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...Connecting Your World With The World Of The Northern Netherlands I s s u e

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S p r i n g

Connect Business Club at ASTRON 'Reaches for the Stars' and developing LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) a new type of telescope which uses multiple antennae technology (called Square Kilometer Array, SKA) to gather radio waves.

one huge telescope of intercontinental dimensions. With such a telescope, one can gather information from as far away in time/space as the edge of the Big Bang!

The coordination of the input from the SKA requires the use of one of the top ten fastest supercomputers in the world (called Stella) which was developed by IBM and is located at the RuG. Not only can the SKA gather radio signals, but with some modification, the antennae On 9 February, the Connect Business Club visited one of its members, ASTRON, an organization in Dwingeloo that 'reaches for the stars'. ASTRON plays a leading role in the field of radio astronomy, both researching and developing innovative and enabling technology. Our visit began with refreshments while overlooking the lovely woods of Drenthe. After participant introductions, a feature of every meeting when each attendee has a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses, presentations about the various aspects of ASTRON and Jive were given by our hosts, Dr. Eugène de Geus, Director of Public Affairs for ASTRON, and Dr. Bob Campbell, Head of Scientific Operations for JIVE. Dr. de Geus eloquently explained (in laymen's terms) the exciting work in which ASTRON is involved, including operating the Westerbork Radio Observatory

can gather information from underground sensors to be used in geophysics and agriculture. The newest project involving ASTRON will be to build a LOFAR system on the moon together with a German company and the RuG. The project will be completed in 2015 and will cost a billion euros! Dr. Campbell then talked about the challenges of coordinating signals from different radio telescopes located across the planet to create

HIGHLIGHTS CONNECT BUSINESS CLUB Hosted this time at Astron a company in Dwingeloo that 'Reaches for the Stars .................................Front page SHIATSU The art of oriental massage a must for todays busy lifestyle 3 LEARNING DUTCH We learn how the Expats are fairing in their Dutch lessons so far 4

Following the presentations, the participants were given a tour of the facility including stops at the JIVE coordination center, the machine shop where parts for the various instruments are made, the labs, Faraday rooms and a special 'sound proof' facility for testing instruments. After the tour, we adjourned to the cafĂŠ for a borrel with hearty Drentse snacks and plenty of time for 'connecting'!

FABULOUS FABERGE EGGS With Easter approaching we take a look at some of the most famous and unusual eggs ever made 5 THE 'MONKEY ROCK' The Gas Corporations HQ building in Groningen- a sight to be seen ..................................Front page MURALIST EXTRAORDINAIRE Annejoke Luiting tells how she became a muralist 13 OUT OF AFRICA Carol Govaert talks about her African Safari 15


Karen Prowse


Young Expatriate Writer Receives Prize In this issue we wanted to see the view point of young expatriates living in the northern Netherlands. To inspire our younger writers we decided to hold a writing competition for children between the ages of 11 and 16 years. We asked the participants to produce a story of no more than 600 words describing their experiences in the northern Netherlands. The story could give their opinion of Dutch culture and how it compares or measures up to their own, or perhaps another country where they have lived. Areas such as food, weather and

2 0 0 6

general likes and dislikes could all be included in their work and most importantly what advice would they give to newcomers to make their stay a happy one. After much deliberation the winner of the first Connect International writing competition is Conor Thompson, chosen because his story best reflected the life of an expat student in the northern Netherlands. A pupil of the International School Groningen, Connor is seen here receiving his prize from the Connections Editor, Alison Day. The winning story is featured on page 8.

Kim Darcey



News from the Office Birds chirping at the crack of dawn, splashes of daffodils in the garden, and lambs springing in the meadows give us a sense of delight in the coming months as we celebrate the arrival of spring. In the custom of Easter it would be such a pity not to feature the beloved egg. We have taken our investigation somewhat further in this issue and Alison Day's article on Faberge eggs will give you an insight into the historical, religious and artistic connotations of our beloved egg (page 5).

(page 14) takes us on a journey to Thailand and shares his highlights of this fascinating country from eastern cuisine to the extraordinary traditions of the Karen tribe.

As we leave the Dutch winter months behind us, writer Margaret Metsala reminds us how mild a Dutch winter is, certainly in comparison to the ruthless t e m p e ra t u r e s experienced in North West Ontario (page 12). Despite the challenges, Margaret explains how the Canadians take it all in their stride. However, if you're looking for some adventure and warmer climates on your next holiday destination we can certainly recommend Carol Govaert's travel log on her first African safari (page 15), and it doesn't end there! Andre Beijers

The Connecting Worlds continues to grow. We have had a surge of new members in the first quarter of 2006 from Canada to India reflecting how Connect truly is an international organization. We are all proud to be part of such a great organization and continue to enjoy supporting internationals and Dutch residence in the north Netherlands.

We'd like to thank all our inspiring young writers who entered our writing competition and especially to our winner Conor Thompson. It was very hard to choose a winner but the judge's finally came up with one. Don't be disheartened, we intend to run another competition in the not too distant future.

All of us at the office would like to sign-off by wishing you a very Happy Spring The Connect Team






Home Search


Personal Guidance & Aftercare

Tailor-made Services at Competitive Rates P: 050 521 4541 F: 050 521 4543 E: Web:

Thinking of advertising in the Connections? If you are not inspired by designing or are not comfortable translating into English why not contact....

Alison Day Designs 06 18114204/050 5776681 Email: (Fantastic Rates)

Welcome New Connecting Worlds Club Members: • Aiya Holma • Evelyn Brandsen • Christine Jowett-Edwards

Connect International has established a library of secondhand paperback novels in English at the Connect office on Paterswoldseweg 810. The Connect Library will function both as an exchange library, where Members can bring in a book to donate and exchange it for another, and as a used bookstore, where Members can purchase books for € 1 each. We are limiting the collection to novels at the moment (no childrens books) due to space considerations, but we have a good collection of best sellers including suspense, mysteries, and romance! All Members are welcome to come and peruse the assortment of books during office hours (weekdays, usually 9:30 -15:30), but please call first to ensure we are present.

Introducing Connect International CONNECT INTERNATIONAL offers four areas of service to the international and business communities in Groningen, Drenthe, Friesland, and Overijssel.


Facilities Management

Connect International Paterswoldseweg 810 9728 BM Groningen

New Connect Library

1. Relocation Service * Pre-arrival & Arrival Packages * Arrival & Settling-in Plans * Departure Package 2. Connecting Worlds * Connecting Worlds Club (Events &Activities) * Information Service (Publications & Resources) 3. Business Services * Connect Business Club * Connect Corporate Service * Connect Preferred Provider 4. Connections Newsletter * Contains articles of interest to international residents, businesses, and schools, profiles of area businesses, advice for newcomers, reviews, interviews, ads, special offers, and a calendar of events.

• Sandra Burne • Kaston Leung • Michelle Zuliani • Subhashis Roy • Laurentiu Alexe • Olaf Wucknitz • Lisa Harvey-Smith • Rebeca Soria-Ruiz • Lisa Parker

Letters to Connect Comments received after the first meeting of Connect Noord Holland: 'Thank you for the evening meeting last week. I never realised there are people from all over the world here in Alkmaar and surroundings!' 'Just wanted to thank you for your hospitality tonight. The meeting was great and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to finally meet you, plus so many others. I look forward to seeing where things go and getting to know you and some of the others better.'

