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Archive for September, 2011

Award-winning photographer Raphael Dallaporta visits Foam

By Eline Hædersdal

AMSTERDAM – Documentary photographer Raphael Dallaporta, winner of this
year’s FOAM Paul Huf Award, says his fans are central to his success.

“I love to work under the influence of people,” modest Dallaporta said to the cheers of a small crowd at FOAM Photography museum, which is exhibiting his work until Oct. 26.

The young French photographer received not only the internationally-recognized FOAM
crown, but also the Young Photographer ICP Infinity Award in 2010.

Dallaporta, geography professor Eric Fouache, and Foam’s Deputy Director Marcel Feil led the artistic talk.

“The objects are purely functional, they were never designed to be beautiful,” said Dallaporta.
Dallaporta is well known for his photographs and projects, which focus on public and human rights issues.

Uniquely, he works with specialists within the field that he attempts to portray.

“He is deeply an artist. Embedded in life,” said Fouache.

For the project Antipersonnel (2010), he worked closely with a landmine clearer and during his project Fragile (2010) he was aided by a forensic pathologist. Most recently, he worked with Fouache on the project Ruins (Part 1, 2011).

The ‘Observations’ exhibition at Foam shows his four projects Fragile,
Domestic Slavery, Antipersonnel, and Ruins (Part 1).

’Fragile’ illustrates examined organs of murder victims.

‘Domestic Slavery’ shows the houses, where human trafficking has occurred.
The houses are shown from an outside perspective, looking quite normal. But it
is the text tied to the photographs that reveals the horrible stories.

‘Antipersonnel’ depicts different types of landmines.

“Elegantly photographed, simply framed, starkly displayed … they have one purpose: sheer cruelty, ” remarked art specialist Ellen Wallace.

His latest work ‘Ruins’ (Part 1) shows historical hidden archaeological founds in North
Afghanistan.

His intension of doing the project was “to confront myself” and since “we are very fragile and because life is short. It gives motivation to do things,” he said.

Dallaporta, will be going back to Afghanistan to continue other projects there.

Categories: Entertainment, Home

NS forces clients to go for more expensive option

By Anneclaire Michele

AMSTERDAM – Travelers going from Amsterdam to Rotterdam with a regular NS train will have to deal with an extended travel time of ten minutes starting next year, reports Dutch daily NRC Next.

The only alternative to prevent this delay is taking the faster, but more expensive Fyra.

According to the Maatschappij Beter OV, the NS, the Dutch national railway company, is abusing its monopoly position and forcing travelers to take the more expensive train.

The organization Beter OV calls it a deterioration of regular train services, whereas the NS refers to it as providing faster ways of traveling (the Fyra beats the regular trains by at least ten minutes).

The Fyra has cost the NS over 385 million Euros this year alone, almost bankrupting the NS High Speed Alliance.

In order to avoid bankruptcy, the Fyra surcharge was lowered to increase the number of passengers on Fyra trains.

The Fyra is still running loss, but it is unknown how much.

Beter OV accuses the NS of having made the travel time for regular trains longer on purpose, to get more of its customers to take the Fyra.

Instead, they have proposed a solution to this problem.

“If the NS let’s its daughter companies compete with each other, the travel times will be shorter and the ticket prices lower.”

Beter OV has filed an official complaint with the NMa (Nederlandse Mededingsautoriteit), but the NS does not expect any problems, especially not because Rover, the leading travel organization in the Netherlands, has already agreed with the new schedule.

Categories: Home

Follow the tracks of Carrie in a Parisian SATC-Tour


By Marlene Werner

AMSTERDAM – Some time has passed since four amazing girls – Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda – visited you weekly through your domestic television sets.

This excludes those joyous get-togethers on DVD, which dedicated Sex and the City Fans, including myself, undertake regularly.

Among my personal favorites is the episode in which Carrie crosses the Atlantic with her temporary lover Aleksandr Petrovsky to live with him in Paris.

Didn’t you also dream of following Carries’ tracks through those picturesque Parisian allies, stuff yourself with delicious French pastry and get the full culture-blast that the exquisite Parisian museums have to offer?

My initial expectation that cunning marketers had already put together the full-fledged SATC-experience Parisian-style turned out to be wrong.

Fortunately, I had enough time at hand in the French capital during this summer and figured out the most prominent locations myself.

If you head to Paris anytime soon, make sure to check them out! And by the way, you do not have to be a SATC- enthusiast to enjoy these recommendations. French pastry is gustatory paradise, for anyone.

1)      Hôtel Plaza Athéné

This elegant establishment figures as Carries’ and Alek’s accommodation during their stay. The Hôtel Plaza Athéné is one of Paris’ most prestigious hotels located on 25, Avenue Montaigne, close to the Champs Élysées. It is definitely worth visiting, but the €570 charge per night may burn a hole in your pocket.
Since you are already in the area, you can pass by the flagship Dior store on 30, Avenue Montagne. Carrie slips and falls under the critical eye of some French ladies and eventually ends up in a spending splurge.

