Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

2019 Q4
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2018 Q4
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2018 Q2
2018 Q1
2017 Q4
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2009 Q4

Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) ¬Bishop George Berkeley

Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.).
The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website or Amazon.




OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink

OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink
Kromhout Hall in Amsterdam, from factory to events center, e.g. an exhibition hall

OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink
A milk factory, built in the 1950s, renovated in housing, shops, a school, day care and a carpark.

OUD VAN TOEN - Lars van den Brink
Here a farm changed into a center for treatment of people suffering from an autistic affliction.

'Oud van Toen' (roughly translates as 'vintage from the then') is a photo exhibition by Dutch photographer Lars van den Brink, documenting vintage or historic buildings (e.g. churches, factories) for their new use.
Not all initiatives worked out, there's always the matter of sufficient funding, but the majority illustrated here have resulted in a new lease of life.
I mention just two examples here: a milk factory from the 1950s turned into multi functional building including housing, shops, community area, etc. And a carpark is still a carpark but has on the top floor a restaurant in a glass house with a tremendous view over Haarlem...
This exhibition was enjoyed today in Villa Welgelegen.

More on Flickr.com



Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

Paviljoen Welgelegen, Haarlem

'Villa Welgelegen' is a historical building in Haarlem, the Netherlands, which currently houses the offices of the provincial executives of North Holland.

It was built by Henry Hope of the famous family banking company Hope & Co. of Amsterdam, from 1785 to 1789 as a summer home to replace the already quite impressive structure that he purchased there in 1769.
From 1769 onwards, Henry Hope purchased more and more adjoining land in order to fulfill the plans he had for a great palace and picture gallery. During the five-year period that the construction took place, it was the talk of the town.

John Williams Hope sold the villa in 1808 to Napoleon's brother Louis Bonaparte who had just been named King of Holland.
Louis, or Ludwig as he called himself, loved Holland and enjoyed a good reputation among the people.
He gave the villa its current name 'Paviljoen Welgelegen'. Louis Napoleon enjoyed his stay there, but left in a hurry in 1810 when he was forced to abdicate the throne by his brother Napoleon, who felt he was being too 'nice' to his subjects.
Three years later, after the War of 1812, 'Welgelegen' became the property of the government of the Netherlands.

From 1814 to her death in 1828 Princes Wilhelmina of Prussia, who remembered the villa from her marriage, kept the villa as a summer palace and opened it to the public as a museum of modern art.
After Wilhelmina died, 'Welgelegen' housed many museums that later moved to Amsterdam or Leiden.
When the Frans Hals Museum moved to its present location on the Klein Heiligland, the "Fotografisch Museum" (1913-ca.1918) was opened here (now called Spaarnestad Photo).

Unlike Teylers Museum (also in Haarlem), that was built at the same time, 'Welgelegen' lost its museum function and has been in use since 1930 by the Provinciale Staten as the seat of government for the Province of North Holland.
Since the last restoration in 2009, the private park grounds and some of the rooms are open to the public during office hours, while the larger meeting rooms are open to the public for walking tours only one day of the year on Monumenten Dag.

More on Flickr.com



Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

Inuksuit, Arctic culture

The mysterious stone figures known as Inuksuit (singular: Inuksut, also spelled Inukshuk) can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Built from whatever stones are at hand, each one is unique.
Inuksuit are among the oldest and most important objects placed by humans upon the vast Arctic landscape and have become a familiar symbol of the Inuit and their homeland.
During the Hallendy’s 40 years of travels throughout the Arctic, he developed deep and lasting friendships with a number of Inuit elders. Through them, he learned that inuksuit are a nuanced, complex and vital form of communication.
Hallendy’s dramatic color photos of many different kinds of inuksuit and objects of veneration capture not only a sense of wonder and power but reveal the unfamiliar Arctic landscape in all its magical beauty.

Norman Hallendy was bestowed with the name Apirsuqti ('the inquisitive one') by the Inuit elders of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, for his insatiable curiosity to learn from them and document their stories, experiences and insights in a vanishing world as it transitioned from a life on the land to one in settled communities.
After Hallendy’s first encounter with the stone structures called inuksuit in 1958, he began travelling throughout the Arctic to learn as much as he could about the mysteries of inuksuit and the sacred sites of the Inuit.
He earned the trust of the local inhabitants, who allowed him to observe their culture firsthand speak with them about subjects usually forbidden to outsiders (such as old beliefs and shamanic ways), and to formally document the people, their lives and environment in words and images.
For Hallendy, it became both a determined scholarly undertaking and a lifelong labour of love.