Connect Publications Connecting in the Northern Netherlands: An Expatriate Information Guide Cost: € 13.50*

Working and Studying in the Northern Netherlands: A Practical Guide for Foreigners Cost: € 7.50*

Guide to Having a Baby in the Northern Netherlands: It's a Different Cup of Tea! Cost: € 7.50*

Finding Your Way around the Health Care System in the Northern Netherlands: It's Easier Than You Think! Cost: € 7.50*

A Kids' Guide to the Northern Netherlands Cost: € 7.50*

* Members discounts on publications

receive Connect




The Art of Finger Pressure Massage Three years ago, I made the decision to come and live in Holland, to start a new life with my partner Jurudi, a Dutch native. I arrived in Groningen, a city so different compared to cities I had known in England where I had grown up. I was not a complete stranger to building a new life in a new country, having spent a year staying at a spiritual community in France. It was there I first met Jurudi, who like myself, had made a decision to make a big change and live under the umbrella of a spiritual master. Michael Barnett had built a wonderful place for people to come and learn how to work with energy in many forms, including


friends and family. At this time I was still working in the advertising company and was still not satisfied with my lifestyle. I then made further plans to learn even more about alternative healing. At this point I decided to

study Shiatsu, an ancient oriental method of massage, which has further developed over the years due to its merging with Western knowledge of anatomy, acupressure, and a variety of other Eastern healing practices. Shiatsu is a massage technique using fingers, thumbs and palms, using pressure called "Ki" or "Chi" to unblock points along energy channels. These channels or meridians as they are also known are aligned throughout the body. When the blocked energy is allowed to flow normally again, it can bring balance and harmony, and well-being back to the body. Upon completion of my training, I realized that I at last felt as though I could help and enable people to cope with many of today's problems. Experiences we all share due to the fast pace of

yoga, music and meditation and personal development skills. Whilst living there in the community, I was able to use my Shiatsu massage techniques, which I had learnt from my training and practice developed in England. My journey really started some twelve years ago at a point where I had become stuck in time. Although working as a manager of a busy advertising company, I found I was becoming a prisoner of the job and had the feeling that I needed to make some dramatic changes to the direction in which I was heading. With these thoughts I decided to look at how I could give back to others, to be of value and help. With some research I enrolled at a reflexology school, where I studied and became qualified so that I was able to practice on

living, demanding jobs, family, I cannot say that I can make the relationships, food and pollution. world a tranquil place of course, but can bring relief and relaxation and hopefully help with some of the problems we have to endure.

We where surprised to learn that the community in France was unable to continue. Having sadly said our goodbyes, we and the members of the community all returned to a very different and overpowering world. At first we felt overwhelmed and lost, but then out of the blue we found work in a clinic and New Age shop. Back in England we found a place to live in Milton Keynes (a new city which was only about 20 years old then). The shop and clinic enabled us to continue practicing and building new contacts with a network of other practitioners. My partner and I worked together for three years in the clinic. This opportunity was a result of the change of management in the business and clinic. I then re-opened the shop as a health food shop. The clinic stayed as well. It was a challenge with new ideas and changes. (At this point Jurudi had decided to

return to Holland, her home country. We had made plans to stay in contact). The Shiatsu practice in the clinic was successful with many of the clients benefiting from the massage. Unfortunately, two years later we had to close both shop and clinic due to forces beyond our control. It was at this point that Jurudi and I made the conscious decision to live in Holland together, where she was already settled. I arrived with suitcase and plane ticket in hand in May of 2003. I did not know much about the Dutch culture or its people and my Dutch language skills are still in the very early stages of learning. Today we are blessed with a beautiful daughter and a new home, which has given me the opportunity to offer Shiatsu massage and reflexology from a pleasant and peaceful room in our home. The massage is given whilst one reclines on a futon, dressed in comfortable, light clothing. If you would like to know more about Shiatsu or book a treatment, please contact: Dinidi, Jensemaheerd 142, 9736 CK Groningen. Telephone: 050-8500841




Municipality and Water Taxes It's that time of year again-tax

this tax as well. From now on, the

Water Taxes

time! And not only for income

gemeente will levy different rates


taxes but also for gemeentelijke


There are three types of taxes

belastingen. But what are these

people living at a property. This


taxes and how does one pay for



them? Read on for a little more

people produce more trash. The















involving tax),


rates for this year are: € 278.76


campaign for the belastingdienst

for one person, € 288.72 for two


Aa's water: (clean

Waterkering of



and level

says, "We can't make it nicer, but

people, and € 298.68 for three or

management). These taxes are in

we can make it easier!"

more people.

addition to your water usage bill and come from a different source.

Municipality Taxes

Hondenbelasting (Dog Tax)

The following examples are for the

Everyone who owns a dog in the



gemeente must pay a dog tax. The

households must pay per unit of


Groningen. may


Other different


rates for 2006 are € 82.44 for one


taxes or different rates!

dog, € 204.96 for two dogs, and

vervuilingseenheden, and the cost

for every dog extra the cost is an

per unit for 2006 is € 70.74. This

Onroerende-zaakbelasting, OZB

additional € 164.88.

tax is assessed only for the period

(Property Tax)




in which the property is used.

First some good news. The user portion of the home property tax

Waterkering: Costs are a fixed

has been abolished beginning this

€ 4.32 per household, plus € 0.10

year (2006). This means that home

per € 2500 of the WOZ of the

renters no longer have to pay a

property. The rates are different for

property tax for using someone



else's property, and that owners (who are also the users of the

Waterbeheer: Costs are a fixed

property) pay a lower property tax.

€ 39.18 per household, plus € 0.65

The rate for this year is € 3.93 per

per € 2500 of the WOZ of the

€ 2500 of the WOZ (tax appraisal)

property. The rates are different for The Tax Collector

value of the property.

unimproved land.

Rioolrechten (Sewer Tax)

The gemeentelijke taxes can be

Property owners also pay a tax to

paid in cash, by acceptgiro or by

keep the sewer system running.


The cost for this necessary service

choose direct debit, the payments

is a fixed cost of € 107.35 per year.



direct spread

Afvalstoffenheffing (Garbage Tax)


A change has occurred this year for


debit. out







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10.00 to 17.00 Golden Tulip Groningerweg 19 9765 TA Paterswolde Sparkle 10% off on all Bijou CP&G 10% off on Entire Pearl Collection Clearing Earrings

In Search of Luxury Pearls & Pashminas

Carol P. Govaert Designer Mob: 06 22989591

Connecting Worlds Club We offer information and support to 'Global Nomads' and international residents and help familiarise them with the practical, cultural, educational, and commercial aspects of living in the Northern Netherlands. Our Connecting Worlds Club provides a sense of community, allowing friendships to develop in an informal atmosphere while sampling the culture and activities of the Northern Netherlands. The Connect Information Service supplies practical information in English on living, working or studying in the Northern Netherlands through Connect Publications, seminars, our website, and a telephone information line.

Join the Connecting Worlds Club and receive these benefits: 1. Limited Membership (€ 15/year) * Email notifications of coming events and activities * Online registration for events * FREE subscription to the Connections Newsletter * Invitation to Annual General Meeting 2. Global Membership (Single €35, Family €50/year) * Email notifications of coming events and activities * Online registration for events * FREE subscription to the Connections Newsletter * Invitation to Annual General Meeting * Membership card valid for discounts on goods/services from affiliate companies * 25% discount on Connect activities and events (at least 20 per year) * 25% discount on all publications * Four FREE personal classified advertisements in the Connections Newsletter * FREE access to the Connect Information Service

You can sign up easily on line at: Or call the Connect office at 050 521 4541. We look forward to welcoming you!



Fabulous Fabergé Eggs execution. These eggs were the Fabergé eggs, brainchild of Peter Carl Fabergé and his brother, Agathon.

upwards two more surprises were revealed; a tiny ruby egg-shaped pendant suspended inside a replica of a diamond set replica of the Imperial crown.

