Dutch language lacks logic?! Ask the Dutch!

Posted by Amy in Life in Holland, Personal

As a foreigner living in the Netherlands, I could’ve told you that the Dutch language is difficult. But 60% of people surveyed (presumably native Dutch speakers) in December said that the language was not only difficult, but also illogical. 58% had difficulty with spelling words found in a simple correspondence. Only 37% said that Dutch was an easy and logical language. In August 2006 some new spelling rules will come into effect. 67% of those surveyed knew nothing of the new rules. 42% still struggled with the spelling rules applied in 1995. More »

February 5th 2006 | 8:00 am CET | No Comments »

Duikvaker scuba diving show in Utrecht

Posted by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland, Personal, Scuba Diving

Today we visited Duikvaker, a dive show dubbed “the diving event of the year”. Earlier in the week an ad ran in the Spits! newspaper that invited readers to enter a drawing for free tickets. I entered, and won two tickets. More »

February 4th 2006 | 5:28 pm CET | 1 Comment »

Push or pull? Doors on public buildings

Posted by Arthur in Leiden, Life in Holland

In the United States all exit doors of public buildings open outward for fire safety reasons that came into effect after the 1908 Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago, in which 602 people died. When the panicked crowd reached the doors, the crush of people prevented those in the front from opening the doors. It is still the worst single-building fire in U.S. history. I am surprised that after all this time here in Europe there are no such fire safety rules, at least not here in Holland as far as I know. In fact, most exits in public buildings here open inward. Does it take a tragedy as the one in Chicago to change this? More »

February 3rd 2006 | 3:55 pm CET | No Comments »

Uproar at closed gates of HK Disneyland

Posted by Arthur in Disney, News, Pop culture

When Hong Kong Disneyland was filled to capacity by 11:30am today, an angry mob of parents tried to force their way into the park after the gates were closed. Furious crowds pushed and grabbed on to fences. Some lifted their children over the fences into the park and others climbed over themselves. More »

February 2nd 2006 | 11:04 pm CET | No Comments »

Top 10 things to do in Tunisia

Posted by Arthur in Top Lists, Travel

In April 2004 we visited Tunisia where we made a road trip through the country’s desserts, salt lakes, rolling hills and beautiful country-side. Here is my top 10 things to do in Tunisia. More »

February 2nd 2006 | 3:40 pm CET | 10 Comments »

Happy Groundhog Day

Posted by Arthur in Illinois, Pop culture, Travel

Today is Groundhog Day, and this reminds me of our visit to Woodstock IL in December, where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed. There are events today in Punxsutawney PA and Woodstock IL for the event. More »

February 2nd 2006 | 9:20 am CET | No Comments »

Rest in peace, Oma de Wolf, 1923-2006

Posted by Arthur in Personal

Today in Roosendaal was the funeral of my grandmother, Hendrika De Wolf-Bouma, who died early morning Friday 26 January at the age of 82. More »

February 1st 2006 | 7:59 pm CET | 1 Comment »

New Dutch RFID passport easy to crack

Posted by Arthur in Life in Holland, News, Science & technology

The Netherlands government is introducing a new passport in August 2006 with an embedded RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip that contains digital information about the holder, such as name, birthday, fingerprint and pass photo. However, a company from Delft demonstrated on Friday on the TV show nieuwslicht how easy it is to read (or destroy) the biometric data on the chip from a distance of around 10 meters. More »

January 31st 2006 | 12:56 pm CET | No Comments »

Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland

Posted by Arthur in Life in Holland, Nature, Travel

On this cold but beautifully sunny day we visited the closest national park to our home: Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland. The 3800 hectares (~ 1500 acres) park was opened in 1995 and is one of 20 National Parks in the Netherlands. The park runs for 7 to 8 km along the North Sea coast and consists of dunes, beach, forest and historical estates. More »

January 29th 2006 | 6:10 pm CET | No Comments »

Computers monitor bus drivers for sleepiness

Posted by Arthur in Life in Holland, News, Science & technology

This week a Dutch bus touring company in Noordwijk confirmed that it is testing an automated system that observes drivers with small cameras and sensitive sensors for signs that may indicate that the driver is nodding off. The new system is intended to reduce the number of accidents caused by bus drivers falling asleep. More »

January 28th 2006 | 9:44 pm CET | No Comments »