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Meghan Markle’s firsts: How the  Duchess of Sussex is smashing the royal glass ceiling

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The Royal family has welcomed the Duchess of Sussex into its fold with the knowledge – and acceptance – of her plans to break from tradition. An American divorcee and former Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle was never going to be a stereotypical British princess. She could have buried these roots and slipped into a customary cocktail dress, ready to refashion herself as a royal. But the Duchess hasn’t tried to cover up her identity as a celebrity in her own right, and has openly said she plans to use her platform to promote her views.  Her new in-laws have shown a willingness to not only embrace her, but to let her help them modernise and break some of their own centuries-old traditions. Perhaps she has fought them behind closed doors. Or, maybe, she is the breath of fresh air the Windsors were waiting for. Whatever the reason, here are some of the ways Meghan has broken through the royal glass ceiling…

Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games

1. Dress codes Unless you’re hot on royal dress codes, you might not notice every time the Duchess breaks them. But she has opted to favour her own style over royal tradition on various high profile occasions. Traditionally, royal women are expected to opt for smart but reserved dresses. The Duchess of Sussex has cut her own path here. In her first official appearance alongside Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in Canada, she wore a white shirt and jeans with a tear on the knee.

Markle has been known to hug members of the public despite royal protocol saying she shouldn't

2. She wears her heart on her sleeve  Another code the Duchess is rewriting is how to greet the public. Conventionally, the Royal family does not hug them, nor take selfies or sign autographs. But Meghan, already well acquainted with fans of her own on the red carpet, has continued to embrace people when she greets them and write messages for them on memorabilia. Her reported excuse? “I’m American. We hug.” The Royal family has also shown it is willing to let Meghan define the tone and style with which she presents herself to the country. As such, her biography on its official website breaks with tradition and offers a personal, rather than issue-based, message from the Duchess. “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she says.

Queen at the Royal Train

3. Travel arrangements The Duchess hasn’t ostracised herself by breaking with protocol, but has actually helped to refashion royal traditions. Three weeks after her wedding to Harry, she has been invited to travel with the Queen on the Royal Train. Normally the reserve of the monarch and her closest set, Meghan will join Her Majesty on her favoured mode of transport for an overnight journey to Cheshire. Until now, only Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla were entitled to ride on the train. Prince Harry, his brother and the Duchess of Cambridge are yet to receive such an honour.

Full steam ahead…

4. Christmas at Sandringham Meghan enjoyed a position of privilege before she had officially joined the Firm. In 2017, the Queen invited her to Sandringham for Christmas Day, where she attended the family’s private lunch and church service. She was also officially welcomed into the familyduring the annual Queen’s speech. Before, guests had only been added to the Christmas list at Sandringham once they had married into the family. Meghan’s inclusion in the festivities turned out to be a sign of the relaxation of conventions to follow.

Royal wedding photo

5. Wedding rules There are few occasions as steeped in tradition as a royal wedding. But this didn’t phase Meghan, who was eager to put her own stamp on the day. The first sign of change was the cake. Royal weddings tend to feature a classic fruit cake, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex went for a lemon and elderflower sponge. The next was the announcement that she would give a speech at the reception. And another personal touch on the day was the sermon from American pastor Michael Curry, which for many stole the show. Be in no doubt – these small breaks with protocol were akin to earthquakes in royal circles.

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Pearls of approval: the Duchess of Sussex’s new earrings were a gift from the Queen

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The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen appeared to be getting along famously on the Duchess’ first royal engagement without her husband. They were pictured talking and laughing as they watched a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Mersey Gateway bridge in Cheshire. The Queen’s fondness for her grandson’s new wife was also evident in the pearl and diamond earrings the Duchess wore, which Buckingham Palace later revealed were a gift from the royal collection. The earrings had been incorrectly attributed to Birks, the Canadian jewellery brand that the Duchess has worn on numerous occasions. She wore Birks opal stud earrings when her engagement to Prince Harry was announced, and has been pictured in the brand’s delicate diamond-studded pieces several times. Her mother Doria Ragland also wore Birks to the royal wedding.

