... in amsterdam

Successful [integration]

21 Dec 2008 | 74 words | migration food amsterdam

Warung Asje a Javanese Surinamese take-out restaurant on Jan Pieter Heije Straat in Amsterdam-west that i have been frequenting for more than 10 years has finally adapted to dutch customs! After more than 10 years of offering roti, nasi or bami dishes they now also offer patat on the side:

Sign reading ‘Nu ook alle gerechten met patat verkrijgbaar’ (‘New, all dishes can be served with french fries’) on the counter of Warung Asje.

Arabic m (م)

25 Nov 2008 | 135 words | amsterdam food popular culture

So the dutch have this tradition of giving each other big chocolate letters with their initials for for sinterklaas. both the celebration of sinterklaas and these chocolate letters are fairly important elements of dutch national identity. as i have mentioned here before last years el hema exhibition by mediamatic did a fairly good job at undermining/reinforcing that whole concept. one little part of that (the one willem was most proud of) were a couple of hand-made (and thus not for sale) arabic script chocolate letters.

Now – a little bit more than a year later – it seems that a commercial manufacturer has taken up the hint:

Arabic letter m (م) chocolate letter on sale at Marqt on Overtoom in Amsterdam

Makes me wonder if they ever realized that they put the م upside down…

Yay! a new bookstore....

01 Sep 2008 | 173 words | books amsterdam business

I had a bit of a bad feeling when opening a package from amazon.co.uk on the day when i saw a sign in the window of my corner bookstore that announced that they would close within a month. The place has been empty for a while but since this summer there has been some activity inside which today has culminated in the opening of a new book store: INKT & OLIE

Lets hope that i and others will value this place more than amazon. so far it looks like they are doing everything they can to make this happen: long opening hours (till 20:00h), good quality tea (no tea bags but real loose leaf tea) and they will take orders for books by email. Good-bye amazon and congratulations to the owners: with the too-complicated-to-remember first names Nadezjda and Anouk (thanks, daan!) …

Update (2018): Of course that place did not last, closed some time before we moved out of our appartment in the summer of 2018 and was replaced by a coffee bar.

Peeing in private...

30 Aug 2008 | 142 words | technology maps censorship stupidity amsterdam

Had to take a leak yesterday as we were on the way back from the opening reception of the uitmarkt on java island. conveniently we were cycling past the navy terrain in central amsterdam and the outside wall of this super secret military installation is about the only place in all of central amsterdam where you can actually take a leak a little bit off the road. turns out that it is not only a very convenient place but probably also the most private place to take a leak as you are protected from a satellite picture of yourself showing up on google earth/maps:

Of course you are probably still being filmed by all kinds of CCTV installations and if you are really unlucky you will get caught by one of the google street view cars that are currently roaming the streets.

Deja vu

01 Jun 2008 | 108 words | amsterdam theatre review iran art

We saw ‘Quartet: A Journey to North‘ by Amir Reza Koohestani & Mahin Sadri at the Bellevue Theatre tonight. Quartet tells the story of two murders in contemporary Iran through the intertwined narratives of the two killers and two witnesses.

Definitely reminded me (both in terms of stage setup and narrative) of the works by Rabih Mroué. Also one of the video stills looked almost exactly as this pictures i took in Abyaneh last fall:

Looks peacefull but while we were enjoying the play a newborn Eurasian Coot was drowning in the canal outside of the theatre under the eyes of the helpless parents. R.I.P little fulica atra!

STEIM needs your support!

26 May 2008 | 301 words | amsterdam culture music technology art

The fabulous electronic performance arts venue/center/place/non-place [it is hard to describe what this place really is] steim in amsterdam is in danger of loosing it’s funding. over the past years steim has received funding from both the dutch ministry of culture education and science and the city of amsterdam. for some reason (probably because they never go there or because their idea of culture is quite limited) the advisory bodies for both the ministry and for the city of amsterdam have decided that steim should not be supported under the upcoming (2009-2012) 4 year plans for culture (yes they do still have soviet style 4 year plans for culture here in the Netherlands).

