Only fifteen years old, but our house is totally outdated (28)

A lot of houses are being built in our neighbourhood. I went for a walk and I planned my route to pass the new area, to see how the building was progressing. I hadn’t done so for a couple of months and to my suprise many houses were already inhabited, others were being prepared by painters for its owners to move in within a couple of weeks. The sidewalks were mostly put in, so it wasn’t as dangerous to walk there as a few months back, when many builder vans were riding around.

Energy transition is a big theme for housing in The Netherlands. Ever since the government realised the damage being done in Groningen due to gas extraction can’t be denied any longer, we all need to plan for a gas free house (most Dutch houses are heated on gas). These newly built homes are state of the art when it comes to heating systems, insulation and solar power. That became tangible when I passed a parking lot for residents.

The entire parking space was covered with solar panels. It is a solution I wish we could create with our neighbours. At our previous home we had a carport, which was especially convenient in winter. We never had to remove ice from our car. Now, we sometimes struggle to open the doors of our old and reliable Volvo in winter when it’s freezing (its rubbers are not what they used to be). Our parking space is a bit too small to invest in such a solution though. Nevertheless it’s great to see how smart solutions are being implemented when possible.

The one thing that surprised me though is that I only saw one powering station for an electric vehicle. The amount of electric and hybrid cars being sold is rising quickly, so in my opinion it would make sense to plan ahead and install such power stations for new houses. But then again, it might not be too much of an effort to put them in later on.

My conclusion is that our house was built fifteen years too early. Local government has said that this whole neighbourhood needs to solve the gas problem individually. The owners of these new houses are the lucky ones. They don’t have gas to begin with. We probably need to invest a lot of money to install a gas free heating system in the near future.

Door |2020-01-28T11:08:41+02:0028 januari 2020|366, flow|0 Reacties

102.000 names (27)

Since last Wednesday all the (known) names of Dutch citizens who were brutally deported and murdered by the nazi’s are being read in Kamp Westerbork. It is an attempt to make everyone realize how many people, with a name, a life, aspirations and sorrows were wiped from this planet.

Earlier this morning (CET), they started reading the names starting with W. It is the first letter of my last name. Could I have been on that list? Whenever I hear a name and the age two years of age, three years of age, four years of age, ….

They will finish the list later today, because on this day seventyfive years ago Auschwitz was liberated, but so many people, to this day, live with the consequences of what one man thought was the best version of mankind. The older I get, the less I grasp the phenomenon of racism.

Watch the livestream here or here.

Door |2020-01-27T18:05:37+02:0027 januari 2020|366, flow|0 Reacties

Serendipitous learning (21)

Curiosity took me to the Commons explore page on Flickr this morning. I typed in ‘Amersfoort’, as one does when one wants to learn more about ones own city. Several images came up, but no too many. When clicking through some of them, I was amazed how much of these images were taken from sources located outside the country. England, the US. Amazing what mankind keeps in their archives.

One picture stood out. Two headless people standing next to a box. I couldn’t really see what was in or on the box.

The description told me this image was taken from a file in the National Agricultural Library from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The image can be found on page 172 of the “Seventh annual cataloge of Cyphers Incubator Company : manufacturers of the Cyphers non-moisture, self-ventilating and self-regulating incubators, the improved Cyphers brooders and a full line of poultry appliances, […]”. There was a link provided to the original digitized source. In the cataloge, both man and woman reveal their faces:

the source on archive.org

After reading the text accompanying the photo I now understood the box was an incubator for eggs. Aha! Chicks are walking on top of the box and eggs are inside. I’m not too surprised to find anything to do with chicken for this region. Barneveld, a village about twenty kilometers east of Amersfoort, is still known for its massive production of eggs.

Scrolling back through the document I discovered this is actually a very elaborate sales catalogue for the company called Cyphers Incubator Company from Buffalo N.Y. in 1903. Their products ranged from $14 for a 60-egg capacity incubator to a 440-egg capacity “Double Decker” for $58.

Many happy customers sent in their reviews for the catalogue, including a J. Kooiman, Hon. Sec. of the Netherland Utility Poultry club, based in Amersfoort.

So instead of learning about my city, I learned of a U.S. company making incubators for eggs. The catalogue is wonderful to scroll through as they included pictures of their production facilities. They shared a lot about the choices they made for their product, something you hardly see these days. All in all a wonderful document to get a glimpse how business was run over a century ago.

Door |2020-01-21T11:21:39+02:0021 januari 2020|366, flow|1 Reactie

Een lief gebaar, de tranen sprongen me in de ogen. Maar niet om het gebaar.


De kleindochter van de buren gaf iets aan Dochter. Twee zakken vol met speelgoed. Zij was er klaar mee. Wat een lief gebaar. Dochter was even afgeleid door de filmpjes die ze aan het kijken was, dus kon ik even in alle rust uitzoeken wat er in de twee tassen zat. Plastic. Plastic. En nog meer plastic. Twee tassen vol met het archief van een spaaractie van Albert Heijn uit 2012. Miniproducten om je eigen supermarkt mee in te richten.

Toen ik door had dat er niets anders in die tassen zat dan dat sprongen de tranen me in de ogen. Even werd ik herinnerd aan de tentoonstelling in het Groninger Museum, jaren geleden, waarin een zeecontainer vol met plastic kinderspeelgoed was te zien. De verzamelwoede die er uit spreekt. En dan te bedenken hoeveel gezinnen dit destijds ook hebben gespaard. En dat verdwijnt allemaal in de afvalcontainer binnen een paar jaar tijd. Want hoe lang speelt een kind ermee? En wat doe je er daarna mee?

De tas die je op de foto ziet zit vol met merkproducten. Sluikreclame in mijn woonkamer? Nee dank je. Van de objecten die herkenbaar zijn als eten heb ik een collectie gemaakt voor Dochter. Die mag ze nog gebruiken in haar keukentje. Niet dat ze een gebrek heeft aan kookmateriaal. Eenzelfde setje maak ik voor een vriendinnetje van Dochter. De rest? Juist. Op de afvalberg. Een klein beetje wordt dus nu nog even mee gespeeld. Maar daarna? Juist. Op de afvalberg.

Door |2020-01-19T22:48:33+02:0019 januari 2020|flow|0 Reacties

You’re all that what you see (18)

Look up to the sky

As a kid I often felt overwhelmed when looking at the stars. I could feel overwhelmed about how insignificant I was. That I didn’t matter. That all of us mankind didn’t matter. That all of us would be gone at some point in time. So what’s the point of living if I don’t matter and everything will stop to exist without anyone to remember and tell about me, about us?, I asked myself often. 

I wasn’t the happiest kid on earth. I wasn’t the most depressed either. 

I also could feel overwhelmed by looking at the beauty of the sparkling dark sky. I clearly remember the evening I was up on a mountain and looked at the Milky Way for the very first time in my life. The sheer beauty of seeing what I was part of, what we were all part of, almost made me cry. I was in my early teens. 

With a little more life experience under my belt I don’t get scared anymore by my insignificance in the universe when looking at the stars. I even embrace the feeling as it reminds me that I’m all that what I see and that I belong as much as any star out there. That everyone and anything on this planet is the outcome of the same immeasurable coincidence as my existence. We’re all that what we see. We’re all built of the same atoms. The only thing I have to do to remember that, is look up to the sky at night. 

Door |2020-01-18T10:49:44+02:0018 januari 2020|366, flow|1 Reactie
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