This series of eggs were crafted in the workshops of the House of Fabergé between 1885 and 1917, having been commissioned by the Russian tsars, Alexander III and Nicholas II for their wives as annual Easter gifts. Peter Carl Fabergé was trained as a jeweller and goldsmith and although his hand cannot actually be attributed to any of the Fabergé eggs, his membership of the merchant's guild meant that he had Rosebud Egg 1895 access to the best designers and Easter marks the re-awakening of craftsmen around to execute his life and the fact that Spring is artistic vision. It was through this already in full swing after the long deathly months of winter. In its religious context this is reflected by the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after his crucifixion. At Easter time the egg has long been given as a gift, symbolizing rebirth and fertility. Often, this is in its simplest form as a savoury food courtesy of the chicken. Its more popular counterpart is sweet and generally made out of chocolate. In most cases the egg is decorated, painted or wrapped in brightly coloured foils. Hidden on the eve of Easter by the elusive Easter Bunny, and hunted for by excited children the next day in Easter egg hunts. This festival is one of the more delightful ones in the calendar year.

The Imperial Family

were produced at the rate of one a year until 1917 when the October Revolution led to the demise of the imperial family, and Fabergé fled to Switzerland where he lived to the end of his life in 1920. It is said that the Bolsheviks gave Fabergé ten minutes to take his hat and leave. 15th Anniversary Egg

There are said to be a total of fifty Imperial Easter Eggs in the world, including the nine owned by the Russian energy tycoon Victor Vekselberg. He bought the eggs from the Forbes family collection auctioned at Sotheby's, with a view to returning to Russia part of its cultural heritage. Ten can be found in the Moscow Kremlin Collection; five are at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Britain's Queen Elizabeth owns three. Others are in the United States, Switzerland and Monaco. The whereabouts of eight is still unknown.

The Renaissance Egg 1894

that he was able to build up the company founded by his father into one of international repute, creating artefacts influenced by ancient styles as well as the then more modern art nouveau. This put the house of Fabergé on a par with the American Tiffany & Co. The eggs

Lillies of the Valley Egg 1898

Coronation Egg 1897

Historically there has been another genre of egg that was given at Easter, which although quite inedible was at the same time quite fabulous in its design and

Peter Carl Fabergé

The ingenuity and beauty of the eggs did not stop with the amazing enamelling; precious jewels, metals and guilloche décor of its outside, but concealed an equally magnificent surprise inside. The first Fabergé egg, made to the delight of the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna's (the whereabouts of which remains a mystery to this day) was a plain white egg with a simple gold band round the outside. The removable gold yolk within produced a varicoloured hen with engraved feathers and rubies for eyes sitting on a nest. By pushing the beak

First Imperial Egg

Today descendants of the Fabergé brothers continue in the recreation of artefacts to keep the Fabergé name alive. Alison Day



April 2006 Sun




Activity Highlights



Sat 1

April Fool's Day Tango Varon Sandra Luna Argentinian singer 20.15 hrs €16,50 Oosterpoort, Gron.

Jazz Festival 18/03-18/04 For more info: www. Groningen


Oxford & Cambridge Boatrace (UK)



Matthäus Passion J S Bach Bach Choir Holland 19.30 hrs Tickets from €27,50 Oosterpoort Gron.

Koopzondag (Sunday shopping) - Groningen Enschede. Assen, Alkmaar


Palm Sunday Stadjersmarkt (Peoples market) 10.00 - 17.00 hrs Martiniplaza, Groningen Admission €2, 65+ €1,50,


Connect Easter Day Lunch 13.00 - 17.00 hrs Connie & John Lavelle's, Onnen


St George's Day Koopzondag (Sunday shopping) Emmen




Gentlemen & The Far East Band 20.30 hrs Tickets €18,00 Oosterpoort, Groningen




HEAR ME Conny Janssen Dances 20.15 hrs Ticket from €10,50 Oosterpoort, Groningen



25 Mozart Krönungsmesse Classical Concert 20.15 hrs Tickets from €26,50


Stadjersmarkt (Peoples market) 10.00 - 17.00 hrs Martiniplaza, Gron Entrance €2,


Connect Coffee 10.30 Het Feithhuis Groningen Lizz Wright Georgia, USA 20.30 hrs Tickets €16,00 Oosterpoort,Gron



Maundy Thursday

Matthaus Passion J S Bach Noord Ned Orchestra 19.30 hrs Tickets from €27,50 Oosterpoort Gron.

Full Moon

Passover begins (Jewish) Therevadin (Buddish New Year)


Lunchconcert Classical 12.45-13.30 hrs FREE admission Oosterpoort, Groningn (Also 27th April)


CNH Book Club 20.00-22.00 hrs Jo Silberstein's Castricum

World of Barbie & Lego 10.00-18.00 hrs Tickets €8,50 Martiniplaza, Gron

May 2006 Sun 30

Mon 1

May Day

Tue 2

Wed 3



Mother's Day


Bach's Motetten Classical concert 20.15 hrs Tickets €24.50 Oosterpoort Groningen


Ensemble TriDali Classical 11.00 hrs Tickets €11,50 Kids €7,00 Oosterpoort, Groningen



Gemini Begins

Summer Begins (Longest Day)


Koopzondag - Heerenveen


Memorial Day


The Turn of the Screw Henry James Music - Britten 20.15 hrs Tickets from €19.50 Oosterpoort, Groningen


Corpora Allata Kei Takei (Japananese Dance) 20.50 hrs Corpora Allata Kei Takei (Japan) Tickets €15,00 Oosterpoort, Gron


Nederland's Dance Theatre 20.15 hrs Tickets €13,00, €21,50 City Theatre Groningen


I due Foscari Verdi National Travel Opera 20.15 hrs Tickets from €19,50 City Theatre, Groningen


CONNECTING WOMEN LUNCH 12.00 hrs Paviljoen Kaap Hoorn Paterswolde CNH Coffee 20.00-23.30 hrs TBA


Jesus Christ Superstar (Joop van den Ende) Tickets €39.50 11-13 May Martiniplaza, Gron.

Lunchconcert 12.45-13.30 hrs Oosterpoort, Gron Blue Note Trip 10.00 hrs Tickets €8,00 Oosterpoort, Groningen


Noord Ned Orchestra /Michel Tabachnik Classical 19.30 hrs Tickets €20,50, €24,50 Oosterpoort,Gron.

31 Poulenc & Britten Classical music 20.15 hrs Tickets €21,50, €24,50 Oosterpoort, Groningen





Musique Fantastique NNO/Jacques Mercier 20.15 hrs Tickets from €20,50 Oosterpoort, Gron Big Black & Beautiful - Sisters of Soul 20.15 hrs Tickets €24,00 Martiniplaza, Gron

Earth Day

29 Greenery Day (Japan)

Queen’s Day


12 Noord Ned. Orkest /Arvo Volmer Classical 20.15 hrs Tickets from €20,50 Oosterpoort, Groningen


Connect Coffee Morning 10.30 hrs Het Feithhuis Groningen


Sat 6 Rhythm & Blues Night 20.00 hrs Tickets €30,00 Oosterpoort Groningen


Full Moon

Paranormal & Jewellery Fair 13-14 May Martiniplaza, Groningen


Royal Ascot (20-24 May) (England)


CONNECT COFFEE MORNING Date: 7 April Time: 10.30 Place: Het Feithhuis, Groningen MATTHÄUS PASSION - J S BACH Date: 4 April Time: 19.30 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen CLASSICAL LUNCH CONCERT Date: 6 April Time: 12.45 - 13.30 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen

Blue Note Trip 22.00 hrs Tickets €8,00 Oosterpoort, Gron

Lunchconcert Entrance FREE 12.45-13.30 hrs Oosterpoort, Gron


Trad it! Folk Music 20.00 hrs Ticket s €22,00 Oosterpoort, Groningen

Connect Coffee & Massage 09.30 Karen Prowse, Groningen




21 Taurus Begins 22

CNH Coffee 9.00-11.30 hrs Julie Nordmann Heiloo

Bonnei Raitt in concert 20.30 hrs Tickets €31,00 Oosterpoort, Gron


Good Friday


Queen’s Day

Koopzondag (Sunday shopping) - Groningen, Enschede, Assen, Alkmaar


Lunchconcert Classical - piano & soprano 12.45-13.30 hrs FREE admission Oosterpoort, Groningn

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS Date: 18 March - 18 April Time: Afternoons and evenings Place: Various venues in Groningen Info:

CONNECT EASTER DAY LUNCH Date: 16 April Time: 13.00 - 17.00 Place: Connie & John Lavelle's, Onnen CONNECT COFFEE MASSAGE Date: 21 April Time: 09.30 Place: Karen Prowse's, Groningen BLUE NOTE TRIP Date: 21 April Time: 22.00 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen WORLD OF BARBIE & LEGO Date: 26 April Time: 10.00 - 18.00 Place: Martiniplaza, Groningen RHYTHM & BLUES NIGHT Date: 6 May Time: 20.00 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen CLASSICAL - BACH'S MOTTETEN Date: 8 May Time: 20.15 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen CONNECTING WOMEN LUNCH Date: 10 May Time: 12.00 Place: Paviljoen Kaap Hoorn, Paterswolde CONNECT COFFEE MORNING Date: 19 May Time: 10.30 Place: Het Feithhuis, Groningen NEDERLAND'S DANCE THEATRE Date: 23 May Time: 20.15 Place: City Theatre, Groningen OPERA - VERDI, I DUE FOSCARI Date: 30 May Time: 20.15 Place: City Theatre, Groningen CLASSICAL CONCERT - POULENC & BRITTEN Date: 31 May Time: 20.15 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen


June 2006 Sun




Activity Highlights





Sat 3

CNH Coffee 09.00-11.30 hrs Emma KuhneMcPartland Alkmaar


Pentecost Whit Sunday



Koopzondag (Sunday shopping) - Assen


Full Moon

Koopzondag (Sunday shopping) Emmen


Father's Day







Galili Dance Itzik Galili wereldpremière (7 & 8 June) 20.15 hrs, Tickets from €10,50 City Theatre, Groningen

The Holy Body Tattoo -Canadian Dance Group 20.15 hrs Tickets from €12,00 City Theatre Groningen




Flag Day (USA)




The Pearl Fishers Production of Opera South 20.15 hrs Tickets €35,00 Martiniplaza, Groningen



CNH Coffee 20.00-23.00 hrs TBA NNO-Beethoven Classical concert 9 & 10 June 20.15 hrs, Oosterpoort, Gron


Cancer Begins



GALILI DANCE Date: 7 June Time: 20.15 Place: City Theatre, Groningen OPERA - THE PEARL FISHERS Date: 8 June Time: 20.15 Place: Martiniplaza, Groningen


Umoja -The Sprit of Togetherness 20.15 hrs Tickets €35,00 South African music & dance, Martiniplaza, Gron.


Connect Coffee Morning 10.30 -12.30 hrs Het Feithhuis, Groningen





Connect Coffee Morning 09.30 hrs Heidi Weiss, Norg

CLASSICAL CONCERT BEETHOVEN Date: 9 June Time: 20.15 Place: Oosterpoort, Groningen UMOJA Date: 10 June Time: 20.15 Place: Martiniplaza, Groningen THE HOLY BODY TATTOO Date: 13 June Time: 20.15 Place: City Theatre, Groningen CONNECT COFFEE MORNING Date: 16 June Time: 10.30 Place: Het Feithhuis, Groningen CONNECT COFFEE MORNING Date: 29 June Time: 09.30 Place: Heidi Weiss, Norg

What's On in Alkmaar yearly occurrence that has been going on for the last 600 years.

Alkmaar is a grand dame of a city at 750 years old, with 100,000 inhabitants and is known as the Netherlands Cheese City. It can be reached in just over half an hour from Amsterdam Central Station by intercity train. The main attraction is the cheese market which starts at 10.00 until 12.30 from the first Friday in April until the first Friday in

September. During this time the market place is full of enormous cheeses being bought and sold, a

The cheeses are sold by a method called 'handjeklap', (literally 'hand clap') a traditional selling method in the Netherlands amongst farmers where the seller and the buyer clap each other on the palm of the hand whilst speaking a secret language. This means that they are in the middle of 'doing

business'. When the clapping stops it means that one has decided that the transaction is finished. The cheeses are then removed after weighing in the 'Waag' (the Weigh House), by 'cheese porters'. Dressed in white uniforms and straw hats with coloured ribbons, these men are members of a 400 year old Cheese Carriers Guild. They use 'berries', a sort of sleigh contraption which helps to lift the heavy cheeses by the use of a strap system round the shoulders of the bearers. The cheese museum can be found in

the Waaggebouw (Waag building) a 14th century building, which has all the information about dairy production. From a historical point of view, Alkmaar has about 400 monuments including the 16th century Town Hall and the Grote St. Laurenskerk. The latter is built in the Brabant-Gothic style (like French Gothic, but with a more ornate exterior) and contains a world famous organ. There is also a Dutch Renaissance house, as well as numerous other churches, small estates and buildings with marvelous facades, some being a couple of hundred years old and dating back to 1573, when Alkmaar became the first city in the Netherlands to beat the of restaurants, cafés, theatres and Spanish army. museums. For the nature lover, a trip to Bergen a couple of kilometers north of Alkmaar by bus reveals a five kilometer walk from Bergen to Northsea-beach at Bergen on Sea. This walk takes about an hour and passes through some of the Netherlands best sand dunes. There is a bus for the return journey should you not want to Being the largest city in the region walk both ways. Alkmaar is popular as the social center and offers a broad diversity Alison Day



The Winning Student Article by Conor Thompson I enjoy living here in the Northern Netherlands. I like it for many reasons. For one thing I find the people are very friendly and helpful to someone like myself from another country. I enjoy shopping for clothes and I find the shops here are quite good. However, I miss some of my favourite shops I used to go to in Ireland as they sold clothes which I haven't been able to find in the shops here. I could probably find them in larger cities like Amsterdam if I knew where to look! I really like my school here in Haren. The international section I attend is quite small but that isn't really a bad thing as you get to know everybody better. In my old school there were about sixty kids in my year, split into two classes. To get to school every morning I take the bus which takes about forty minutes as I live in Assen. I enjoy going to Groningen and I go nearly every weekend with some of my friends. Sometimes I go to a

dry ski slope in Assen with my parents, we often went before Christmas, but recently we have not had as much time to do things as my parents are busy working on our new house. We moved just before the Christmas Holidays. I have also been to Germany for a quick visit since we moved here and that's another good thing about living in the northern Netherland's. You can go there quite easily as it's just an hours drive away. I also like visiting the recreational lake in Paterswolde, where you can go boating, sailing, and wind-surfing and other similar activities. There is a really nice cafe just near the side of the lake which seems to get a lot of business during summer. We travel back to southern Ireland occasionally for holiday visits and family occasions and it's convenient that the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is only about two hours away. In Ireland the main airport is in Dublin and it takes about four hours to reach by car. There we do not have the convenience of the direct train as we do here. This facility is good because we use it when going to the airport and it reduces traveling time and saves driving and having to park in the airport car park.