This book, subtitled 'Silent Messengers of the Arctic', includes several educational essays:
¬Introduction: The Sense of Wonder
¬First Encounters
¬Silent Messengers
¬Places of Power, Objects of Veneration
¬Epilogue"In the Stillness of the Moment
The book also has an appendix of interest: 'Inuksuk types, functions and related features'.

Although most appear singly, sometimes they are arranged in sequences spanning great distances while others are grouped to mark a specific place.
They can point in a direction or mark a special place (e.g. in reverence of an event, a holy place or a hunter's cache).

Norman E. Hallendy is an internationally recognized Arctic researcher, writer and photographer.
He has been a prominent lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge including numerous universities in Canada and abroad.
In 2001, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society awarded Hallendy the Gold medal for his internationally acclaimed work on inuksuit and ethnographic work in southwest Baffin Island placing him among such outstanding contributors to geography as Michael Palin, Gilbert Grosvenor and Sir Christopher Ondaatje.

I cannot imagine a more informative, readable and inspiring book on this subject!




Photofile: Daido Moriyama

Photofile: Daido Moriyama

Photofile: Daido Moriyama

Photofile: Daido Moriyama

During vacation travel in Japan in 2018 I was on the lookout for one or two photobooks. One, about Great Hashima, was a good catch. But 'New Shinjuku' by Daido Moriyama really my heart beat faster!
For both books see MyBlog2018Q4.
On a recent outing to the Japan Museum in Leiden I came across the pocket edition of Photofile publication on Moriyama. I couldn't resist!

Daido Moriyama is a prolific Japanese artist, well-known as a photographer, graphic designer, and writer.
His photographs epitomize wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic of finding beauty in imperfection.

Moriyama was born in 1938 in Ikeda City, Osaka, Japan. He studied photography at the Takeji Iwamiya studio in Osaka before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to meet the members of VIVO.
In 1968, Moriyama produced a collection of photographs, Nippon gekijo shashincho, in high-contrast.
He began to draw the attention of many young and aggressive artists, most of them photographers, by becoming involved in the group magazine Provoke.

In the 1970s, Moriyama was plagued by personal problems and was not productive in matters of art, only regaining focus in the early 1980s, and even being awarded the Photographer of the Year Award by the Photography Society (Shashin Kyokai).

Predominantly, Moriyama's work is black and white with shades of grey and this, along with the dark and grainy style of his photographs, echoes the subject matter. However, Moriyama's complete works also include colour, Polaroids, screenprints, films, installations and silkscreens.
Moriyama has global recognition, with a record of solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including a joint retrospective with William Klein at Tate Modern, 2012. He has published a variety of photobooks and photo-essays and his work is held in multiple collections, both public and private.

en.wikipedia.org:_Daidō_Moriyama (includes a long list of his work and publications)
My trip to Tokyo (2018)



Leiden, Holland

Leiden, Holland

Leiden, Holland
In honour of Rembrandt van Rijn, famous 17th century Dutch painter, who was born in Leiden

Leiden, Holland

Leiden in the Netherlands is a typical university city, university buildings are scattered throughout the city.
It is a city with a rich cultural heritage, not only in science, but also in the arts.
One of the world's most famous painters, Rembrandt, was born and educated in Leiden. Other famous Leiden painters include Lucas van Leyden, Jan van Goyen and Jan Steen.

More images on www.flickr.com/



Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden: woodblock prints

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden: woodblock prints

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka
Remarkable to come across the name of Rembrandt van Rijn
in this context. Who, btw, was born in Leiden.

Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis in Leiden. Art by Ryohei Tanaka

When one visits the SieboldHuis museum in Leiden (the Netherlands) one is treated to beautiful objects from Japan: fascinating Japanese artifacts behind a Dutch historical facade. But I came for the temporary exhibitions, which was on its last day!
Ever since I came to know about the woodblock print by Hokusai I long to see and learn more about them. One of the exhibitions, Four Seasons, was a series of such woodblock prints.
The second exhibitions really blew my mind, etchings by Ryohei Tanaka!

Ryohei Tanaka (born in Takatsuki, Japan, 1933 is a Japanese artist. He specialises in printmaking, through etching. The amount of detail, nuance in grey tones with only a rare etching with a dab of colour (equally stunning I must emphasize) is mind boggling.
In recent years I must admit that I sometimes struggled with some Japanese art and -photography, but with photography by Daido Moriyama (MyBlog 2018Q4) and these etchings by Ryohei Tanaka I am enthused with renewed energy to seek out Japanese contempory art!

