Page 1

vol. 7 #8 – 11 March 2014

The Sentinel Amsterdam

Integrity, heart, humour







in this issue

feature - p.04

perspectives - p.22

perspectives - p.42

Caribbean Creativity

Dam in 60 minutes! Slotermeer

An intelligent, single man in Amsterdam

‘All of these films and filmmakers not being seen in Europe and Amsterdam’

‘An oriental vibe dominates the neighbourhood’

‘I’d just given up my middle-class lifestyle of leisure’

K: C A B G BRIN amsterdam city life - p.69

sport - p.88

Wynand Fockink

Amsterdam City Life

The Gold Room

‘This most authentically Amsterdam of Amsterdam’s city gems’

Fear of and respect for nature: PT II


city gem - p.54

more lifestyles - p.44

cafe-bar review - p.60

star beer guide - p.70

Living colours of spring

Café Struik

Dulle Teve 10

recommended - p.72

spotted - p.74

film - p.75

Where is this in Amsterdam?


trends - p.68

perspectives - p.80

health & well-being - p.82

Standing in line across the sea

All and nothing (Part II)

Skinny Thinking

technology - p.84

User Interface

The Sentinel Amsterdam

E-mail: Website: Contributors: Sam van Dam, Alien Asylum, Dirkje Bakker-Pierre, E.R. Muntrem, Evelina Kvartunaite and Andrei Barburas

Editors: Gary Rudland & Denson Pierre Design: Dirkje Bakker-Pierre - Realisation: Andrei Barburas Webmaster: Webhost:

The Sentinel Amsterdam does not intentionally include unaccredited photos/illustrations that are subject to copyright. If you consider your copyright to have been infringed, please contact us at



Caribbean Creativity By Denson Pierre

The aim of the Caribbean Creativity organisation is to spread the word about the tremendous social and cultural diversity and vibrancy emanating from the physically vast region kissed by the Caribbean Sea; through film, expressive exchanges and events. The Sentinel talks to Caribbean Creativity’s founder, Dr Emiel Martens of the University of Amsterdam (Media Studies).

‘Assist Caribbean film producers and spread the word, starting here in the Netherlands’





Q: So, Dr Martens, Caribbean Creativity, why Amsterdam? EM: I would first answer that by saying it is a logistical choice, as I live here in Amsterdam and formed the idea to start the foundation in 2008, on my return from field research in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean. There were just all of these films and filmmakers not being seen in Europe and Amsterdam. The base being Amsterdam was not that important, however, as my motivation was simply to assist Caribbean film producers and spread the word, starting here in the Netherlands. We then moved on to create events around these films and soon realised that there was a market for it; albeit a niche market. The development of the Yard Vibes and Rootical Vibrations concepts can now be considered the main things that we do. I saw a gap in the market, as these independent productions were not being shown at the ‘art house’ Pathe or even at places like the Kriterion or Rialto. I jumped in as an intermediary to explore if we could mix the showing of these films with some music and cuisine showcasing. These are now recognised as fun events by all of those from the Caribbean Diaspora (including those from the Dutch-speaking Caribbean).

Q: I hear you mention fun but also note that you used the term ‘market’. Caribbean Creativity is a foundation (stichting), is this correct? EM: Yes. Q: Why not a distribution or production company? EM: Well, my main ambition was to assist Caribbean filmmakers. While doing my field research in Jamaica what came up in the many interviews was that exposure was desired. There was an interest in entering the international film market but filmmakers there simply could not access it, so I provided a platform to make this possible in the Netherlands and Europe. I did not have a commercial aim and I also think that a commercial aim is not viable at present. It does not have to be commercial for us, of course, as we just aim to offer those filmmakers the opportunity to air their educational and entertaining films to audiences they otherwise would not have had the chance to reach. Q: Is this something with which the City of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Arts Fund (AFK) are happy to assist? EM: Actually, they do. We have had several grants from

‘Recognised as fun events by all of those from the Caribbean Diaspora (including those from the Dutch-speaking Caribbean)’


Q: Have you considered approaching Caribbean nations’ culture ministries for possible support beyond moral support – financial support? EM: I have not but I have spoken with the Jamaican Film Commission to offer our services and to let them know what we are doing. They do like what we are doing but, for now, they seem focused on business locally and have yet to really get back to us. Q: From my own surveying of the Caribbean film scene, with so much technology now being more available, it strikes me that there are quite a few film festivals springing up all over the region. This tells me that there is growth in the industry and is why I asked if you had focused on better communication

with the culture ministries there. Is this simply too ambitious in relation to what you are currently doing in Amsterdam? EM: At the moment we are still a small organisation working mainly with volunteers. I myself have two other jobs beside this one. In order to effectively cover this area we would need a larger base here. What we are doing is approaching the Caribbean film festivals directly, such as the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, to establish an interest in what we could offer them. And they are interested. I am also looking into getting them – not the organisation, but some of the films and filmmakers – to the Netherlands. Again, of course, we are a small organisation operating on a low budget, but we are doing everything in our power and hopefully we can expand in the coming years. Q: What can Amsterdammers expect from Caribbean Creativity over the next 18 months, or so? EM: We are currently working on our next event within the Yard Vibes concept. It will be a reggae dancehalltype event with film, music and cuisine and we also have Rootical Vibrations, which is for the Rastafarian community and also features films. We have not staged an event for a while, given that I was in the

‘We have had several grants from the Amsterdam Arts Fund’


the Amsterdam Arts Fund as well as from the different district councils; particularly East Amsterdam, given that the foundation is located in this part of the city. The contribution from the East Amsterdam District Council has been very welcome and it is a great fit, since they also see it as part of their commitment to the cultural and out life scene of Amsterdam. I am so happy with this, as it is a niche and not necessarily able to reach mainstream audiences. They have been willing to support us several times, since they see the value of it and that we are well organised.