2)      Le Kong

Carrie meets Alek’s ex-wife in this fancy glass-ceiled restaurant. The food is excellent, but just as the Plaza Athéné it adheres to the Parisian ski-high price range. You can find it on the top-floor at 1, Rue du Pont Neuf.

3)      Patisserie Angelina
One of my favorite, and moderately prized, stops of the SATC Tour. The original patisserie, Cador, in which Carrie stuffs herself with French dainties and feeds the enormous dog sitting next to her, is unfortunately closed. Yet, Angelina will satisfy your cravings for delicious sweets just as well. If you are unsure what to order, try the Moelleux Chocolat (a fluffy chocolate pastry with melted chocolate inside) or the Tartelette aux Fruits Rouges (red berries on a light vanilla mousse, sprinkled with almonds). A feast for the eye and mouth. Besides the pastries, they are renowned for their heavenly hellish hot chocolate. Sitting down and enjoying your little gustatory oeuvres is a must, as the interior is just as delicious as the servings. You can find it at 226, Rue de Rivoli.

4)      La Galerie Nationale de Jeu de Paume
The Galerie National de Jeu de Paume is the venue for Alek’s exposition. It is a museum for contemporary art in film and photography, located at 1, place de la Concorde. You can just pass by after having indulged in you calories-orgy at Angelina, since it is only a stone’s throw away.

5)      Pont des Arts
The grand finale in which Mr. Big finally admits that Carrie is the one and only girl in his life, followed by the ever-so obligatory kiss, takes place on the Pont des Arts. This bridge is also known as the ‘lovers’ bridge’ and offers an almost unbearably romantic site: hundreds of couples have eternalized their love for each other by attaching a lock with their names to the bridge’s fence. It crosses the Seine right next to the Louvre.

If these sites did not include sufficient cultural entertainment for your taste, it is good to know that EU-students from 18-25 can visit most Parisian museums for free. Non-EU students get a reasonable discount. Besides the renowned Louvre, The Rodin museum (79, Rue de Varenne), the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (107, Rue de Rivoli) and the Centre Pompidou (museum of modern art, Place Georges Pompidou) are also very worthwhile to visit.

This tour does not, of course, cover all the fun things that you can experience in this breathtaking city. Just see for yourself what out of this little list suits your taste, or enjoy the full-fledged Parisian SATC-experience. In any way, I wish you a great time and tons of fun!

Categories: Home, Travel

Major teacher shortages looming

By Omid Azadi

The HAGUE – The shortage of teaching staff has become an increasingly problematic issue in secondary schools across the Netherlands in recent years, a report by state secretary Halbe Zijlstra has concluded.

Although a positive turn of tides was confirmed in 2010, the future looks gloom as tough times are looming due to an increase in student enrollment and obsolescence in society.

Research conducted by the state on overall employment in the education sector concludes that a shortage of 4000 high schools teachers is expected in the coming years.

In the previous school year, there were approximately 950 vacant posts in high schools, down from 1070 the year before.

This decrease can be attributed to the economic recession, which has increased the appeal of employment in education as well as certain measures taken by the state to improve the situation of teachers.

However, in coming years, the labor markets and the secondary education system in particular will experience some dire times.

The state has estimated severe shortages by the year 2017 due to obsolescence, as many educators will retire when they will become eligible for their pension.

“We are on the right track, however, there is a lot that needs to be done to minimize the expected shortages and supply sufficient and highly educated teachers.” Zijlstra said.

The severity of the shortages is most prevalent in larger cities. Week against Loneliness kicks off Thursday

By Marlene Werner

AMSTERDAM – The second edition of the nationwide Week against Loneliness gets underway Thursday, Sept. 22.

About 30% of the Dutch population suffers from loneliness, research has shown.

“It is not a disgrace to be lonely,” said Prof. Dr. Jenny Gierveld of the VU University Amsterdam, an expert on loneliness. “Almost everyone is in his or her way lonely from time to time. If lonely people realize that, it may already be a little step in the alleviation of loneliness.”

‘Coalitie Erbij’, a national collaboration of thirty social organizations, hosts the event.

Festivities begin with a symposium on loneliness among the youths.

Experts on loneliness-research will then present their findings.

Toward the end, a collective panel discussion will explore the promises of ICT to improve the youth’s situation.

Participation is free of charge.

The focal point of this year’s edition is the prevention of loneliness and the strengthening of one’s direct circle of friends.

Related educational activities are guided by three aims: nurture your relationships, establish your friend-network, and invest in it, throughout your lifetime.

“Nowadays we, ourselves, are seen as responsible for our own happiness and giving meaning to our lives. Situations in which we experience loneliness are readily interpreted as personal failure in the current public eye,” said Malou Saat, director of ‘Sensoor’, a Utrecht-based public helpline.