The Leiden Volkenkunde museum (National Ethnology Museum) and Naturalis (the National Museum of Natural History) both participate(d) in the realization and conservation of the SieboldHuis museum on the basis of their leading Japanese collections.
The 19th century Japanese objects in these two museums are unique.

In 1822 Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold entered the service of the Dutch East Indies Army as surgeon major and was stationed in Batavia. There he caught the attention of the governor-general. Siebold had managed to learn both Dutch and Malay in a short time and took his tasks very seriously.
He seemed the ideal person to send to Japan, a country that was destined to take a central place in the rapidly changing world politics. Until then, Japan was an unknown power with strictly closed borders. Trade was only allowed through the Dutch trade post at Deshima, a small artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki. Siebold arrived in Deshima in 1823 with the assignment to collect information on the islands of Japan and its social and political structures and to investigate the possibilities of expanding the existing trade. Foreigners were not allowed to leave the trade post, but as a doctor Siebold had other opportunities.
An excellent book to read about the Dutch and Deshima is 'The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet' by David Mitchell (see MyBlog 2010Q3).

More photos of this visit Flickr.com



Fearless, tv-series

Fearless is a 6-episodes British crime thriller tv-series  dating from 2017.
The series follows human-rights lawyer Emma Banville (Helen McCrory, from starring a.o. in Peaky Blinders) as she tries to prove convicted murderer Kevin Russell innocent of the murder of schoolgirl Linda Simms 14 years earlier.
Russell asserts that he is innocent of the crime and Emma believes that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice. She goes to extreme lengths to discover the truth.

Supporting cast includes Michael Gambon as influential former Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet Office Sir Alastair McKinnon, Jonathan Forbes as Emma's colleague Dominic Truelove, Wunmi Mosaku as DCS Olivia Greenwood (whom I recognised as Holly Lawson in tv-series Vera and as a villain in Temple tv-series), the Investigating Officer on the Linda Simms case, and John Bishop as Emma's boyfriend Steve Livesey.
I had not realised John Bishop, whom I appreciated for his comedy acts, had gone into acting; he did very well.
I could see a follow up series happening but it was decided against it, in spite of the positive reviews.




De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

De Gouden Eeuw, Hans Goedkoop en Kees Zandvliet

The Netherlands was so much different during the 17th century, labelled 'The Golden Age', than today, but still we see similarities with modern society in the Netherlands.
One of the things we would recognise is that refugees are looking for a safe home. Migrants in particular get to do the heavy work. Young people create a youth culture. Consumers want to go with fashion. People with money to invest buy shares and large shareholders start speculating dangerously. All these things persist over some 300 years! 

The story of the 17th-century Netherlands, a speck on the map, remains a tale beyond belief.
A hodgepodge of provinces rebel against the Spanish king, manage to build a new state through trial and error and this young nation grows into an experiment like the world has never seen.
A society led by the citizen themselfs, with merchants in the lead, who try to keep a reign on the warmongering, ambitious House of Orange who lead in the military struggle to free the Dutch Lowlands from Spanish occupation and other foreign adversaries interfering in developing global markets..
With unprecedented liberties and all kinds of religious beliefs mixed together.
With ships that travel the world and established trading posts from Indonesia to Brazil. With scientists who unravel the wonders of nature and painters who show reality as new and promising.
How do we consider the Golden Age of the Dutch during the 17th century, the glorious heritage, in an objective manner.

This book perceives the Golden Age as a testing ground for our own time.
It was a period in which the Netherlands, and in particular Holland and Amsterdam, becomes the laboratory where the world conducts experimental research into globalization, migration, tolerance, consumerism, stock market and media hypes and many more moderns.
Exquisitely illustrated I must add. I expect to browse it many more times or use it to reread certain chapters for historic details mirroring modern times.

WIKIPEDIA: 'The Dutch Golden Age was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world.
The first section is characterized by the Eighty Years' War, which ended in 1648.
The Golden Age continued in peacetime during the Dutch Republic until the end of the century.
The transition by the Netherlands to becoming the foremost maritime and economic power in the world has been called the 'Dutch Miracle' by historian K. W. Swart.'




Wisting, Norwegian (Scandi Noir) crime fiction drama

'Wisting' is a Norwegian police procedural tv-series, starring Sven Nordin as widower William Wisting, a senior police detective, and in the first 5 episodes, co-starring Carrie-Anne Moss as FBI Special Agent Maggie Griffin.
'Wisting' is the most expensive television drama series produced in Norway. This 10 episodes thriller is based on two Jørn Lier Horst novels, The Caveman (2012) and The Hunting Dogs (2013).