meghan markle the queen cheshire

But the pearl earrings the Duchess wore in Cheshire carry much greater significance. As the Duchess’ first gift from the Queen, they have been taken as a symbol of her acceptance into the royal family. Although it is not known when the Queen gave them to her, it is fitting that the Duchess chose to wear them for their first joint engagement. The understated earrings were a timeless choice of accessory and perfectly complemented the Duchess’ demure Givenchy dress. The Queen herself also wore a larger pair of meghan markle diana's ringpearl earrings, while the style is also a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, who often wears her classic pearl drops. The late Princess Diana was also famed for her love of pearls. This is not the first time the former actress has worn pieces from the royal collection. On her wedding day in May, she wore the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara, which she borrowed from the Queen. Made in 1932 to accommodate a diamond brooch that Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) had been given as a wedding gift in 1893, the tiara was subsequently returned to the Queen’s collection. The Duchess did receive a permanent addition to her jewellery collection on her wedding day in the form of the large Asprey aquamarine cocktail ring that belonged to Princess Diana. Prince Harry gave it to his bride as a wedding gift, and she wore it as a “something blue” addition to her Stella McCartney gown as the couple made their way to their evening reception.

Duchess of Sussex brings out Queen’s inner-child: Body language expert analyses their first joint trip

The Duchess of Sussex showed her nerves on her first joint engagement with the Queen, but there was genuine warmth between the monarch and Meghan, a body language expert said. Judi James said the head of state and the former Suits star giggled together like teenagers at one point as they enjoyed their day out in Cheshire. The Queen and Duchess travelled to Cheshire on the Royal train, leaving Euston at 11pm on Wednesday and spending the night in a discreet siding en route before pulling into Runcorn station at 10.35am for the Duchess’ first trip to the north of England.  Greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, the Duchess lingered behind the Queen, appearing slightly nervous as she watched for instructions about where to go.  After a moment of confusion at their waiting car, as both politely waited for the other to get in, the Duchess asked her grandmother-in-law “what is your preference?” before being told: “You go first.”

The Queen is greeted at Runcorn station with the Duchess standing behind her

The Queen wore a green outfit by Stewart Parvin, choosing a colour some onlookers interpreted as a gesture of support on the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster.  Their first engagement was a ceremony marking the opening of the new £1.86 billion Mersey Gateway bridge. It saw the pair deep in conversation, laughing and gesturing as they watched a seven-minute-long dance performance by children and enjoyed one another’s company.  Ms James said: “The Queen doesn’t indulge in worries and she didn’t spend a lot of time checking on Meghan, but instead let her get on with it. “But when she did glance at her, it was with a beaming smile and approval.” She added: The Duchess of Sussex leans in to seemingly share a joke with the Queen“The Queen was the happiest I’ve seen her in a long time. They looked like naughty teenagers giggling together at one point.” Next on their itinerary was Storyhouse, a cultural hub in the centre of town.   The Queen and Duchess led crowds in a minute’s silence to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster, solemnly bowing their heads. They then watched more performances, learned about “digital buddies” who were teaching their elders to use technology more efficiently, and took to the streets to meet thousands of well-wishers.  Ms James described the monarch as having young body language for a woman of 92. “She looked positively girlish. When she smiles you can see the young princess coming out. She’s got a beautiful childlike smile and her little hands were formed into fists at one point. Perhaps Meghan did bring a little bit more of that out in her. “We saw displays which showed the pair genuinely having fun.” The Duchess of Sussex had her guard up in the morning, showing signs of anxiousness – not least when there as confusion over who was meant to get in the royal Bentley first. “Meghan was still being very careful. She sat with her legs crossed at the ankles and was clearly seeking approval,” said Ms James. The newlywed Duchess, who married the Duke of Sussex in a star-studded ceremony in Windsor last month, was nervous, repeatedly touching her hair. Ms James suggested: “Meghan did so many self-checking gestures of anxiety which is interesting in such a confident woman. “She walked up the aisle on her own without batting an eyelid.” The duchess’s outfit – a beige Givenchy dress with caped shoulders – may have not been the ideal choice, Ms James said. “I think her outfit did her no favours. The caped shoulders restricted her arms and she lost some of her more natural movements.” But the Duchess soon eased into the day, and was a natural with the crowds who had gathered to catch a glimpse of her and her grandmother-in-law. The rapport between the pair was obvious, with the Duchess leaning in and talking to the Queen, producing what appeared to be fits of laughter from the 92-year-old. Ms James said the Queen was similarly beaming with smiles when she carried out her first joint engagement with the Duchess of Cambridge. They wrapped up their tour with lunch as guests of Cheshire West and Chester Council.

