Showing posts from April, 2009


The Netherlands has a superb bicycle infrastructure. Almost the whole country is connected with bicycle paths. The bikers are treated with dignity and equal rights. Inside and outside city centres are possible to be explored by bicycle. In short, I do appreciate prioritization and promotion of bicycle in the Netherlands. From any point of views, it so easy to see how logic to use bicycle for almost any purpose. I do feel in love with the Netherlands for this specific reason. This spring I give a chance to my sense of adventure by biking almost every evening after dinner. Usually I bike at the suburb of Amsterdam, Abcoude and Ouderkerk a/d Amstel and villages around them. While biking I could enjoy the meadows and cows or horses, water canals, bird's songs, beautiful old houses and simply the quietness of my surroundings. After 6pm, most people stay home so I have the bicycle paths most of the time only for myself. It is always surprising how much details I could find along the rout


The birds are apparently very happy in the spring. They sing beautifully the whole day. I could hear their songs from my bedroom, my guest room, my balcony and everywhere I bike in the early evening. It is beyond words when I was awaken every morning by the bird's songs. Sometimes I could catch a glimpse of them, beautiful green, red, yellow, blue, brown and gray. For me the birds are magic! It is nice to know that birds have life here. At least I didn't see anyone shoot them or put them in a cage. Or even sell fried birds in the evening on street! An organization called "The Netherlands Society for the Protection of the Birds" works hard to save birds in the whole country including urban areas. No wonder that I still see them around Amsterdam.


That "Incredible India" is the marketing jargon of the Indian Tourism Board. And I agree about it. I learned about India from Kampung Madras, Medan, North Sumatra, India. Kampung Madras is an Indian enclave with market, restaurants, textile shops, Indian herb shops and temples. People from North and South of India have migrated here during the Dutch periods to work in plantations because the local Bataks refused to work for the Dutch. The atmosphere of Kampung Madras was always nice and inviting for me so I visited this place almost every day when I lived in Medan. The traditional market has the best products in Medan with a slightly higher price than other market; the restaurants offer the real Indian taste prepared by the native Indians; many women still appear in traditional sari and red-coloured nails using henna ; the temples from various believes are actively used for ceremonies; the shops sell colourful accessories and textiles; and the last but very important, Kampung


If a foreign tourist comes to Amsterdam, he/she might thinks how well conserved Amsterdam is. A lot of old buildings everywhere. But I found out that actually Amsterdam is not an exception from any other cities in the world who struggles to preserve its historical buildings. The battle happens here, too. The Friends of City Centre Amsterdam (in Dutch is VVAB) is nowadays struggling to avoid demolition of two buildings, de Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek and het Zusterhuis , in a complex called Binnengasthuisterrein , in the heart of Amsterdam. University of Amsterdam wanted to demolish it for a new library. On 12 January the local authority issued a permit for the demolition and at the same day the VVAB sent an objection letter to the local government. The organization asked an architecture historian and lecturer from the University of Amsterdam, dr. Gerrit Vermeer, to draft arguments about culture and art historical values of the buldings. The Binnengasthuisterrein (BG-terrein) should