‘The contribution from the East Amsterdam District Council has been very welcome’




process of completing my PhD. Now we have extended our partnerships with local independent film houses, as they have had good experiences with our screenings in the past. They like what we do and have noted that we bring a new audience to their establishments. We are therefore working in collaboration with the Kriterion, Rialto and De Balie, which are interested in sharing the costs and potential profits with us. Q: I find it bewildering that The Museum of the Tropics (Tropen Museum) is absent from the list of collaborators. Why is this? EM: I have approached them once, as we are trying to work with organisations that can provide a cinema environment, but the rates they quoted to use their facilities were so expensive we had to look elsewhere. Q: Speaking as Amsterdammers, should it not be the case that KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) should be accessible to you? EM: You are totally right, in as much as I am also a KIT intercultural professional and visit often. A few months ago I had a chat about this, as they also need to find new ways to justify their existence.

Q: The entire Tropen Museum complex is my personal favourite in all of the Netherlands but I am wondering, given that what Caribbean Creativity is doing is as tropical as it gets, why they are not bending over backwards to help you with your projects? EM: First of all, I will need to see how they deal with my approach in this period, as the last time I approached them was when they were in crisis and being threatened with closure as part of central and city government cutbacks. That said, they did not really differentiate between approaches by large events with a big budget and organisations such as ours with our smaller projects. The space rental and usage rates were the same. Maybe I am a bit cautious about working with the Tropen Museum, as they can still be perceived as an elite organisation and our audience seems more comfortable attending a film house, while the Tropen Museum can feel a bit ‘apart’. Q: I contend that, given the Caribbean spirit of entrepreneurship and fairness, which you represent, these people and that institution should be re-approached and have your objectives re-explained to them.

‘We are still a small organisation working mainly with volunteers’


Q: It sounds like it will be genuinely exciting for Caribbean Creativity over the coming period. Will you be visiting the Caribbean yourself anytime soon? EM: I am always looking to visit the Caribbean! Luckily, this year it appears to be more tangible than in the past few. It is also part of my job as a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). It should mean I have a research grant to revisit Jamaica, as well as take the opportunity to travel around a bit and reconnect with friends there. One thing I would like to add to the KIT story, or one thing that I am thinking about, is that the Utrecht Latin American Film Festival has stopped, due to a lack of funds. So, I have contacted them, as we have actually worked together before, to see if we can continue on together in a redressed form here in Amsterdam. It

would be a shame if they would cease to exist. I am also in contact with Que Pasa (the party/nightclub concept) and looking to combine it all. Maybe that is something on a scale that we could organise in the Tropen Museum. Q: I suppose in the end it is better to approach these institutionalised, government-funded and -controlled places with as broad and inclusive a project as possible. It is easier to say you are representing many millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean than just the five million, or so, in the English-speaking Caribbean. At The Sentinel we have a simple philosophy that guides our reporting, which means we prioritise Amsterdam, then Europe and then the world. By the time this interview is published, I myself will be in the southern Caribbean on a working holiday, so it all ties in nicely with material that will appear in the magazine in the coming issues. As such, I would love to offer you our support, in terms of doing our best to help you get your message out and keep it out there. Otherwise, and to end this interview, please tell me what will Caribbean Creativity be doing to make itself more visible to the Amsterdam and international public?

‘We are therefore working in collaboration with the Kriterion, Rialto and De Balie’


EM: I totally agree with you but, as things stand, we have started working with partners and film festivals, and these now feel established. We simply cannot afford the Tropen Museum’s current rates and we’re more interested in equal partnerships. But yes, you are right, it does have a beautiful cinema and we should approach them again. The facilities there are in fact underused.



‘Maybe I am a bit cautious about working with the Tropen Museum, as they can still be perceived as an elite organisation’





EM: We have a website, of course (currently being updated to 21st-century specifications), which contains all the information about our activities and upcoming events. We also work closely with our partners, in terms of attracting the attention of their more mainstream visitors to the independent film houses. Otherwise, we really love having features in magazines and on websites. But I must remind you that ours is a small organisation that relies on the work of volunteers. So, if The Sentinel is willing to help us by spreading the word then that would be great. Q: It is not difficult, seeing as what you are doing to assist these filmmakers is fully in line with the philosophy and objectives of this magazine: to bring enjoyment to people’s lives. I am sure the films you represent will bring to new audiences some of the sunshine and vibrancy that is the Caribbean, and that should create enjoyment. EM: Not just enjoyment but also education. We do not want to give the impression that it is all ‘sunshine’ in the Caribbean; it is also important to us that the films show different perspectives, as well as being entertaining. Otherwise, people would not go to see them.