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The base

“No, I can not meet tomorrow, because I’m going to a psychologist,” a friend said to me. What an openness you sometimes encounter here. He was not ashamed. Others who heard the conversation did not look strange either. In Syria we see people who go to a psychologist as crazy. We have a special hospital for them. Sometimes when I’m on the train, the train stops because someone has jumped on the track. There are many people in the Netherlands who do not feel well. They use medicines for it, go to a psychologist or commit suicide.
I think I understand how that is possible. In Syria you work every day at the base of your life. You do your best to be safe, get food on the table or buy a house. Is your washing machine broken? Then you save for six months until you can buy one. In the Netherlands you are safe, there is always food, for everyone a house and after one salary you buy a washing machine. You can work, but if you do not work, you also get money. I think people can therefore feel that they are extra in this life. Nobody is needed here. You do not have to work hard to maintain yourself. If I later have a wife or children, the government will take care of them more than I do. I sometimes find it difficult to be happy in the Netherlands, because I do not know what happiness is here. What does my life expect now that I have the basis? Now that my life goal does not consist in obtaining safety, money and a house? I study, I do volunteer work, I make friends and learn Dutch, but feeling useful in a country that already has everything remains difficult.

“Hold up my hand to my wife after 25 years of marriage?”

I was at home with a classmate and drank tea with her mother. She was happy, the mother said, because on Saturday she was married for 25 years. There will be a big party, with family, friends and colleagues. The Dutch do that. They continue to celebrate, even when they are old. With 50 years an Abraham at the door, with 40 years of marriage another great party. In Syria, we say in such a case: “They should respect their age.” “Giving a party or letting you go is no longer appropriate from the moment you get older. “Those people are not ashamed of anything,” we would say about them. That starts soon, because people aged 50 and over are seen as old. As if they only have a few years to live.

A Syrian friend of mine of 20 years will soon have a brother. He is not happy, but is ashamed of his parents. At that age, and then still have a child … I like that old people can also party here and behave as they want. “Congratulations!”, They say to a pregnant woman of 43. “Nice that you still have a baby!” I like to participate in the Dutch way. I want to keep celebrating. When I just wondered how Dutch men can give so many parties in their lives, a Dutch friend said, “Women pay for this too.” I could not. After 25 years of marriage, I hold up my hand to my wife to give her a party. That will not happen. Merging cultural aspects of the Netherlands and Syria is fine. A disadvantage: it costs me a lot of money.

Actor

I was lying in the sun, near a swimming pool. I heard a father talking to his son. He said: ,, I hope you will become in the future something you like”. He made me smile. It is nice that fathers and mothers in the Netherlands think that is important.

I am used to always being told that you have to become something that you gives you pots of money. Doctor, engineer or IT professional. It is not for nothing that you have so many doctors in some Syrian streets, that you have to look for an accident to find the one you have an appointment with. All children who once heard from their parents: “You must become a doctor”. If you are now wondering whether there is work for so many doctors in Syria: yes, there is. We like to go to the doctor. We do not want pain, but just medicines that take away our pain.

The father at the pool was talking about something else, but I was still thinking about his remark. If his son likes to dance, does he like it when he becomes a dancer? In the Netherlands, not all fathers and mothers assume that their children will be happy with money. That is why they do not send their children in that special direction, when they have to choose an education.

“You should become an actor”, I hear my whole life. That was not serious advice, they would have looked mad in Syria if I had really done it. In the Netherlands it is not surprising, but here I do not speak the language sufficiently for the drama training. So, I remain dreaming, along the side of the pool. About a Dutch film with a Syrian protagonist. Then I shall convince everyone. Have a bet?

‘Dutch people love drama on their desks’

When I’m at the Gelderlander, I see cuddly toys on the table, a football, food, papers, everything. When I ask, ‘can I have a screwdriver?’ someone picks it is so off his desk. I often wonder why that is. Do people want to show their boss that they are busy? A Syrian office is always tight. Only the necessary is arranged in an office. It would be crazy to put a pink stuffed dog on your desk, because you will be so happy. Or a football, so that you can occasionally kick a ball on the work floor.
Also at the text office where my girlfriend works, it’s a mess. I offered to clean it up there. I do not need money for it. Just one Saturday on which I organize everything clearly. “No, we do not want that,” my friend said. ,,We feel happy in this way.”
Dutch people quickly feel happy and at ease. I was once asked to have dinner with Dutch people, who still had to cook at the time I came. “Hello Anwar!” they said happy. ‘Nice to have you here’. They grabbed a few knives and cut vegetables. I did not know what to do. Help out? Wait in silence in the room? Come back later? I kept wondering if I had remembered the time of the appointment.
Dutch people also invite you to their home, and do not clean up in advance. I was with a friend, who had to pick up all his clothes and belongings from the couch. ‘Look, sit down,’ he said afterwards. When I walked home I had an ass full of dog hairs. Apparently I had been seated in his place.
When I get guests, from now on I will say at the door: come in! Do you first take off your clothes for your and my hygiene?