Needless to say this would be quite a bad thing to happen. steim is one of the very few places in amsterdam that are unique and even if it caters to a ‘niche audience’, it manages to bring in a remarkably diverse set of artists from all over the world that have made it one of the best places in town to hang out and broaden your horizon. for steim the loss of structural support would probably be quite devastating and the steim crew is calling for support:

Things are not well at STEIM. We are in the danger of losing our structural funding from the government, based on a review from the advisor board which called us ‘closed and only appealing to a niche audience’. The outlook isn’t exactly bleak, but at the moment our future is unclear.

As we see you as an important friend and colleague of STEIM, we would like to ask you to help us present our case that we are connected to a diverse network of professionals and that our work has significant influence on both a Dutch and an international community.

Carry on tradition...

04 May 2008 | 290 words | amsterdam cycling alleycat 90s

Turns out I am in the Netherlands for quite a while now (almost eleven years to be exact) and in that period I have managed to start something which has become a tradition of some sorts: the Anniek van Hardeveld memorial race. today is the 10th edition of this alley cat race in the memory of 19 year old messenger (of the resistance against the german occupiers) Anniek van Hardeveld, who was shot by the Germans on the last day of the occupation of Amsterdam in 1945.

I had organized the first race (as a surprise) in May 1999 after Jur had used the memorial stone for Anniek as a checkpoint in an earlier ally cat race. The race itself tends to be fairly short (the first edition had only 3 checkpoints) as it needs to start after work and be finished before 20:00h when there are two minutes of silence in commemoration of the dead all over Holland. there is one simple rule which says that the winner of the race has to organize it the next year, which has proven to be a robust enough rule to ensure that the tonight will see the 10th edition. Not sure if i expected this to go on for this long (or even expected to stay in the Netherlands for this long but i digress) although my report from the 1999 (last millennium!) race ends with by stating that:

With the silence gone we spilled some sips of beer in tribute and decided that this had to become and annual event from now on.

Update [5 May 2008]: 35 participants, perfect weather & Michael won. pictures on my flickr account. thanks to all those who came out to race or help!

Copyright dungeons and grey zones

16 Apr 2008 | 268 words | amsterdam kennisland commons copyright

Felix has posted an interesting review of the recent Economies of the Commons Conference over on the nettime mailing list. He picks up a remark that i made during the ‘Sustainable Images of the Future panel’ on friday night:

The most poignant moment came when Edwin van Huis (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) recounted a discussion with a broadcaster about whether the institute could put online some TV segment that was already on Youtube. The answer was: No! When he asked the broadcaster how he felt about his content being on Youtube the answer was: ‘You can’t do anything against Google’. Thus, as Paul Keller remarked, there is a perverse situation that the official repositories of culture are going to be stuck with stuff that either they cannot make accessible, or nobody cares about. All the rest will be better accessible via Youtube or piratebay.

In short, it became abundantly clear that, no matter how much money you have, the attempt to solve all the legal issues first and only then start to release the material is doomed to failure. Digitization plus strict adherence to the law will not create digital archives but copyright dungeons.

Most of the successful, innovative projects, it turns out, are operating in zones of varying degrees of grey. In the American example, Youtube, the grey zone is protected by corporate might (Google). In the European example, piratebay, the grey zone is sustained by mass civil disobedience.

You can read his full post in the nettime archive or on the knowledgeland blog, where i have reposted it with some additional thoughts of mine.

This is ridiculous...

13 Apr 2008 | 35 words | amsterdam fashion civilisation

Came across this tiny dog in a faux-gold and transparent plastic bag in the cafe of de Balie in amsterdam yesterday. Makes me wonder if they sell them in animal or in hand bag shops.

Good news (2)

10 Apr 2008 | 122 words | food amsterdam netherlands advertisement

So one of the worst things about living in the Netherlands has been that there has been no proper supply with Gold Bears (Gummibärchen) which did reduce my quality of life quite substantially. The only way they have been selling Harbio Gummibärchen has been in those ridiculous 300g bags that contain 30 or so 10g bags that contain macrobiotic quantities of tiny gold bears [the other option was to buy properly sized gold bears from one of the kosher shops in Buitenveldert, that import them from the US but they charge you €4 per bag the last time i checked…].

Now this morning i cycled past this advertisement which reads ‘now also BIG Gold Bears’. Never been this happy about an advertisement…

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: