0739-Solar energy (RESULTS)

The panels were installed 2 October 2018. Uncluding today, 19 January 2020, they gave in 474 days 3,000,084 Watt power, that is an average of 6,329 Watt per day. But considering that the panels were out of order during 73 days in the months January, February, September, October and November 2019, the average per day is 3,000,084 Watt during 401 days. Then you get a better average: 7,481 Watt per day.

0738-Solar energy (EXTRA)

At sunset this afternoon, on 19 January 2020 at 04:00pm, we passed the three million watt on our solar panels!!!

0737-New Year’s Concert HGO

Aidan Mikdad (Amsterdam, 19 November 2001, son of a Syrian father and a Dutch mother) is a Dutch classical pianist. At the age of 11 , he won the first prize of the Koninklijk Concertgebouw Competition. At the age of 13, he won the Klavier-Festival Ruhr Scholarship that was awarded to him by pianist Hélène Grimaud.  In 2014, he won the first prize of the International Piano Competition of Lagny-sur-Marne.  He currently studies with Naum Grubert at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Previously, Aidan was a student of Mila Baslawskaja, which whom he studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he enrolled in the bachelor programme at the age of 14. At the age of 15 he won the prestigious Royal Concertgebouw Young Talent Award. Recently he won the Pnina Salzman Memorial Prize at the Tel Hai International Piano Masterclasses in Israël. In 2016, he won the first prize of the Premio Internazionale Pianistico “A. Scriabin” for pianists up to 35 years of age, he also received the Tabor Foundation Piano Award from the Verbier Festival as a recognition of his potential and as an investment in his promise.

Over the years, he has taken piano lessons with Vovka Ashkenazy, Sergei Babayan, Paul Badura-Skoda, Dmitri Bashkirov, Jonathan Biss, Victor Derevianko, Nelson Goerner, Richard Goode, Naum Grubert, Klaus Hellwig, Alexander Mndoyants, Pascal Némirovski, Enrico Pace, Jorge Luis Prats, Ferenc Rados, András Schiff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Natalia Troull,  Jenny Zaharieva, Asaf Zohar, and with Joanna MacGregor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His repertoire includes works of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Haydn, Liszt, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Scriabin, and Stravinsky. He has given recitals in Belgium, France, Germany, Israël, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, and he performed live in television and radio programs in the Netherlands and France.

  • 2015: included a series of concerts in the Netherlands & Belgium in which he played the First Piano Concerto by Franz Liszt with the Euregio Youth Orchestra and conductor Hans Casteleyn.  In November 2014 he performed Franz Liszt’ Mephisto Waltz No. 1 live in a radio program of France Musique Radio.
  • 2016, he gave solo recitals in the Hermitage in Amsterdam and in Ponzano di Fermo (Italy), where he played Beethoven Sonata No. 28, Op. 101, Scriabin Sonata No. 5, Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 2, and Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Pétrouchka. 2016 included also an invitation to participate in the Verbier Festival Academy, a debut recital in June at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, a live performance in July of Mendelssohn’s concerto No. 1 on Dutch National Radio with conductor Johannes Leertouwer and the Wonderfeel Orchestra at the Wonderfeel Summer Festival, a debut in the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), where he played Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 with Sinfonia Rotterdam and conductor Conrad van Alphen, that he also performed in de Nieuwe Kerk (The Hague) and De Doelen (Rotterdam).
  • 2016/17 included amongst others solo recitals in France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Also, he also played a quatre-mains with Jean-Yves Thibaudet live on France Musique Radio, and a piano duet with German cellist Raphaela Gromes in the wonderful Künstlerhaus am Lehnbach Platz  in München. On March 5th 2017, he made his debuts in the Jubilee Concert of the Series Meesterpianisten in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In addition, he performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Orchestra Sinfonica “Città di Grosseto” in several Italian cities: Empoli, Grosseto, and Brescia.
  • 2017/18, he has given a series of concerts (recitals & with orchestra) in the Netherlands & Switzerland. He performed the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor with Het Gelders Orkest (in Utrecht, Nijmegen, Arnhem & Apeldoorn), and the First Piano Concerto by Franz Liszt with Het Orkest van het Oosten (in Enschede), and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (in Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern). Furthermore, he performed Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos with The Conservatory of Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and Utrecht. In addition he performed Bach Piano Concerto No. 1 and Shostakovich Piano Quintet Op. 57 with the Alma Quartet.

In Verbier, where he was invited as student-in-residence, he followed masterclasses in chamber music with Pamela Frank and Gábor Takács-Nagy, and piano masterclasses with Sergei Babayan. In addition, he gave a solo recital and performed Brahms Quartet in G minor together with Daniela Akta (Cello), Johan Dalene (Violin) , Vicki Powell (Viola). Aidan has a Fazioli grand piano (1991) on loan generously provided from the collection of the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation. He also studies on a piano, generously provided by the Young Pianist Foundation.

0735-Anwar’s columns

People I left in Aleppo think I am a kind of Justin Bieber who manages it.

A wrong judgment about a refugee in the Netherlands is quickly made. Not only by Dutch people, but also by people who did not flee. Some Syrians who stayed behind in a war zone think they know exactly what life is like here. That sometimes scares me, it is also painful. They think that we wake up in the morning, walk to the money tree in our garden and pick 50 notes. Then we start our day calmly. “Your son Anwar has bought an expensive mobile for you, he is really rich now,” people tell my mother in Aleppo. Nobody thinks I bought that phone for her because I miss her and want to call her for longer than two minutes, because her battery has run out. That I don’t want to see her in cubes, but sharp. She was crying with happiness when she got it, because it’s a gift from me. Now she is sleeping in bed with her phone. We call more than ever.

I am sad that people I left behind think that I am a kind of Justin Bieber who manages it. Even if I had it all done, money, fame or things are never things to envy. “Hang that message in your ears like an earring,” we say in Syria. Because what do I want with a room when I am alone? What can I do with nice clothes if I don’t have anyone who tells me it looks good? My mother and I try to slide all our comments away. Thanks to the good wifi signal, we can finally make a good call. It also has disadvantages that my mother sees me sharp again. ‘Anwar, why do you have those red eyes, did you drink? Did you cry? ” Mmm okay.
I think the wifi signal is almost out …

Drops typically Dutch? Because they are so cheap for sure.

If you visit a Dutch family as a new Dutchman, you will get products that are typically Dutch. Drops for example, and syrup waffles. Man, how many drops and waffles I had. I almost see stars. At one point I was even at a point that I would probably leave before the dessert came with the tea, because I didn’t want to chew through those stiff liquorice again. Especially with old people, the liquorice often stand behind a spice rack in a rusty old can. A glance is cast and yes, there are still liquorice for our Syrian guest. While I get stuck in the hard liquorice, I get to hear a story about this typical Dutch product.

Conversely, I also want to introduce Dutch people to typical Syrian products, such as pistachio, soap, the za’atar (a spice blend) and Aleppo Sweets. The latter are Syrian sweets. They are considered the best in the Levant region. The name of that region is not so well known here, but it is something that you have with ‘Europe’. The Levant consists of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Now the only problem is that those Syrian products are super expensive in the Netherlands. I am bankrupt if I make two visits a week and take soap or sweets from Syria. Suddenly I started to wonder if liquorice and syrup waffles are really typical Dutch products. Or are they only chosen because they are cheap.

Now that I have been in the Netherlands for four years, I feel so Dutch that I also take a big drop of 1 euro with me when I visit. Well, you’re not the only one who’s smart.

In Arab culture, the family is only ideal after the birth of a male child.

Most people in the Netherlands want a female child. And if they have two children, they want a son and a daughter. That is the ideal family and they call it a royal wish. In Arab culture, the family is only ideal after the birth of a male child. A Dutch acquaintance of mine has three boys. “Wouldn’t you rather have a daughter, rather than your last, failed son?” I asked. We laughed together. His last child is my best friend Gijs. “I am happy with my children,” he said, and the most important thing is that they are healthy.”
The birth of a man is an important event in the lives of most Arab families. Especially for the father who regards it as an event that is worth celebrating. It can even be celebrated months before birth if the gender is revealed.
In the past, some women refused to say gender because they were reluctant to criticize if it was a girl. Now it is no longer that old-fashioned, but a woman gets a lot of compliments when she does give birth to a boy.
The boy is a guarantee for his parents. They consider him a project that needs more attention and a good education, because the girl leaves when she gets married. A father sees himself in his son and wishes that he achieves what he has not achieved in his youth.
The son becomes a loyal friend he can trust. Even if his health becomes poor. Then the son becomes the extension of his father and the patron of the house. He bears his name and will take care of the family, even if the father dies.
There are no such guarantees in the Netherlands. Not if you have a daughter, not if you have a son. Children learn to live their own life apart from their parents. So now I am free of preferences. A boy, a girl, a rabbit, it doesn’t matter. As long as they are healthy.

0734-Solar energy (update)

Monthly report: December 2019

Figures as per 31 December 2019 

  • 62.346 KW produced;
  • € 11.85 earned;
  • 24.44 Kg CO2 emission saved;
  • equals 0.08 trees planted; total 3.88 trees.


A Merry Christmas from

Railway station Nijmegen.



Duke and Duchess of Susswith ex reveal 2019 Christmas card, Archie taking centre stage

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released their 2019 Christmas card, featuring their young son Archie.  The card, which was sent to friends and colleagues on Monday, includes a picture of the Duke and Duchess with their seven-month-old son crawling towards the camera with the message “Merry Christmas and a happy new year”, adding “from our family to yours”.

The photo was reportedly taken by the Duchess’ friend Janina Gavankar, an American actress and musician, who attended the couple’s Windsor Castle wedding in May 2018. The card was released on Twitter by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Twitter account, along with the caption: “Just sharing the sweetest Christmas Card from our President and Vice-President, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Very Merry Christmas, everyone!”

The family of three are currently on a six week sabbatical in Canada, where the Duchess filmed the US series Suits, and will not join other senior royals at Sandringham for Christmas.


Gareth Thomas hails support of Prince Harry and the Royal Family after revealing HIV diagnosis

Gareth Thomas has hailed the “magnificent” support he has received from the Royal Family since revealing he had been blackmailed into revealing his HIV status. The former Wales rugby captain singled out the Duke of Sussex, who is praised for helping to break down the stigma of HIV by using  his “global platform” to help those suffering in silence. Thomas, who recently revealed he had been keeping his HIV positive diagnosis a secret for years, said the Duke’s willingness to get tested in public was an “unbelievably brave” and “bold thing to do”. He was joined by the Duke at the Twickenham Stoop, home of Premiership Rugby club Harlequins on Friday, as he was named an HIV Commissioner with the new HIV Commission, which aims to eradicate transmission of the virus in England by 2030.

The Duke, who has twice publicly taken HIV tests, had previously contacted Thomas to tell him he was “proud” of the way he had shared his news to empower others and the pair have kept in touch. The Duke of Cambridge has also paid tribute to the way he conducted himself, describing the 45-year-old as “courageous” and a “legend” on and off the pitch. Thomas said today that going public with living with HIV had been “very empowering” and admitted he “could never have dreamed” of being at an HIV testing event at a rugby club ten years ago. “The support from the royals has been magnificent,” he added. “And it’s not just for me, it’s to show that we accept people living with HIV and that carries an enormous weight. “Harry having public tests for HIV is incredibly powerful, with his reach, a global reach, is something that will reach the corners of the globe and communities that are marginalised who need support from all of us.”

The Duke was presented with a miniature Harlequins kit for his six-month-old son Archie as the pair posed for photographs ahead of National HIV Testing Week, which runs from November 16-22. He has long advocated the importance of HIV testing. When tested live on Facebook two years ago, to demonstrate how simple it was, the Terrence Higgins Trust reported a five-fold increase in orders for test kits. He was tested again alongside Rihanna, the singer, in Barbados to mark World Aids Day a few months later, in December 2016. In a video released on Twitter in September, Thomas, the former wing for Wales and the Lions, said he had been forced to reveal his status because others were threatening to do so. He said: “I want to share my secret with you. Why? Because it’s mine to tell you. Not the evils that make my life hell, threatening to tell you before I do, and because I believe in you and I trust you.”

His voice almost breaking, Thomas added: “I’m living with HIV. Now you have that information that makes me extremely vulnerable, but it does not make me weak.” The rugby player admitted that he had sobbed in the arms of a doctor, fearing he would die and felt suicidal. But he said he had “chosen to fight to educate and break the stigma” around the virus. He has also revealed that his husband Stephen, whom he met after his diagnosis and married three years ago, does not have HIV. Thomas later said that the Duke of Sussex had texted him out of the blue to tell him he was “proud” of the way he had shared his news to empower others. The HIV Commission was created by the Terrence Higgins Trust and the National AIDS Trust and will be chaired by Dame Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyd’s of London. The year-long independent commission, backed by the Government, will host a series of community events, a public online consultation and a national call for evidence from those directly impacted by HIV. It will publish its recommendations next spring, which the Government has committed to review. Thomas said he was “unbelievably honoured” to be named an HIV commissioner.