Q: So, what is the next hot Caribbean film planned for an Amsterdam premiere? EM: We do have one [Journey to Jah, 2013], which has already been shown at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) but was really intended for those who sympathies lie with the Rastafarian movement and this target group has not really seen the film yet. It is also not just about the films; we also provide music and cuisine at our events, and we make educational material available as part of an entire evening’s programme. It is all about creating a community feeling between Amsterdam and the Caribbean, and that means it ends in a party. And to close, if any of your readers would like to volunteer to help us with promoting our organisation then I would like them to get in touch. It does not matter how much time you think you have, as even just one hour per week would be helpful to us. Caribbean Creativity:

‘I have a research grant to revisit Jamaica, as well as take the opportunity to travel around a bit’







‘We do not want to give the impression that it is all ‘sunshine’ in the Caribbean’




‘It is all about creating a community feeling between Amsterdam and the Caribbean, and that means it ends in a party’




Je moet er geweest zijn.


Authentic and full of surprises. That’s Mechelen. Hospitable and honourable. That’s the people of Mechelen. Come and experience the city’s urban charms for yourself.

Authentic and full of surprises. That’s Mechelen. Hospitable and honourable. That’s the people of Mechelen. Come and experience the city’s urban charms for yourself.

photography © Layla Aerts


Mechelen Mechelen


Dam in 60 minutes! 22


By Sam van Dam


‘The outer fringes of the city’

Today I am taking you to the outer fringes of the city. As you may remember, last time we went to Bos en Lommer, so it makes sense to continue our journey outwards in that general direction, to Slotermeer.


There has been a lot of construction work in Slotermeer and, since I hadn’t been there since I lived there at the beginning of the century, it looks very different from how I remember it and I even have difficulty finding it. I just follow my nose down the Vlugtlaan, though, and finally recognise some buildings, which confirm that I’m still heading in the right direction. The shops along We start at Leidseplein, which offers many pleasures to the roadside seem mostly to be run and frequented by visitors and locals alike. There are bars, coffeeshops, Turkish and Arabic Amsterdammers; that is, if the signs shops, restaurants and plenty of other ways to spend and featured products are anything to go by. An time and money in a fun way. I leave all this behind oriental vibe dominates the neighbourhood. Kids are and cycle past the Stadsschouwburg and the American playing in the streets, groups of men wander around Hotel, on to the Marnixstraat, taking a peek at the discussing life, women pushing strollers enjoy the wonderfully reflective front of the De La Mar Theater sunshine with their little ones and even though it looks and the Melkweg photo gallery. I proceed down this and feels nothing like downtown Amsterdam, there is a seemingly endless street until I make it to uniqueness to this area that inspires and invites the Haarlemmerplein; one of my favourite squares in the casual passerby to stop and take a closer look at what city. It has that faux Berlin feeling with its Brandenburg this part of our beautiful city is all about. Gate lookalike, Haarlemmerpoort, and the newly recreated open space with a water installation, next to Apartment buildings with rows of shops and which there is usually a farmer’s market. restaurants at street level are very common here and create a lively atmosphere. It’s all very colourful and I make a left turn towards Westerpark, which I visited the locals clearly appreciate the wide variety of and described in detail in a previous issue. I enjoy the products and services available. The streets are full of sunshine and the birds singing on this mild winter’s people and everybody is busy doing their thing as I day. Mothers frolic around with their kids, dogs run swish through on my bicycle. In the distance the big over the green fields and the first signs of a new shopping mall at Plein 40-45 becomes visible and, once I beginning are visible all around. Joggers do their am closer, the big outdoor market in front of it entices rounds and if it wasn’t so windy and cold, I’d stop for a me to stop and mingle with the folks doing their little break on the grass. Instead, I carry on pedalling shopping. I look at the carillon on the square but it towards the towers of Sloterdijk, which offer easy doesn’t play any music, so I stroll around the market orientation with their very prominent skyline. Just stalls and take in the many aromas, colours and visual before I reach the train station area, I leave the path impressions that define Slotermeer. After a while it and enter Bos en Lommer (see previous issue). As I make starts to rain, so I hop back on my bike and turn photos of a couple of high-rise buildings, a Dutch towards the city centre; but not before admiring the woman wearing a headscarf approaches me and asks rainbow that happily looms above our heads, proving me if I’d taken any photos of her. She explains that she once again that life is all about perspective: you can be is one of those Muslims who do not like being made uncomfortably wet by the rain or you can admire photographed. We look at my captures together and the beauty it also creates. after she sees that she is not featured on my SD card, she thanks me for being so understanding and we both continue on our way.







