Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands

When most of the countries in Europe were monarchies, we had our Dutch Republic. In the 17th century the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Before we became a Republic, the Dutch had to fight a war against the Spanish king, the war lasted for 80 years. The leader of the Dutch rebels was Willem van Oranje. He held the function of Stadhouder, or deputy (not really a good translation, but close enough), for the Spanish king.

When Willem died in 1584, his son became his successor. Even when we had a republic and there was no king anymore, and strictly speaking the fuction of stadhouder had become obsolete, this was the title the family van Oranje kept. For most of the time, they ruled the Dutch Republic.
The Dutch Republic ended in 1795, when the French came and the stadhouder and his family fled to England. When Napoleon was defeated in 1813, the Netherlands became a kingdom, first together with Belgium, but since 1830 as just Het koninkrijk der Nederlanden (the Kingdom of the Netherlands). The son of the last stadhouder was aked to come back to the Netherlands, to become our king.

This was King Willem I. He had a lot of power and did his best to improve the infrastructure and the trade in the low lands. His son, Willem II, became a liberal overnight when he agreed to have a new constitution in 1848, for fear of revolution. King Willem III was known as the gorilla-king, because of his boorish behaviour. His wife died, leaving him with three sons, none of them fit to rule. He married again with the very young Emma, and together they had a daughter, Wilhelmina.

Wilhelmina became queen when her father died in 1890, and she was only ten years old at that time. Her mother acted as regent until she was eightteen. During WWII, when the Netherlands suffered under the nazi-occupation, Wilhelmina was in London. Churchill called her 'the only man in the Dutch government'. In 1948 she gave the throne to her daughter Juliana, who ruled until 1980 when queen Beatrix took over.

Beatrix has been a very intelligent queen, very professional and an excellent ambassador for our country. Today, after a reign of 33 years, she will sign the act of abdication at 10 am. and her eldest son will take over. From that moment he will be our new monarch.
Here are some impressions of queen Beatrix.

Princess Beatrix in 1959 Source wikipedia

Getting engaged to Claus von Amsberg in 1965. There was a lot of opposition to their marriage, because Claus was a German. photosource

Their marriage in 1966.

This image shocked the entire wold, the protesting against the marriage went on and even a smoke bomb was thrown at the carriage photosource
Claus soon won the hearts of the Dutch people; he learned to speak Dutch in no time (with a little accent) and due to his kindness and modesty and his eye for example for people in the Third world he became very well liked. Prince Clause even became the most popular member of the Royal family. He has always been a huge support for the queen.

In 1980 queen Juliana (r) gave the throne to her eldest daughter Beatrix.
This is them together on the balcony of the royal palace in Amsterdam. photosource

The inauguration of Queen Beatrix, prince Claus is at her side.photosource
Unfortunately, the situation in Amsterdam that day was grimm. There was anger about poverty and the bad economical situation. Squatters and police met in a battle that day, and instead of people partying, there were tanks in the streets and the city looked like a battle field. My dad was a paramedic and in Amsterdam that day with the Red Cross. I was only 5 yo at the time, but I still remember my mum was very tense that day!

Beatrix' image was a bit stand-offish, but when she even accepted a kiss from a man on the street spontaniously in 1988, the icew was broken and people began to see the woman behind the hairdo and the formal manners.
Later it was said this whole event had been staged, but who cares? It was a great moment.
The newspaper headline said 'Give me a kiss, girl'. photosource
Whenever there was something going on, queen Beatrix was there, offering her support. Here she visited flooded areas of our country. Photosource

For the past 33 years, Queen Beatrix has always been there, being an excellent queen
 and well loved and respected by most of the Dutch people .

