Tuesday, 12 December 2017


These past few days it has been Winter in The Netherlands. On Sunday, the first snow fell, and that already caused some problems, but the real trouble began on Monday.

Many schools skipped classes, my school also closed at 12.30pm, so students and teachers had a chance of getting home safely. I was very happy with that, since I had classes until 16.10 pm and was actually wondering if I would make it home that evening.

Somehow when it begins to snow, the trains and busses do not function properly anymore and the whole country comes to a standstill.

Today not much new snow is expected (I hope so, since we have parent-teachers night tonight and I do want to get home!), and on Wednesday we probably only have a few patches of snow left.
But yesterday, my balcony looked like this.
And later that evening

Friday, 8 December 2017

Exhibition: Dutch modernists

Anton Mauve, winterlandscape 1885-1887
Everybody knows the painings from the Dutch 17th century, the Golden Age. But it is safe to say Dutch art had a second golden age in between 1870-1940. In these days the Dutch painters were inspired by Impressionism and Fauvism, but also came up with their own styles.

Last week I saw an exhibition which showed the best Dutch modernist painters and it was very beautiful and divers. There was a little overlap sometimes with the other exhibition I just saw about the Dutch painters in Paris, but the focus was of course different.

This exhibition began with painters like Anton Mauve, who went outside to paint nature, just like the French painters from Barbizon.

The Dutch painters went to Paris and were inspired by Impressionism. Painters like George Breitner and Isaac Israels were knows as the Amsterdam Impressionists, since they painted scenes from the big city.
Willem Witsen, Oosterpark in Amsterdam 1900

Georges Breitner, Dam in Amsterdam 1891
Dutch painters put their own spin on Fauvism and expressionism, and I loved seeing how a painter could begin in a certain kind of style, but could end up painting in a different style.
Jan Sluijters, Spanish dancer, 1906
In the years between the two world wars, there were groups of painters all around The Netherlands who helped eachother and who inspired eachother. I loved seeing a couple of paintings from my favorite Dutch school, The ploeg (the plough) from Groningen (where I was born). I love their work and I am glad these paintings were also shown as an example of amazing Dutch art.
Jan Altink, Rooster at Blauwborgje , 1927-1928

Hendrik Werkman, A walk during an autumnmorning 1922
The Dutch modernists can be seen at the Singer Museum in Laren until January 7th, 2018.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Notes from an exhibition, Patrick Gale

Families can have a lot of influence on people, the traits you inherit from your parents, the way you and your siblings interact, all have an impact on the rest of your life.

This is also the case for the children of Rachel and Anthony. Rachel was a  painter and she and Anthony lived in Cornwall.

Rachel was also bipolar, and often the household centrered around her moodswings. But the quiet religous beliefs of Anthony's quakerism also had its impact on the family, it was not an easy thing to live up to.

When Rachel dies, all remaining familymembers must come to terms with their memories and their grief. And slowly we learn about Rachel's past and the things that happened during these past years.

I discovered Patrick Gale a couple of months ago and read A place called Winter, which I loved, and I am glad to say this second book I read did not dissapoint. I really admore how Patrick Gale manages to write different people at different ages, each with their own voice. He is especially spot-on when he writes from the perspective of a child.

I also like how things are never black and white with him. It would be easy to condemn Rachel as a bad mother, but she was also a great mum, and although her being bipolar has a profound impact, it is never used as an excuse for her behaviour.

Families can be complicated, but Patrick Gale has a wunderful insight in them and this makes Notes from an exhibition a beautiful book.

Published in 2008

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Impressions from Nice (part I)

I loved spending a few days in Nice in the last week of October and now the weather is so cold and nasty over here, I am glad I have the photographs so I can enjoy the memories. Sitting at the seadise at the Promenade des Anglais and looking at the Mediterranean Sea, which is as blue as they always say.

So here a few sea-side impressions.
At sunrise

Characteristic blue chairs

A view from the top

Luxury at the sea-side

Yes, there are people swiming, even if it is almost November

The harbour of Nice. 

The most amazing shades of blue

Friday, 24 November 2017

New books

Last week I had a couple of hours to spare at school and I decided to go into the centre of Amsterdam. This is just 20 minutes by tram, so it is not far from my school. I ended up with the two English bookstores in the Kalverstraat, The English bookstore which has many books for discountprices and Waterstones, one of my favorites.

I finally went home with these books:

For just five euro's per book I bought these two books at The English bookstore. It is a biography about the Queen-Mother, very interesting I think. The other book, The temptress by Paul Spicer is a book about a notorious murder case in 1941 in Kenya.

At Waterstones I bought these fours books. First two non-fiction books. I love the books by Evelyn Waugh and I think he must have had an interesting life. I want to know more about him and I am very happy I saw this biography.

The other book is The riviera set by Mary S. Lovell (who also wrote a biography about the Mitford-sisters). It is about the French south-coast during the years 1920-1960. Very interesting and fun, I think!

And also two books with a Russian theme! One is the novel A gentleman in Moskow which I heard about and it is very high on my list to read.

The last book I picked up is written by Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and it is about the Russian war in Afghanistan.

A great pile of books and I am very happy with it. Although I must not go too often into town and visit these bookshops, I do not think my wallet would enjoy that!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


The weather has changed very quikcly to cold and rainy with a lot of wind. The mornings are dark and cold and the evenings are dark and cold as well. I am just so grateful I have a warm house to come home to every day.

But I do enjoy the amazing autumn colours like I do every year. These are two trees near my house. I love these gorgeous reds and golds and oranges. It would have been a better photograph with a little sun, but you cannot have it all!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Exhibition: The Dutch in Paris

Paris has always been the centre of the artworld and many artists from outside France came to Paris to learn new techniques or be inspired by new ideas. In Paris you had the Academies and the Salon, thé place to get noticed and to sell your work.

Already in the 18th century, Dutch artists came to Paris. Some of them became very succesful, like Ary Scheffer, who came to Paris when he was only sixteen years old, but who never left. He was even succesful at the French court of king Louis Philippe!

And in later years many others came, like Johan Jongkind, Vincent van Gogh and Kees van Dongen and Piet Mondriaan
The exhibition The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914, that is shown now in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, shows their work.
Notre Dame de Paris, vue de quai de la Tournelle, Johan Jongkind 1852
It shows how the Dutch artists were inspired by Paris and the busy life in the city, but it also shows how the influence worked both ways.

Johan Jongkind became a friend of Claude Monet and Monet saw how Jongkind painted his skies in loose and swirling paintstrokes, using light colours. This inspired Monet in his Impressionism. And Vincent van Gogh on his turn was influenced by Monet.

Another great example is George Breitner who saw the dansers Edgar Degas painted, and introduced this subject in The Netherlands.
Ballerina, George Breitner, 1884
It is beautiful to see in the exhibition who these painters took their inspiration from eachother, in subjects, technique and use of colour.

Not all of the Dutch artists lived in Paris long, but even if they only stayed a short while, their work was very much influenced by the capital of art, Paris.
Boulevard de Clichy, Vincent van Gogh 1887
The exhibition can be seen until January 7th, 2018 at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
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