There are some things about the northern Netherland's which I dislike however. One of these dislikes is the weather. While the weather is better here (it's sunnier and warmer in the summer and dryer in the winter than Ireland which tends to be quite wet and windy) I find it very cold at the moment. Another thing which I have found, it is difficult to get used to is the type of housing here. I do not like the way the houses are placed together, in large developments around the city. In Assen there are four main housing areas Vredeveld, Peelo, Marsdijk, and Kloosterveen. In Ireland you have many differing housing estates in each city with lots of small estates with as few as thirty or forty houses in them. The house I lived in before moving to the Netherlands was bigger and more private then where I live now. I got to know everyone living nearby and had more friends in the neighbourhood. I will probably make more friends living nearby when I learn to speak Dutch a little better. Also I find that some things are very expensive compared to other countries such as petrol, although some things are quite cheap compared to Ireland however, such as food. I have

found that I don't particularly like the traditional Dutch food such as kroketten. Over all I like the Netherlands and despite all my dislikes I am enjoying living here. For newcomers I would say to go explore and to try things that you might not normally try. Holland is a very nice place to live and it has lots going for it as a place to live with many fun and entertaining places to visit including parks, lakes and leisure facilities. There are also many very nice restaurants about with an extensive range of food types such as Italian, Balkan, Indian, Chinese and Greek. I do like to try different types of food. Other then my favourite clothes shops the range of shops is really good, it seems as though there is a never ending selection of shops in Groningen, because the city is quite large. Dutch towns and cities are also full of interesting architecture with many very old buildings. The other noticeable thing about the Netherlands is the amount of people using bicycles daily, which is good for the environment and people's health also!! Conor Thompson

CONNECTING WORLDS CNH's First Coffee Connection

Connecting Women

As "Connecting Women", we are always proud to share the achievements of those who have taken steps to enter the business arena in the Netherlands. English teacher, flute teacher, IT professional, mother, wife and entrepreneur, Sandra Burne has recently 'connected' to Connect International. Sandra moved to the Netherlands 10 years ago to be with her British husband who had already established a career in the Netherlands. Leaving an IT management position behind in the aviation sector and her love for aviation in general, her true love beckoned and Sandra found herself on a new adventure. Based in The Hague (well, we don't expect Sandra to be making it to too many coffee events in the north), Sandra saw the many other advantages of joining the Connecting Worlds Club, especially the potential of making new contacts that would enhance her private and business network. Clearly a multi-tasker, two children later, highs and lows of living abroad and a business potential in hand, Sandra has combined her IT talents, love of the English language and music

Ahoy Captain! Are you interested in dinghy sailing on the Paterswoldsemeer? The Vereniging Watersport De Twee ProvinciĂŤn (VWDTP) situated at the Club House on the Paterswoldsemeer is planning to offer 11 week English language sailing courses for adult and child (beginners as well as experienced), sailors with a possibility to compete in various annual races. If you would like more information please contact Louisa Penton at or check out the website and click on the British flag for info in English. Take a look today!!

to set up Rondinetto is an online database of private teachers. Her own personal experience has enabled Sandra to see a niche in the market. "If you've ever tried looking for a private teacher (particularly music) you'll know that it's a bit of a minefield. There's a lot of information out there but it's all in different places, at this or that school, shop or institution. With this in mind I decided to overstep the problem and create an online database of private teachers providing up-to-date information, sourced widely from international schools and organisations." Sandra's business area was originally concentrated in and around The Hague but in a short time has grown nationally with interest and requests from Groningen to Limburg. The service is currently free for teachers and students. If you're an international woman that has defied the statistical barriers of business in the Netherlands and have created yourself a company or organization then we'd like to hear your story to inspire and encourage others!


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Let's Talk Dutch Connect International have recently organized Dutch classes with language teacher Ariane van Empel. The various classes are at three levels accommodating beginners through to advanced level. Some of the classes are being held at the office of Connect as well as the homes of Connect members. The lessons not only give students an opportunity to increase their language skills but a chance to

meet with other internationals and share their Dutch experiences. "The relaxed atmosphere makes it more fun to learn the language" says Lorna Jordan, Connecting Worlds member. "I feel very comfortable with the group and feel more confident to interact in Dutch with the teacher and other participants. After a year in the Netherlands I am finally spreken Nederlands".



Who's Who in the Connect Business Club Business+Travel Wins Award

Last year the Business+Travel group was awarded with the FD (Financial Daily Paper) 2004 "Gazelle" Award. A prestigious recognition awarded to the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands. Following this award Business+Travel group has been asked by the worldwide independent business travel organization SYNERGI to represent them in the Netherlands. SYNERGI has a worldwide turnover of 11 billion US Dollars. It appears, therefore, that the concept and results of Business+Travel group have been noticed in the market place! More then 44 travel organizations are members of SYNERGI, serving more then 50 countries worldwide. Membership of SYNERGI is based upon numerous high-quality entry regulations, all of which Business+Travel group has been able to fulfill. Managing Director Auke van den Bos compares the recognition with a good restaurant where everybody is aware of the excellence of the food and the

establishment is then awarded a releasing multi-national enterprises Michelin star. from the complexities of travel. International companies with The alliance with SYNERGI will fully branches in the Netherlands can be open the road to international served by one the five offices of the custom. Companies with group. The Walt Disney Company is international branches in more than an example of this global one country prefer to work arrangement. together using one travel company. By means of a global contract, Despite being a member of specific arrangements can be SYNERGI and the international dedicated to such companies, thus growth, Business+Travel group will making it simple to control costs. continue to follow their philosophy Furthermore, it is possible to of having no call centres. They provide a management overview of operate via a network of smaller all business travel occurring in offices whereby travel requests are these different countries. proactively handled by two dedicated travel consultants liasing Companies which travel via personally with your company and SYNERGI know that the recognizing all your specific needs. independent members have earned Travel requests are processed their recognition in the local within a maximum of two hours business travel market and that and all travel documentation they belong to the larger undergoes a thorough quality independent business travel control check before being sent to organizations of that specific the customers. This ensures close country. In every country the total customer contact with the travel business travel solution is co-ordinators who arrange all the customized towards the client and travel requests within your by working with local partners company. there will be no cultural differences in handling their travel needs. For further information: or Due to this alliance, contact Mr Johan Bazuin (Sales Business+Travel group can serve Manager) on telephone: 050-314 clients globally and thereby 2430 or 0592-309992.

Jon Gardella Creates New Masterpiece

Jon Gardella works and lives in the small and attractive town called Garnwerd, 11 kilometers north of Groningen. His studio can be found in the spacious old school building. Upon entering the school for the first time a visitor will be surprised by the amount of work there is; sculptures of all sizes, drawings, paintings, different printing techniques, bronze sculptures and various pieces in different stages of development. The visitor is immediately drawn towards a 4 meter high sculpture standing in the corner. It is made of black modelling-wax which eventually has to be cast into bronze. The first thing one sees is a water-like form, spiraling




BUSINESS CLUB! The CONNECT BUSINESS CLUB provides the opportunity to make new contacts, share professional experience, and promote your business to the management of international businesses and Dutch companies with international concerns in the northern Netherlands. We offer two levels of membership: 1. Associate Member * FIVE Connect Business Club meetings per year * Access to online Member directory containing member contact details and company descriptions * Email notification of upcoming events * Free subscription to the Connections Newsletter * Company profile in the Newsletter upon joining * Membership Card giving discounts on business-to business products & services

2. Executive Member All the above plus: * Automatically become a CONNECT PREFERRED PROVIDER * Four FREE advertisements in the Connections Newsletter * Host a CONNECT BUSINESS CLUB event and feature your company * Business Facilitation to relevant companies, organizations, authorities, media etc. * 25% discount on CONNECT INTERNATIONAL publications

vertically upwards. Pure energy seems to accompany the movement. Then upon closer observation one can make out the figures of a man and a woman in the sculpture. They are life sized and part of a spiral form, twisting and turning. They somehow seem urgent in their movement. The tragedy of 9/11 has influenced this sculpture and yet the subject is not grim. The emotion is one of hope, of warmth and contact.

