Gentlemen, is this a mere coincidence or more…?

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DAVID. Is this to be proud of or just showing off? Brian is obviously a bit embarassed  (Thunder Bay, May 2001).

2001 05~Thunder Bay~Brian&David

0034-Graafseweg 219


This afternoon in the back yard: the hibiscus syriacus




Amsterdam Canal Pride










Ahmed and I have a guest at home, Basel. He has been waiting in refugee shelter The Dome (De Koepel) for so long that he has come to live with us temporarily. This week he got sick. He suddenly got a lot of pain in the lower right part of his stomach. We called his doctor, but he’s on vacation. We got a tape told to call the GP. I called, but I did not understand the Dutch options menu. So I took Basel to the GP station. We arrived and a woman opened a window. I explained the situation and the woman pointed out a phone number. We had to call for an appointment first, she said, and she closed her window again.
Ahmed was the only one with a little credit left, so he handed over his phone. I struggled through the menu and got a woman on the phone. Then the call credit ran out and the phone went out. Fortunately she called back. She asked a lot of questions and came to the conclusion that we had to go to the GP. That worked out well, because we were already there. The woman behind the window wanted to speak to us now, because we had called first. She asked for Basel’s date of birth and his address. Then she wanted to see a pass. The Dutch love that, on passes. I have one for every shop, for the waste, for the bank, the train, for the library. We gave her a bunch of passes. We started by asking all the questions she asked if she was looking for a suitor.

In Syria it goes like this: you feel sick, you go to the hospital, and your illness is fought. It’s free and there are no questions. Basel nearly passed out in pain. After a lot of waiting and answering questions, he eventually got two morphine syringes. The pain subsided and did not return. We went home and decided to buy a lot of fruits and vegetables. Getting sick in the Netherlands, better not.


Our first meeting, back in May 2000: 

from left to right David Belrose, yours truly, Brian Holden.

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Youth in Syria

Now I know what freedom is in the Netherlands, I also know that I have never have known it in Syria. As a child I did not understand. I took everything as it came, as children do. My parents made me only speak Kurdish at home, nowhere else. I was not thinking about the reason, I just listened. Thanks for children who have property. It made my childhood quite well. You can not compare the youth of Dutch children with mine. My brother and I had no toys. I worked since I was eight. I helped with cleaning in a flower shop, later in a barber shop and then in a restaurant. My father often complimented me on my jobs. He said that we had a home thanks to me to live in. I do not know if that is really so, I think he said it mostly to make me proud. I thought it was fine, because I was very much out of the house. We lived in a very dark street with no sunlight and had to be all one bedroom. Street play was too dangerous, so a job offered required (safe) distraction. Only at the university I realized for the first time that the system in which I lived was called at least remarkable . I wanted to sign up for the party of Bashar al-Assad. Not because I wanted to, but because it is the only way into Syria to join. If you are applying, after the question of how hot and when you were born, whether you are in the ruling party. If not, you can forget about that job. I have repeatedly tried to register, but could not. I seemed to have a distant uncle who was a Kurdish party. A mortal sin, which spills over to the whole family. Freedom, it is a great thing.


Travel for free

Stretch 1: by IC train

  • Nimwegen – Arnheim – Utrecht – Amsterdam CS

Stretch 2: by metro

  • Amsterdam CS – Amsterdam World Trade Center

Stretch 3: by commuter train

  • Amsterdam World Trade Center – Schiphol Airport

Stretch 4: by IC train:

  • Schiphol Airport – Almere – Lelystad – Zwolle – Leeuwarden

Stretch 5: by commuter train

  • Leeuwarden – Groningen

Stretch 6: by IC train

  • Groningen – Assen – Zwolle

Stretch 7: by IC train

  • Zwolle – Deventer – Arnheim – Nimwegen


Departure: 09:05AM   Return 09:42PM

If you are 65 years or older, you can get a 32% discount on railway tickets provided by the national railway company. Included are 7 free days travel throughout the Netherlands and a discount on international railway tickets. There are some rules:

  • departure not before 09:00 AM morning rush hours;
  • free travel not valid on Mondays and Fridays, because of the large number of business travellers as well as students;
  • 09:00 AM rule not valid on Saturdays and Sundays, when you can start your journey very early and return very late.













At the time in my youth, that it was still an orphanage, I came often in this institution. There was a very impressive part of this complex, where all the people who financed the institution came together, dined, and even could sleep comfortably. The housing of the real orphans was much less distinguished 😦😦😦 After the closing of the orphanage, it became an institution for young criminals (Het Poortje / The gate). The left door was our front door; we lived on the first floor (see above): the utmost left window was the bathroom, followed by 4 windows of the living room; my father had his office in the utmost right part, the 3 windows. The bedrooms were on the second and third floor. At the time that there was a youth prison behind my Mum’s kitchen, she was confronted often by escaping youths 😦🙂 As I asked yesterday, this house is now a complex for student apartments.

