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DUTCH the magazine

about The Netherlands and its people at home and abroad

Tracks and Traces: Lynden, Washington

City of old churches and new windmills

Maritime History: Lowlanders on the high seas Four centuries of triumphs

Win a DUTCH bicycle: See inside for details

PLUS The southern flair of Den Bosch Becoming a dual Dutch-Canadian citizen Leaving the Indies for ever Traditional Easter fare

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March/April 2012

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March/April 2012

The Map



Wadden Sea



IJssel Lake


Petten Broek op Langedijk

North Sea





Broek in Waterland





Amsterdam Uithoorn

SOUTHHOLLAND Hook of Holland

The Hague Broekpolder

Loenen Breukelen









Utrechtse Heuvelrug


Langbroek Wijk bij Duurstede




Goeree Den Bosch

BRABANT Middelburg



Scheldt Antwerp


Belgium Maastricht

Major Waterway

PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY National Capital Provincial Capital

Maas 70 Kilometers 43.5 Miles

Larger city or town mentioned in the text Smaller town or village mentioned in the text

3 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

On the cover: The Energy Research Center of The Netherlands at Petten (See p. 43) marks the horizon behind a field of tulips in full bloom. (Photo: Johan Wieland)

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Answers to quizzes on page 50 The angel with the cell phone is almost in the center of the top left quadrant of the bottom right quadrant of the bottom photo on page 33. Match the Words: Freight-Vracht, Deck-Dek, Port-Bakboord, Boom-Giek, Tree-Boom, Step-Tree, Scooter-Step, Skipper-Schipper, Zipper-Rits, Big Dipper-Grote Beer. Who: Bre(d)ero(de). What: Weather. Where: Goedereede.


DUTCH the magazine Issue 4 - March/April 2012

Published by:

Mokeham Publishing Inc. 457 Ellis Street Penticton, BC V2A 4M1, Canada

Mailing addresses:

Box 20203 Penticton, BC V2A 8M1, Canada PO Box 2090 Oroville, WA 98844, USA

Contact: (250) 492-3002 fax: (866) 864-7510


Tom Bijvoet (

Circulation and Administration

Mohrea Halingten (

Advertising, Sales and Marketing Julie Wierenga (


Brian Bramson, Nicole Holten, Dirk Hoogeveen, Tim O’Callaghan, Anne van Arragon Hutten, Bob van den Broek, Ronald van Erkel, Jesse van Muylwijck, Paola Westbeek, Andrew Zyp.

ISSN: 1927-1492 Canada Post Corporation Publications Mail Agreement No. 40017090. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Box 20203, Penticton, BC V2A 8M1 POSTMASTER US MAIL OFFICES DUTCH (USPS PP-32) is published bimonthly. Pending periodicals postage paid at US Mail, Blaine, WA 98230 Address changes in the USA please forward to: DUTCH, P.O. Box 2090, Oroville, WA 98844 All rights reserved. The views expressed in DUTCH are those of the respective contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. Although all reasonable attempts are made to ensure accuracy, the publishers do not assume any liability for errors or omissions anywhere in the publication, or on its websites. DUTCH considers unsolicited manuscripts and mail for the Correspondence pages. All editorial material sent to DUTCH will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and may be subject to editing. We reserve the right to reject submissions. We prefer to receive submissions via e-mail, but cannot guarantee that we will acknowledge receipt. We will not return submissions received in hardcopy format, please send copies only. Printed in Canada.

March/April 2012

Tom Bijvoet - Editor’s Brief

Travel the Dutch way

ride a bicycle


here is one thing that sets Holland clearly apart from any other country in the world. Well… come to think of it, there are probably many things that do, some nice, some not so nice, but I am thinking of one thing in particular: bicycles. Anywhere else a bicycle is a piece of sports equipment. It is something to use on the weekend, to get or stay in shape. It is something you get specially dressed up for. You put on weird, uncomfortable stretch pants and a preposterous, brightly coloured shirt that is so tight that it really only looks good on emaciated super models – any bulge or other unseemly collection of body fat is mercilessly exposed. And you put on a helmet, another brightly coloured contraption clearly designed to make you look silly, but without doubt a necessity in all those countries where cycling is not a mode of transport, a means of getting from A to B, as in Holland, but rather a means of getting from A to A without any particular purpose beyond performing a painful act of personal penance. A different paradigm about cycling has given Holland a different traffic infrastructure, with separate bicycle roadways and signals, and with separate traffic regulations which, on the whole, favor the cyclist. Check our website,, where we have posted a link to an interesting short documentary about the history of Dutch cycling paths. What it has also done, is to give Holland different bicycles. Sturdy and strong enough to carry two or three people if necessary, or a load of groceries, or a double bass (yes, yes, I swear… I have seen it with my own two eyes). And, even more importantly, comfortable ones with a proper suspension system and a saddle that after a few miles of riding does not give you the impression, that you have spent an afternoon sitting on the narrow side of a two by four, held on either end by someone suffering from severe tremors. Dutch bicycles allow you to ride in style, wearing whatever you want to wear, jeans and a T-shirt, a suit and tie, a skirt or shorts, it’s all good. Using a bicycle as one of your primary modes of transportation is like taking the stairs instead of an elevator. It’s free exercise. I never felt better than during those times in Holland when I cycled to work. Some cities in North America have begun to see the environmental and health benefits of the bicycle as a means of transportation rather than just as a sport, and are gradually trying to encourage the integration of cyclists into their traffic systems. And as this is slowly happening, we are starting to feel the need for better bi5 - DUTCH, the magazine

cycles, or rather, bicycles built for a different purpose than simply for exercising. Some ‘Dutch bicycle’ stores have opened up in a limited number of cities, and the lucky few who live close enough to one of them can purchase a Dutch bicycle. But for the vast majority of us, spread out over this great continent, that does us little good. So you can imagine that we were very excited when we received a message on our Facebook page announcing the launch of an online Dutch bicycle store. It seemed far-fetched at first, how could you buy a big sturdy Dutch bicycle on-line? But it’s possible. We verified with And Dutch Ltd., the people who posted the message, that they have developed a business model that makes it feasible to ship real Dutch bicycles, original ones from the classic Burgers brand, to any address in the United States or Canada. ‘That’s something our readers would like,’ we thought. So we got in touch with And Dutch, and the result of our conversation is that we are very pleased to announce that we will be holding a draw for a real Dutch Burgers bicycle. Everyone who takes out a new subscription to DUTCH, or renews an existing one, before June 30, will be entered in the draw. Please see page 51 for more information about the draw.


o our first subscription drive – unfortunately you cannot run a magazine without those – will involve something that is near and dear to us at DUTCH, the magazine. We are all very excited about that and hope that you are too. Our subscription sales have ticked steadily along, but we are marginally behind target and hope that with this added incentive we can achieve our first year’s goals. To keep the magazine viable, we have to keep increasing our subscription base. So if you enjoy the magazine, please like us on Facebook, share our posts, retweet our tweets, forward our website address to your friends, or, this may sound hopelessly old fashioned but probably works even better, talk about us! And if there is something about the magazine that you don’t enjoy, don’t tell your friends, but tell us – we need to know where we have to improve! With that I’ll leave you to imagine riding that Burgers Bicycle around your hometown… almost as if you were in Holland. And before I forget to mention it, And Dutch also sells bicycle accessories, including helmets that are stylish and fashionable and will not make you resemble an alien space traveler. Now, is that not an improvement to the cycling experience in itself? March/April 2012


Regulars Travel

32 Hospitable Den Bosch A visit to one of the oldest cities in the land: great architecture, historic artworks, and a sweet local delicacy.


36 Rejoice it’s spring... Traditional Sunday brunch with special Easter bread, cake and ragout. Go easy on the advocaat!


40 When a broek is not... There are many places in Holland called ‘Broek’. We examine what that means.


42 Johannes Heesters Collaborator, or just naive? After 90 years on the stage, the final curtain falls for the man who performed for Hitler.


43 Petten Just behind the dike Petten specializes in flower bulbs and nuclear power.


45 Sonnet A 16th century Amsterdam poet predicts a glorious future for his home town.

Comic Strip

50 The Dutch Judge The Dutch Judge discusses commercial real estate...

Columns 29 Digging for Dutch Roots Dirk Hoogeveen

Variations on the ‘ou’; deciphering written records.

31 Perspectives

Anne van Arragon Hutten

The Dutch language and immigrant kids.

47 Book Browsing Paola Westbeek

Old food, Van Gogh and Visual geography.

48 An Englishman Abroad St. John’s Cathedral Den Bosch 6 - DUTCH, the magazine

Brian Bramson

Of weak tea and heaps of bricks. March/April 2012


Contents Cycling, the Dutch way

12 Lynden, Washington Is being Dutch only skin deep?

We visit Lynden, a quiet little northern Washington community, to find out how deep its Dutchness goes. Right to the heart and soul, as we discover when we ask around.


18 Maritime Glory

3 The Map

From the medieval past to the 21st century, we track the exploits of the lowlanders on the high seas.

Lots of Broeks and other generally soggy places.

5 Editor’s Brief

C/W: Tom Bijvoet - Matthew Kenrick - Anonymous - nationaal Archief - Hans Westbeek

On your bike! If you’re that lucky.

24 Leaving the Indies The final installment of our 4-part series. Amid tears and great sorrow hundreds of thousands leave the Indies for ever.

8 The Courant Glitches at ING, A shipwreck waiting to happen, The Prince is tackling his ‘to do list’, Holland clamps down on a North-African narcotic and The Amsterdam Arena gets smart.

11 Correspondence Leaving the Indies

26 How I became Dutch Navigating Dutch bureaucracy eventually lands the author a Dutch passport. 7 - DUTCH, the magazine

About the new Dutch nationality law and croquettes.

50 Fun and games Spot the angel, who, what and where, and testing your Dutch word recognition skills. Plus a limerick calling for limericks.

March/April 2012

The Courant

Web glitches and ATM blackouts dog ING clients Where ING was once a trailblazer in bringing electronic services to its clients, it seems that recently it has lost its touch. Its Dutch home banking site had connection issues that lasted for a full four days, affecting five million home banking clients, almost one third of the population of The Netherlands. Some on-line retailers reported losing 20% of their revenues because of the downtime. The daily downtime of ING’s home banking site is more than double the national average. ING’s Internet Banking website is the most visited website in the Netherlands. At the busiest times of the year hourly visits to the Internet Banking site have been known to number in excess of one million. Apart from the issues that ING’s Dutch customers are experiencing, the internationally acclaimed home banking pioneer has created some serious problems for its Canadian clients. Without informing anyone, ING blocked access to its Dutch accounts from all Canadian ATMs. The press office was not available for comment but, according to ING’s customer service department, this was “because of widespread skimming ac-

tivity”. Many Dutch immigrants and expatriates use the services of ING, especially because of the long history of its former Postbank division in self-service banking. Postbank predecessor, the Postal Cheque and Giro Service (PCGD), which was a division of the National Postal Service, started its home banking service in 1918, initially via regular mail and telephone. As early as 1923 the PCGD started automating its payment processing with punch card systems. The PCGD was privatised as Postbank in 1986. In the same year, long before Internet Banking became commonplace, it launched its first home banking computer application, Girotel. With a simple home computer and a modem, clients

Historic Batavia rotting away

could do everything that is currently possible with Internet Banking. A number of mergers between 1989 and 1991 resulted in the formation of the ING Group, with Postbank remaining a separate entity until it was integrated into ING Bank in 2009. An undetermined number of Canadian ING clients whose Dutch pensions are paid into their ING accounts and who depended on ATMs to withdraw their money, were brought into significant difficulty when suddenly ATM-access to their funds was blocked. A costly and timeconsuming manual transfer procedure is the only alternative for these clients. ING’s customer service could not tell us if and when access would be restored or whether any Canadian clients were victims of the fraudulent activities that prompted ING to block all access from Canada. The issue also affects Dutch tourists visiting Canada if they rely on their ING debit cards to access money from their accounts. As far as we have been able to ascertain, ATMs in the USA are not affected by ING’s blackout.

The Batavia: rotting in Lelystad

The Batavia, a replica of a Dutch East-Indiaman may be rotting away in Lelystad harbor. Recently the main mast broke in two. The ship has not been out of the water for ten years. In Amsterdam, where the maritime museum also has an East-Indiaman on display (see page 23) it is common practice to bring wooden museum ships such as the Batavia into dry-dock for inspection at least once every two years. That has not been happening in Lelystad. The original builder of the ship, Jan Vos, is very concerned about its fate. “This ship has been rotting away in the water for the past ten years,” he said. “Last year I issued a warning about the bad state of repair the ship was in, but received no reaction at all.” Hans Maris, director of the Batavia wharf and responsible for the Batavia’s maintenance, confirmed that the ship has not been lifted in ten years. “But we will be doing that next winter,” he said. Vos is not convinced that that is soon enough: “The original Batavia was shipwrecked in 1618. I fear that its copy will sink in Lelystad harbor if the maintenance levels remain this poor.” The Batavia wharf does not receive a government subsidy, and financial problems are probably the root cause of the trouble. “We are dependent on revenues from admissions, donations and sponsors,” said Maris. 8 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

The Courant

Crown Prince sells controversial African villa Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima have sold the controversial vacation home they built in Mozambique several years ago. The plan was that the royals would spend their vacations in Mozambique and that the local population would benefit economically from their presence. However, it turned out that the amount of money that would flow back into the local economy would be minimal. There were also allegations of financial irregularities during construction. The sale of the villa, which will likely have resulted in financial loss for the royal couple, is presumed to be one of the prerequisites for the prince to assume the Dutch throne. Queen Beatrix has now reigned exactly as long as her mother, Queen Juliana, and an abdication in favor of her oldest son, the 44-year old Crown Prince, is widely rumored to be imminent.