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish auhor. (1850-1894)

Friday, 26 April 2013


This mala (a Buddhist prayercord) was given to me by my former yoga teacher. I never expected this gift, it was a real surprise. I keep it on my bookshelf to give me inspiration in my yoga practise and to remind me that friends are everywhere.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The enchanted april (1992)

The enchanted april is a book by Elizabeth von Arnim and it was made into a film in 1992.
It is the story of two women who meet eachother in 1920's London. Rose Arbuthnot and Lottie Wilkins want to leave their dull and boring lives in despressing London behind, and respond to an advertisment for a villa in Italy, for the month of April. They decide to take two more women with them, to split the costs. Lady Caroline Dester who is a known socialite who just wants to be left alone for a while wants to come, and mrs. Fisher, a formidable old lady, both want to join them in Italy.
During their time in the beautiful Italian surroundings, all the women are transformed, they are more relaxed and happier.
Both Lottie's and Rose's husbands come to join them, and because of the atmosphere in the villa, all of their marriages are transformed as well, as the husbands see their wifes in a different light.
The film Enchanted April is absolutely lovely and I watch it regularly. Especially in April of course, but really always when I feel I need a dose of Italy, and lovely romance and the 1920's.
Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, Joan Plowright and Polly Walker are the four ladies, and aso  Michael Kitchen, Jim Broadbent and Alfred Molina star in this beautiful movie.

Lottie Wilkins in London, always nervous and afraid she will do something wrong.
Photosource here
Meeting mrs Fisher in London, Rose is in the background
Photosource here

This is the villa the women will be staying in.

Lady Caroline wants to be left alone and even fakes a headache, and mrs Fisher immediately comes to investigate.
Photosource here
In the first days, Rose tries to be properly dressed like she would in London, but soon this will change.
Photo from tumblr.

Rose and Lottie relax

Rose, becoming more and more relaxed.
Photosource here

Photosource for this one and the last one here

Even lady Caroline feels better soon
Photosource here

Photosource here

Even mrs Fisher becomes enchanted
photosource here

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ernest Hemingway

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

Ernest Hemingway, American author

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Marilyn reading

Some weeks ago I did a blogpost about paintings from women reading (here), and a blogpost about Marilyn Monroe (here). And I could not resist combining those two! Marilyn enrolled in classes about world literature at the university of Los Angeles and she loved reading and literature. Because she often had to play the blond bombshell, a lot of people did not give her credit and thought she was dumb. She most certainly was not a silly sex-kitten.
So here is as a tribute to Marilyn:
Photo source

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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Robert Brault

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
And this paiting really is by Edward Hopper 'Rooms by the sea'

Robert Brault. (American writer) 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The lake in springtime

Last weekend it seemed that finally the cold weather is making way for Spring to come. The weather was amazing, still a little bit cold, but I could take a walk while I did not have to button up my coat (I just love that about Spring, begin able to walk outside with your coat unbottoned)
I took some photographs from the lake, as you can see, it looks amazing.
Doesn't it look a little bit like a painting by Whistler? I think it does.

Beautiful blue sky

The trees do not have leaves yet, but soon they will.

Even the birds were happy on this beautiful day.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Will Rogers

Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.

Painting by Philip Koch, Edward Hopper's Rooms by the Sea
Photosource here
Will Rogers (American artist, 1879-1935)

Mr. Philip Koch, the artist who painted this beautiful painting, was kind enough to give me permission to use this image.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The delights of Downton Abbey

Last week I bought the third season of Downton Abbey. It was already broadcasted on Dutch television, but I did not see all the episodes, so I am thrilled to have season 3 in my posession. I loved the first two seasons, and what I saw from season 3 was amazing as well. I already know what will happen in the last episode, so it will not come as such a shock to me, although I must confess I was shouting at the television when I watched that episode. But now I can enjoy the episodes from the beginning, although the ending will be sad again.

I do not really know why I like this series so much, as well as other BBC costume dramas. I think it is a combination of great acting, meticullous attention to details, great stories and of course, beautiful costumes!
It is also a longing for a time that has gone by, a past that has been. Of course I realise that past times were only fun for a hand full of (mostly rich) people, but I do feel the romance of past times.

That lovely couple Mary and Matthew. I grew to like Mary very much and I just loved their romance

Isn't she beautiful?

Such joy
That other amazing couple, Mr. Bates and Anna. They are just wonderful and they have such chemistry!

The times are changing and poor Branson will have to find his way around the upper classes. Playing cricket is not something he ever thought he would be doing.

Poor Carson sometimes finds it hard to keep up with all the modern inventions.

Beautiful and elegant.

The three Crawley sisters together. I really admire what work the costume department did

Although it is nice to see that the Countess is thrifty, here she wears a hand-me-down.

As you can see, Louise Lombard in the House of Elliot wore this coat first! (that was also a great series, by the way!)
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