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102nd Four Days Marches 17-20 July 2018

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Welcome to the official website of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen.

The Four Days Marches are a walking achievement event for four consecutive days, in which annually tens of thousands walkers are participating. On those days, people from all over the world come to Nijmegen to walk in and around the city and its beautiful wooded surroundings. Thousands of spectators are cheering on the walkers along the route every day. After four days of walking, a glorious entry along the Via Gladiola awaits the walkers, followed by the distribution of their well-deserved Four Days Medal.

The registration period for the 102nd Four Days Marches closed with 51,130 people registered. Since the registration limit of 47,000 had been exceeded, the available starting tickets were allocated by a draw by lot. The results of the draw can be viewed at My Four Days. All participants were informed personally by e-mail about the outcome.

Facts and figures

Statistics provide insight into all kinds of figures concerning the participants of the Four Days Marches. How many participants have started, what is the division between male and female participants, where do the walkers come from, what is the division of medals that have been given, et cetera.

Barometer 2017

During the Marches the Barometer can be found here. It shows the number of walkers that have dropped out or have finished every day.

Registrations 47,000
Registrations on 1 July 44,680
Registered on Sunday and Monday 42,036
Dropped out 1st Day 00,792
Finished 1st Day 41,244
Dropped out 2nd Day 01,525
Finished 2nd 39,719
Dropped out 3rd Day 01,002
Finished 3rd Day 38,717
Dropped out 4th Day 00,308
Finished Four Days Marches 38,409

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Do’s and don’ts

Stichting DE 4DAAGSE has several rules and regulations. These rules and regulations ensure that the registration and the participation of thousands of walkers in the Four Days Marches are well organised. We ask you to read all the regulations concerning you and – of course – also to follow them.

1. Rules and regulations (2018)
2. Restriction protocol (2018)
3. Regulations for civilian groups (2018)
4. Regulations for military participants (2018)
5. Regulations governing distances and rewards (2018)
6. Regulations governing start and sign-off (2018)
7. Anti-doping regulations (2018)
8. Privacy regulations (2018)
9. Regulations governing disqualification (2018)

Children under accompaniment

Parents/carers of children turning 12, 13, 14 or 15 in the year of the participation can accompany their child, even if that implies that the parents cannot walk the minimum distance required of them by the rules and regulations. You can add a companion to the registration of your child via My Four Days on our website. It is possible to do so from 3 April until 12 July 2018. The companion will not receive a reward. Information about companions: Regulations for companions for young individual participants (2018).

Dispensation

v4The Four Days Marches are a walking achievement event, in which the gravity of the achievement obliges the participant to prepare him- or herself sufficiently to the event by means of training. In certain cases people with disability, either physical or intellectual, can appeal to the dispensation regulation of the Four Days Marches in order for them to walk less kilometres a day than the regulation distance that applies to them states. These special circumstances are affiliated to the internationally established standards in sports for people with a disability. This regulation is, however, not applicable to participants who cannot walk their regulation distance due to medical circumstances (e.g. illness). Dispensation requests can be submitted in writing after your registration has been accepted and have to be received by Stichting DE 4DAAGSE by 15 June at the latest.

Participants in a wheelchair

Participants, who as a result of chronic loss of movement of the lower limbs are confined to a wheelchair, can request dispensation to be awarded the Four Days Medal. This dispensation will be granted only under certain circumstances, the most important being that the participant has to use a classic, non-motorised, non-sports, hand rim wheelchair (ADL) during the length of the Four Days Marches. Requests for dispensation can be submitted in writing after your registration for the Four Days Marches has been accepted and need to be received by Stichting DE 4DAAGSE by 15 June at the latest.

Which distance can I walk in 2018?