How can YOU join the CONNECT BUSINESS CLUB? * Attend one meeting for FREE to sample the opportunities and ambiance. * Register online at or contact the Connect office for more information.

Jon Gardella has been working for quite a few years on this piece, and since it has not been commissioned it has no planned destination. Anyone who is interested in this exciting artwork is welcome to come and see it. Please call either of the following telephone numbers

To make an appointment: 0594-622043 or 050-3127887. Ester Hartholt



Foreign Companies in the Northern Netherlands


9,878 The province of Drenthe Total Northern Netherlands 27,213

Number of employees at foreign companies by province

Did you know that the northern Netherlands hosts 264 foreign companies with more than 27,000 jobs? Not only do they create direct jobs, they also create related jobs, by contracting out locally, involving local firms for suppliers, etc. Foreign offices also contribute to the diversification of the national and regional economic structure. With their innovative powers they also often enhance these economies in terms of quality by, for example, innovation and knowledge transfer, and the introduction of new technologies.

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

The Netherlands


The Northern Netherlands

The province of Groningen

The province of Friesland

The interaction between knowledge centers and the industries in the Northern Netherlands is excellent. For IT, physics, electronics, chemistry, biotechnology, eco matters and energy, a company can consult renowned knowledge institutes including TNO, the University of Groningen, and northern colleges for higher vocation education. The University of Groningen is in the top 3 of European research universities in the fields of: ecology, material sciences, chemistry and astronomy. The region also has dozens of small research centers and labs that share specialist know-how with the business world.

Average minimum selling price in â‚Ź per m2 for areas zoned for economic activities


Number of Number of foreign companies employees





4,941 1,539

Other industry
















Life Sciences Machine industry IT Business Services Paper and Cartboard





















Total Northern Netherlands

155 264


Foreign companies ranked by sector details

Prices of business locations in the northern Netherlands are competitive. The purchase prices of business premises and Greenfield land are the lowest in the Netherlands and there is sufficient space for construction. There is also an ample supply of existing representative buildings, often equipped with all modern facilities. Rental prices for business premises in the northern Netherlands are up to 30% below those in the rest of the country.

northern Netherlands is ideal for European distribution. The excellent road network has direct connections to the international main routes and is virtually congestion-free, even during rush hours. Good connections to international railroad networks are available for rail cargo. The northern Netherlands also has an airport for air transportation, Groningen Airport Eelde. The Northern Netherlands has three modern seaports, various inland shipping ports and several rail trans-shipment terminals. In addition, the northern Netherlands is located on several main routes of broadband networks and has connections to many large European data centers.


Both the infrastructure of the

The 'Monkey Rock,' Groningen starting a project is to envisage the human being as the inspirational starting point and then to design around this idea, so that the building not only fits in with its landscape but with the city it is placed in as well. It is most important that its human occupants can relate to the building and feel comfortable as they use it either as an environment to live or work in.

The building of the Gasunie (Gas Corporation HQ) or 'Apen Rots', (Monkey Rock) sits defiantly on the outskirts of Groningen in all its 87 metres of blue and sandy coloured glory. This is the head quarters where the distribution of natural gas is controlled. Consisting of two wings each with seventeen floors, the two wings form one angle of a pentagram at 108 degrees with each other. At the adjoining point of these wings the complex is opened up by lifts and a staircase. The staircase leans on a

column in the form of a tuning fork, the stairs of which are turned 4.5 degrees per floor. The effect created by the interior gives rise to the building being named the 'Monkey Rock'. The building covers an area of 45.000 m² and from initial design to completion took from 1989 to 1994 at a cost of ₏ 63,5 million. The Gasunie was designed by the architectural practice of Alberts & Van Huut Ltd., in Amsterdam. ( dex.html) Their vision before

This organic style of building started in 1925 and continues to the present day. The style of this expressionist movement can be found to have influences from Art Nouveau and the architecture of the anthropological movement. Use of the mathematical Golden Ratio or Phi is often used in the construction. Also the relation between exterior and interior as well as the use of natural materials and colours, as opposed to monotone colouring are an important part of the style. Architects who not only used the organic style in their work, but also were inspired by man and the natural world were Antoni Gaudi as well as a few of the modernists, such as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Hans Scharoun. Alison Day









Dutch Winters From a Canadian's Point of View Close to Christmas, I was sitting by the fireplace with my partner and asked, "Koos, when does winter start?" "This is winter", he said, "It's here now." I could hardly believe it. Winter so far was warm with hardly any frost and even less snow. It was gorgeous except when it rained heavily. This was winter? This was like late September and October in North-western Ontario in Canada where I came from. Stepping outside and looking around, I soon learned that, "What a beautiful day!" was not the appropriate expression to use here. Everyone else talked about "miserable" and "cold" weather. Clearly, I must learn to complain properly about Dutch weather before my neighbours begin to think I've gone mad. It was the coldest January here in ten years and all I could do was laugh when I was told this. I was thinking back to the same time last year when I visited my daughter in "Winterpeg" (Winnipeg "Man-It's-Cold-Out", Manitoba), where she attends university. It was the coldest weekend of the year at minus 37 degrees Celsius accompanied by a screaming wind. That is what I think about when I think about "cold". Even a northerner has to look deep for the fortitude to go out in that. Winnipeggers were dressed like bank robbers that weekend, with balaclavas or scarves covering all parts of the face except their eyes. Everyone wore heavy boots, thick parkas and mitts (gloves would never do), and layers of warm clothing under it all. Thus armed against the weather, a northerner is ready to step outside to an icy blast where breathing frosts up eyelashes, hoods and scarves. Fortunately, Winnipeg is blessed with heated bus shelters, underground and overhead walkways downtown and huge

National Holiday Dutch Liberation

indoor shopping malls to maximize winter comfort levels. But you still have to go out of a warm and comfortable house! Minus 30 is OK for taking a nice walk as long as there is no wind. Tires begin to freeze around this temperature and you know it's cold when the car goes thumping down the road for a little while before the tires are round again. You also know it's cold when the heat and defroster are on full blast and the inside of the car never warms up and the frost on the windshield never entirely goes away. We almost never, ever, forget to plug the car in to a block heater at night or it won't start in the morning. This is a mysterious procedure to all but residents of the far north. And then there are the large quantities of snow. As winter progresses, the roads and driveways get narrower, the snow banks higher, and sidewalks shrink to single-file pathways. The sound of crunching snow as you walk on it can tell you how cold it is. The higher the pitch, the colder it is. In the Netherlands, the usual sound of snow is, "slop, slop", nothing like the sound of "chalk on the blackboard" that accompanies very low temperatures. This is good, except for the need for waterproof boots. Moose-hide mukluks are far better off staying in northern Canada. And then there is the ice. The thickness can be measured in feet. When it is thick enough, winter roads are cleared over lakes to transport goods to northern communities which can be reached only by air during summer. The best thing about the ice is the chance to go ice fishing. This is the opinion of many northern men. It is not mine. I opted out of ice fishing altogether until I received a visitor from the

Netherlands who wanted to experience it. Is it safe? The sound of ice cracking now and then can be disconcerting until one realizes it is one metre thick and you can keep a good-sized fire going on it all day long to keep warm. So my thoughts turn to the balmy Netherlands winter where often I can often stroll outside gloveless and wearing light shoes. I enjoy seeing a profusion of garden flowers every day. In December, the blooms were mostly yellow and purple from as-yetunidentified shrubs and winterblooming heathers. In January, the snowdrops were out. In February now, more shrubs are blooming. No complaints here, even if the temperature decides to drop to minus 20 some day! Margaret Metsala

The 5th of May is 'Bevrijdingsdag', Liberation Day on the Dutch calendar. On this day every year the liberation of the Dutch in 1945 from the German occupation of the Second World War is commemorated. It is only since 1990, however, that this day has been given the status of a national holiday. On this day peace and freedom are central in peoples' minds. By annually celebrating together we are constantly reminded of the responsibility that we all have, to try to realize or hold on to this right of humanity.