‘Rotate 360 degrees to take it all in’













‘Take in the many aromas, colours and visual impressions that define Slotermeer’






‘Shops along the roadside seem mostly to be run and frequented by Turkish and Arabic Amsterdammers’









‘There is a uniqueness to this area that inspires and invites the casual passerby to stop and take a closer look’



‘Maybe I was feeling especially entitled but I felt like I deserved more’


An intelligent, single man in Amsterdam ‘An intercontinental move is beyond the scope of most people’

‘I am actually the sort of immigrant that demagogues denounce’

By Alien Asylum

I was standing in a freight container retrofitted well enough to pose as a dwelling deemed fit for a student. This rectangular atrocity was to be my headquarters for ten months. I had honestly envisioned something a bit more glamorous. Maybe I was feeling especially entitled but I felt like I deserved more. I’d just given up my middle-class lifestyle of leisure, complete with a hot tub in the backyard, to become a student, yet again. My studies at the University of Amsterdam were not really of consequence; what mattered was that I had decided to move to Amsterdam and was able to bring this dream to fruition. I had nearly forgotten the quest to the De Key office in east Amsterdam to

pick up keys for a dormitory room in the west. Surely, there could have been a better way to administer this process. I attributed it to anecdotal chaos and re-examined the box in which I was to live. In 1998, I moved to Washington DC and made that my home for a decade. Relocating is always arduous but an intercontinental move is beyond the scope of most people. Unless a person possesses highly-specialised skills or is independently wealthy, such a relocation is not possible. For the less fortunate, some savviness is necessary. I found my opportunity in higher education but I gave up a lot. Two-thousand CDs were sold. Several bags of used clothing and shoes were donated. Volumes of books were housed in my mother’s attic. My rare records were stored in my father’s finished basement. Houses I owned were transferred at a loss. My beloved grandmother even donated to the cause. All of my family and friends were



left behind. As a bachelor without children and relatively few possessions binding me to any particular place, emigration to the Netherlands was viable option. I quit my life for a chance to stay past the date on my visa but I really didn’t regret that.

prove to be worth the sacrifice?

As I reflect on this moment from four and a half years ago, I will say that the brazen often reap rewards. I will not say that my journey has been pleasant or that I feel welcomed by the general Dutch populace. I do, however, feel like an Amsterdammer. I am neither a city expert Many people ask me, “Why Amsterdam?” I became nor an expat blogger. I am not particularly adept at cognisant of Amsterdam in 1994, when I saw ‘Pulp foreign languages and I do not completely agree with Fiction’; admittedly, the least intellectual or romantic path to find such a lovely city. In 2000 I visited with my the concept of cultural relativism. I am actually the then-lady and it was during that visit I thought it would sort of immigrant that demagogues denounce. I have no interest in assimilating to Dutch culture. I came to the be nice to live in Amsterdam. Subsequent holidays Netherlands in search of something greater and never spent in the city in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 were found it. Like a relationship, the initial mystique waned more like a courtship involving an intrigued but and the exhilarating became routine. But through it all sceptical woman. This is how I fell in love with the love was never lost and the interest never died. It Amsterdam. The more I learned, the more insatiable the interest became. The relocation seemed like a was when I didn’t notice that I was in Amsterdam that I became an Amsterdammer, and it is at this moment natural progression – or possibly a natural regression, given my current status as a ‘student’. Would whittling that I realise I am still in the retrofitted container with much to learn. my life down to fourteen boxes en route via FedEx




‘I became cognisant of Amsterdam in 1994, when I saw ‘Pulp Fiction’; admittedly, the least intellectual or romantic path to find such a lovely city’



‘7 million spring-flowering bulbs are planted, producing a riot of colour between mid-March and mid-May’


Living colours of spring By Gary Rudland

Having lived in the Netherlands for 22 years and my partner considerably longer, we finally got around to visiting Keukenhof last year. If you haven’t heard of Keukenhof, you can’t have lived here long. Everyone knows about it but not everyone has been. Keukenhof markets itself as ‘The most beautiful spring garden in the world!’ and it would be hard to disagree. Each year more than 7 million spring-flowering bulbs are planted, producing a riot of colour between mid-March and mid-May. The entire site covers more than 32 hectares but some of this is fields. You can take a boat trip to marvel at these but the gardens and pavilions within the main grounds provide more than enough to look at. At this time of year, at the end of a long winter, we all need some colour in our lives and there surely cannot

be another place in the world with as many different colours as Keukenhof in spring. Hundreds of varieties of tulip, daffodil and hyacinth cover the grounds and fill the air with fragrance. It really is a feast for the eyes and a lift to the spirits. The pavilions, meanwhile, feature 30 alternating flower and plant shows and numerous works of art are displayed among the flowers. It may have taken us more than 20 years to make our first visit but it won’t be that long before we return. The photos that follow were all taken last year and the displays and themes vary from year to year. This year Keukenhof runs from 20 March until 18 May and, if you like flowers, give yourself a treat and take a stroll around one of the most beautiful and colourful places you are ever likely to come across.


‘We all need some colour in our lives’






04 48


‘Give yourself a treat and take a stroll around’







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city gem

‘The tiny scale of this place’



city gem

‘Not much can compare’

By Denson Pierre

Wynand Fockink Pijlsteeg 31, Amsterdam

In keeping with the tiny scale of this place I will be sparing with my words in highlighting this most authentically Amsterdam of Amsterdam’s city gems. Not much can compare to ducking into a gin and liqueur distillery and tasting room, which has existed at the same location since 1679. Any modernising changes to the original decor have been kept to an absolute minimum and Wynand Fockink is somewhere to visit at least once while in central Amsterdam; if only to learn the tradition of the ‘slurp’ as you sample its expansive list of luscious single- and combined-flavour liqueurs and utterly unique atmosphere.


Wijnand Fockink


city gem

city gem



city gem

city gem


‘Somewhere to visit at least once while in central Amsterdam’

cafe/bar review

‘The reputation it is building is based very much on word of mouth’


Café Struik

cafe/bar review

‘Like most buildings that have been well lived and worked in, the energy is fine’

By Denson Pierre

regular DJ-type presentations taking place the venue does have entertainment value. Rating 4

It is always a pleasure to find a monumental building maintained and offered up for use as a hospitality address in historic, frontline Amsterdam. Café Struik also benefits from a psychological syndrome that influences the way people relate to it. Struik has built quite a name for itself in a short time, given the creative and hip crowd who use it, and it is also welcoming to more irregular punters. What you find when you get there is that, like most centuries-old buildings, Struik is tiny. You could not guess at its proportions, since the reputation it is building is based very much on word of mouth, making it sound like a venue on a major scale.

Prices Whether these young entrepreneurs are geniuses at negotiating better wholesale prices from increasingly problematic beer distributors or simply a dying breed of Amsterdam proprietors who choose to charge punters fair prices for their consumables, I do not know. What I do know and applaud is a roaring pricing success, which guarantees that I will regularly frequent the place for a couple of hits of one of my favourite beers. Struik sells La Chouffe Blond at € 3.50 a glass! This is easily 50 cents cheaper than most of the many bars in Amsterdam that now carry this beverage. It feels like you are actually saving money when out having a beer in the centre of Amsterdam and each glass of this super beer does not damage your wallet. It is an easy calculation: if I have seven La Chouffe Blonds over time, I can treat myself to an extra one that I would not have had at another establishment. Rating 5+

Ambiance It’s an old building and the proprietors are very relaxed and hospitable. Like most buildings that have been well lived and worked in, the energy is fine and especially so when the easily filled space becomes populated. Rating 5 (1 = poor, 5 = excellent) Staff/Regulars Seems to be attractive to designers and artists. The main crowd is youngish with a few older and wiser heads hugging the fringes. Both groups are hip in that nice Amsterdam way we call gezellig. Rating 4 Televised sport The wall area is used for mini exhibitions and a TV would frankly take up too much precious space. With

Music Normally, cool music abounds but they fall into the weekend trap of playing vacuous ‘funky house’ music, which fails to move anyone to shake even a tail feather. People gravitate here for the ambiance and it is not so interesting to even tease with danceable music when there is not really any room to dance. Rating 4 Smoking area provision This is beautiful ‘old town’ Amsterdam with a wide pavement frontage on the always busy Rozengracht on one side and the Jordaan to the rear. Puffers must really enjoy their little strolls as they charge their lungs. Rating 4 Total rating: 26/30


Café Struik Rozengracht 160, Amsterdam

cafe/bar review


‘Struik sells La Chouffe Blond at € 3.50 a glass!’

cafe/bar review



cafe/bar review

cafe/bar review



cafe/bar review

‘This is beautifu ‘old town’ Amsterdam’



cafe/bar review




amsterdam city life

: K C A B G N I R B Fear of and respect for nature – Part II

By Denson Pierre

Part of The Sentinel’s job to be just that: a sentinel. As such, I would like to highlight a serious issue to do with fast-changing climate patterns, which are leaving certain categorisations dangerously behind, lodged in historically rigid semantics. We can no longer pretend that the severity and frequency of storms do not exercise us. We are, however, seemingly practicing an encouraged false confidence in the face of the irresistible boldness of nature. It is as if the authorities and traditionalists are intent on not budging, in terms of providing stark education on what a storm is and what high wind speeds and occasional extraordinary amounts of precipitation (both in liquid and more solid forms, such as snow and hail) can do to property, human wellbeing and nature. It can be devastating! My reading of the situation is that the colour-coded bad weather alert system is too playful and open to interpretation, both in Western Europe as a whole and Amsterdam in particular. I mean, what does the term ‘red alert’ mean to anyone under the age of 40, these days, beyond the context of some video game? There is nothing virtual about the danger carried in these increasingly frequent storms and yet Europeans seem to have a different relationship to their intensities, because the language used in this region is much gentler and more likely to induce a sense of reduced risk. Through media like the internet and television we

are almost desensitised to the dramatic effects of weather around the world. What I find bizarre, however, is that everyone is filled with a knowing sense of terror when a hurricane approaches any area of civilisation, be it coastal or further inland. Why, then, if the wind speeds (the primary destructive element) are indeed hurricane force during European storms, are we wrapping forecasts and behaviours in elegant language and more or less allowing an increasing number of civilians to be killed by storms, simply because they were still out in them, in an age of reasonably good early warning systems? Bring back or, in this case, bring into existence a new word to express to Amsterdammers and Western Europeans that these ‘new’ kinds of storm are not to be messed with by using tested, old, stubborn, overconfident and inappropriate coping behaviours. We know we are in trouble when the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier has to be activated and/or closed with increasing frequency and the Rotterdam Storm Surge Barrier floats regularly at the ready. We are in pure disaster mode when the next event threshold is reached; the breach. The international categorisation is clear (http://www. and adequate. We should use it as a universal tool, so that everyone knows the characteristics of the monsters increasingly at the door and along our canals. Just think; Hurricane Sandy packed winds of 130 km/h when it roughed up New York recently. We have had mere ‘storms’ with regular gusts of up to 130 km/h in recent months and pretended just to shrug.


