About ‘Green Happiness’ and Why “Grease Is the Word” was My Favourite Song This Week


This is the life of illusion Wrapped up in trouble laced with confusion What we doing here? – Frankie Valli, “Grease is the Word” Me, a neurotic perfectionist, being honest A few years ago I started writing an article about the so-called Death of the Author. As of today, I … Continue reading

Willard Libby, Hessel de Vries, and the Poles of Saint Walburga

Lars Hessel de Vries Header

The revelations of an ex-libris I think all buyers of used books know about this: finding an ex-libris or other relics in them, left there by the previous owner. I have found old receipts, notes apologizing for the late return of the book, photographs, and even devotional pictures in old … Continue reading

(A very, very late) 60(/61) Years of Eurovision: Ranking the Dutch – Part 6 (10-1): The Best

Slider Ranking the Dutch 6

Dear Eurovision, WHAT THE HELL?! I had been planning to start off the last part of this series with an angry rant regarding Eurovision’s incredibly stupid flag policy that restricted the waving of rainbow flags during Russia’s performance, stating that the flags were “not [to] be used as tool to … Continue reading

A Bit of Peace, a Bit of Love – Ralph Siegel: Eurovision Maniac

Slider Lars Siegel

As the 2016 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is approaching, I sometimes feel like a last Mohican: still naïvely impressed by the brotherhood of European cultures presenting themselves, smiling and waving flags. But in this era of closing borders and nationalist populism, I am not the only one still … Continue reading

About the Dutch National Book Week and the Horrors of an Oral Examination

Lars Bookweek Header 800x500

Yesterday marked the start of the traditional Dutch Book Week, an event to promote buying books. To start things off, all writers of a certain name and fame met for drinks and dances at “The Book Ball”, leaving the ones that were not invited grudging about why they had to … Continue reading

Felix Von Luckner: The Life and Times of a Sea-Devil

Slider Lars Von Luckner

One of my visits to a second hand book store rewarded me with a 1923 volume of a book with the imaginative title The Sea-Devil Conquers America. A book written by the German sea-captain Count Felix Von Luckner. A quick peruse of the Wikipedia-entry about Count Von Luckner, aka “The … Continue reading

60 Years of Eurovision: Ranking the Dutch – Part 3 (40-31): The ‘Okay’

Slider eurovision 3

… Congratulations Sweden! I loved your act! You definitely are “the heroes of our time”. Can’t wait till next year! So… that was it then. The songs have been sung, the points have been given, the “booh’s” have been yelled, and all I can say is that I enjoyed every … Continue reading

60 Years of Eurovision: Ranking the Dutch – Part 2 (50-41): ‘Meh’

Slider Ranking the Dutch, part 2

 … A look back… In the early 1950’s, in a Europe still divided by the aftermath of WWII, the Switzerland-based European Broadcasting Union had an idea: let’s bring all the countries we cover together around a “light entertainment programme”. So they set up a committee, and at a meeting held … Continue reading

60 Years of Eurovision: Ranking the Dutch – Part 1 (57-51): The Very Bad

Slider - Ranking the Dutch 1 2e versie

The Eurovision Song Contest: love it or hate it, but we Dutch have been there from the start. And as this week marks Eurovision’s 60th anniversary, I decided to rank all Dutch entries from the past 60 years. So over the upcoming 6 days we will be counting down my … Continue reading

Rauzer: A ‘Typically Dutch’ Children’s Book, part 2

Rauzer header

“[A] whore isn’t inferior to a housewife” As many people might know, the Netherlands are infamous for a couple of things: windmills, cheese, tulips, wooden shoes, our drug policy, and, of course, our red light districts and affiliated sex industries. Eccentric as this might all sound to a non-Dutch person, … Continue reading