In episodes 1-5, Wisting heads a murder investigation with FBI collaboration since the suspect is a serial killer hunted in the US. Someone hiding in the identity of another (deceased) person is called a caveman.
In episodes 6-10, Wisting has to defend himself against accusations of tampering with evidence in a previous murder case.

I preferred the first series over the 2nd series, but overall again an excellent ' Nordic Noir' series.



Temple, crime fiction tv drama

'Temple' is a Sky One television series and is an adaptation of the Norwegian television Valkyrien, which first aired in 2019. It stars Mark Strong, Carice Van Houten and Daniel Mays and was commissioned on 2Aug2018.
Very strong role playing, I thought.

In a labyrinth of abandoned service tunnels near Temple Underground Station, Daniel (Mark Strong), a surgeon, runs an illegal medical clinic to treat criminals and other desperate patients who cannot or will not seek help from regular medical facilities. Daniel sets up the clinic to find a cure for his wife, Beth (Catherine McCormack), who suffers from a terminal illness.
The main plot was a bit far fetched in my opinion, but plenty of personal drama and some run-of-the-mill villains to keep us entertained!




The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

In 2007, author Ian Rankin claimed that his wife spotted Rowling "scribbling away" at a detective novel in a café. Rankin later retracted the story, claiming it was a joke. But the rumour persisted, with a report in 2012 in The Guardian speculating that Rowling's next book would be a crime novel.

In April 2013, Little Brown published 'The Cuckoo's Calling', the purported début novel of author Robert Galbraith. The novel is a detective story in which private investigator Cormoran Strike unravels the supposed suicide of a supermodel.
The 2nd Cormoran Strike novel, named 'The Silkworm', was released in 2014. Titled 'Career of Evil', this 3rd Strike novel was published in 2015.
In 2017, the BBC released a Cormoran Strike tv-series, starring Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike, which I liked very much.
While intended for a 2017 release, Rowling saw publication of 'Lethal White' delayed to September 2018.

I am not sure why I purchased this book, as I had seen it on television and the story was still too much in my head to enjoy the meandering way this book is written. It has endless dialogue and minute progress of Strike's investigation. The plot is a good one, but the book could have done with a 100 pages less, in my opinion.
I may purchase at some point 'Lethal White', for it wasn't filmed and I did like the style of writing, but if you ever come across a choice of buying the dvd boxset or the book(s), I probably would recommend the dvd's or streaming services.




Het Stadspaleis - Geert Mak

Sunday, June 7th 1652, an unprecedented fierce fire in the old medieval town hall of Amsterdam paved the way for new times. This event found Amsterdam's Town Hall to be replaced by a brand new building of unprecedented size and grandeur, a city palace that in everything reflected the Amsterdam's new found status in The Netherlands and in the world.
Building ended in 1665. It is considered to be the most important historical and cultural monument in The Netherlands during the Golden Century ('Gouden Eeuw').
Soon the exterior of the palace, sandstone of yellowish hue, turned very dark by the stench from the canals and damp discharged from city living.

In this monograph, Geert Mak describes (a.o.) the prime architect of the building, Jacob van Campen (originally a painter) who only made infrequent visits to the building site, left supervision to others (of which Daniël Stalpaert was allegedly the most important).
The design of the palace differed in size and ambition for a number of years, depending on how well the economics of Amsterdam did.
Building this city palace brought the strained relations between the governing bodies in The Hague and the merchants in Amsterdam to the surface, strained relations that continue to this very day and age.

Mak describes how this town hall became a royal palace, however its royal occupants never liked it much for it was cold by ever present draft while it also sat in the middle of the city, lacked the privacy of elaborate gardens surrounding it. It sits on The Dam, a busy trading place, transfer of goods from the harbor over centuries and these days tourists crowd it.
Most royalty stayed for brief periods, varying between weeks to a mere few days. As a result the expensive upkeep was always a point of discussion and the palace has known sad periods when it was literally crumbling, with large parts of the building falling down (inside and out).
Queen Wilhelmina was the only one who enjoyed more lengthy stays.

In the days it functioned as a City Hall convicts suffered the death penalty from the balcony or scaffolding in front of the palace.
The Germans inspected it during WW2 but decided it was not suitable for occupancy. During WW2 a Jewish doctor hid in the palace.

Geert Mak shares many interesting details on the interior, changes made over centuries, its occupants and mausing anecdotes over the years concerning this palace.
These days it serves as accommodation for State Visits and sometimes opens for exhibitions. See MyBlog 2019Q3.

Geert Ludzer Mak (b. 04Dec1946 in Vlaardingen) is a Dutch journalist and a non-fiction writer in the field of history. His ten books about Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Europe have earned him great popularity.








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Created: 01-JAN-2020