“HET POORTJE” / “THE GATE”183900000000Groningen~Rode Weeshuisstraat


Drawing from 1839, where a part of our house is still visible.





Picture from July 27, 2016201607271832vrijreizen














Summer exposition in the Saint Stephan Church, organised by Intermedi-Art.






Grietje Postma
Dutch, born in Dronten, 1961

In 1984 Grietje Postma enrolls at the Academie Minerva in the town of Groningen, in the Northern tip of the country. She has an eye on the painting curriculum, hoping to find her voice in rendering the deserted landscape of her lowlands. She quickly realizes her propensity for drawn lines in her compositions. She decides to take a printmaking class, thinking it may develop her graphic sensibility. Inspired by the docent Wim van Veen, she finds her way through the first technical difficulties of woodcut techniques and never looks back. By the time she leaves school in 1989 she is a printmaker; and she has found her technique in color woodcut reduction. By carving a single plank of wood in consecutive states, all colors are printed from one matrix. Unlike most artists who have practiced the reduction method, and there are few, she works from dark to light. The complete plank of wood is printed in the darkest color on all sheets of the edition. She then cleans off the matrix and carves it for a first time, taking out those areas she wishes to show in this first darkest color, all the while printing over other areas with a second, lighter color. Thus carving the lines for one color at a time and printing it on the whole edition at once, she ends up with a plank almost completely carved away, with only the lightest color highlights still raised on the plank. This is a one way street: as she carves each color, in successive states, she takes away the very lines needed to print darker (earlier) colors. Because darker colors have been mostly covered by lighter ones, most of Postma’s compositions often feel “animated”. Looming through the tiny unevenness of inking, which are caused by the texture and the grain of the wood, they viewer detects colors that have mostly been hidden. This “translucent” quality gives great depth to her landscapes. Postma combines this technique with an uncanny ability for simplicity. The branches of trees, the stems of flowers, blades of grass, all make up the linear texture of compositions of great austerity. Rather than render a reality, she draws with these lines colorful ambiances; she creates mood and uses outlines to capture our gaze. Her lines almost never force the eye in a particular direction. The slightly surreal quality of light and color very much relaxes the eye: a contemplative landscape shimmers on the retina. As observers of this outdoor view, we often do not feel exposed to the elements. She makes us take a step back, as if sheltered behind a pane of glass. We are warm, admiring cool and cold landscapes from fall, spring and winter. Only rarely does the viewer feel completely part of the surrounding landscape. Grietje Postma has been carving a few color woodcuts each year since 1988. Averaging about five compositions each year, her oeuvre only amounts to about one hundred twenty-five prints to date. She prints her planks with the greatest of care in small editions of fifteen to twenty-five. Her thick sheets or Van Gelder paper have pristine margins and registration is impeccable. Her work has been shown throughout The Netherlands by many galleries and acquired by foremost collectors. Because of her notoriety in her own country and the very limited amount of work produced, her work is scarce and most editions before 2005 sold out. It is a pleasure to be able to acquire these great prints and to offer them to an American audience. While inspired by the lowlands of the northern Netherlands, these landscapes resonate with many who have lived in the Midwest. By departing from reality to render a “composed” and personal landscape, her esthetic sense creates ultimately universal compositions.

0027-Walk of the World

As a gesture of gratitude for 11 (eleven 🙂 ) years of hospitality, Eric Baas honored us as “Friend of the Walk of the World Marches”. Eric started his career with us in 2006, when -because of the extreme temperatures and 2 deaths- the marches were cancelled after the first day. All following years Eric was a faithful guest, and he brought his son and friends with him. Our “normal” guest room has a double bed, and a third bed can be added easily. But 1 year we had 5 guests, also on our “own” sleeping floor. The last 5 years we have a steady group. We have the traditional welcome dinner on Monday evening, and the farewell dinner on Thursday evening, as only Eric stays over on the 5th (Friday) night.


50,000 start permits Walk of the World edition #100

 -2,834 no show


47,166 start permits day 1 Walk of the World edition #100

  -1,206 not started / not finished day 1


45,960 start permits day 2 Walk of the World edition #100

 -2,050 not started / not finished day 2


43,910 start permits day 3 Walk of the World edition #100

    -914 not started / not finished day 3


42,996 start permits day 4 Walk of the World edition #100

  – 439 not started / not finished day 4


42,557 finishers Walk of the World edition #100Walk_of_the_World_logo