Thursday, June 19, 2008

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Salsa as a sport

As has also been the case in Denmark for some years now, the Dutch ministry of health has put a special focus on the health of children and young people, in an effort to work against the growing obesity being reported ever more often. In this project the ministry published a folder 'Time for sport' highlighting the health benefits of sporting, and the initiatives undertaken by the public sector to increase active participation in sports. The Dutch association of dance teachers were surprised that no dance was mentioned as a sport. As a result the ministry ordered a scientific investigation of the sport intensity of a number of popular dances. It turned out that many dances qualify as high intensity sports. Salsa, for instance, has a mean metabolic equivalent (MET) above that of a single player match of tennis. This means that salsa is now not only officially accepted as a sport, but also many dance schools and teachers are now entitled to apply for financial support for a number of activities.

Read the summary (in Dutch) on: Sport KnowHow XL

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I thought today should be a balansdag, eating healthy to make up for all the christmas goodies I have had recently, but this morning the coffeetable at work was filled up with kruidnoten, speculaasbrokken, gevulde speculaas and chocolate-covered marzipan. All because it is the 5th of December, the biggest December festivity in Holland: Sinterklaas.

Illustration courtesy: Sinterklaas at

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Yesterday I did my tussentijdsetoets (TTT a pre-exam for the driving lessons exam in Holland). Wow, did I make lots of mistakes... I did not really like the crude attitude of the examinator. Maybe he got annoyed when I told him to put on his seat belt before we left the parking lot. In any case he was telling me in very rough terms where to go and pointed out my mistakes as we went along. And all the time he had this characteristic frown on his face that appeared to say "why am I wasting my time here".
I did a few things right - got them ticked off on the list, so my real exam will focus on the things that I did not pass this time. However, to minimize the probability of making mistakes, I want to do something like 10 more driving lessons before the real exam in December.

Photo courtesy: Verkeerschool van Ool

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

560km traffic jam

Holland has a serious traffic problem. Too many people commute by car every day, leading to very dense traffic on the highway and frequent traffic jams. When the weather changes rapidly or turns bad, like in the winter, it is even worse. Yesterday, after one and a half month of no rain, the sky opened for a refreshing day of rain. The traffic was affected by this to a total of 560km of traffic jam in the morning, where there is usually 'only' 180km on a normal day. The 560km of trapped cars made it to the top ten of the worst traffic jams ever in Holland.

Read more: Topdrukte op wegen door regen
Photo courtesy:

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bevrijdingsfestival Wageningen

Only five days after the renowned Queensday celebration, there is another great public celebration in Holland, the liberation day. All over Holland, on May 5th, the Dutch celebrate the end of the German occupation during WW2.
One of the biggest events is the festival in Wageningen where the capitulation documents were signed. Here they transform the whole city to present live music of all sorts, from jazz to heavy to techno to world music. In the park they have artists performing clowns acts, acrobatics, capoiera, flamenco music and dance. My favourites this year were the enticing rhythms of the samba band, and the lively show of Grupo Azul!

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Sunday, February 11, 2007


A colleague asked me the other day about which parts of Holland I have been sightseeing during my time here. I had to answer him honestly: I have mostly seen the big cities that host the good salsa parties. And then of course, I have only seen the cities by night.  


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