Prince Willem-Alexander: villa sold, ready for the throne!

Uithoorn: No longer Khat capital of Europe

C/W: FaceMePLS - Island Spice - Karen Blue - Nationaal Historisch Museum - Dutch

A basketful of Khat starts its hasty journey to the consumer

The people of the town of Uithoorn near Schiphol were very pleased when, on January 9th, the Dutch government, following the example of other European governments, added the northeast African Khat plant to its list of illicit drugs. The plant, which contains an amphetamine-like stimulant, is particularly popular among Somali immigrants to The Netherlands. This caused Uithoorn to grow into the European clearinghouse for Khat dealers. Because Khat’s stimulating effect is only active in fresh plants, a mad dash to Uithoorn ensued several times a week as shipments of Khat arrived at Schiphol Airport. As a result the people of Uithoorn had to deal with traffic congestion, parking issues, chaos, fistfights and knifings. They hope that, now that Khat is illegal in Holland, any future shipments will be confiscated directly at Schiphol before they even make it to Uit­ hoorn and that this will spell the end of the town’s reputation as the Khat capital of Europe.

Amsterdam Arena to become ‘smart stadium’ Sports stadium and concert venue Amsterdam Arena is to become a ‘smart stadium’. The home of legendary Amsterdam soccer club Ajax aims to become the most modern stadium in Europe. Extra cameras will be placed alongside the playing field, broadcasting exclusively to the smartphones of supporters who have purchased a special app. In addition the app will allow users to pre-order foods and drinks, which can be paid for with a special Arena chipcard, and, eventually, with the phone it9 - DUTCH, the magazine

Amsterdam Arena: getting smarter

self. This should significantly reduce the number of bottlenecks during breaks and intermissions. The smartphone will also assist visitors in finding, booking and paying for a parking spot and connecting transportation. An actual traffic

control tower will report on congestion around the stadium, so that smartphone users can even make last-minute decisions about changing their access route and parking plans. Henk van Raan, Facilities Director of the stadium said: “This will also have benefits for environmental sustainability, because we will show clients alternative routes and the associated emissions of CO2.” He added: “We do not only want to be a platform for top soccer players and artists, but we also want to lead in innovation.” March/April 2012


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March/April 2012

Correspondence New nationality law a tax issue The article concerning dual citizenship (DUTCH issue 3, January/February, Issues and Concerns for the Dutch Diaspora) caught my eye. I looked at the website for the petition. I do not know whether or not you are aware of the fact that in 1987 the US Congress revised the Internal Revenue Act, a revision known as ‘TAMRA 1987’. ln this amendment the spousal inheritance tax exemption no longer applied to non-residents, in other words, the non-American spouse had to pay the full amount of the tax due on the inheritance. At that time it created an uproar in the Dutch community. There was a choice: either set up a trust or become an American citizen. The law is still on the books. The Dutch Government, eventually allowed dual nationality for Dutch citizens, married to a US Citizen to avoid this discrimination. I could not pinpoint the reason the Dutch government wants to repeal this law at this time, which they created only eight years ago. Does turning the clock back make any sense? Hartelijke groet, Johan van Steenhoven Allentown, New Jersey We doubt that the current government in The Netherlands is aware of the tax implications of the proposed citizenship legislation for Dutch citizens in the USA, or that they care much. The legislation seems to emanate from a desire to pander to widespread anti-immigrant sentiments in The Netherlands itself, with Dutch expatriates being unintended victims of the rewritten Nationality Act. The sponsor of the legislation, Mr. Piet Hein Donner, has moved on to a different government position and his successor, Mrs. Liesbeth Spies, appears less motivated to pursue the issue with the priority Mr. Donner attached to it.

Looking for YDEMA For some time now I have been searching for:

Christiaan Fokke Ydema

Born: May 20, 1923 in Rauwerderhem, Netherlands Father: Jelle Ydema (22 Jun 1885 - 3 Feb 1944) Mother: Antje Wiersma (3 Nov 1889 - 1968) Christiaan arrived in New York on March 26, 1956.

I would like to know:

1. Is Christiaan still alive? 2. If so, where does he live? 3. If not, who are his next of kin (wife, children)? Jobert van Kempen 011-31-6-2224-1689

Croquettes I Just wanted to let you know how thoroughly I am enjoying your magazine. My children are also very happy with it. Keep up the good work. I am wondering if in your next issue you could provide your readers with a recipe for good Dutch Croquettes. The other recipes you have published have become a real hit. It’s just so nice to make something with a Dutch flavor and have people ask where that came from. Thanks! Jake Terpstra Vernon, British Columbia Thank you for your enthusiasm! We have passed your request on to Nicole Holten, our regular food writer. Note that in the current issue we have a recipe for ragout (see page 38), which is the traditional filling for croquettes. So you are already halfway there, and as we understand it the rest is just breadcrumbs. But maybe we are taking a rather simplistic view of the fine art of creating croquettes! We welcome your letters to the editor, but we cannot guarantee placement. We reserve the right to edit letters for accuracy, brevity, clarity and good taste. Submissions by e-mail to: preferred.

11 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

Tracks and Traces

Indisputably Dutch...

Lynden, city of old churches and new windmills


t is just before ten on a midDecember morning as I step out of my motel room. Little droplets float in the air, not quite sure whether they should fall to the earth as thin rain – moth rain (motregen) they say in Holland – or whether they should just hang there in midflight as mist or fog. The temperature is mild compared to the harsh winter weather on the other side of the mountains, which I had crossed the day before, and feeling the soft moist air is invigorating. Makes you want to get out and do things, work, 12 - DUTCH, the magazine

Text and Photographs by Tom Bijvoet toil, achieve. I take a deep breath. A sweet earthy smell – a bouquet of berries and fresh mushrooms a wine buff might say – immediately triggers the synapses in my brain into a comfortable sense of belonging, of feeling at home. I look to my right and above me towers a windmill, not much different from the one at the end of the village street (Dorpsstraat) of Loenen, the town in The Netherlands I grew up in, and to my left, starting at the end of the street, green pastures beyond the edge of the built-up area of town.

And when suddenly the church bell chimes the hour the sensory deception is complete. This is as close as you can get in North-America to the Holland of my youth: the early morning bike rides through the dewy air, heavily laden with the surprisingly pleasant, soothing smell of fresh cow manure. Lynden, in Western Washington, a few miles south of the Canadian border, really is just like The Netherlands, partly because the settlers made it so: the church bells, the fields, the windmill. And partly because that is exMarch/April 2012

actly why they settled here: the climate and the land, perfect for dairy farming. The first Dutch farmers came to the Lynden area in the late 1890s from the town of Oak Harbor on Whidbey island in the San Juan de Fuca Strait about 50 miles to the southwest, on the Pacific coast. Some twenty-five years earlier, in 1874, Phoebe and Holden Judson, the first pioneers to settle in the fertile Nooksack Valley near the Indian village of Squahalish, founded Lynden. Phoebe had found her ‘ideal home’, which was, according to the title of her personal memoirs (A Pioneer's Search for an Ideal Home), what she was looking for. She named the town ‘Lynden’ after the riverside town in the poem Hohenlinden by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell, changing the ‘i’ to a ‘y’ for ‘esthetic reasons’.


his morning I will be meeting with Ron de Valois, city councilor, volunteer at the Pioneer Museum and historian of the First Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, which celebrated its centenary in 2000. To celebrate the occasion Ron wrote a book about the history of the church (Thanking God each time we remember) – a history that is closely intertwined with the history of the town itself. I walk down Front Street, Lynden’s main downtown drag, from the Dutch Village Inn, where I spent the night in the themed Overijssel

A working replica of a Dutch windmill anchors the Dutch Village mall

room. The Dutch Village, a covered shopping mall with a little cobblestoned street, a drawbridge across a miniature canal and Dutch facades, was developed in the early 1980s by local entrepreneur Jim Wynstra. It was hugely successful and popular, but now unfortunately stands

empty as the new non-Dutch owner seems to be at a loss at how to exploit the Dutch theme and has lost his tenants in the process. Walking through the mall now is a slightly eerie experience. It resembles what a Disneyland attraction must look like at night, after all the visitors

Front Street Facades: a Dutch touch in Western Washington 13 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

that song, you know. “What song?” I ask. “Well, that song that you sing at Christmas time, what’s it called again,” she asks me. ‘We sing lots of songs at Christmas,’ I think to myself, ‘Silent Night, Oh Come all ye Faithful, Ave Maria… well maybe not Ave Maria, these are staunch Dutch Reformed folk who probably do not want much to do with the worship of Mary and popery in general’ and then it dawns on me: “Ere zij God,” I say – the definitive Christmas carol in the Dutch Reformed tradition. “Yes that’s it. Ere zij God in den Hoge”, says Tammy, “Glory to God in the Highest.”


After 112 years First Christian Reformed Church is still the vibrant soul of the community

have gone home. The inn in the huge windmill which towers over Front Street, another legacy of Jim Wynstra who built it at the same time as the adjoining mall, however, is still going strong. On the main floor is a little souvenir and gift shop, that also stocks sprinkles, rusks and other items that might appeal to a Dutch palate. It is cozy with comfortable chairs and a fireplace. The previous night I had a long chat there with its current owner, Bill, a relative newcomer to Lynden – he arrived in the USA in the late 1940s from Friesland and came to Lynden by way of dairy farms in upstate New York and central California. We speak in a mixture of Dutch and English, shifting languages mid-sentence as a word or phrase feels more natural in one language 14 - DUTCH, the magazine

or the other, until I tell him that I lived in Leeuwarden for a few years. Bill immediately shifts into Fries, pure Fries, which seems to sit more comfortably with him than either Dutch or English. The conversation meanders, through war, resistance, liberation and emigration to Lynden and its fertile soil. And its many churches – I note that on the corner of Grover and Sixth I thought I could see five at the same time. The Dutch people of Lynden, newcomers and old-timers both, are pious people. I look at Tammy behind the reception desk, a born and bred Lyndenite, who appears to be following our conversation intently, with a smile on her face. Does she understand Dutch? No, unfortunately not, although she would like to learn it. All she knows in Dutch is

on de Valois is a tall, distinguished looking man, with a friendly smile. Despite my pre-announced arrival he is not expecting me, a breakdown in communications somewhere along the line, but he takes the time anyway and we sit, talking for over an hour about Lynden, the First Christian Reformed Church, the Dutch language. After we quickly clear up the mystery of his non-Dutch sounding name – he is of Huguenot stock – he explains that Lynden was never really as Dutch as some other communities in North-America, because it was not settled by people straight out of Holland. The first settlers had been in the USA for some time, searching, by trial and error it almost seems, until, as they trusted, the Lord helped them find First Reformed Church a few blocks from First Christian Reformed Church

March/April 2012

The Bylsma building: thrift and toil solidified in bricks and mortar

the right place to farm. They would pick up and start over in different parts of the USA several times in the course of their life. Ron’s book lists the charter members of the First Christian Reformed Church. Nine of them came from Oak Harbor, five from the Dutch settlement area in Michigan and one from Nebraska. After the church was organized Dutch settlers flocked to Lynden, mostly to escape the harsh unfavorable climate of the prairies. “So Dutch was never much spoken in Lynden?” I ask Ron. Well, in the early days church services were held in Dutch, as the settlers clung to the traditions and style of worship of their homeland and they would still speak Dutch among themselves. But the First World War brought changes. The German-sounding language of the Dutch was listened to with growing suspicion by their American neighbors and many younger members of the congregation started to become more proficient in English. In 1918 the first services were held in English and in 1920 the Second Christian Reformed church organized, with services and catechism classes exclusively in English. The language question was a hot topic for another few decades, with one parishioner, as Ron writes in his book, ‘not convinced, surely nobody could be a Christian with15 - DUTCH, the magazine

out singing the Dutch psalms.’ But, after a transitional period, during which some services were held in English and some in Dutch, English gradually became the natural language of choice. A new influx of Dutch immigrants straight from the old country in the 1940s and 1950s could not change the irreversible decline of the Dutch language and the last sermon was held in Dutch in 1953, simply, Ron tells me, because that was when the last pastor who had a command of the language left. “But you know,” says Ron, “when we sing ‘Ere zij God,’ I still hear a lot of Dutch around me”. We cover a lot of ground starting with the early beginnings of Lynden as a logging town – “but there are no trees,” I protest, “not anymore,” says Ron with a twinkle in his eye, “the Dutch are hard workers”. We discuss the smell of cow manure – Dutch Dristan, according to the other, non-Dutch, volunteer at the museum who has joined in the conversation. I learn that four out of eight city councilors, five if you include the mayor, are alumni of Calvin College in Grand Rapids. I learn that the First Reformed Church, which did not look that old to me is not the same as the First Christian Reformed Church and I learn that times are changing and that the Christian school is no longer

exclusively Reformed, but also accepts members of other denominations. “Even Catholics?” I ask. Even Catholics. Before I leave there is one last question that I have to ask Ron. The town, that much is obvious, clearly identifies as Dutch, I even see cars with bumper stickers supporting the Dutch national soccer team. On the whole the people of Lynden are devout God-fearing, conservative American Christians. How can they reconcile that with the current image of The Netherlands, with its liberal abortion and euthanasia laws, decriminalized prostitution and drugs and its overall Godlessness. Ron’s answer is simple and enlightening: “I often wonder what happened over there…” he says. And when I stop to think about it that makes a lot of sense. Holland has changed and the descendants of the Dutch in Lynden have stayed much closer to the original model than the descendants of the Dutch in The Netherlands itself. After I thank Ron for his time, I visit the Museum. So much for planning what I thought would be a quick saunter through a typical small town museum. Behind the unassuming exterior lies a complete life-size reconstruction of early twentieth century downtown Lynden, the largest collection of horse drawn vehicles west of the Missis-