There are three different distances in the Four Days Marches: 30, 40 and 50km.

v5The tables below show the distance(s) you can participate in, based on your gender and year of birth. In the year of participation, the participant must turn at least 12 years old. The distance marked with an R is the minimum distance for which you must register and is determined on the basis of your age and gender. This minimum distance is called the regulation distance. It is not possible to walk a distance shorter than the regulation distance, but it is possible to choose a longer distance. The distances marked with an E are other distances for which you may register, but these distances are not compulsory for your age and gender. This is why we call these distances extended distances.

Please note: once the Four Days Marches has begun, you can no longer change the distance you will be walking. You must then walk the full distance you are registered for on each of the four days.

Men born in the years:

2003-2006 30km R 40km E 50km E
2000-2002 40km R 50km E
1969-1999 50km R*
1959-1968 40km R 50km E
1958 or earlier 30km R 40km E 50km E

* For military servicemen the regulation distance is 40km, providing they carry at least ten kilograms of marching kit.

Women born in the years:

2003-2006 30km R 40km E 50km E
1959-2002 40km R 50km E
1958 or earlier 30km R 40km E 50km E

Changing the distance

You can change the distance for which you are registered by logging on to My Four Days. You can change this free of charge until Thursday 12 July. After this date, changes to the distance can only be made on Sunday 15 or Monday 16 July at the Central Administration at the start and finish location, for a €15 fee.

Rewards

As with many other sporting events, the Four Day Marches also has a reward system. Everyone who completes the marches in accordance with the regulations will be eligible for a reward. Anyone who is participating for the first time will receive a Four Days Marches Cross. Either a number or another type of Four Days Marches Cross is awarded for each subsequent successful participation.

Digital participant registration

All participants (including group participants and those in military contingents) will be given a wristband upon signing in. This wristband with barcode is used to register participants electronically at the start and finish. Each participant must have his or her bar code scanned at the registration desk at the end of each day.

Start and finish area

Start and finish area the Wedren
The start and finish area ‘the Wedren’ is divided into three places: the Wedren, the opposite Vierdaagseplein and adjoining Julianapark. All individual participants on the 30, 40 and 50km-route start from the Wedren/Vierdaagseplein and will report to the finish at one of the registration desks (Julianapark) at the end of each marching day. Civilian groups line up at the starting gate for groups in the Julianapark. On Friday the sign-off for civilian groups is at sports park De Kluis, this is possible until 17.00 hrs. After signing off, everyone walks the Entry on the Via Gladiola to the Wedren.

Start and finish area Heumensoord
Military detachments and individual military participants starting from Heumensoord also sign off at Heumensoord. On Friday these military participants finish at Charlemagne, the sign off is until 16.30 hrs. Afterwards, everyone walks the Entry on the Via Gladiola to the Wedren.

Waiting at the start

The organisation is trying to spread the flow of walkers over the route in order to prevent congestion just after the start. Therefore the participants are not allowed to start all at once. Of course, when tens of thousands participants have to start within in a timeframe of a couple hours it is not unlikely that participants will hinder each other. So, just like travelling with public transport or when in the supermarket, we would like to ask you to show some consideration for each other, and that you do not cut in line and that you wait your turn. Kindly address each other regarding inappropriate behaviour and try to arrange matters justly.

Problems with your wristband?

Your wristband is indispensable during the Four Days Marches, as you need the bar code both at the start in the morning and at the finish in the afternoon. The scanners must be able to read the print on the wristband. If you are unsure of your wristband code’s legibility or if your wristband is broken, please go to the Central Administration (open from 3:30am-5pm) at the Wedren. After verification of your details, you will receive a new wristband. To avoid a lot of trouble, be sure to do so on time. Participants starting from Heumensoord who have problems with the wristband prior to the start, can report to one of the starting team members. They will give you a temporary replacement wristband. At the end of the day, report to the Central Administration at Heumensoord, where – after verification of you details – you will receive a new wristband.

Starting and signing-off times 2018

 

Distance    
Start indivuals   
Start groups       
Signing off               
50km
04.00-04.30
04.00-04.30
12.00-17.00**
40km
05.00-05.30
or 06.00-06.30
04.30-05.15
12.00-17.00**
30km
06.45-07.15
or 7.30-08.00
06.30-07.00
12.00-17.00**
40km MIL
04.30-06.30*
04.30-06.30*
12.00-17.00*

* On Friday this will be 03.30 – 05.30 hrs. Signing off on Friday 11.00 – 16.30 hrs (Charlemagne).
** On Friday until 18.00 hrs. This time is only for individual civilian participants with start location Wedren.