“Loneliness is not a sign of personal failure, it can happen to everyone,” Saat said.

“In order to tackle loneliness, it is mandatory to help people suffering from loneliness. They should be included in organizations which offer relationship-services and host activities,” Prof. Gierveld said.

One such activity will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, in connection with the Week against Loneliness and the national Neighbor-Day (‘Burendag’).

Nationwide, citizens are invited to eat together and thereby build collectively the “longest dining table in history.” Everyone is welcome to join.

Nationwide, citizens are invited to eat together and thereby build collectively the “longest dining table in history.” Everyone is welcome to join.

Categories: Education, Home

Week against Loneliness kicks off Thursday

By Marlene Werner

AMSTERDAM – The second edition of the nationwide Week against Loneliness gets underway Thursday, Sept. 22.

About 30% of the Dutch population suffers from loneliness, research has shown.

“It is not a disgrace to be lonely,” said Prof. Dr. Jenny Gierveld of the VU University Amsterdam, an expert on loneliness. “Almost everyone is in his or her way lonely from time to time. If lonely people realize that, it may already be a little step in the alleviation of loneliness.”

‘Coalitie Erbij’, a national collaboration of thirty social organizations, hosts the event.

Festivities begin with a symposium on loneliness among the youths.

Experts on loneliness-research will then present their findings.

Toward the end, a collective panel discussion will explore the promises of ICT to improve the youth’s situation.

Participation is free of charge.

The focal point of this year’s edition is the prevention of loneliness and the strengthening of one’s direct circle of friends.

Related educational activities are guided by three aims: nurture your relationships, establish your friend-network, and invest in it, throughout your lifetime.

“Nowadays we, ourselves, are seen as responsible for our own happiness and giving meaning to our lives. Situations in which we experience loneliness are readily interpreted as personal failure in the current public eye,” said Malou Saat, director of ‘Sensoor’, a Utrecht-based public helpline.

“Loneliness is not a sign of personal failure, it can happen to everyone,” Saat said.

“In order to tackle loneliness, it is mandatory to help people suffering from loneliness. They should be included in organizations which offer relationship-services and host activities,” Prof. Gierveld said.

One such activity will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, in connection with the Week against Loneliness and the national Neighbor-Day (‘Burendag’).

Nationwide, citizens are invited to eat together and thereby build collectively the “longest dining table in history.” Everyone is welcome to join.

Nationwide, citizens are invited to eat together and thereby build collectively the “longest dining table in history.” Everyone is welcome to join.

Categories: Education, Home

Rubens exhibition opens at Hermitage Amsterdam

By Linda Meijvis & Tom Schoonen

AMSTERDAM – The work of three leading Flemish painters is now on display in the Hermitage in Amsterdam.

The exposition _called “Rubens, Van Dijck and Jordaens” and named after the three most famous Flemish painters from the 17th century _was celebrated Tuesday at a lavish opening.

“We expect more visitors to come to this exhibition than came to the previous, due to the fact that Rubens speaks more to the imagination of the people,” said a Hermitage employee.

Over 800 visitors attended the opening, which was officiated by Hermitage director Ernst Veen.

Cathelijne Broers will follow in his footsteps in November.

Most of the paintings in the Hermitage’s exhibition come from its sister museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Impressionism exhibition will run from Sept. 17, 2011 until March. 16, 2012.

Categories: Entertainment, Home

Government’s Budget for 2012 Shows Effects of Crisis

By Stella Toonen

AMSTERDAM – Queen Beatrix will officially announce the “Miljoenennota” in The Hague Tuesday during “Prinsjesdag” proceedings.

“Prinsjesdag” is a day set aside for the monarch to address a joint session of the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives.

The “Miljoenennota” is the Dutch Government’s budget proposal for the next year.  She will also present the “Troonrede,” her speech about the Government’s non-financial regulations for 2012.

Next year’s proposal shows cuts in several benefit regulation while a decrease in purchasing power will also take center stage.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s main goal is to reduce the national debt, a move expected to spark severe cuts in all ministries.

The most important amendments are cuts in health care, rent and day care benefits.

Lower- and middle-class families are expected to bear the brunt of these new rules.

Amsterdam alderman André Van Es of the left-wing party GroenLinks said it is “unbelievable that the Government doesn’t choose to increase taxes for people with higher incomes.”

Also, prices will increase by 4 percent, while Dutch salaries will only enjoy a 2 percent increment as  the Euro 5.8 billion cuts hog the limelight.

That means the purchasing power will decline, which also was the case last year and the year before.

The Miljoenennota also emphasises the importance of a united Europe. In a 76-paged document, the word “Europe” features at least forty times.

A showdown is expected between coalition partners with Rutte (VVD) willing to make sacrifices to support Europe, while tough-talking, right wing party leader Geert Wilders (PVV) is demanding an exit strategy.

Categories: Home, Politics