Klayton’s heritage tattoo March/April 2012

sippi, a huge collection of model cars, an even bigger collection of agricultural implements and one or two exhibits about the Dutch. As I finally make my way to the exit I mention to Ron that as a city councilor he should do something about the three hour parking zone in front of the Museum. It’s not long enough. “They don’t ticket there,” he says, “but don’t tell anyone.”


t’s way past lunchtime. I would like to sample some of the local delicacies, a good hearty pea soup (erwtensoep) would do me nicely. I have two choices on Front Street: Dutch Mother’s Family Restaurant with such items on the menu as croquettes and pannekoeken and the Lynden Dutch Bakery, with oliebollen, banketstaven (almond sticks) and saucijzenbroodjes (sausage rolls). I walk back and forth a couple of times between the two, less than a block apart, pop into an antiques store and buy a cute little Delftware plate for $1.99 and decide that, dietary considerations notwithstanding, I owe it to my readers to do a little consumer testing and report back on the quality of the green stuff on offer. Both locations offer a nice cozy ‘gezellig’ Dutch atmosphere and, unsurprisingly, Dutch Mother’s is more suited to a sit-down meal, whereas if you prefer a cup of coffee with an almond cookie or a piece of mocha cake, the bakery is your best bet. Both establishments serve

Lynden Dutch Bakery: pea soup and ‘Dutchwiches’

a genuine Dutch pea soup. In my opinion Dutch Mother’s has a slight edge, its soup being a little thicker, a bit richer than the moderately lighter fare just up the street. But there is no doubt that either of the two will give you a true Dutch culinary experience.

Lynden Pioneer Museum’s plain exterior hides 28,000 square feet of Americana 16 - DUTCH, the magazine


s I leave the Bakery and step back onto Front Street I contemplate the faux facades that some local merchants have put up against their buildings in an attempt to join in the 1980s reinvention of the town as a bit of Holland in Washington State. I’m not sure. The public restrooms with their step gables and the scale model windmill in front them seem a bit, well, a bit fake. I understand the economic motives behind the plans to capitalize on the indisputable Dutch heritage of the city, but somehow I am drawn more to the sturdy squareness of the Bylsma and Dyk buildings, representing hard work, success in a strange land, thrift and unadorned piety: Calvinist buildings, if such things exist. They are much more representative of the true Lynden of the eight decades before the windmills went up. March/April 2012

The sky breaks open over 100-year old Ebenezer Christian School

Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy the open-air-museum-like quality of the signs reading Postkantoor (Post Office) and Tandarts (Dentist) on downtown buildings, but considering that the last Dutch speaking dominie left in 1953 it pushes the envelope just a bit. But never one to prejudge, I decide to do a few more quick checks along Front Street. Amy at the library looks at me with some surprise when I ask her where the Dutch section is. “We don’t have a Dutch section,” she says. “We have Spanish, Punjabi and Russian sections, though,” she says hopefully. But that does not do me much good. I get a similar response at KATZ! Coffee and used books, a welcoming and well-stocked new and used book store with espresso bar. Sherri

– fifth (at least) generation Dutch from Grand Rapids – takes me to the back of the large store, where I get down on my knees to look at the two small shelves of Dutch books. Sherri is happy when I fish out a few German books and a Swedish one, she likes to keep her ‘Dutch section’ pure. Talking about Dutch heritage and how it is experienced through the generations, she mentions that her son Klayton has a tattoo on his shoulder which celebrates that very heritage. She beckons him and he pulls up the short sleeve of his Tshirt and proudly displays the lion rampant of the Dutch coat of arms and the words ‘Ere zij God in den Hoge’. I ask him if his friends have similar tattoos. No, not as far as he knows, he just thought it was neat. The tattoo represents his heritage,

Fields, ditches and poplars along Guide Meridian Road and long straight lines, can it get more Dutch? 17 - DUTCH, the magazine

his people. “Is it a Dutch thing or a faith thing?” I ask him. “A bit of both,” he says.


s my stay comes to a close and I leave Lynden driving north along Guide Meridian toward the Canadian border that strange sense of belonging comes over me again. The long straight roads, the farms with their welltended front yards, the ditches and the clusters of poplars are a realistic reinvention of the land I grew up in. Only the distant white capped mountains give the game away. At Edaleen Dairy, minivans from Abbotsford in British Columbia just across the line, stock up with large jugs of cheap locally produced wholesome Dutch-American milk. Extended families have come along, kids bribed with a few scoops of Edaleen’s award winning ice cream, to make the most of the journey under the strictly enforced Canadian customs limit of $20 worth of dairy per person per trip. I pass Ebenezer Christian School, which celebrated its centenary in 2010, as the sky breaks open and the sun shines through the cloud that has hung over the town of Lynden for most of my stay. I’m driving home for Christmas and as I check that I have my passport handy I find that I am humming a popular tune: ‘Ere zij God, ere zij God in den Hoge…’ March/April 2012

Maritime History

Dutch East-Indiaman off the Cape of Good Hope Anonymous 18th century painting

The high seas...

a natural place for people from the lowlands From the Hanseatic League to the largest container terminal in Europe, the Dutch have always played a major role in maritime history.


By Ronald van Erkel

here is probably no language in the world with as many maritime and nautical expressions and proverbs as Dutch. This is not so surprising when you realize that the history of The Netherlands is that of a maritime people thriving in a watery lowland river delta on the edge of Northwestern Europe. That in itself is no explanation why the Dutch, as a small nation of a meager 3 million souls in the 16th and 17th century, managed to create a seaborne empire that spanned the globe, domineered international trade, and made Amsterdam the wealthiest city in the world. Equally intriguing is the subsequent downfall of the country’s global maritime dominance, its sudden decline to insignificance and how, finally, after more than a century of stagnation, it witnessed a resurgence of its maritime prowess in contemporary history only to find its most 18 - DUTCH, the magazine

monumental chapter closed in this new century. The affinity of the Dutch with the sea and shipping has a long history – one that goes back to prehistoric times. Inhabitants of the floodplains where modern day Holland is situated, engaged in small scale trade with other peoples inhabiting coastal areas of northwestern Europe. They used primitive vessels, such as canoes made from hollowed-out tree trunks, that carried them as far as northern Africa. Maritime trade began in earnest with the Frisians in the Middle Ages. The Frisians – lacking agricultural lands – had no choice but to venture out in their flatbottomed little ships, and trade with nations around the North Sea. It was their good luck that Friesland (which covered much of what today is the northern half of The Netherlands) was a central point in the trade between March/April 2012

Scandinavia and the newly established Germanic kingdoms in Germany, France and Great Britain. Despite wars, strife and destruction, the Frisians, together with other northern European states, laid the foundations for what later became the flourishing Hanseatic League. This forerunner of the European Union was an economic alliance of cities and guilds that dominated maritime trade from the North Sea to the Baltic and, later, inland along major rivers such as the Rhine, for more than 300 years. The decline came by the late 16th century when the League had imploded and could no longer deal with its own internal struggles and the social and political changes that accompanied the rise of Dutch merchants in Amsterdam. What exactly sparked the what we now call ‘Golden Age’ in Dutch history is a much debated subject among historians. One of the most prominent views is that the capture of Antwerp in 1585 by the Spanish Duke of Alva worked in favor of northern Protestant Dutch provinces that revolted against Spanish rule. C.R. Boxer, who wrote the authoritative The Dutch Seaborne Empire, noted that the population of Amsterdam increased by 75,000 from 1585 to 1622. More than one third of these newcomers traced their lineage to the southern Netherlands. In addition, the efforts by the Spanish and Portuguese to engage in policies of confiscatory embargo forced the Dutch to look beyond the Baltic and the Mediterranean for commercial opportunities. By 1621 the Dutch managed to secure “between half and two-thirds of the carrying-trade between Europe and Brazil.” Routes skirting the Arctic to Russia, from Guinea to Holland, and especially to the East Indies, became the source of immense Bergen

wealth to Amsterdam merchants and ship owners. The Dutch Republic thus emerged from the Eighty Years War against Spain dominated by a class of merchant oligarchs. It was largely through the wealth of the overseas empire that the Spanish were held at bay and forced to make very favorable concessions to the Dutch in the treaty that ended the prolonged war in 1648.


entral in the making of the Dutch Golden Age was the establishment of a chartered company, de Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagny (VOC, Dutch East India Company) in 1602, when the States General (the governing body of the republic) granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia and profit from the Moluccan spice trade. It was one of the first multinational corporations in the world and the first company to issue stock. It can be argued that it was also the first corporation possessing almost governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies. The VOC surpassed its Portuguese, Spanish and British rivals in the Asia trade. Between 1602 and 1796 the VOC sent almost a million Europeans, on 4,785 ships, to work in the Asia trade, and netted more than 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods. By contrast, the rest of Europe combined sent only 882,412 people from 1500 to 1795, and the fleet of the English (later British) East India Company, the VOC’s closest competitor, was a distant second to its total traffic, with 2,690 ships and a mere one-fifth of the tonnage of goods carried by the VOC. The VOC enjoyed huge profits from its spice monopoly through most of the 17th century.

The Hanseatic League Oslo


North Sea




Baltic Sea

Hull Danzig



Kontor (major trading post)

Yarmouth Kampen






19 - DUTCH, the magazine



Hanseatic city Other city with trading post Significant maritime trade route 300 kms - 185 miles

March/April 2012

Shipyard in front of the Amsterdam Admiralty (appr. 1750)

In 1603, the first permanent Dutch trading post in the Dutch Indies (now Indonesia) was established, soon to be followed by others. In 1610, the VOC took firm control of their affairs in Asia by appointing a Governor General. In 1619 Jan Pieterszoon Coen was appointed to that position and, by expelling the Portuguese and forcefully subjugating the indigenous people, he established the Dutch as a leading power in South East Asia, creating a virtual monopoly on much sought-after spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Coen’s rule was as successful as it was bloody and merciless. He ordered the burning of the fort and extensive settlement at JayVOC logo and coins akarta (renamed Batavia during the colonial era and Jakarta after independence), and the massacre of the inhabitants of the principal spice islands so that they could be replaced by Dutch colonists. Until quite recently, Coen was celebrated as a national hero, but if he were alive today he would probably face prosecution from the International Court of 20 - DUTCH, the magazine

Justice in The Hague. Telling in this respect, perhaps, is that Coen’s statue in his birthplace Hoorn was the focus of a controversy last year when local residents asked the authorities to have it removed. Today the VOC is not only remembered for the seaborne empire it created but also for the atrocities that were committed in the process. The VOC traded throughout Asia, setting up trading posts on all its shores. Ships coming into Batavia from The Netherlands carried supplies for VOC settlements in Asia. Silver and copper from Japan were traded for silk, cotton, porcelain and textiles from India and China, after which they were then either traded within Asia for the coveted spices, or brought back to Europe. The VOC was also instrumental in introducing European ideas and technology to Asia. The Company supported Christian missionaries, and traded modern technology with China and Japan. A more peaceful VOC trade post on Dejima, an artificial island off the coast of Nagasaki, March/April 2012

was the only place where, for more than two hundred years, Europeans were permitted to trade with Japan. The Cape Colony, today’s Cape Town, was established as an outpost to resupply ships on their journey to Asia. Captain Willem Janszoon of the VOC ship ‘Duyfken’ made the first European landing in Australia in 1606, thus initiating the recorded history of that continent. By 1669, the VOC was the wealthiest company that had ever existed, with more than 150 merchant ships, 40 warships, 50,000 employees, a private army of 10,000 soldiers, and a dividend payment of 40% on original investment. The VOC remained an important trading corporation for almost 200 years. Weighed down by corruption in the late 18th century, and facing radically changed geo-political and economic circumstances, the Company went bankrupt and was formally dissolved in 1800.


he Dutch were supplanted by other maritime nations, notably Great Britain, as the dominant world power. But the great tradition of The Netherlands as a major seafaring and merchant nation was not quite over yet. It was dormant during French rule (1795-1813), when The Netherlands was a de facto puppet state, and went into general economic decline, but was finally revived when Napoleon was defeated and

English nautical terms of Dutch origin Many Dutch nautical terms entered the English language as a result of the Dutch being early industry leaders and technologically more advanced when these terms came into common usage. Because English and Dutch are closely related Germanic languages, however, it is sometimes difficult to determine the true etymology of a word that is similar in the two languages. Is it a loanword, or does it go back to a common Germanic root? Words where the etymology is uncertain, but where there is a strong likelihood that they entered the English language directly from Dutch include: Ahoy, Aloof (from Dutch loef, meaning windward), Bow (front of a ship), Dredge, Hoist, Iceberg, Keel, Leak, Pump and Shoal. Words where the Dutch origin is more definitively documented include: Avast (from Dutch houvast, meaning hold tight), Boom (pole at the foot of a sail), Buoy, Commodore, Cruise, Deck, Dock, Filibuster (via Spanish and French from Dutch vrijbuiter meaning privateer), Freight, Furlough, Keelhaul, Schooner, Scum, Skipper, Sloop and Yacht. 21 - DUTCH, the magazine