Theater Muzemuis If you are looking for something to do on this day, there will be celebrations in and around the centre of Groningen as well as in the Stadspark (City Park) at the race track, with free admission. Throughout the day up until 21.00 hrs there will be a diversity of bands and entertainment on the stage there as well as refreshments. There is a pavilion for children, Theater Muzemuis (a puppet show) and Rubber Raria, an enormous coloured rubber artworks that can be jumped and played on. For more information their website can be found at:

Rubber Raria

Alison Day

International School Eerde Kasteellaan 1 7731 PJ Ommen The Netherlands Telephone: +31-(0)529-451452 Fax: +31-(0)529-456377 E-mail: International School Eerde, where your talent is your future. Eerde is the only International Boarding School in The Netherlands and offers a range of programmes based upon the individual needs of each and every student.


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Annejoke Luiting & Mango Murals although she enjoyed the study, it became apparent that she was not commercial enough for the fashion world. Confirmation of this was to be seen when she produced a painting for her end examination! After this she changed artistic direction and there was no stopping her, she had found her passion. Painting backdrops for a musical, mural commissions via friends and acquaintances as well as painting for her own pleasure began the build up of her portfolio. For as long as can be remembered ancient civilizations have painted murals as records of their existence, or as an enhancement to their living space. Today the mural is still popular as an artistic decoration in our interiors, in urban spaces to revive the greyness of modern architecture, and also in the anti-establishment decoration of graffiti art. My visit this time took me to Beijum, Groningen to the house of Annejoke Luiting. With a little mobile help and a lot of cycling around I finally found her house. The reason being, that the numbering of the houses seemed to bear a striking resemblance to a thought process conceived by Dali, aimed to confuse and infuriate. Upon entering Annejoke's house I came into a hall in which the floor was decorated with a swirling mural. A staircase led up to the living area where another mural could be seen just before we entered of a decidedly Art Nouveau influence. The background, a warm orangey colour, could be found to repeat itself throughout the decor of the apartment. The area was filled with the scent of aromatic oil, and three cats strolled around or slept in specially prepared baskets. Central to view was a large painting of a rose in warm shades of yellow. We sat down to coffee accompanied by a rather heavenly chocolate and Annejoke began to tell me about herself. As a child Annejoke's interests

were with fashion, which led at the age of twenty-five to fashion school in Amsterdam. Here

Working part time as a telephonist/receptionist at Groningen Airport Eelde brought in her first major commercial mural sponsored by Dutch Bird. Her assignment was to jazz up the rather boring departures hall and at the same time make it child-friendly. This she managed to do not only by her use of colour and subject matter but also by the interactive nature of the mural, complete with drawers that can be pulled out of the wall. Since then she has had a lot of private commissions. Her colour palette consists of warm oranges, reds, pinks and yellows and a major influence in her work is the decorative style of Art Nouveau and the artists from that

period, in particular Gustav Klimt, JW Waterhouse and Lawerence Alma Tadema. The classical and marble renditions in the work of the latter intrigued her so much so that she has tried to reproduce the technique in her murals. Her use of shape is generally curvaceous and flowing, and the overall effect is graphic but painterly. When asked about her philosophy on life Annejoke replied that she believes that there is a central "rode draad', (red line) that we all follow. We are confronted by hardships, illness and problems to make us look at what we are doing, to accept change and thereby learn from it. This is also

true of her personal paintings; she believes she still has a lot to learn about expressing herself in her work in order to more than scratch the surface of who she really is.

Should you be interested in commissioning Annejoke she would be delighted to arrange a consultation. She can be reached on: 050 541 9967. More examples of Mango Muurschilderingen can be seen on her website at: Alison Day

Wagamama started out at Streatham Street, London, England in 1992 and has since then grown into a chain which is fifty-seven branches strong throughout the world.

The interior of the Groningen branch is sharp and clean as far as interior design and colour goes. Most of the walls are neutral in colour except one which has a large red and yellow graphic mural design painted on it showing a figure eating hungrily from a bowl. The visible kitchen area (where one can watch the chefs hard at work) is silver. Friendly staff greets you upon entering, dress code red T-shirt with the Wagamama logo on it and black bottom half. This is fast food with a twist. The philosophy behind the food is 'positive eating and positive living', where preparation times range from 5-10 minutes without detracting from the freshness, quality and taste of the food.

Accompanied by a glass of wine I tried Duck Gyoza, a side dish of fried dumplings filled with duck and leek with a Hoi Sin sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity as well as the presentation of this tasty dish. Other choices from the menu include varying dishes with noodles (their speciality) and some very healthy fresh juice combinations. Wagamama's can be found: Vismarkt 54 (Fish market), Groningen and is open Monday - Sunday 12.00-22.00. Telephone: 050 313 0783, email: More information about Wagamama can be found on their website: Alison Day



Thailand: Land of Temples, Fine Cuisine and Smiles Thailand each puppet is "operated" by three players, dressed in black. They appear on stage and hold on to sticks to operate the various parts of the puppets. You can imagine what kind of co-ordination is needed both for the puppet and the players since they must move in concert together on stage.

When my sister in law offered to look after our two precious handfuls, we booked our flights before she could change her mind. We discussed briefly where to go, but Thailand won hands-down because I used to travel to Thailand on business and enjoyed the country, and both of us have a passion for Thai food. Going to Thailand also gave me the opportunity to say goodbye to the management of the two Thai companies of which I was a board member. We decided to go for four days to Bangkok and then fly to Chiang Mai in the north. In Bangkok we were in the hospitable hands of my fellow board-members. Upon arrival, we were taken to the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a beautiful palace, literally covered with gold. The Emerald Buddha was fantastic. Worshipers and tourists mingled, whereby the pragmatism of the monks ensured that the tourists would both get information on Buddhism as well as leave behind something financially tangible. It was interesting to see that compared to a few years ago the number of Asian (esp. Korean, Chinese and Japanese) tourists had increased dramatically; one more sign that Asia is becoming increasingly interested in their combined Asian heritage. After visiting the temple, we were taken to the Joe Louis theatre to see a traditional puppet show. The theater was named after a famous Thai puppeteer, who lived in the beginning of the 20th century, not the famous boxer as we first thought! Every country has its own kind of puppets from Punch

and Judy in the UK to shadow (wajang) puppets in Indonesia and water puppets in Vietnam. In

