Election campaign in children’s news


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as a little boy

A while ago, elections were held in the Netherlands – and as in Germany, this fact had a great impact on all the news programmes and political talk shows in the weeks beforehand, where viewers were confronted with rather contrived and tiring battles of words. The situation in the Netherlands is somewhat confusing simply because it takes four or five parties to form a government (out of a total of 18 (!) parties represented in parliament) rather than two or three as in Germany. 

A breath of fresh air came from the Dutch “Jeugdjournaal” – the daily children’s news programme I became a fan of when I started learning Dutch years ago. The top candidates of the six largest parties were guests there three days before election day, along with children, of course (this time only a dozen, due to Corona).

Continue reading “Election campaign in children’s news”

… lost for words

Let’s be clear from the start: This post is not about the excessive use of alcohol! This time it’s actually exactly what it says.

Several years ago, a former colleague and still good friend of mine, a Frenchwoman who lives in Germany, came into the office in the morning completely shocked. She told me that she had spoken to her mother in France on the phone that morning and in the course of the conversation wanted to tell her that she had bought a new bathrobe. But she couldn’t think of the French word for “bathrobe”! She was very startled by this and feared that she was forgetting her mother tongue.

Continue reading “… lost for words”

… then I automatically think of Prince Charles!

Names are more than just smoke and mirrors

When we were expecting our latest grandchild, my husband and I were asked for our opinion on possible first names. Because the child’s relatives live in the Netherlands and Peru, it should be a name that is familiar in both countries and easy to pronounce in both languages. One of the names on the list was “Camilla” – and I was the one who spoke out against it because of the aforementioned association.

Continue reading “… then I automatically think of Prince Charles!”

Godot on hold (Part 1)

The perception of waiting time

The range of different clever pronouncements on the subject of “waiting” demonstrate  the ambivalence of perception. While some emphasise its benefits (Leo Tolstoy: “Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.”) others prefer to emphasise the impatience aspect (Damaris Wieser: “Waiting for something only robs us of the time we won’t have later when we need it.”)

Waiting is the “experience of time” and therefore this ambivalence is hardly surprising. Anyone who has children knows about the “Are we nearly there?” after about three minutes of driving, which is often used interchangeably with “I need the loo!” but that doesn’t matter. The critical reader may argue that this example is about boredom, i.e. forced idleness coupled with lack of stimulus, which is also a form of waiting, only in an intensified form. In the same vehicle, however, the parents are happy about the holidays that have begun (anticipation).

Continue reading “Godot on hold (Part 1)”

In Praise of Respite (Part 3)

Birdwatching Makes You Happy

“Everything is always there in her. Past and future she knows not. The present is her eternity.” (Georg Christoph Tobler on nature)

Do you own a garden? I see it as a place of diversity and also of evolutionary anarchy. Or can you get out into “nature”, woods, fields, vineyards without much effort? If you can’t, you can also hear them in the city. Because if you listen carefully, you will notice that the air is once again filled with a multi-faceted cacophony! The birds are getting into the act and making as much noise as leaf blowers usually do, only nicer. In his book of that name published in 2015, Bernd Brunner writes of “Birdmania” to which, I confess, I too have been addicted for very many years.  But, I am fine. Thank you for asking.

Continue reading “In Praise of Respite (Part 3)”