The crew of the Willem Ruys pose for a group photograph (1964) on their last voyage

The Netherlands became an independent constitutional monarchy under King William I. It was Prince Henry, the third son of King William II, who, like his 15th century Portuguese namesake, has gone down in history as ‘Henry the Navigator’. His mission was to rehabilitate the country’s decrepit navy and merchant fleet. In 1870 he helped to establish the Netherland Steamship Company (SMN) for trade between Northwestern Europe and the Dutch East Indies via the newly opened Suez Canal. In its early days the company profited from shipping goods produced by the government-run plantations and industries in the East Indies, from tin to tobacco and copra. From Europe came manufactured goods, factory equipment and railroad materials. The Amsterdam based SMN was soon rivaled by the Rotterdam based Rotterdamsche Lloyd (RL), which operated in a similar fashion. Spurred on by the Industrial Revolution, the emergence of a middle class and growing volumes of international trade, enterprising Dutch businessmen established several new shipping companies between 1850 and the early 20th century. Despite their success, they never replicated the glory of the VOC and their fortunes moved with the cycles of the economy and the major events that shaped the 20th century. One of these was the First World War, during which The Netherlands, its neutrality respected, operated highly profitable merchant shipping lines, most foreign competitors having been cut out. The Second World War was certainly the darkest page in Dutch maritime history. An estimated 500 merchant ships were lost to mines, torpedoes and bombing raids. Often they went down with the entire crew on board. Some men survived, only to perish in captivity later on. An estimated 3,500 seafarers lost their lives. These high numbers are partly due to the fact that Dutch merchant ships, whatever their location at the outbreak of the war, had to join the war effort for the transportation of troops, ammunition and supplies, which made them enemy targets. The depleted merchant fleet was rapidly restored in the post-war era, which was also the heyday of the elegant passenger linMarch/April 2012



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A Maersk line containership enters the ‘Nieuwe Waterweg’ at Rotterdam

ers that provided the transport links between the continents in this pre-jet age. Millions of emigrants sailed to the New World, Australia and South-Africa on board of these ‘castles of the oceans’ before they became obsolete in the 1960s and 1970s. Around the same time a new invention was about to revolutionize the way cargo was shipped: the container. The numerous Dutch shipping lines, collectively counting hundreds of vessels, were faced with the challenge of how to adapt to the new situation. The solution for a number of major ones was to merge into a single mega shipping company that was formed in 1970 with the creation of Royal Nedlloyd. Rotterdam-based Nedlloyd existed between 1970 and 1999 and in its heyday employed tens of thousands of people in offices around the world, operating a fleet of hundreds of container vessels serving all parts of the globe. Competition, however, was stiff and Nedlloyd was never able to attain the economies of scale required to yield the robust profits that its shareholders expected. As a result, Nedlloyd merged with British P&O Container Line in 1999. It was a quirk of history that the resultant container operator, the second largest in the world, should be an Anglo-Dutch company, since, in a way, Nedlloyd could be considered a descendant of the VOC. And it was, after all, because of the VOC’s trade interests, which formed a major obstacle to English trade expansion, that the Dutch and English waged four wars in the 17th and 18th centuries. Those sentiments, however, were long forgotten in a world that was rapidly globalizing. Seafaring, navigating the oceans and calling at exotic ports, had already been stripped of its aura of adventure and romance and had become an industry as any other, largely automated, totally rationalized, fully geared to saving costs and optimizing return on investment. Not many were surprised, then, or for that matter disappointed, when 23 - DUTCH, the magazine

a mere four years after the creation of Royal P&O Nedlloyd, its shares were bought by its main competitor, the Danish A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, the largest shipping company in the world and ranking 147 on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2010. From the Hansa League, through the VOC and Henry the Navigator to Nedlloyd, yet another important chapter of Dutch maritime history had concluded. But the Dutch involvement with the sea does not end here. Currently, the membership of the Royal Association of Shipowners includes more than 300 Dutch shipowners who manage a fleet of more than 1,500 vessels, half of which sail under the Dutch flag. The Dutch shipbuilding industry is thriving and Europe’s largest port, Rotterdam, grows bigger every year. Innovation, high-tech, sustainability, reliability and quality are today’s hallmarks of an economic activity that remains important for the country’s future and that will forever live on in the proverbs and expressions that it produced.

The National Maritime Museum

Dutch maritime history comes to life in the recently reopened, completely refurbished and renovated Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum) in Amsterdam. Stimulating, interactive exhibitions allow visitors to explore 500 years of maritime history. Attractive object displays show the best of the museum’s unique collection. There are special exhibitions for children and guided tours with a ‘digital’ tour guide. The museum, located in the historic former Admiralty, uses state-of-the art technologies to enhance the experience of the visitor, but still exudes history and is a beautiful, imposing and impressive building in the heart of Amsterdam. A full-size replica of the East-Indiaman ‘Amsterdam’ (1748) is moored outside the museum. March/April 2012


The Willem Ruys transported thousands of passengers from the Indies to Holland

Leaving the Indies

Final installment in a four-part series about life in the Dutch East Indies (1927 -1950)


mmediately following World War II the Dutch East Indies found itself embroiled in another conflict. This time the fight was with Indonesian nationalists fighting for the lofty ideals required to form a republic, rather than the exploitation of commodities that had catapulted the islands into violent struggles in the past. They were demanding from the Dutch colonialists the right to pursue independence on their own terms and were fully prepared to take up arms, dictate the timeline, and sacrifice life in order to achieve their goal. The Dutch army, considerably weakened by years of fighting the Japanese, was in no condition to take on a new adversary. Over the seven months after the Japanese surrender, the island of Java would witness a mish-mash of nations either 24 - DUTCH, the magazine

By Tim O’Callaghan fighting, protecting, or attempting to remain neutral. The British, Japanese, Dutch, and Indonesian forces were destined to clash. At the outset confusion was prevalent. Dutch civilians who had been captives of the Japanese for threeand-a-half years were now being protected by them and in a cruel twist of irony had to remain behind the walls of their concentration camps for survival. The British were on their way to act as a neutralizing force and would attempt to peacefully resolve the issues at hand. The Dutch were fighting to hold on to their colony and the Japanese, whose role had been turned around, were ordered to both protect the Dutch civilians and remain neutral. It was just a matter of time before sentiments would change. The

mood directed by the Indonesian nationalists at the Dutch, Japanese, and Indo (Indo-European, Eurasian) populations would become hostile. Indo men were arrested, beaten, and killed for allying themselves with the Dutch. Violence erupted all over the island and fighting back seemed the only option for all concerned. Regular violent clashes erupted in Batavia, Bandung, Surabaya, and Central Java for months. Consistent fighting continued into 1946. The Indo people became victims of the revolutionary war cry and were verbally reduced to doglike status by nationalist leader Sutomo: “Torture them to death, destroy those bloodhounds of colonialism to the root. The immortal spirits of your ancestors demand of you: revenge, bloody revenge!� March/April 2012


he so-called Bersiap period, the violent, anarchic postwar period, lasted from August 17th 1945, following the nationalists’ declaration of independence and the birth of the Republic, through December of 1946. Over 23,500 Indo-Europeans were killed

where many had never set foot before. As it was for my family, so for many others, that day of arrival in Holland was far from joyous. This day represented a departure from the only life they had known. Many were born on the islands. Much

Dutch defending Queen Wilhelmina’s colony. Many had not wanted to leave Indonesia at all, but were either forced out or vehemently encouraged to depart and seek a new life abroad. They were now trapped between two countries and not welcome in either.

Fun and games on the Willem Ruys helped to forget the sorrow of permanent departure from the homeland

or disappeared in the first seven months of that period, until March of 1946, when the Dutch authorities began entertaining the idea of resolving the situation through verbal, peaceful negotiations. The nationalists’ fight to maintain their independent status, however, would last several more years. After many months of talks and failed attempts to crush the revolution, the Dutch succumbed to international pressure and formally handed over sovereignty on December 27th, 1949. Through the late 1940s and early 1950s thousands of Dutch and Indo families boarded ships for the three week voyage to Holland. Their journey would take them through the Suez canal, stopping in Port Said to receive clothes more suitable to the cold Northern European weather, and then on to Holland; a land 25 - DUTCH, the magazine

more than geographic distance separated the two nations. Culturally they had little in common. The journey represented the last moments of tropical life for many and I can only imagine that the fun and games of the voyage were merely a mask to temporarily banish an underlying sorrow for a lost homeland.


pon arrival in Holland it was not only the weather that had a chill to it, but also the reception. The Dutch in Holland looked down upon the returning Dutch from the Indies. The perception was that they had all lived a life of extreme privilege. That even the consequences of war had left them untouched… how bad, really, could it have been to be imprisoned on a tropical island? The Indo population was treated even worse. Many of them had fought alongside the

Verbal abuse, ignorance, hardship and betrayal were what greeted many as they arrived in Holland. The economy was suffering and Holland was in a crisis. Making a living was already difficult for those who deemed themselves more worthy, let alone those who had just arrived from the tropics. For these reasons, and for the weather, many families once again boarded ships, bound for the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Many countries offered free passage in exchange for a two year work commitment. Thousands of Indonesian Dutch and Indos took advantage of these opportunities. Their quest for a new homeland and a better life continued. It scattered throughout the world these two populations that shared a place of birth… Anywhere as long as the weather was good! March/April 2012

Battling Bureaucracy

How I became Dutch...

navigating the ‘optieprocedure’


By Andrew Zyp

t all started when I was a young child and realized I had different words for things than many of my friends. I was encouraged to behave with a mattenklopper (carpet beater), while my friends knew only the pain of a wooden spoon. Although I grew up in a part of northern British Columbia that had a large Dutch population, I attended the regular public school and not the Christian or ‘Dutchman school’ as some of my fellow bus students would refer to it derisively as we stopped to let off the ‘Dutchmen’. But make no mistake, though my bus ride lasted longer, I felt as Dutch as the kids who got off at the Christian school. And since there were few other minorities where I grew up, I felt the stigma of being different. Being the child of poor Dutch farmers (or so I thought), I had little in my youth. I recall wearing the same pair of blue jeans for years until I finally ripped through them. To this day I believe that I am shorter than most people of Dutch extraction because I couldn’t afford to grow out of my clothes. To make matters worse, I liked drop (Dutch liquorice) and that just made me weird. As I found out later in life, we weren’t exactly poor as much as my parents were cheap, another affliction suffered by many Dutch people. To be fair, the Dutch use the less pejorative term, ‘frugal’. Last year I was in Holland and stayed in a double room at a bed and breakfast. 26 - DUTCH, the magazine

As I was taught well by my parents, I negotiated a lower rate, because I was a single occupant in the double room. I was only a little surprised when I arrived to find that the double bed had been half made with a single sheet and blanket, in case I entertained any thoughts of occupying the room with a second person! Another example of frugality I came across was at my father’s friend’s house: in the bathroom, there was a basket of perfume testers large enough to ensure that his wife would never need to actually purchase any perfume in her lifetime! ‘Typically Dutch’ as they say. But I digress. Given the very real burden I’ve carried as the child of Dutch parents, surely I thought I ought to be entitled to the benefit as well – a Dutch passport. I wanted to travel after finishing university and, as I was both frugal and poor at that time, I needed to go somewhere I could work. I looked into obtaining Dutch citizenship at the time and called one of the consulates. The very brief conversation, in 1993, went something like this: Official: “Were you born in Canada?” Me: “Yes.” Official: “Were your parents Canadian when you were born?” Me: “Yes.” Official: “Then you are just Canadian, that’s all.” Phone: “Click.” March/April 2012


uffice it to say, I learned that the Dutch are frugal with their words as well. So off I went to Australia where I was entitled to work for one year, provided I obtained the ‘Working Holiday’ visa. Though I met a few Dutch people along the way and, as a Canadian, felt some kinship with the Australians, my real desire was to travel and work in Europe. In another life, I supposed. Fast forward to 2010 and I am on the mailing list of the Dutch Canadian Association (DCA) in Ottawa as I was researching Dutch clubs and toying with the idea of starting one in Barrie, Ontario. An e-mail newsletter is sent out periodically by the DCA and in one issue there was talk of the optieprocedure (option procedure). I began looking into it and learned that in the mid-eighties, a group of lawyers had represented some foreign born individuals of Dutch descent who were born to Dutch mothers. Until that time, you were only able to obtain dual citizenship from your parents if your father was Dutch and it had to be done at the time of your birth. It seems that the Dutch government placed a premium on having a Dutch father and a discount on having a Dutch mother.

Seeing the error of their ways, the authorities decided that for two years people born to Dutch mothers would be allowed to reclaim their birthright, if they were born before 1985. If your father was Dutch at the time of your birth, this would actually disqualify you from obtaining Dutch citizenship through this procedure, as, in essence, you had your chance when you were born. When this ruling came down and the window of opportunity had opened, I was both unaware of the window and even if I had been, my mother was not Dutch when I was born – she had renounced her citizenship years earlier, as had my father. As you can imagine, the creativity of lawyers, especially Dutch ones, should not be underestimated (can you guess that I became a lawyer as well?) Another lawsuit on behalf of people born to Dutch mothers ensued on the basis that the window was not adequately promoted and many foreign-born children of Dutch mothers had never heard of the window and could not, therefore, take advantage of it. Another amendment to the Netherlands Nationality Act and the window is now open and shall not be shut. Good news for me right? Well, not so fast: my mother still wasn’t Dutch when I was born. Or was she? My mother renounced her Dutch citizenship as a minor and the act of renunciation is not recognized by the Dutch government if performed while younger than the legal age of majority. After all, how can a minor consent to such a thing? So what about my father? He didn’t enter Canada until the age of 24 and renounced his Dutch citizenship as an adult and before I was born. Now that truly is lucky, because now I am a foreignborn person to a Dutch mother and a non-Dutch father! Miles of paperwork, authenticated documents and several trips to the Consulate in Toronto later and voilà, my two children and I carry Dutch passports in addition to our Canadian ones. My wife (of French-Canadian extraction) and I dream of the day when we can maybe run a café in Holland while our children learn to speak Dutch and play a much higher class of soccer. If my wife and I are unable to take advantage of carrying European passports, perhaps our children will make use of theirs. They now have the opportunity to do the things that I was unable to do and that makes jumping through all the hoops well worth the effort – natuurlijk!

Given the very real burden I’ve carried as the child of Dutch parents, surely I thought I ought to be entitled to the benefit as well – a Dutch passport.

Dutch nationals overseas should not be robbed of their citizenship The Dutch Minister of Internal Affairs wants to take away the Dutch nationality from Dutch citizens who acquire a foreign passport and make it tougher than ever before to regain it. But identity and loyalty to the Netherlands are not lost as a result of getting a second nationality, which is often applied for for purely practical reasons. Dutch citizens abroad are ambassadors for the Netherlands and for Dutch interests overseas. Don’t portray them as unworthy of Dutch citizenship. Eelco Keij (Worldconnectors) Olav Haazen (D66, New York) Joan Bischof van Heemskerck (VVD, USA) Gerald van Wilgen (PvdA, New York) More than 20,000 signatures worldwide Sign our on-line petition at: 27 - DUTCH, the magazine

Editor’s note: The Dutch government has proposed yet another amendment to Dutch Nationality law, which would effectively close off any future opportunity to acquire the Dutch nationality while maintaining the citizenship of another country. A petition opposing these changes has gathered more than 20,000 signatures to date. See letter on page 11 and ad on this page. March/April 2012

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March/April 2012

Dirk Hoogeveen - Digging for Dutch Roots

Who is the real Laauwe?

variations in the spelling of ‘ou’


hen we study our ancestors we can find out many things about them, such as where and how they lived, how they dressed, what type of work they did and what they ate. But one thing nobody knows for sure is how they spoke, what they sounded like or how they pronounced names and words. Since there was no standard spelling in Dutch before 1800, even though we can read the words, we do not know how they were pronounced. In previous articles I touched upon the ‘o’ and ‘oo’ syllables, which are pronounced the same in Dutch, but not in English and another set of letters, or combinations thereof, which are pronounced identically in modern standard Dutch: ei, ij and y. This month we will be looking at a case where we find variations in the spelling of the ‘ou’ sound (as in standard English house, or how). A very similar diphthong can be spelled in modern Dutch as ou, au, ouw, or auw. In proper names we may also encounter the archaic spelling ‘aauw’. This came to mind when I encountered the name Laauwe as I did some research for an article about emigration from the island of Goeree in the 19th century. I was analyzing a list of people leaving the island for North America in 1847. The list included a ‘Cornelis Laauwe, 49 years, wife plus 7 children, miller’. Because he was 49 years old in 1847 he must have been born in 1797 or 1798. He therefore straddles two registration systems. He was born when there were only church records, as was the case before the civil registry was introduced in 1812. His marriage and the birth of his children took place after, so I could use the on-line Genlias system ( which gives access to a huge number of civil registry files. I checked the records of U.S. Passenger Manifests of Dutch Nationals by Robert P. Swierenga (listed on CD #269 from Family Tree Archives now available on-line through There were some families with the name of Laauwe, but they all arrived in the USA after 1847. Searching with different spellings I found a candidate family with the name Louwe, who arrived in New York from Rotterdam on October 26, 1847 aboard a ship called the ‘France’. Their origin was given as the Province of Zeeland. Then upon searching the Internet I came across the passenger list of the ‘France’ where the same family is listed as Loume. I think that the confusion with the name started at boarding in Rotterdam, where a Dutch speaking official entered the passengers on the ship’s passenger list. There 29 - DUTCH, the magazine

were 11 people from the island of Goeree, dressed in traditional local costumes and speaking a dialect that was unique to the island. Since Goeree is just north of the border between South Holland and Zeeland, they may well have sounded Zeelandish to the person registering the passengers. Drawing his own conclusions based on their clothing and dialect, he recorded that they came from Zeeland and he spelled their name phonetically as Louwe. The handwriting was interpreted differently in the USA by different researchers; a handwritten ‘w’ can easily be mistaken for an ‘m’. That these people actually came from the island of Goer­ee was easily established by the fact that all the names and ages were given on the passenger list and could be matched with the civil registry records in Genlias. The name of Cornelis Laauwe appears in the civil registration records as Lauwe. Of his children five are listed in the civil registry as Lauwe, like their father, and five as Laauwe. The earliest ancestor of Cornelis that I could find was Daniel Jansse Laaúwe, who married on October 3, 1738 in Goedereede (Goeree). It is a mystery to me how to pronounce the last name Laaúwe. This particular spelling does not exist in modern Dutch. What did the ú signify? Is there a letter missing that gave the name an extra syllable, which disappeared in the pronunciation? Was it originally a French name with the prefix la that was attached to the root? This odd spelling is maintained until about 1760. Then the name becomes Laauwe or Lauwe. These variations in the name also appear in the civil registry, often for the same person in different contexts. For primary identification purposes in genealogies that I prepare, I always stick to the variant of the name with which a person is baptized or registered at birth. I record variations separately. Cornelis was baptized with the last name Lauwe. At his marriage it was also Lauwe, but when registering the birth of his nine children he is, probably at the whim of the registrar, sometimes listed as Laauwe and sometimes as Lauwe. His children inherited the ‘spelling du jour’. The spelling of this family name in North America probably appears in many forms, possibly Anglicized. Note that I prepared a partial genealogy of the Laauwe family for the purpose of writing this column, which I will gladly send to interested individuals for their own use and reference. Contact: March/April 2012



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Anne van Arragon Hutten - Perspectives

The Dutch language

why did we choose to keep it up?


hen we were settling into Canada during the early 1950s, my father made it clear that we were to speak Dutch at home. He was never able to articulate his reasons for this, and as a result we children saw it as yet more evidence of a bossy parent. Why move to an English-speaking country and not be allowed to speak the language? It made no sense to us. Yet we absorbed the message, since my siblings and I have generally taken pride in maintaining our Dutch language skills. Perhaps the truth is that we shared Dad’s loyalty to our roots. Holland was our country of birth. Being Dutch was our identity. Heaven knows we struggled hard enough to maintain any sense of self amidst the total immersion in another language, another land, another culture. In school we were those Dutch kids wearing funny clothes and wooden shoes – yes, we wore klompen in Canada for a couple of years until they wore out; why waste good footwear? We had difficulty carrying on a conversation for the first year or so, and even then we did not fit in with the other kids in school. We were the outsiders, raw immigrants in an Anglophone world. We didn’t belong. Sunday was when we did fit in, since we attended the Christian Reformed Church, which at that time was made up entirely of Dutch immigrants. The adults spoke Dutch together, the services were in Dutch for a number of years, and even though English quickly became the language in which we kids communicated there, if we got stuck for any word we could revert to Dutch. It was understood that we all shared that common background and language. We were too young to know what a world view was, but we shared that too. Part of that world view consisted of our superiority over Canadians. The Dutch were smarter. They had better schools – didn’t our high marks in arithmetic prove that? The Dutch had better health care, which is why our parents had our tonsils removed before crossing the ocean. Canadians were morally inferior – just look at the way teenage girls went out with different boys all the time. In Holland, girls went out only with their boyfriend and never looked at another boy again. The Dutch valued family ties, staying home in the evenings to enjoy their famous ‘gezelligheid’, the cozy, warm, intimate atmosphere that apparently was lacking in Ca-

nadian homes. Why else would they go out so much in the evening, attending Godless movies, or shopping, or going to card parties? Like my father, I wanted to stay true to that Dutch background. I kept a diary – in Dutch – beginning at age sixteen when I had already been in Canada for seven years. Even when my friends let their Dutch language skills slide, I stubbornly kept writing in Dutch. It was a form of loyalty, yes, but also a clinging to what I must have perceived to be my true identity. On the rare occasion when I read through those old diaries, I can see that I was echoing expressions found in the novels Mom ordered from Holland, trying to be more civilized, more educated, and more Dutch than I really was. Clearly I identified with Dutch society at that time, since I was lost in the society where, in reality, I found myself every day. The Dutch language must have given me some small world in which I felt at home. My youngest sister was born in Canada, but she grew up with the same rules: speak Dutch at home. I should explain here that we didn’t actually speak formal Dutch but rather a combination of three provincial dialects. In Holland, the dialects carried a certain stigma; they signified ‘uneducated peasant’ and were strongly discouraged at school. Any books or magazines we read were written in formal Dutch, the kind spoken by teachers and doctors and preachers. My diary was written in that proper Dutch. Back to my sister, who was married fairly young to a non-Dutch man. Why is it that she has made such a major effort to become fluent in Dutch in recent years? I have not figured out whether there are deeply psychological reasons behind our adherence to the old language, whether we’re just more aware of the benefits of bilingualism, or whether we’re just more stubborn than most of our immigrant peers. Whatever the reason may be, we’re among the very few of that postwar crowd that still speak and write Dutch. I wonder what will happen to the Dutch language skills of children who have more recently come from Holland. There’s no comparison really, since every one of them has access to modern communications and, more importantly, can travel back and forth to the fatherland. But even so, will they speak Dutch 60 years from now?

“Part of that world view consisted of our superiority over Canadians. The Dutch were smarter.”

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March/April 2012

Travel The classicist town hall of Den Bosch overlooks a wintry open air market

Hospitable Den Bosch

a historic city with southern flair


Text by Paola Westbeek - Photographs by Hans Westbeek

n the early days when I was new to the Netherlands and still considered myself very much a foreigner, I enjoyed taking little solitary adventures into Dutch cities hitherto unknown to me. Armed with a travel guide and a healthy dose of curiosity, I would hop on the train looking forward to everything there was to discover. My trips always started at a café where I would order the local specialty and literally get my first taste of the city. One of the most memorable Dutch foods I sampled during my jour32 - DUTCH, the magazine

neys was the Bossche Bol: a round layer of thin, flaky pastry filled with a cloud of softly whipped cream, covered with melted dark chocolate (see recipe on page 37). It was a delicious introduction to Den Bosch, or ‘s Hertogenbosch (meaning ‘the Duke’s forest’), as the city is officially named. Because it had been a while since my last visit, I recently decided it was time to go back. I wanted to absorb every bit of the city’s art, culture and history. And yes, perhaps even treat myself to that wonderful pastry I so fondly remembered.


en Bosch is one of the country’s oldest cities. In 1185 it was granted its rights and trade privileges by Hendrik I, Duke of Brabant. Ramparts were built around the city in order to protect it from Holland and Gelre and these were later expanded to accommodate its growth. Many of these fortifications can still be seen today. They serve as a historic reminder of the days when Den Bosch needed to protect itself from invaders. Until the early 16th century the city flourished and became an artistic centre for musicians, composers March/April 2012

and painters. Jheronimus Bosch, a respected Northern Renaissance master, lived and worked there at the time. Unfortunately, this period of prosperity came to a halt when Den Bosch took sides with the Catholic Habsburgs during the Eighty Years’ War and was therefore repeatedly attacked by Prince Maurits of Orange. Although these attempts were unsuccessful, Maurits’ brother, Prince Frederik Hendrik, ultimately conquered Den Bosch in 1629 during the Siege of ‘s Hertogenbosch. This resulted in the designation of Brabant as a ‘Generality Land’, a kind of colony, economically exploited, and without representation in the central government. Furthermore, the religious repression against Catholics which had started in the middle of the 16th century intensified and many citizens were forced to flee the city. When the French captured Den Bosch in 1794, the citizens surrendered without much resistance. For many it was a relief as this finally meant equal rights for the predominantly Catholic Brabanders.

Imposing St. John’s Cathedral is a major national heritage site

By 1815 Den Bosch had joined the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and it became the capital of the province of North Brabant.


hen visiting Den Bosch, you’ll immediately notice the hospitality and welcoming atmosphere. It feels as though we’re in a friendly village instead of a big city. As we walk through the medieval centre on a chilly winter morning, we are pleas-

antly greeted by its vibrant history and that southern flair which seems to set this side of the Netherlands apart from the rest of the country. Today happens to be market day, but despite the cold, the streets are busy and many people are out and about shopping or having a drink at a cozy, heated terrace. We enjoy a meal of kroketten en frites before heading out to rediscover the rest of the city. (Kroketten or croquettes are a fried snack with a crispy crust

Intricate details, both old and new, adorn the splendid exterior of St. John’s 33 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

and meaty ragout, often served with French fried potatoes). Near the triangular market there are various tourist attractions, all located within a short walking distance of each other. On one corner of the market, for example, is the oldest brick house in the Netherlands, the Moriaan. This Gothicstyle building with its rounded tower was built in the early 13th century, most likely by Hendrik I, Duke of Brabant, for his friend Beckerlijn. Despite plans to tear down the building in 1956, it still stands today as a national heritage site and houses the VVV (tourist information office), always a good starting point for new visitors. On the opposite corner from the Moriaan, is Den Bosch’s town hall with its impressive Dutch Classicist facade. The building dates back to the second half of the 14th century

Jheronimus Bosch with palette and brushes, the scarf is a recent addition (see box on opposite page) 34 - DUTCH, the magazine

and was rebuilt under architect Jan Derkennis in 1533. In 1670 it acquired its classicist style which can still be admired today. The building is not only beautiful on the outside, but it also has an exquisite interior with marble floors, stunning tapestries and marvellous wood carvings. Should you wish to take part in the guided tours held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, make sure to brush up on your Dutch, as unfortunately these tours are not available in English. Strolling through the bustling market, we come across the statue of Jheronimus Bosch, armed with his brushes and palette, standing as though in front of a giant canvas ready to create yet another fascinating masterpiece. Heading towards the third corner behind the statue, and walking towards the Jeroen Boschplein, we come to the Jheronimus

Jan de Groot’s bakery is the place for Bossche Bollen

Bosch Art Center which opened in 2007 and is housed in what used to be the Sint-Jacobskerk. Especially for those who are not familiar with Bosch, this is the perfect place to discover more about the works and life of the great Dutch master. As we walk towards this building,

The Jheronimus Bosch Art Center with Ruudt Peters’ interpretation of the fountain in the Garden of Earthly Delights March/April 2012

we see a rather peculiar red and white structure towering over the square outside the main entrance. It is a work of art designed by Ruudt Peters and is meant to suggest the fountain in what is perhaps Bosch’s most famous painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Inside there are more representations of details from paintings such as a large fish decoratively hanging from the ceiling. The visit to the museum starts in the glass elevator as we make our way up to the 5th floor. From here, one can catch a panoramic view of the city before taking the stairs down to the various galleries. In these galleries we can marvel at true-to-size reproductions of Bosch’s work and find out more about their somewhat obscure meanings. Our final destination is the jewel of the city, the Sint-Janskathedraal (St. John’s Cathedral). It is listed among the country’s major national heritage sites and is a magnificent example of Brabantine Gothicism. Located on the corner of the Parade (a square in the city centre) and the Torenstraat (Tower Street), the SintJanskathedraal was built over top of an older church, which once stood on the same spot from 1220 until 1370 when it gradually started to be replaced by the cathedral we know today. Both the interior and the exterior of the church are a sight to behold. There are towering arches, brightly coloured stained-glass windows and more than 600 sculptures, some even inspired by Jheronimus Bosch. Be sure to look out for a decidedly modern sculpture added to the outside of the church after its

Historic houses jut into the Binnendieze network of canals

last restoration: an angel wearing pants and speaking directly to God on her mobile phone! Before leaving Den Bosch, we discuss whether or not we should hop on a boat and take a trip through the network of canals known as the

Why is Bosch wearing a scarf? Traditionally the statue of Jheronimus Bosch is adorned with a scarf in the city’s colors (red, white and yellow) during the widely celebrated pre-Lent carnival. In June of 2011 supporters of local soccer club FC Den Bosch put a scarf with their blue and white team colors around the painter’s neck, to draw attention to and seek assistance with the sorry financial plight of their team. But even the city’s unofficial historian, Paul Kriele, could not tell us what the significance of the scarf in the photograph on the opposite page is. Maybe it was simply put there by a good Samaritan afraid that the old painter would catch a cold. 35 - DUTCH, the magazine

Binnendieze. On these tours, you have the opportunity to go under the city and sometimes through claustrophobically narrow tunnels. We agree to leave this exciting cruise for another occasion. Perhaps on a sunny day in springtime. Instead, we head in the direction of central station to the Jan de Groot Bakery in search of the city’s most renowned treat, the Bossche Bol. Although there are signs on many restaurants and cafés announcing that they serve the ‘real’ Bossche Bollen from Jan’s bakery, we are taking ours ‘to-go’ today. They are a sweet end to a fulfilling day in one of The Netherlands’ most lively cities. March/April 2012


Rejoice, it’s spring...

celebrate Easter with fruit bread, cakes and a dollop of advocaat


Text and Photographs by Nicole Holten

olland celebrates Easter like Christmas, with two days in a row, although, unlike Christmas, Easter, of course, is always on a Sunday and a Monday (called First and Second Easter Day in Holland). The gathering of family and friends around the breakfast, lunch or dinner table is always a feast on Easter Sunday. Traditionally it is, especially for the Roman Catholic areas of the country, the first celebration after Lent and the one that breaks the 40 day fast. For those who don’t fast (the vast majority these days), Easter is a springtime event that warrants celebration just for the sheer joy of better times ahead. The stark diet, whether for religious reasons or because winter rations are running low, is replaced by a day of abundance and good cheer. Children who saved their candy during Lent are 36 - DUTCH, the magazine

now allowed to dig into their sugary savings, and adults splurge on meat, eggs and fresh spring vegetables. Eggs are, by definition, a sign of new life and they are a great source of protein to strengthen and gather energy after a cold, dark winter. Breads are enriched with sugar, dried fruits and almond paste, and meat-filled soups are part of the tradition; all to celebrate with abundance the arrival of Spring, of new life and of warmer weather. During Easter in Holland, both Sunday and Monday, generally all stores are closed. Children don’t go to school and will dress in their ‘Paasbest’ (Easter Best) with new clothes and shoes. Eggs are colored, hidden, and with a bit of luck, all found. Many people miss at least one or two eggs. Leave them for several weeks and they’ll be found easily! March/April 2012


aster Sunday is usually celebrated with an extensive brunch. The table is set with the best china and adorned with some spring flowers. The spread will consist of luxury rolls and of course Paasbrood (Easter bread), a cinnamon flavored rich bread, studded with raisins, currants and citron and orange candied peels. The table would not be complete without various cold cuts, sweet bread toppings, a boterlammetje (butter in the shape of a small lamb), a couple of warm egg dishes and often soup or something else savory such as a pasteitje (puff pastry shell) with egg or chicken ragout, and plenty of coffee or tea. Friends and family will also visit and spend time in each other’s company over a few cups of even more coffee or tea, and with that of course something sweet is served: a Paastaart, or Easter cake. Decorated with fluffy whipped cream, and an ample amount of advocaat, this fluffy Easter cake will put a smile on your face. If you prefer to serve something non-alcoholic but equally luscious, try your hand at Bossche bollen (cream filled pastry puffs from the city of Den Bosch).

Advocaat is a thick, creamy sweet, alcoholic drink, more often eaten with a spoon than sipped. It is also popular as an ice cream topping, as a pie filling or as flavoring for whipped cream or ice cream. Advocaat as a drink, however, has an old-fashioned image. It’s considered an old people’s drink, predominantly for ‘ladies-of-a-certain-age’, who like to have it served with a dollop of whipped cream on top and eat it out of a dainty glass with a small spoon. Often, at birthdays or other celebrations, an advocaatje is offered to the (older) ladies whereas the (older) men get a borrel, a small glass of jenever (Dutch gin). Advocaat is served and sold year-round in Dutch (and many North-American) liquor stores. But the industrially produced off-the-shelf versions have a bit of a tang, whereas homemade advocaat is delightful: it’s smooth, creamy, sweet, with a hint of brandy. With the plentiful availability of affordable eggs during the upcoming Easter season, you may want to take advantage of the abundance, and prepare and serve something that is uniquely Dutch.

Bossche Bollen Ingredients for four large or eight small bollen ½ cup of flour ½ cup of water 4 tablespoons of butter 2 eggs pinch of salt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 tablespoons of water 2 cups of whipping cream 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar Heat the water and the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then take off the stove. Add the flour and stir until it all comes together in a ball. Add the salt, stir in the eggs one at a time and continue to stir until the dough has absorbed all the egg and is a homogenous whole. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, divide the dough in four or in eight equal parts. Use a large spoon and place heaps of dough on top of the parchment, with space between them. Bake in a 400º F degree oven for about 15 minutes. Don’t open the oven until the 15 minutes are up or the dough will deflate. See if the bollen are puffy and golden, if not give them a couple more minutes. Lower the heat to 375º F and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the puffs in the oven for another ten minutes, then remove them and finish cooling them on a rack. In the meantime, beat the whipping cream and the sugar until it’s stiff. Fill a small tip pastry bag and poke through the bottom of the bol. Fill with whipped cream. Heat the chocolate chips and the tablespoon of water in the microwave (30 seconds on medium), stir until the chocolate has melted and the sauce has come together. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully take the cream-filled Bossche bol and dip, head first, into the chocolate. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, just set the bollen on a rack and slowly pour the chocolate over the top, one spoonful at a time. Cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is solid and everything has had a chance to firm up.

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DUTCH, the March/April magazine2012 - 37

Pasteitje (puff pastry) with ragout You can find puff pastry shells in the freezer department of larger grocery stores, but in case you want to make your own, these are the directions. Ingredients 2 sheets of puff pastry (or 1 block) 1 tablespoon of flour 1 egg, beaten

For the ragout 2 chicken breasts 1 medium onion 1 small leek 2 tablespoons of butter 1 small can of mushrooms (or one cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced) ½ cup of white wine (optional) 4 cups of warm water

1 chicken bouillon cube 1 bay leaf ½ teaspoon of dried thyme Salt and pepper 1 tablespoon of flour 2 tablespoons of water ¼ cup of milk

Dust the counter with flour and thaw and roll out the pastry dough. Cut out twelve circles with a large canning jar ring (approx. 4 inches across). Out of six of these circles, press a smaller circle from the middle. Wet the full circles with a little bit of water, place the rings on top and brush the whole pastry with egg. Place the cut-outs on the side, and brush as well.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Peel and mince the onion, and slice the leek into small rings. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven, and sauté the chicken on all sides. Add the sliced onion and the leek and sauté until translucent. (If you use fresh mushrooms, sauté them with the onions.) Add the wine, the warm water and the bouillon cube, bring to a slow boil and turn down the heat to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and the thyme and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Bake pastries and cut outs on a baking sheet in a 400º F oven for ten minutes or until golden and puffy. Cool on a wire rack.

Taste the sauce and add pepper and/or salt if needed. Make a paste with the flour and the water and add to the gravy, bring up the heat and while stirring, thicken the sauce. When it’s thickened, turn down the heat, stir in the milk, and add the chicken and the mushrooms. Heat for another five to ten minutes. Then carefully place the pasteitjes on a plate, fill with ragout, sprinkle with some parsley (optional)! Put the cut-outs on top of the ragout as ‘lids’ and serve hot.

Remove the chicken from the sauce. The meat should be tender to the bite. If not, return to the pan and simmer a little bit longer.

Ragout also tastes great on white rice, or on toast.

Advocaat Ingredients 7 egg yolks 3 eggs 1 cup of sugar 1 cup of brandy Pinch of salt

Mix the egg yolks, eggs, sugar and salt in a mixer until foamy. Slowly pour in the brandy while you keep mixing. Get a double boiler going on the stove, pour the eggy mixture in the top and stir until the mixture thickens. Pay close attention to the heat: if the double boiler gets too hot, the eggs may curdle and the alcohol will dissipate.

After you’ve reached the desired thickness (you’re looking for a pourable, thick pudding-like consistency), pour the advocaat into a clean jar or container and refrigerate it overnight, or serve it warm over ice cream or pancakes. It will set overnight, so make sure to stir it briefly before serving. The advocaat will hold well while refrigerated and makes for an interesting and welcome gift. In order to avoid any possible food safety issues, you may want to use pasteurized eggs or make sure the temperature of the advocaat reaches close to 160º F before retiring it from the boiler. 38 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

Paasbrood (Easter bread)

Ingredients /4 cup of golden raisins 3/ 4 cup of dark raisins 1/ 3 cup of currants 2½ tsp active dry yeast 4 cups flour ¼ cup sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1¼ cup milk, warm 1 egg 1 stick (½ cup) of butter, melted ½ teaspoon salt zest of 1 lemon 1 heaping tablespoon citron peel 1 heaping tablespoon candied orange peel 3

Put the raisins and the currants in a small saucepan, add a cup of water and bring to a simmer on the stove. Simmer for a good ten minutes, then turn off the heat and let the fruits sit. Proof the yeast in half a cup of the warm milk. Mix the flour, the sugar and the cinnamon, and slowly pour in the proofed yeast and the rest of the warm milk. Keep mixing and while the dough comes together, add in the egg, the melted butter and the salt, then mix and knead the dough until it comes together in a soft, pillowy dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn it over so that both sides of the dough are greasy, cover the bowl and let it rise, away from cold drafts, for an hour or until doubled in size. Drain the fruit and pat dry with a towel. Toss the fruit with the candied peels and the lemon zest. Punch down the dough and carefully knead the fruit mix into the dough until it is well distributed. Now divide the dough in half, shape into loaves, grease two 9” x 5” bread pans and place the bread, seam down, into the pans. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes or until the dough fills the pans. In the meantime, heat the oven to 350º F. Place the bread pans on the middle rack and bake for about 40 minutes until the bread is golden. If the bread browns too quickly cover it with an aluminum foil tent. When the bread is done, brush the tops with water and place the pans back on the rack for a minute. Take out the breads and let cool on a rack before slicing.

Paastaart (Easter Cake) Ingredients 4 eggs 3/ 4 cup of sugar 3/ 4 cup of flour ¼ cup of corn starch 1½ cups of heavy whipping cream 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar yellow food coloring (optional) 8 chocolate easter eggs 3/ 4 cup of chocolate sprinkles 1 cup of advocaat

Beat the eggs with the sugar at medium speed and for a good ten minutes until foamy. The batter is ready when it’s at least three times its original size, light yellow and slowly falls off the whisk in a broad, thick ribbon. Preheat the oven to 320º F. Sift the flour and the corn starch together and then carefully fold into the batter: do this gently because you don’t want to lose all the air. Butter and flour an 8” spring form pan. Pour in the batter, place it in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Do not open the oven door for the first twenty minutes as the cake will deflate. If a toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. In the meantime, beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar, and add one or two drops of yellow food coloring to it, if desired. Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool slightly and remove it from the pan. Let the cake cool completely before cutting it in half lengthwise. Spread half a cup of advocaat on the bottom half. Replace the upper part. Spread the whipped cream on the side of the cake and generously on the top, but keep 1 cup for piping. Use the chocolate sprinkles to decorate the sides of the cake. It’s easiest if you balance the cake in one hand and press a cupped, sprinkle filled hand onto the sides. Do this over a baking sheet so that you can retrieve the sprinkles that spill. Pipe rosettes on top with the rest of the whipped cream and strategically place the chocolate Easter eggs on top. Pour the rest of the advocaat in the middle of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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March/April 2012



...a broek is not a broek By Bob van den Broek (with Tom Bijvoet)


n his feature about his bicycle tour through the Netherlands in the first issue of DUTCH Martin Visser told us that he sought shelter from the rain in a grocery store in a place called Neerlangbroek. He writes that ‘the name […] translates into a senseless down-long-pants’. Of course the Dutch have long had their share of fun translating all those ‘broek’ placenames into other languages: Broek in Waterland becomes ‘Pants in Waterland’ or ‘Pantalon dans le Pays d’Eau’. Since my last name is Van den Broek I have suffered enough ‘Mr. from the Pants’ or ‘Monsieur Pantalon’ to want to set the record straight: Broek does really mean pants, or trousers, but not when used in the context of proper names, at least, not in any instance that I am aware of. So let’s return to Neerlangbroek, or ‘Nederlangbroek’ as it is spelled officially (see box on opposite page). The little hamlet, 40 - DUTCH, the magazine

situated on the banks of a water course called the Langbroek­ wetering, is called Nederlangbroek to distinguish it from another hamlet called Bovenlangbroek, a little to the east. The prefix Neder we of course all recognize as the same one used in the name of the country this magazine is about, Nederland, or The Netherlands, meaning nether, or low. So hence Nederlangbroek (Lower Langbroek), is further downstream than Bovenlangbroek (Upper Langbroek). The hamlets of Nederlangbroek and Bovenlangbroek together formed a municipality called, unsurprisingly, Langbroek until it was incorporated into the municipality of Wijk bij Duurstede in 1996. The word broek in the name of these hamlets is etymologically related to the English word brook, although it does not mean stream, as in English, but refers to a typically Dutch marshy landscape feature. The word is no longer actively March/April 2012

The linguistic process of ‘d-deletion’ Neder in Neerlangbroek becomes Neer, just like it can at times in archaic or poetic interpretations of ‘Nederland’, as we see in the pre-1933 Dutch national anthem Wien Neerlands Bloed… (Whom Dutch Blood…) or in the Alberta hamlet of Neerlandia, settled in 1911 by a group of Dutch farmers. This practice follows a linguistic process in Dutch, called ‘d-deletion’. In certain words the ‘d’ is dropped from between two syllables: Broeder (Brother) becomes Broer, Weder (Weather) becomes Weer. This is probably useful to know when building Dutch vocabulary from an English or German (Nieder, Bruder, Wetter) language background. In those languages the two syllables are still neatly separated by a consonant. But beware… in at least one word, Slede (Sled) the ‘d-deleted’ Slee made a re-entry into the English language in North America as sleigh. In Dirk Hoogeveen’s column on page 29 we encounter a case of ‘double d-deletion’. On the island of Goeree, lies a town called Goedereede, both of which mean the same, one with d’s and one without: Good roadstead or anchorage. And to get from Broklede to Breukelen (and eventually Brooklyn) a spot of ‘d-deletion’ is also inevitable, although several other linguistic processes appear to have been at play there too. used in that sense in Dutch, which makes interpreting it in the ‘pants’ meaning of ‘broek’ all the more understandable. There are many places in The Netherlands which incorporate the ancient word broek, either very obviously as in Broek op Langedijk and the aforementioned Broek in Waterland, or covertly as for example in the town that gave its name to the New York borough of Brooklyn, Breukelen. The area in which Nederlangbroek is located was part of a low lying, partially submerged, flat landscape that is squeezed between the river Lek (yes, that does mean Leak, another name we can have some outrageous fun with) in the south and the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (a slightly hilly landscape) to the north. This type of landscape is defined as a broek. A long time ago the area was covered in swamp forest. When people started to reclaim the land, they dug a main watercourse (called ‘wetering’) and numerous ditches to get rid of the excess water. Where possible, the peaty surface soil was harvested for fuel. The ditches were dug perpendicular to the ‘wetering’ dividing the land into small elongated parcels. Each parcel measured approximately 96 meters by 1600 meters with ditches along both of the long sides. This typical landscape with its elongated parcels of land is called a ‘slagenlandschap’ (a ‘slag’ referring both to an Old Dutch unit of measurement and the actual parcels of that size). The area around Langbroek is truly an undiscovered treasure. The lush green meadows, alternating with dense woodlots and the many ditches and waterways, give it a unique perspective on Holland. The area is rich in water- and meadow fowl, and wild swans nest there or float regally in the water. Being so close to the major urban centers and clogged highways, it is indeed a breath of fresh air to ride or drive through this calm and peaceful landscape. The Langbroek area is also dotted with century old farmhouses, each a treasure in itself. Many of these have been restored and are now used as residences for people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Some are still operational as sheep farms, the predominant agricultural undertaking in the area. Another unique feature of the area are the many castles. Originally these castles consisted of a single tower only, serving as the sole living quarters for the occupants. The term for these types of one-tower castles is ‘donjon’. Over time additional structures were erected around these 41 - DUTCH, the magazine

towers, which is essentially how the first castles evolved. But back to my family name of Van den Broek: centuries ago my ancestors lived in or near Gouda (the cheese and candle city). The area around Gouda is similar to Langbroek, as many parts of Holland are. Some of the villages and other geographical features there have the word broek in their names too, such as Broek, Broekpolder, and Broekhuizen. So my ancestors who lived in this kind of swampy area referred to themselves as ‘from the broek’ (from the wetlands), hence my name. And that is my story about the broek in Neerlangbroek, Broek in Waterland and Van den Broek, which is a different term altogether from the broek in ‘Spijkerbroek’ (Jeans, lit. ‘nail pants’), ‘Lange Broek’ (long pants) and ‘Natte Broek’ (wet pants).

Hilariously funny, in his first book


warns his nephew about the strange habits of the people of the Lowlands.

$11.50 plus s/h

Order from: White-Boucke Publishing Inc. 1-800-382-7922 March/April 2012


Johannes Heesters

the handsome tenor who said Hitler was kind to him, died on December 24, 108 years old


Heesters at 105 as the Emperor Franz Joseph,

itler was a guy,” the youthin one of his last roles ful interviewer is not quite sure what to make of that statement and asks the old man to repeat what he just said. More distinctly now the old man says: “Hitler was a good guy.” The interviewer looks into the camera and smirks. Gotcha! The old man’s younger wife, who has been nervously shuffling around, smelling a rat, almost explodes: “Jopie, how can you say such a thing! He was not a good guy, Hitler.” “I know that, but he was always kind to me,” her husband replies. “I am not a politician,” Johannes Heesters said earlier in the same television interview, recorded a few days before his 105th birthday. “Yes, I continued to perform during the war.” And that is exactly where the problem lay – at least as far as his countrymen were concerned. Johannes Heesters may not have been a politician, but in the eyes of many Dutchmen he was most definitely a traitor. Born in Amersfoort in 1903, Heesters went to drama school in Amsterdam, made his stage debut there in 1921 and his film debut in 1924. With that started an uninterrupted career that spanned an astonishing 90 years. Heesters was still performing, live on stage and in movies, early in 2011. Long before the war he was already a household name in The Netherlands. A dashingly handsome man with a beautiful tenor voice, one of his early hits was Oh mooie Westertoren (Oh beautiful West Church Tower). His passionate performance of this so very Dutch song, in an actual duet with the tower’s carillon, from the 1934 movie Bleeke Bet (Pale Beth) demonstrates clearly, for anyone who may doubt him in that respect, his great love for his native country. Yes, Heesters loved Holland, but Holland despised Heesters. His successful career in operetta started in Vienna in 1934. In 1936 as many German Jews were desperately trying to flee the country, Heesters moved to Berlin, where he performed in numerous stage and screen musicals. In 1938 he first played Count Danilo Danilovitsch in Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow. This would become his signature role and he would perform it more than 1,600 times over a period of thirty-five years. It is in this period of the late 1930s that Adolf Hitler came to a number of his performances and was, apparently, kind to him. On May 21, 1941 he visited Dachau. Not the concentration camp itself, but the barracks of the SS-unit that guarded the camp. Snapshots of the visit in which Heesters can be seen socializing with SS-troops surfaced many years after the war. 42 - DUTCH, the magazine

There is no proof that Heesters actually performed for them, and he has always denied that he did, but the friendly visit to the men who guarded Dachau clearly was an unforgivable mistake. After the war the Allies declared that the work he had done did not constitute Nazi propaganda and the way was clear for him to resume his career. In Germany and Austria he became a superstar. Almost twenty years after the war, in 1963, Heesters tried to take his career back to The Netherlands. He was cast as Captain von Trapp in the Dutch stage production of The Sound of Music. The audiences boycotted his performances and in Amsterdam protesters chanted “Heesters SS, Heesters SS”. A beautiful example of Heesters in action can be found in a nine minute YouTube video. Witty, eloquent, elegant, addressing them in a charming Dutch accent, he gets a large, obviously adoring German audience to sing a Dutch ditty, Die mooie molen (That beautiful windmill). In the clip it also becomes apparent that time seemed to have no grip on ‘Jopie’ as the Germans affectionately called him. At first glance you would guess that he was in his early-fifties at most when this footage was shot, but when you do the math it quickly transpires that he was actually well into his sixties.


n 1992, a widower after a 55-year marriage, he marries a German actress, 46 years his junior. Heesters keeps performing and in 2008, at the age of 104, he tries his luck in Holland again. He performs in his hometown, Amersfoort. Protesters outside throw eggs, but the theater fills up and Jopie receives a standing ovation. It is April 2011 when Heesters receives a final snub from the Dutch establishment. An invitation to a reception honoring Queen Beatrix during her official state visit to Germany is withdrawn at the last minute. Ostensible reason: the venue is overbooked. Whether Heesters’ sins were truly the result of artistic naivety and the wish to perform, as he claimed, or whether he did sympathize with the Nazi cause and played dumb post-war, never became clear. During the war he worked for the Germans, just like hundreds of thousands of other Dutchmen, but he did it in the public eye. His enduring punishment was that recognition in his native country, the country that he truly loved, was denied him for the remainder of his long long life. Johannes Heesters died on December 24, 2011, he was 108 years old. March/April 2012


Snug behind the Sea Dike Petten: flowers and nuclear power


t has often been said that if there were no dunes, Amersfoort would be a coastal resort. With a large percentage of the most populated areas of Holland lying below sea level, a reliable barrier against the North Sea is essential for the sheer existence of the country. That barrier along almost the entire coast of the provinces of North- and South-Holland consists of sand dunes. Over the centuries these dunes were created by the forces of wind and water, helped on occasion, we’re talking about Holland after all, by active maintenance and management. There is one major gap in the line of dunes running all the way from Den Helder to the Hook of Holland, at Petten, in the northern part of the province of Noord-Holland. Ever since a major flood in 1421 breached the dunes near Petten, that part of the coast formed a weak link. Erosion kept washing away the dunes, which were regularly reinforced by the people of Petten with extra sand. Several major breaches occurred over the centuries, and in 1880 the weakening sand-based dike was strengthened with basalt to form a true dike, the Hondsbossche en Pettemer Zeewe­ ring. The small town of Petten behind the dike has had to reinvent itself on a number of occasions. The flood of 1421 washed away the entire town. In another flood, in 1625, more than 100 houses and the village church were lost. Just when after centuries of improvements the town could feel relatively safe behind its sea defenses, the Germans came during World War II and in 1943 demolished the entire town to make way for the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall. In 1946 the people of Petten started to rebuild their town once again.

Recently the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure identified the seawall at Petten as one of eight weak links in Holland’s coastal defenses, and work at strengthening the dikes at Petten has started again.


ehind the dike the people of Petten make their living mainly from tourism and the cultivation of bulb flowers. Another economic driver for Petten is the Energy Research Centre of The Netherlands (ECN), which is located just inland from the beach. Starting out in 1955 as the Reactor Centre of The Netherlands (RCN), the main goal of the organization was to do research into the peaceful application of nuclear energy. In the early 1960s two nuclear reactors were built on the site, one of which is owned by the European Commission, the other by ECN itself. In addition to functioning as a research institute, the reactor center at Petten supplies 60% of the European demand for medical isotopes (used in medical diagnosis and treatment of cancer). Between 2001 and 2009 several safety issues were reported with the older reactors, although ECN claims that there was never any serious cause for alarm. A new reactor is slated to replace one of the older ones by 2020. In addition to researching nuclear energy, since 1976 ECN has researched the application of wind, solar and biomass power generation. The relative isolation of Petten may be one of the reasons why there seems to be surprisingly little opposition, even in the wake of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, to having two nuclear power stations, albeit small ones, right behind one of the most vulnerable dikes in The Netherlands.

Johan Wieland

The ECN complex with nuclear reactor (left) and bulb fields behind the seawall

at Petten The dike n storm an autum g in r u d d is battere

43 - DUTCH, the magazine

DUTCH, the March/April magazine2012 - 43


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Sonnet on Amsterdam’s glorious future Such greatness Amsterdam will yet befall That she will conquer Rome and stand more tall In wisdom, government, and moneyed power, In manly warcraft over Rome will tower. Her fame, proclaimed, will hum along the clouds, Awe-threatening the widely scattered crowds, The yellow, black Moors, Persians and Turks, Who’ll beg her might for aid and for good works, And will with her as friends negotiate Trade goods and bills, at advantageous rate, And at the same time shun, and help withstand The Spaniard, foe of our great Fatherland, All by direction of God’s plan, divine, And of our city council’s fine design. -G.A. Bredero (1585-1618) 45 March/April - DUTCH,2012 the magazine

DUTCH, the March/April magazine2012 - 45

The Dutch in Wartime Survivors Remember UNDER NAZI RULE The Dutch in Wartime Survivors Remember

The Dutch in Wartime: Survivors Remember Book Series

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Book 1: ‘Invasion’ $9.95 + $2.95 shipping/handling = $12.90 Book 2: ‘Under Nazi Rule’ $9.95 + $2.95 s/h = $12.90 Book 3: ‘Witnessing the Holocaust’ $9.95 + $2.95 s/h = $12.90 1 year subscription (Books 1 - 4) $34.95 + $11.80 s/h = $46.75 2 year subscription (Books 1 - 8) $59.95 + $23.60 s/h = $83.55 Includes Taxes where applicable

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WITNESSING THE HOLOCAUST The Dutch in Wartime Survivors Remember

Book Series

‘The Dutch in Wartime: Survivors Remember’ is a series of books containing the wartime memories of Dutch immigrants to Canada and the USA, who survived Nazi occupation of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945. Designed and written to be easily accessible to readers of all ages and backgrounds, these books contain important stories about the devastating effects of war and occupation on a civilian population. The stories are collected in separate volumes, each covering a specific theme or subject. The first of these volumes (’Invasion’) was published in June of 2011, with a new volume appearing every quarter thereafter. Readers may order single copies as they appear, or subscribe to the whole series at a discount, thus securing the receipt of the next book in the series every three months. Book 3 in the series, ‘Witnessing the Holocaust’, was published in January 2012. All three books are in stock. “You have to write it all down, about the concentration camp and how we survived. All that you remember and all that I remember.” “I do not write Annie,” I objected. “You have to do this, Loes,” she said, “otherwise we suffered for nothing.” She gasped for air and closed her eyes. I did not want to upset her, so I told her: “Yes Annie, I will do it. I will write it all down.” Loes de Kater in ‘Witnessing the Holocaust’ March/April 2012

Off the shelf

Book Browsing

Paola Westbeek

The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World Peter G. Rose

Have you ever wondered what your Dutch ancestors ate during the Golden Age? Or how foods such as coleslaw and pancakes made their way to the New World? In The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World, food historian Peter G. Rose, introduces us to the culinary traditions of the Netherlands during one of its most prosperous periods. The book is an edited translation of De Verstandige Kock, the only known Dutch cookbook of the 17th century which was first published in The United Provinces in 1667 and was widely used by Dutch settlers in the new colonies. At the end of the book, you will find two dozen recipes adapted for modern day use: a perfect way to get a real taste of Dutch history!

Syracuse University Press, 1998

Van Gogh: The Life Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

We all know his characteristic paintings composed of thick, emotionally-charged brushstrokes and vivid colours, but behind the artistic genius of Vincent van Gogh was a deeply troubled soul. In the recently published book, Van Gogh: The Life, Pulitzer Prize winners Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith offer us a heartbreaking account of the tragic existence of the famous Dutch post-impressionist painter. More than just another biography though, this movingly written book gives the reader an intimate view into the mind of Van Gogh. We become deeply immersed in his world: his relationships, his depressions, his love life and his profound interest in art and literature. After a decade of research, and drawing from an extensive collection of personal correspondence as well as unpublished materials, the writers trace the artist’s life from his family background to the controversy behind his untimely death. Did Vincent van Gogh really commit suicide? Although the richly detailed, 900+ paged portrait is not a book which can be read in one evening, the authors’ engaging writing style makes it approachable for all audiences. Scholars, or those wishing to broaden their knowledge about Vincent van Gogh, might want to make use of the website that accompanies the book. It contains more than 28,000 research notes, bibliographies, tips for further reading, an art gallery and even a selection of personal photographs (

Random House, 2011

Netherlands in Pictures Francesca Davis DiPiazza

Did you know that more than 27% of The Netherlands lies below sea level? Or that its capital, Amsterdam, is home to 177 nationalities? Netherlands in Pictures is one of the many informative books published by Lerner Publishing Group as part of its Visual Geography Series. Aimed at children in grades 5 and up, these handy books provide a wealth of easily digestible information about countries all over the world. In the volume on The Netherlands you’ll learn about the country’s topography, its history and people, cultural life, economy, and much more. The book includes many color photographs and informative sidebars with lots of interesting tidbits. And because countries change and information can become dated, there is also a website which can be used in conjunction with the books. ( Of course, this book isn’t just for the school-aged group. It’s also a great way to quickly brush up on your knowledge of one of Europe’s most interesting countries!

Twenty-First Century Books, 2010 47 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

n Brian Bramso______________________ __

____________ From: To: Sent: Subject:



__________ ____________ bramson@abs. n. ia br n” so m “Brian Bra “Jennie Win” je 12 20:41 6 February 20 alks Tea and sidew

sing you hotel. I’m gues r he ot an k, ee full too? any. Another w Hi Jennie, knows how m e Sarruma was ho th w nd expert. of A ur k. fo ee k w to be quite an l as last te ng Oh well, wee tti ho e ge m sa I’m . e utch put siness me into th tever it is the D hotel review bu ha couldn’t book m W da e. er m st m ith A w into the y own tea bags I ought to go now to bring m ow kn to gh re ain’t tea. Expert enou ith-strings, it su -w gs ba influence, ate the American d in those little oi av ’ll ey th hope g. But it’s at coffee. I do t the same thin od no e go ar ty e et rv pr se ir, ks to be fa d what Starbuc The Dutch are, like to drink an ch e my laughter. ut ifl D st e to th t ve ha I at th a though. Wha te a selectake to drinking ur tea bag from yo when the Dutch ck pi u Yo r. Will they tea-ba he poor saps. T of self-service . rt on so el a m s e’ to er lemon a bag into office th erything from your chosen te ev In this client’s op ith dr w en ed th ur u desk. But as, flavo s tea. Yo it back to your vour of tea. It’ tion rack of te ke fla ta e d on an ly er on ? Bin the ) wat here’s , sadly, boiling what do you do er a never learn? T ev te (n ur t yo ho d ith he finis to fish the it up w When you’ve the little string e. e a mug and top m us ts u ge Yo at t. th no hy, so that tainly ens next her mug? Cer you do that? W it’s what happ ot ld an ou e sh ak hy m w d And ved it if I’d d go an onto a saucer. not have belie lly old tea bag an I’d fu n! re ai ca it ag d op an d you dr ain and again tea bag out an course. And ag of n, ai ag it e you can us ing drinks my own eyes. it in turns to br not seen it with ke ta e W . ng ki wor t, asked for rammer, Joos from where I’m og up pr or ad flo le e ’s on nt clie reasonable bar is y turn and the in it. Seemed m The office teag ba as w a it te y a da ith hot water ater w On Mon his tea and his a cup of hot w g for the team. ; in m br hi t to gh e m ou d br aske too strong. what I , the tea gets t the drinks he tea. So that’s or ge flo to e d on re n fe w of do hen I takes to walk to me. Today w , in the time it tly en ar pp A . ly separate It would be that? client’s office. How Dutch is e th of ce an dist account and within walking e old expense is l th te on ho e s av k’ S ee k. Why can’t wee this w their walkways? Conveniently, e place for next d m sa an e ch th ut to D in e t th ok me eir sidewalks , what is it abou good if you bo they surface th ng ki do al hy w W of t ? ec se subj om, if ever, ne el walks are seld all that. On the abs like everyo de sl si ng at vi th pa d ns ze it mea dly it means ible si bricks? Firstly they use sens rection. Secon di ch y in er 4ev tle in lit s ulou ample) sets and dips suitcase, for ex with those ridic s of cambers ed rie el se he w ex y pl m m (like s, and thirdly l a co g the sidewalk flat; they’re al complete mes on a al to el in he ts w en to nt y co u tr at shakes the that anything yo isy vibration th no d an g tin . ic ita up an irr be astronom ce costs must the maintenan

48 - DUTCH, the magazine

March/April 2012

Brian Bramson - An Englishman abroad Actually, I’ve seen sidewalk mainten ance in action no route to the office. w. There’s a stre What a mess! Se tch under repair ems the process the old bricks whi on my st arts by digging up ch are then left, m several thousand id-sidewalk, in an nor a barrier to st of untidy heap with op the poor pede neither a warning strian from falling for a couple of da lig ov ht er th ys. This gives us em. They’re then regular pedestria left to acclimatise the soggy quarry ns a chance to w , which avoids th ork out a route th e deepest of the scruffy oiks in ov rough muddy puddles. eralls (I’m presum Eventually, a coup ing convicted crim gramme) fetch up le of in al s on some social and set about ha rehabilitation prommering all the What a thankles little square bric s task! ks back into the sand. At least the Dutch make maximum use of their pave a minor function. ments. Walking al They’re also used ong them is, if an for cycling, roller doning bicycles ything, skating, skateboa and dumping be rding, parking or er crates, buildin also used for park abang materials and ing delivery vehi sacks of garbage. cles or cars of an They’re yone using a near by ATM. Anyway, that’s m e for now. If you could book me in fine. to the same hote l for next week, th at’d be I can’t wait to ge t home on Friday night. I’d kill for a decent cuppa. Brian Brian Bramson Senior Consultant Acme Business Compu

ting Ltd


Disclaimer This message (in cluding any attac hments) is confide recipient, you sh ntial and may be ould not disclose legally privileged , copy or use any . If you are not the the e-mail and an pa rt of it. If you have intended y attachments im received this e-m me dia tel ail in error, pleas y and notify the Ac e delete me Business Sy stems Ltd helpdes k at support@ab s. Whilst all reasona ble care has been taken to avoid the to ensure that the transmission of vir opening or other uses, it is your res us e of this messag ponsibility as rec Acme Business e an d any attachmen ipient Systems accepts ts will not adverse no res po nsibility for dama ly affect your syste out such virus an ge caused by vir ms. d other checks as uses and you sh you consider appro ould, therefore, ca priate. rry

49 March/April - DUTCH,2012 the magazine

DUTCH, the March/April magazine2012 - 49

Fun and Games

The angel with the cell phone Can you find the angel with the cell phone (see left) elsewhere in this magazine. Hint: you will need very sharp eyes or a magnifying glass. An editor from near Krommenie Said: “Really, how hard can it be, To pen a short rhyme, It’s done all the time, Why will no one just send theirs to me...” In fairness, we did get a few... but we are not looking for Dutch words concluding the second line or English ones at the end of the first. So who will take up the gauntlet: we would like to print your limerick with a Dutch place name at the end of the first line and the rest of the poem in English.

Match the words Match the English word on the left with its Dutch translation on the right.

Freight Deck Port Boom Tree Step Scooter Skipper Zipper Big Dipper

Tree Rits Grote Beer Bakboord Step Schipper Vracht Boom Giek Dek

Answers to all quizzes on page 4




• Sometimes my last name is spelled without d’s, usually with one and occasionally with two. • I spent my entire life in Amsterdam. • I wrote poetry and drama. • My most famous works are about a miller and about a cow. • I lived during the Eighty Years War.

• In English I have two syllables and in Dutch usually just one. • I am one of the favorite topics of conversation in The Netherlands. • In The Netherlands I belong to the domain of the KNMI. • I cannot be predicted with much accuracy beyond a few days.

• I am spelled with two d’s, but the former island that carries my name is spelled without any. • The only Dutch pope was my parish priest in the late 1400s and early 1500s. • People often think that I am in Zeeland, but I am not.

Who am I? What am I? Where am I? Theme for this issue: Deleted Ds.

The Dutch Judge

50 - DUTCH, the magazine

Jesse van Muylwijck

March/April 2012

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