Some of the sillier behaviour I have observed in this city over the past few years has been that of Amsterdammers out and about during storms. Some can even be found cycling during such inclemency!

star beer guide


Star Beer

star beer guide

The Sentinel Star beer guide By Denson Pierre


(A.B.V. 10%)

‘Worth getting in on the joke when amusingly named beer is this good’ 69

Naming a beer can be as tricky as naming a Dulle Teve 10 is brewed by De Dolle band; there is a strange tendency for both to Brouwers, Esen, Belgium. ‘become’ their name (think Alt-J). This exceptional triple is brewed by professionals calling themselves The Mad Brewers. It follows, therefore, that the name of this notfor-bingeing beauty translates as ‘Mad Bitch’. The coarse but funny name and design become more palatable after just one sip and it is worth getting in on the joke when amusingly named beer is this good.


Café Westerdok 02/02/14



We find the best, most fun, most typical, exciting, or local favourite restaurants etcetera in Amsterdam and bring them to you; an easy way to feel like a local.

Connoisseurs Delight

Café Westerdok Some of the very finest and rarest of beers available anywhere in the world. The warmest Amsterdam welcome. Café Westerdok Westerdoksdijk 715A Amsterdam


To be seen and tasted

Fun, Drinking & Music

Cafe de Toog 1890’s grandeur fashioned into Amsterdam-West, grand, brown cafe-restaurant-cool. Classy drinks and meals. Nicolaas Beetsstraat 142 hs Amsterdam

Parck Great fun, beautiful people and simply the best bar food in town! Overtoom 428 Amsterdam

Mulligans Irish Music Bar Amsterdam’s best address for live Irish music: Five (5) nights a week! Check our agenda for upcoming sessions. Amstel 100 1017 AC Amsterdam

To Be Seen and Tasted

Connoisseurs Delight

To Be Seen and Tasted

Cafe restaurant Edel Cafe restaurant Edel is the perfect place for lunch, dinner or to simply enjoy a drink. Edel is a unique place in Amsterdam. Postjesweg 1 1057 DT Amsterdam

Incanto A restaurant with a classic Italian kitchen. Venetian chef Simone Ambrosin is known for his pure and simple style of cooking with great feeling for nuance. Amstel 2 Amsterdam

Café Kostverloren Café Kostverloren is a contemporary cafe offering the cosiness of a saloon, an open kitchen and the intimacy of a living room. The large terras is great for sunny days. 2e Kostverlorenkade 70 Amsterdam

Fun, Drinking & Music

To be seen and tasted

To be seen and tasted

Cafe-Restaurant Du Cap A spacious and tasty helping to the Mediterranean vibe within Amsterdam’s new ‘West End’ entertainment district. Kwakersplein 2 Amsterdam

Molly Malone’s An Irish pub as it should be and a home away from home! Cosy, friendly, and with its very own character! Oudezijds Kolk 9 1012 AL Amsterdam Molly-Malones-Amsterdam/ 293030997411277

Fun, Drinking & Music

Connoisseurs Delight

Fun, drinking and music

Bax A cosy and friendly local café with a focus on special or interesting beers and good quality food. Open 7 days a week with a professional kitchen offering a lunch and dinner service. Ten Katestraat 119 Amsterdam

Café Rose Red You will not see and sample a better selection of the very best of European beer elsewhere. Cordoeaniersstraat 16 Brugge

Gollem Gollem’s Proeflokaal, Gollem and Gollem II represent the best addresses serving the fullest range of top Belgian, Dutch and international beers in Amsterdam. Overtoom 160-161 Amsterdam


To be seen and tasted

Café Oporto Café Oporto is a traditional Amsterdam ‘brown cafe’. Welcoming tourists and regular customers alike, they offer televised sports, wifi and a wide range of reasonably priced beers and spirits. Zoutsteeg 1 1012 LX Amsterdam


Where is this in Amsterdam?


Answer to:


Room 2c film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

By dpmotions

Swiss Family Robinson A very Walt Disney take on a family being shipwrecked on a tropical island and having to learn to live with an uncertain future and typically pesky pirates. The story depicts the family on an island they would have floundered upon en route to New Guinea, whereas the actual island they end up on is Tobago. Much fun to observe the family surrounded by a range of animals unheard of in the Caribbean.


Russell Crowe is cast as a British frigate sea captain in 1805, complete with Russell Crowe-type personality characteristics. The mission is to track down a French vessel of war and capture or destroy it. Of course, the high sea is always full of surprises and this movie offers a rare opportunity to appreciate the sound of lumber splintering under the impact of cannon balls using modern audio technology. Swashbuckling in parts.

By dpmotions





Standing in line across the sea ‘Just another trend for seriously trendy people’


By Dirkje Bakker-Pierre

Apparently, the hottest new trend in London is to stand in line for a seat at a restaurant, instead of making a reservation. Curiously, Londoners don’t seem to mind forming very long queues (think Rijksmuseum) outside in the cold and wet, just to get some nutrition. Restaurant diners are apparently choosing to go to places where there are no reservation options at all and just patiently stand around, instead of simply going somewhere where they can be guaranteed a seat. Is this new development a backlash against our ever faster moving lifestyles? I mean, ‘slow food’ is also a phrase you hear more and more. Could it be part of some ‘grand design’ of the universe, in which more relaxed attitudes and less stress and haste are the future, and everyone just automatically understands that? Or is it the effect of so many people doing yoga and more mindful types of activity, these days, and that they are just totally ‘Zen’? Have we, humanity, after speeding up for centuries, finally reached

equilibrium and are we actually starting to slow down? Would this then be considered evolution or devolution? How come people are, all of a sudden, more relaxed and prepared to wait for long periods, instead of the usual rituals of rolling eyes or loud sighing at the slightest hint of having to wait? Why is this happening? Is it feasible that this trend will spread to Amsterdam anytime soon? This is extremely hard to imagine, if we look at our town and typical, daily behaviours. Could it be that the trend just hasn’t reached us yet or will it drown and perish in the waves of the North Sea, because the people across the water are so much more open to being relaxed than us Lowlanders? Or is this in fact just another trend for seriously trendy people, who think that a line must mean that the place at the end is the place to be? Would they join any queue unquestioningly, regardless of the speed at which they normally live? All will be revealed… in good time.






All and nothing 78

(Part II)

‘No one is on a computer or a smart phone; a rarity nowadays’

‘Briefly there was nothing binary about’

By E.R. Muntrem

I am sitting in Café Stevens. I do a lot of writing here. As typical Amsterdam cafés go, it is typically fantastic. Often, in the morning, I can sit in the back and be by myself with my computer at a table for eight that offers a view of De Waag. But not today. It is midday and that table is already occupied by a group of tourists. Mostly Dutch people sit at the other tables, enjoying their tostis and koffie verkeerd and so forth. No one is on a computer or a smart phone; a rarity nowadays in any public space. This I will interrupt. Sitting at a central table I get out my computer. Damn, is it just my imagination or has the atmosphere in the room shifted with the energy fluctuating towards the negative? People contract into themselves a little more. A few minutes later a guy checks his phone. Then others do. Would they have done it anyway, regardless of me? Still, briefly there was nothing binary about this room. It was me who reminded everyone that the O and 1 of everything nowadays is us and our computers.

As I have said before, the number and variety of places you can sit and work in Amsterdam is a thing to love about the city. In America you can sit and work all day in a few coffee places only. Cafés and restaurants need turnover, waiters work for tips and there is much less of a culture of using a café as your living room. The ubiquity of the computer means more and more places are being ‘multi-purposed’ but there is no equivalent of Café Stevens in the States; a place where you can have one coffee, dominate a large table and work all day before you have a meal and a beer. In Amsterdam, in this respect, most places where you sit to eat and drink are more or less equal. The business guy who sits next to me now gets out his computer and takes a phone call at that ‘you must all listen to me as I talk’ volume that penetrates all public spaces. He speaks for twenty blessed minutes. Is this not unconscionable? Surely he is being rude. Yet on what trumped-up notion of freedom or tolerance can I make an argument against him. I am as dependent on my screen as he on his. Because I read the name ‘bud tender’ for workers in coffee shops and because (unlike in the States) café workers do all the jobs a café like this require (serving,


‘The Dutch are… Well, according to the Dutch, direct and closed, hospitable and cheap, pushy and passive; pretty much everything and its opposite’

tending bar, cleaning), I think of all café workers as ‘B-tenders’. Well, the B-tender at Stevens puts a coffee down in front of the business guy and winks and smiles as the conversation continues. Whatever the rules are, it doesn’t change the quality of hospitality.

generalisation about people: the English are a little like this, Americans a bit like that. The Dutch are… Well, according to the Dutch, direct and closed, hospitable and cheap, pushy and passive; pretty much everything and its opposite. Zero and One.

Amsterdam is a gateway city, full of people from all over the world. Today you bump into Aussies, some Croats and a few people from France. Tomorrow it’s Bulgarians and a couple from Peru. And every day you can talk with Moroccans, kids from Suriname and Asians who speak perfect Dutch. This on top on top of the hordes of Americans, Brits and other international residents that mix in with the traditional Dutchies themselves; natives who are foreign to you if you are from somewhere else.   So, the subject of small talk here is not just about how cold or hot it is – of the weather – but of place. 

We need something to talk about and it’s easier to talk about our group, or your group, or some other group than it is to talk about you and me. The person talking too loudly on their phone? Typical everyone.

“Where are you from in England?” “How long have you lived in Amsterdam?” “Did you like Italy?” “India is fantastic. I think so too.” And so on. From this follows the chatter based on some kind of

I ask the B-tender about the line between using the computer and talking on the phone. He does not quite get the question, assumes I am referring to the rudeness of the phone guy and gives an “Oh, yeah”. It’s not like he didn’t notice. There are no hard and fast rules, he suggests. Do you have a sense of how what you are doing impacts other people in the café? This, he suggests, is what matters. What matters, he says, is if you have “empathy for the people around you”. OK, got it. Everything is everything, almost.


‘Amsterdam is a gateway city, full of people from all over the world’

health & well-being

Skinny Thinking


By Evelina Kvartunaite

Recently, I was faced with a few of my friends discussing all kind of ways to lose a few kilos here and there. I could hear myself saying to them, “All the weight is in your head”. It certainly prompted a lot of eye rolling but it also got me wondering whether that is actually true. I mean, where do you draw the line of tricking yourself into thinking that you are as skinny as you like and being the ultimate goddess, in your own eyes? I would say that embracing your own body and developing a healthy and mature relationship with food is usually a good start. Also, things like taking the stairs instead of the lift and, if you are really brave, signing up

to the gym/fitness classes about which you are always procrastinating. That’s actually pretty much it, I think. If you are consciously happy about yourself, it makes you less likely to become a victim of the vicious cycle of dieting and then hating yourself during the days or moments that end up feeling like all you can eat is literally all you can eat. This way, you learn that chocolate is not your enemy and that an all-vegetarian dinner isn’t such a boring endeavour, after all. As I always say; don’t eat your sorrows away, breathe them out, walk them away and smile them out! Namaste.

– ‘All kind of ways to lose a few kilos here and there’ –

health & well-being

– ‘Tricking yourself into thinking that you are as skinny as you like’ –


– ‘Moments that end up feeling like all you can eat is literally all you can eat’ –


‘Consider how people who are missing a key sensory ability (or more than one) can experience life’

User Interface 82

UX for the visually impaired

By Andrei Barburas

All of us, or the majority at least, are conveniently familiar with ‘things’ because we see them or we have an image of them. But how do blind people experience those same ‘things’? Luckily for me, I was born free of any significant abnormalities or physical issues that might affect me later in life. But some people are born with no vision at all and others lose it during the course of their lives. Considering that I am still lucky to have all my senses functioning normally (in theory), it almost never crossed my mind to consider how people who are missing a key sensory ability (or more than one) can experience life the way I perceive and experience it. This idea came to me almost randomly and I do not have anyone in my circle of friends and acquaintances who is visually challenged. Consequently, I decided to look for first hand experiences of visually impaired

individuals and how they perceive and experience the world around them. I stumbled upon a recent article on LiveScience that described how Paul Gabias ‘sees’ the world around him: Paul has never seen a table. He was born prematurely and went blind shortly thereafter, most likely because of overexposure to oxygen in his incubator. And yet, Gabias, 60, has no trouble perceiving the table next to him. “My image of the table is exactly the same as a table,” he said. “It has height, depth, width, texture; I can picture the whole thing all at once. It just has no color.” If you have trouble constructing a mental picture of a table that has no color — not even black or white — that’s probably because you’re blinded by your ability to see. Sighted people visualize the surrounding world by detecting borders between areas rich in different



wavelengths of light, which we see as different colors. Gabias, like many blind people, builds pictures using his sense of touch, and by listening to the echoes of clicks of his tongue and taps of his cane as these sounds bounce off objects in his surroundings, a technique called echolocation. “There’s plenty of imagery that goes on all the time in blind people,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries. “It just isn’t visual.” What struck me most in what Paul said was the psychologisation of ‘things’ simply because that’s how we are used to doing these things: “I just picture tables. We have no idea what our brain is doing. We just perceive — that’s the wonderful thing about it. This is all ‘psychologization’ that has made it complicated to explain, but simple to do. You don’t know how you perceive. You just do it”.

More on this topic: Live Science: How Do Blind People Picture Reality? The Boston Globe: How blind people see race Do Blind People Dream?






The Gold Room 86

By Denson Pierre



Excitement and suspense levels have been high all season long and now it is time to select a player of the season in this competition. As always, the criteria involve a combination of total points scored, value for money, aesthetic play, attitude, discipline and a good number of weeks spent as part of at least one manager’s team. The shortlist for FFG-CL Player of the Season 2013-2014 appears below, in random order, and the result will be announced in the following issue.

lost the art of this high-percentage skill.

Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal) GK: out of the news this season, as far as erratic and compulsive misadventures go, he has quietly been the highest-scoring keeper for the majority of the campaign. Well shielded by the tight Arsenal defence.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) MID: the player who appears to have timed his peak in form best this season. Rather matured and deeply effective.

Bacary Sagna (Arsenal) DEF: has been as good this season as he has not been for the past few. Of particular note is that he has been the outstanding crosser of the ball in attacking situations. Most other wide men have

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) FWD: accomplished and spearheading one of the more impressive attacks seen in the history of the Premier League. Is he good for trophies? Luis Suarez (Liverpool) FWD: nicely positioned to possibly improve on his second place last season but will he scupper it again? A truly memorable season, so far. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) MID: serious injury came just at the point when he was looking to run away with the award. Can he return in time to cement it?

Just like in the actual Premier League, Champions League and Europa League competitions, we can be sure that it will be nothing other than a very close call.


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The Sentinel Amsterdam vol. 7 #8  

The Sentinel, Amsterdam tri-weekly e-zine with all that is good and informative on lifestyles with perspectives, opinion and sport from Amst...

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