The 30km and 40km walkers will start in two separate groups. The partitioning of start slots is linked to the (random) allotment of a walker to a registration desk.

A good night’s rest

During the Four Days Marches, thousands of walkers stay in Nijmegen or its surrounding areas at campings, in hotels, with host families, or at one of the many other accommodations available. For walkers, this is convenient as they do not need to travel, but the main benefit is that walkers will also be able to visit Nijmegen and celebrate along in the Four Days Festivities.

Where can I spend the night?

Vierdaagsebed, part of the Tourist Information Office for the district of Nijmegen, offers many opportunities to spend the night. For instance, they offer the possibility to help find walkers of the Four Days Marches a hospitable accommodation with a host family in Nijmegen or its surrounding areas. Many families in Nijmegen make room in their houses in that particular week to receive and look after one or several walkers. And in the course of history, this has already led to many special friendships. For further information and online registration, please see www.vierdaagsebed.nl/en. Furthermore, there will also be Four Days Marches hotel package deal made available and you can also contact RBT KAN for information on campsites. This information can also be found at http://www.vierdaagsebed.nl/en. To establish personal contact please call 0031-(0)481-366280 or send an e-mail info@vierdaagsebed.nl.

Where do I apply if I want to be a host family?

Everyone who would like to accommodate walkers during the Four Days Marches can register as a host family at www.vierdaagsebed.nl/en. There are, however, a few conditions that ought to be fulfilled; walkers should be provided with a good bed and the use of a clean bathroom.

Next to a hospitable stay you may provide for your guests by:
• Bed and breakfast
• Full board (overnight stay with breakfast, packed lunch, dinner)

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Hasan (21) fled from Syria to the Netherlands and invites you for a cup of coffee.

h“All the unknown is exciting, that is why it is so important that refugees and Dutch people come into contact with each other”, says Hasan. He fled from Syria to the Netherlands. On June 20, World Refugee Day, he serves coffee with other refugees and the Dutch Council for Refugees between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm at the station in Nimwegen.

Studying or the army

You would not say it if you heard him speak Dutch, but Hasan is only 2,5 years in the Netherlands. At the age of 18 he fled to the Netherlands with his uncle to escape the dangerous military service. His father, mother, brother and sister stayed behind. “It is war in Syria. That’s why many boys who turn 18 have to go into the army. I did not want to go into the army, but to study. That is why I decided to leave Syria. “

Take the initiative yourself

KhoseMeanwhile Hasan is following a transition year at HAN (University Arnheim Nimwegen), so that he can then start his study Civil Engineering. When he asks if he feels at home in the Netherlands, a smile appears from ear to ear. “The Netherlands is really my home! The Dutch generally take little initiative to get to know you, but if you take a step yourself, almost everyone reacts positively. That’s why I like to hand out coffee on June 20: then I just come to the people myself! I hope people do not think it’s weird that I just want to drink a cup of coffee. Probably they think that I am very different, because I come from a different country. But I really do not think so. For me, everyone is just the same.”

People of the hour

Yet Hasan has already found a few differences between Dutch and Syrians. Hasan: “Time for example! Everyone is always on time. If you have to go to work I understand that, but even if I have a meeting with friends and I am 5 minutes late I get to hear that already. Recently I got a message from a friend, if I wanted to come and eat with her in three months. That’s really going too far for me, haha! In Syria we did everything much more spontaneously, then we often called the same day if it came true. That is really a big difference with how it goes in the Netherlands.”

We do not know our neighbors

Another difference, according to Hasan, is the low level of contact with the neighbors. “I knew everyone in my village in Syria. Here I literally know only one neighbor in the flat where I live.” Yet Hasan is far from lonely. He quickly made friends: both people of Dutch descent and people with a foreign background. “I have left some contacts with my time at the asylum seekers’ center. People came by to meet us. I also met people at school. And I do volunteer work at a foundation that organizes fun activities for children and young people in asylum seekers’ centers. My colleagues there are now also really good friends. “

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Mega Subsidy Nimwegen Saint Stephan Church for new roof and new windows

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The Saint Stephan Church, the Nimwegen icon, receives a mega subsidy of €5.5/£4.8/CA$8.4 million for restoration. The money is intended for an almost completely new roof covering and replacement of the worn stained-glass windows. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is making the grant available from a new €34/£30/CA$52  million pool for large national monuments. The Saint Stephan Church gets the biggest bite from the 29 projects awarded. For example, the Eusebius Church in Arnheim gets ‘only’ €1/£0.9/CA$1.5 million.

