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Showing posts from June, 2009

CHILDREN FRIENDLY CITY

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One of my concern and also obsession for city development in Indonesia is to create a children friendly city. A city where children can play outside for free. A city with public places which are safe, green and accomodative to children's needs. This should become a policy for city development. We all talk about sustainable city and environment, and a children friendly city should be included. If you are a father or a mother, I am sure you would share my concern. Where will I bring my children this afternoon? A playground in McDonalds? A game centre in a mall? For something good, I don't mind to learn from other country like Holland. At least where I live, it is part of policy to provide a playground every 500 meters. So there are several relatively small playgrounds and one relatively big playground plus a water pool. As far as I know, the same policy of creating children friendly places are common in Holland. I have to say that this is the most logic policy but sometim

LET'S BIKE!

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I have a lot of sympathy for my fellow Indonesians in several cities like Jakarta and Yogyakarta who try to promote "Bike to Work." It must be hard to bike in a city of 12 million people like Jakarta, where no bike infrastructure at all. I have experienced it in Medan and decided not to put myself in danger. But in Holland, between spring and fall, if the weather permits, I bike in the evening after dinner for one to two hours around villages close to home. Mostly it is about 30 to 40 kilometers. I can tell you that it is addictive, once you do it. Just to give an idea why, I share some spots that I see along the bike paths. The start, in front of my house in Amsterdam Public art work Signages Public recreation (inclusive children playground) Very cozy bench Farm house with summer flowers Farm, farm and farm A restoration project Water, water and water Sufficient maps for the bikers Old windmills were replaced by the new ones

ICE CREAM

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Most of us know how sweet ice cream is. But there is a community who never ever taste the sweet of ice cream. That is community in Rwanda. "If people never know about ice cream while they produce milk, then life has never been sweet, either, to them, " said Odile Gakire Katese, from National University of Rwanda, who shared her experiences in Cafe Curiosity, Amsterdam, 25 June. She delivered a presentation related to her artistic activities to address trauma post-genocide of Rwanda. One of her activities called Blue Marble Dreams Rwanda which to explore the transformative potential of ice cream not just as a source of fun and joy but also as a means of sustainable economic growth in developing countries with local but underutilized dairy resources. I quoted Odile's beautiful narrative about it, "Because we struggle most of the time, we find ourselves aggressive against happiness, love, joy, life. When we have children, we teach them that happiness doesn't exis

WAYANG KI ENTHUS SUSMONO

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Nonton pertunjukan wayang Ki Enthus Susmono di Tropen Museum, 20 Juni. Acaranya dimulai tepat waktu, hadirinnya tertib dan tidak riuh rendah, harga karcisnya lumayan. Ketika Ki Enthus mulai bercerita tentang petualangan Bima di Kerajaan Hastina, rasanya seperti sedang berada di Jawa Tengah saja. Gamelannya dinamis, kisah wayangnya banyak improvisasi, tidak banyak kesempatan untuk mengantuk. Tapi begitu tenggat waktu tiba, ingat lagi bahwa ini sedang terjadi di Amsterdam karena disuguhi jus jeruk dan juga ada bir dan kopi, bukan wedang jahe dengan kacang rebus panas. Apalagi ketika harus pulang karena jatah waktu parkir mobil sudah habis. Maklum tarif parkir di Amsterdam per jam 4 euro dan kebetulan cuma punya koin untuk 2,5 jam saja. Aduh, aduh. (foto : www.kit.nl )

OTHER SIDE OF AMSTERDAM

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If you are a tourist in Amsterdam, try to find one of the green area in the suburb of the city. Vondelpark is right in the middle of the city, but Amsterdam has many larger parks at its edges. One of them is called Amsterdamse Bos , means Forest of Amsterdam. This park is about one thousand hectares and built by about 50 thousand workers as part of government effort to solve economic crisis in 1930's. Government promised to provide jobs for at least five years for them. The project (famous as het Boschplan ) lasted until 1970 when the last tree was planted there. The main idea of this forest was not only functioned as greenbelt of the city but also to be used by the people. In this park, there are water areas for rowing, canoing and water biking. Facilities for children are tremendous : climbing, walking, learning about natural phenomenons. Families could gather here for picnic, BBQ or parties. One of my favorite attraction here is getting on an antique tram. It was organize

SUMMER FRUITS

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Globalization brings comfort of possibility to enjoy various fruits of any seasons anytime but the best local fruits still have to wait according to the natural cycles. For summer, red fruits like cherries, strawberries and raspberries are at their best tastes in Holland : not only sweet but also stunningly beautiful. (photo : http://www.dehoenderik-tricht.nl) (photo: www.50plusser.nl ) I usually try to go to places where I could pick those berries by myself. It is more for the "feeling good" than simply buying the fruits in supermarkets. In Holland many places open their gardens for public in summer. They are usually a kind of organic farm that promotes back to nature and everything natural. So they have not only fruits but also vegetable and delicious home made non-preservative ice creams. Some even have bed and breakfast facilities. I think this kind of recreational farming initiatives are very good for an agricultural country like Indonesia. I know in Java the

MUSEUM SEJARAH NASIONAL

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Salahsatu berita hangat yang hampir setiap hari muncul di media massa di Belanda saat ini adalah tentang Museum Sejarah Nasional. (sumber foto : http://www.mecanoo.com/ ) Dua politikus dari Partai Sosialis dan dan Partai Kristen Demokrat pada tahun 2006 menulis sebuah pledoi tentang pentingnya sejarah bagi sebuah bangsa. Mereka mengusulkan dibangunnya Museum Sejarah Nasional yang mempromosikan sejarah bangsa Belanda secara aktual kepada publik. Pledoi ini ditanggapi ramai dan didukung oleh para anggota parlemen. Dibentuklah sebuah badan yang tugasnya mempersiapkan museum tersebut dan dipilih tiga kota sebagai kandidat lokasi : Arnhem, Amsterdam dan Den Haag. Setelah melalui berbagai prosedur dipilihlah Arnhem. Mengenai materi museum disepakati bahwa perjalanan sejarah bangsa yang dirangkum dalam 50 Jendela Canon akan ditampilkan. Kelimapuluh Jendela Canon sendiri terangkum melalui proses panjang yang dilakukan oleh kelompok ahli dari berbagai latar belakang dan sudah mendapat pengakua

WORLD HERITAGE CITY : STRASBOURG (2)

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Welcome in Strasbourg ...... When the sun shines, terraces are the best places. Beautiful signs everywhere. Better than huge billboards. Once a while having cookies, sweets and chocolates is not a sin, isn't it? Public parks and open spaces are important in every city in every scale. They contribute to social life of the community. I miss this kind of public space in big cities Indonesia. Strasbourg has a lot and a lot of cute alleys. I see many people bikes although not as fanatic as the Amsterdammers. Historical buildings dominate the city centre. But there is also a modern building. This one is a government office. Strasbourg is still busy with renovation of its assets. It is nice to see colours amongst dark coloured buildings in the city. Painters are part of life in France, no exception in Strasbourg. Children should be able to play also in the city centre. The main point of Strasbourg where people gather and the city breaths.