During those days in Bangkok we went to some excellent restaurants. The best one was the Royal Blue Elephant, located in an old "colonial style" house (although Thailand has never been occupied, so technically they can't have colonial houses) where the Chino Thai Chamber of Commerce used to be located. We were treated to a fabulous dinner, with some dishes we never had tried before, and with excellent

the old imperial Ayutthaya, a city with beautiful temples, ruins and statues. Certain temples (also called watts) are related to temples one can find in Anghor Watt in Cambodia, and were fascinating to see. On the way back to Bangkok, we journeyed by boat and had a chance to relax. At the pier, we were picked up to go to a show called "Siam Niramit, a Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam". The show was something like Thailand meets Disney World: a show about the history of Thailand performed in a spectacular way with 150 actors, elephants, flying dancers, a boat and a real pond, all in a purposebuilt theater. After the show, we strolled in the gardens surrounding the theater which monks would like to talk with anybody about being a monk, a Thai, a Buddhist or anything else. There was also another sign that said they would be disappointed if we didn't talk with them! Riding on an elephant into the jungle was also quite an event. Sitting on top of an elephant makes you feel quite humble, especially when our elephant made clear to us through sounds and body movements that she did not want to leave her calf! We visited the tribe of the Karen, the so called longnecks. Women from the age of 6 have a metal wire ring placed around their neck. Periodically, the wire is replaced by a wider one such that the neck is stretched to unnatural lengths. Long necks are considered to be very attractive in the Karen tribe so I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Walking around this village gave us a strange feeling of unreality.

company. I have some very special memories of the Royal Blue Elephant because I went on a cooking course there on my previous visit and prepared there a lovely meal: Tom Yang Kung (spicy shrimp soup), Yam Nuea (beef salad), Gkaeng Pped Gkai (red curry chicken) and Khao Neeo Mamuang (mango with sticky rice). The teaching was done in typical Asian style: the teacher would prepare the dish and we would exactly copy what he had done. The most interesting character was the teacher's assistant: clearly a man, however he was wearing eye shadow and false eyelashes, had rouge on his face and smelled like Chanel no5. One thing that struck us again is that people in Asia, especially in Thailand, are very knowledgeable about food. A one-day trip was scheduled for

included an open air museum with people of all regions of Thailand demonstrating a variety of traditional crafts from silk weaving to buffalo hide painting. After a morning of shopping, we took the plane to Chang Mai to really experience a different Thailand. Bangkok is a vibrant international city with skyscrapers, 18 million people and congestion. On the other hand, Chang Mai is somewhat off-the-beaten-track, has only 600.000 people, a 1000 temples, and tribes nearby who still continue their traditional way of living. The contrast was great and we loved it. In Chang Mai we did the typical tourist activities. We walked through the old city and visited numerous temples. In one temple there was a sign, saying the

Shopping was also good in Chiang Mai. Never have we seen so many (English and second hand) bookstores so we completely replenished our library and even managed to sell some Dutch books! The night market was a great place to hunt for souvenirs, the river side was full with good restaurants and waiters who served you with a smile. That is the most striking feature of Thailand: friendly, smiling, forthcoming people. There is a saying in Thailand: Be as bamboo; be flexible and bow to the wind but still grow. Not a bad motto to live by. When we returned from our holiday, our kids still recognized us and my sister-in-law told us that she enjoyed herself so perhaps this is something we can repeat in the future. But for now we savor the memories of a great holiday. Andre Beijers

Out of Africa

Carol Govaert talks about her African Safari nature. A Colobus monkey jumped out of a tree, stole my bread, jumped into the tree, and dropped the napkin onto my head. There was a whole family of monkeys in the trees stealing people's bread. That kept us all entertained.

My husband and I wanted to do something special last year to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We had never been in Africa and thought that would be a great way to celebrate. We went to all of the travel agents and picked up lots of brochures and spent many weekends pouring over all the information. Eventually we decided on the Best of East Africa Kenya and Tanzania and a travel agent that gave us the best customer service, which was Hedwig Hollander from Vakantie Experts in the center of Assen. On May 12th, the day of our anniversary, we booked the holiday for November 2005. I spent a lot of time planning and gathering all the practical items we needed for the trip. I have to say it was time well spent. I was ready for any emergency and also managed to help out our fellow travelers along the way. I also found that offers useful information. After a long journey we finally arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, exhausted but happy. We were taken to our hotel and I couldn't sleep waiting for the adventure to begin. We woke up to a gorgeous day with interesting animals and plants in the hotel grounds. Soon we were on our way with our group and guide in a minibus (with a pop off roof) to our first stop Samburu. The drive to the reserve was wonderful, travelling through colorful villages teaming with life and women adorned in the most beautiful and vibrant clothes. After I detached my face from the window, we had lunch outside, and I had my first encounter with

We passed a village that was located at a junction that went to Somalia and Ethiopia. The road was full of potholes and we bumped along to the gate of the first game reserve Samburu. The guide popped up the roof and we all jumped up like a Jack-in-the-Box and started madly photographing everything that moved. After an exhilarating day we arrived at the lodge to be told that our first game drive would begin in the morning at 06:00 am!

something interesting happening. We stayed up almost the whole night watching the elephants, gazelles, warthogs and cheetahs. As dawn broke we feasted on a hardy breakfast then spent the day travelling to a smaller reserve called Lake Nakuru, famous for the flamingos. It looked like the lake has been painted pink. You see thousands and thousands of them along the shores. Here we saw the Rhinos for the first time, a different sort of giraffe and trees. Exhausted, we went to bed that

night processing experiences. The next day, during our game drive, we come across a group of elephants with their babies. One mama looked at us fiercely and we all froze. She had that same look in her eye that my mom used to give me when I was a kid. In the distance we heard a lion roaring, and although we looked for it, we couldn't find it. We were all excited over breakfast talking about all the animals we had seen. We spent the rest of the day on game drives hanging out of the top of the minibus watching over fifty species of animals not counting the interesting plants. Our next destination was the Ark located in Aberdere. Unlike Samburu, which is arid with lots of Acacia trees, this reserve is located in a rainforest. The Ark is situated at a watering hole, where the animals come to drink. We went to our room and what did we see: a couple of elephants casually walking by. Understandably, we were not allowed to leave the ark. There are a number of viewing areas at different levels. Everyone stays awake for most of the night watching the animals coming and going. In the rooms the guests are informed with a bell if there is




the rooms looked like huts. They were perched high up on a hill overlooking the lake. All the animals were roaming around on the plains and in the water there were buffalos and hippos. There was also a part of the park that was forested where the elephants lived. Suddenly a herd of elephants began stampeding and were heading in our direction. It's not a good thing when even your driver looks scared! A few days later we were on our way to the famous Serengeti. I cannot describe how beautiful the Serengeti is. As you drive up and along the Ngorongoro crater, one encounters a beautiful jungle. Before driving down to the expansive plains of the Serengeti you will come across the well known Masai tribes in their striking red shukas (robes). We came across a lion kill, a pride of lions sunning themselves on giant rocks, cheetahs right next to the road, and leopards in a tree. What was really spectacular was the migration of the wildebeest. There were thousands of them accompanied by zebras. We could feel the vibration on the ground. This was really a magical place.

The following day we left for the Masai Mara Reserve, a tented camp. On arrival, we were welcomed by the sight of miniature gazelles grazing. Later, we went on a game drive and encountered some lions and a dead gazelle in a tree that a leopard had killed and dragged up there.

We spent a couple of days in the Serengeti and made our way back to the Ngorongoro Crater. We took a steep, dirt road into the crater that had no safety barriers. We drove across to our lodge which was about 20 km away. On the way we spotted lions, elephants, monkey, rhinos and many other animals.

Our next stop was Arusha, Tanzania where we spent the

Our last stop was the Tarangire National Park. It's very dry and hot, and the soil looks orange, a contrast from the other reserves we visited. This reserve is known for their large herds of elephants.

night. We were greeted the following day by our new guide and a big Land Cruiser. We took a short game drive in the Arusha National Park. Picturesque highlights of the park are the crater, the dense jungle and a towering mountain in the background. From here we continued on to our next destination, Lake Manyara National Park. We stayed in a place where

I didn't know what to expect when we embarked on our adventure. I was very surprised to find such a variety of animals and flora. Someone told me that Africa was difficult to explain. It's the smells, the sounds, and the people. Africa needs to be experienced. Carol Govaert




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