s3C.E.O. Heleen Wijgers, who has lobbied firmly for the government subsidy as the foundation director, is very happy. ,,I knew we were in the race, but this is an enormous amount. It is a beautiful recognition for the significance of the building as cultural-historical heritage, but it may be more a recognition of the way we function as a multifunctional church in society.” Every year, in addition to oecumenical services, numerous manifestations, lectures and university events take place here. The church is supported by hundreds of volunteers, ‘friends of Stevenskerk’ and Steveniers (a ‘Stevenier’ adopts the church financially for 1 day per year, at a rate of €365/£321/CA$560 a year, for a period of at least 5 years; in theory the church could collect this way €133,225/£117.331/CA$204.345 per year, but there are still a lot of vacant days). The house of God attracts 135,000 visitors annually. For the attraction of tourists alone, support for the church is logical according to Wijgers. ,,For every euro, Nimwegen gets 1.40 euros back.”

Roof repair

The roof repair was one of the biggest wishes of the managing foundation. “A condition to be ready as far as possible in 2022 for the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the church,” said Wijgers. The roof, with impressive height differences, is covered over the full surface with aged slate or slate slabs. Wijgers: ,,If we do nothing now, then you know for sure that it will leak everywhere sooner or later.” In 2014 and 2015 a small part has already been replaced. Everywhere under the surface are wooden vaults. “In the event of a leak, these rots”, explains Wijgers why further intervention is necessary. About the stained-glass windows: “A lot of water has already been struck through the windows during storms.”

s2Care point

Some point of concern: the money may only be used when the Saint Stephan Foundation collects 30 percent or more than €1.6/£1.4/CA$2.5 million. “A luxury problem,” says Treasurer Fred van Efferen. ,,With the help of the municipality and the province, who are well disposed towards us, and perhaps loans, I expect that we will get there. We can not leave this opportunity untouched.” According to Wijgers, a plan for the roof restoration is not yet available, because the additional financing still has to be arranged. According to her, the million-euro subsidy certainly does not end the need to raise money. ,,The Saint Stephan Church is a large church, where new restorations must always be done.”

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HM Queen Máxima sings farewell song for deceased sister Inés

mA nicer and more fitting farewell could not have given the surviving relatives Inés Zorreguieta (33). They sang yesterday at the funeral songs of Bob Dylan and Bob Marley for the singer and guitarist, Argentine media reports. The sister and protégé of Queen Máxima died last Thursday in her apartment in Buenos Aires. Queen Máxima raised the song ‘Is this Love’ by Bob Marley for her younger sister, with whom she had an intimate relationship despite the age difference of 14 years. Then she sang along with her family ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s’ by Bob Dylan, fashion designer Benito Fernández told La Nacion. According to Fernandez – Máxima regularly wears creations – not the first time the Queen and her family sang the song of the American singer-songwriter. They did that in August last year at the funeral of Máxima’s father Jorge Zorreguieta. He died at the age of 89 from the consequences of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, and is buried in the same cemetery as his daughter Inés.

Image result for willem alexander en maxima vandaagPrior to the musical tribute to Inés, during which all invitees were present for the funeral, the Queen and her brother Martin gave a short speech to the most intimate guests. The rest of the guests waited respectfully outside, according to the newspaper. HM Queen Máxima, HM King Willem-Alexander and their daughters HRH Amalia (14), HRH Alexia (12) and HRHAriane (11) laid a bouquet of white flowers on her dark colored wooden box at the burial of Inés Zorreguieta. Images of the ceremony in Argentinean media show a lot of white flowers next to the final resting place covered with a stylish green party tent. Among the invited guests were, according to La Nacion, alongside the fashion designer, a range of well-known Argentinian personalities including first lady Julia Awada, director Emilio Basavilbaso of the Argentine Social Security Administration Anses where Inés Zorreguieta worked and art director and fashion consultant Sofía Sanchez de Betak. Present was also Máxima’s childhood friend Valeria Delger, who she has known since her school days at the international Northlands Colegio (bilingual primary and secondary education) in Buenos Aires.

