. Since that time these five colleagues, who come from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Somalia, have been gaining practical work experience in the Netherlands which will help them secure other work later on. This group is very motivated and have proven themselves to be hard working and inquisitive. They often make short videos about their experiences here and other subjects of interest which are posted on the New to the Netherlands Facebook page.

New to the Netherlands is an initiative of the public broadcasters AVROTROS, BNN-VARA, KRO-NCRV, VPRO, EO, MAX and HUMAN and is supported by the NPO, NTR and the Dutch Institute for Image and Sound.
This platform has proven to be most successful and I wanted to share this information about our website with you are your readers. Being able to watch more than 25 shows for all ages with Dutch and English subtitles offers a rare opportunity to get a taste of home for the Dutch living abroad. The concept of our website has also had great success with Dutch people who want to learn English.

www.netinnederland.nl

https://www.facebook.com/netinnederland