Favorite place: Nuenen


In the winter of 1883, the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) went to live with his parents in the village of Nuenen.

The Netherlands is a small country. Nuenen is only an hour drive from Amsterdam. When I’m in the area, I always try to pay Nuenen a visit.

For those who love Vincent van Gogh there is a lot to like here: the little church, the presbytery, the house of his friend and mistress Margot Begemann, the windmill that is visible on so many paintings.

One of the most remarkable buildings in Nuenen is gone though. It was demolished in Vincent van Gogh’s time, not long before he left Nuenen in 1885. It’s the old church tower. Just like the windmill, it is depicted on many paintings.

The tower stood outside the village in the fields. Nowadays the place is an almost surrealistic spot in a residential area, next to a busy road. Old trees, a fence and a plaque remind visitors of the tower.


Strangely enough, this spot has become one of my favorite places in my country. Whenever I am in Nuenen, I go here. It is a bit sad of course. But, well, that’s life. Things come and things go.

Fortunately we have Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and drawings of the tower. Just look at the one above. He drew it in the first days after his arrival in Nuenen. It’s called ‘Snowy Landscape with the Old Tower’. The tower seems a bit lonely and it is almost as if it wants to say something, or so it seems, don’t you think?

I’d rather be…

…taking pictures with an old Leica


But then, that would be so impractical. I would feel like a dinosaur, trying to figure it all out.

And then, I do have a Leica, that is, sort of. My great little iPhone that is always with me.

The Leica above was from the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). He taught me that moments won’t reoccur. If you see a picture, take it, there won’t be a second chance. He said:

Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.

Mindfulness ‘avant la lettre’!

In respons to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: I’d rather be…

Out of this world


We drove up the mountain, towards the pass, the fog got thicker and thicker.

I had to stop the car, take a few pictures. It was out of this world, this Mediterranean fog in the heat of June.

What it says about me I don’t know, but I forgot to include the roots, the tree levitated.

It all made me think of the first line of Dante Alighieri:

In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost.

A rootless tree in the fog — my contribution to this week’s WordPress challenge: Out of this world.



When I think about sweet, I think about honey, and when I think about honey, I think about my younger sister. She is a professional beekeeper in France.

I have had the chance to see from up close how honey is produced. Particularly impressive is the thick unfiltered substance that comes straight from the honeycombs.

It made me think about artists, writers, bloggers. The end result may look clean, but the raw material usually isn’t. Just like honey — my contribution to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Sweet.

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Miel de Salice

Cherry blossom


We live in Amstelveen, a municipality adjacent to Amsterdam and home to the largest Japanese community in the Netherlands.

At walking distance from the city centre but somewhat hidden lies the Bloesempark (‘blossom park’). The park’s 400 cherry trees were gifted to the city by the members of the Japanese Women’s Club. Funny detail; all trees have names, 200 male, 200 female.

Every year in spring, the Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated here. Japanese and other citizens gather beneath the blossoming cherry trees to celebrate hanami, ‘flower viewing’.

Easily overlooked, the Bloesempark is a real gem. If you ask me, it’s by far the most beautiful spot in Amstelveen. If you happen to visit Amsterdam in the future, definitely worth a tour!