The presence of the Dutch royal couple with the princesses and the Argentinian first lady on the farewell ceremony was accompanied by a major security operation. The king, queen and their three children flew with the KLM to Buenos Aires, according to the Argentine newspaper, where they arrived yesterday morning at 06:30am.

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The ranger Tim Hogenbosch (34) from thhe village Bemmel is the best Twitterer in the Netherlands. The forester, who will change his present work area Utrecht to Nimwegen next month, received the Best Social Award last night, one of the most important social media prizes. “A huge honor,” he says. The winner was determined by both votes from the audience and by a professional jury. The price did not come as a surprise to b1Hogenbosch. Prior to that, he already headed for four of the five subjects. For example, according to a digital analysis of the organization, he already had the most active supporters, he threw the most positive Twitter messages into the world, he gets the most positive reactions and he has the most impressive influence. ,,It can hardly go wrong, I thought last night. I did not score any points on the subject ‘fatest viral”.

The forester of Maintenance of woodlands and nature, a governamental institute, started with Twitter about four years ago. He is best known for his positive tweets. According to the organization, 61 percent of his tweets are positive. We see him in films in mud puddles stomping with children, he puts under the name ‘RoseCap’ photos and videos of his daughter Roos (Rose) in nature on Twitter and at the end of last year even took a tame chew. The chew, which he called Hans, was feeded mealworms from his hands and Hans could take a swin in a pool in the garden. ,,I had previously found that chew on a bike path in Utrecht and decided to take it home. For three months I took care of him at home and all of that followed with the camera. Meanwhile the bird has flown out again. It has resulted in a huge number of new followers.”

b2Hogenbosch is amazed at all the negativity he encounters on social media. To change that, he wants to swing as much positivity as possible into the world. “People are often so angry and bitter on Twitter. It is incredible how much they complain. In the beginning I reacted sometimes and I went against it. I stopped that. I sometimes prefer to avoid discussions now and would like to contribute to making the twitter world more positive.”

One of his goals is to show ‘how beautiful our nature is’. and what he encounters in his work as a forester. His telephone does not stand in his way in his daily work. ,,It was not. In the past, you saw forest guards walking through the field with a shotgun. That time has long passed. The shotgun has now been exchanged for the telephone.”

From Monday 2 July, Hogenbosch will start work in Nijmegen and leave Utrecht. He will not reduce with Twitter, he assures. ,,The surroundings of Nijmegen are great. I want to show everyone that.”

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Inés Zorreguieta samen met haar moeder Maria del Carmen tijdens een bezoek aan de Katholieke Universiteit van Argentinië.Inés Zorreguieta (33), the youngest sister of HM Queen Máxima, was found in the bedroom of her apartment by a friend who, together with Inés’ mother Maria del Carmen Cerruti, went to take a look when the telephone calls were not answered all day long.

According to the Argentine authorities, this appears from an initial investigation. Then the emergency services were immediately called in and the body was transferred to a forensic research institute. The researchers also stated that the death of HM Queen Máxima’s youngest sister was not a crime. The mortal remains have been taken for autopsy, as is customary for the presumption of suicide.

Inés was one of the seven children of Jorge Zorreguieta. He begot three daughters (Maria, Angeles and Dolores) with his first wife and two daughters and two sons (Máxima, Inés, Martin and Juan) with his second wife.

‘Inesita’ as the youngest sister of Máxima was called by intimates, suffered from depression.The youngest sister of HM Queen Máxima studied psychology at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires. At that time she wrote a thesis on suicide and what led women to take that step, such as relationship crises. The title of the piece: ‘Gender differences in suicide and related behavior’. Inés described, among other things, that more men than women commit suicide and how their attempts also succeed more often than women’s. She graduated with 9.5 out of 10 points, worked at the UN in Panama (Human Resources and Communication) between 2009 and 2011, but returned to Argentina in 2012 due to a divorce from her then partner.

bak-goudAt that time her name first appeared in the Argentine media. They reported that they were being treated for eating disorders and depression. President Mauricio Macri of Argentina has expressed his condolences to Máxima. He placed a funeral ad in which he says “accompany Máxima and the whole family at this sad moment”. Inés Zorreguieta had a job through Macri.

Tomorrow the Dutch royal family is expected to arrive in Buenos Aires around 11:00 am Dutch time. HM Queen Máxima cancelled all her obligations untill further notice after hearing the sad news. The state visit of the Dutch royal couple to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which was to start next Monday, is now only carried out by HM King Willem Alexander.