Category: Various

All things related to running your own businesses in the creative sector. The fascinating life of a freelancer. From apple pie to business card. Promotion and acquisition on old and new media. Maintaining a bilingual website and blog. Visits to completed projects. Exhibitions and more.

Digitally generated satellite image of the Earth, with Europe, and more specifically the Netherlands, in the center

Is There Really No Planet B?

It’s a popular theme in science fiction: the quest for a new Earth, because the old one is becoming uninhabitable, usually due to human interventions. Sometimes the idea is elaborated in a somewhat ironic manner, like in the unsurpassed Dutch series Missie Aarde (Mission Earth), in which the Netherlands take the lead because it’s the only country not under water thanks to its dykes. Sometimes it’s dead serious, as in the movie Interstellar, in which drought, dust storms and crop failures make the need for a new world urgent. Spare world When you realize how much effort it takes to… Read More

Pavement tile on Dutch railway platform asking to keep 1,5 metre, or vijf tiles, distance, because of covid-19

Eighteen Corona Hikes in the South Wing

Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, traveling companion A. and I made hikes all over the Netherlands. But then, in March 2020, public transport was suddenly declared “for strictly necessary journeys only”. For a while we dutifully adhered to that rule. But at a certain point it started to feel uncomfortable. Car owners merrily drove all over the place, but consciously carless people like us, suddenly saw our environment limited to a radius of a few kilometers around our own homes. And since A. lives in Leiden and I live in Rotterdam, joint walks were prohibited according to the… Read More

Footpath on a wooden walkbridge along Oude Maas river in Carnisse Grienden nature reserve near Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Best Metro Hikes In And Around Rotterdam

This blog post was actually planned for the spring of 2020. The idea, analogous to the famous Dutch Railways hikes: a number of hiking routes with a metro station or tram stop as the start and end point. But then it became clear that covid-19 would not pass the Netherlands completely unnoticed. Public transport was suddenly declared “for strictly necessary journeys only”. Of course I could have published in the more relaxed summer months of 2020. But even then, a second wave seemed to be around the corner all the time. Last winter’s lockdown also didn’t seem like the right… Read More

Thirteen pieces of space art by Frans Blok, framed and ready for an exhibition

World Maps and Space Art Exhibited

Over a year ago, I was asked if I wanted to have an exhibition of my work in the entrance hall of the RIVM, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven. At that time, I had only a vague idea of the existence of that institute. But then first the emissions of nitrogen by agriculture and industry created a kind of national crisis in which the institute played a pivotal role. And after that the covid-19 pandemic came upon us. By now, there is probably nobody in the country who has never heard of RIVM.… Read More

Detail of a world map made of facemasks, carelessly thrown away on the pavement, showing the distinct shape of North America

Toilet Paper and Facemasks, Icons of the Pandemic

In March of this year, in the week we discovered that the corona pandemic would not pass the Netherlands completely unnoticed, I saw someone walking with three mega packs of toilet paper. And moments later another person with the same commodities. And another one. It was a trend. And although there was still plenty of toilet paper in warehouses, the shelves in the supermarkets were mostly empty for a while. I’ve heard many explanations for that sudden toilet paper hoarding. Maybe it was because people ran out of their supplies faster because they worked from home. Perhaps a shortage of… Read More

Gibberish: dozens of fantasy words in the bedroom colors yellow, blue and green, to easily fall asleep

Forget counting sheep: this is the way to fall asleep!

I’ve had a lot of sleeping problems in the past. Falling asleep in the evening was usually not that hard, but when I woke up at about three o’clock in the morning, the tossing, turning and worrying began. As a result I had a hard time concentrating during the day, creating a lot of stress and making sleep even worse in the next night. Tricks I have come up with a lot of tricks over the years to get out of that vicious circle. Trying to remember my latest dream, for example. Or counting my breath. Or running the marathon… Read More

Australia reforested, a detail of the Forest World Map, made of 15.000 digital trees, surrounded by virtual grassy meadows, with also New Zealand and a part of Indonesia

A Virtual Forest and One Trillion Real Trees

The World Map of Trees, shown below, is made of more than 15,000 trees that together form the continents of our planet, while the surrounding grassy meadows represent the oceans. A piece of land art on an area of approximately 200 hectares, accessed by roads and paths (the equator and some meridians) and with ditches representing tropics and polar circles. All this of course entirely digital and virtual, because unfortunately I have no backyard of this size. Apart from the fact that this forest map is a nice addition to my collection of world maps (see, for example, the stained… Read More

Future vision for the Rotterdam metro network, with two new lines, visualized as an old school London Underground map

The Rotterdam Metro in Past, Present and Future

On February 9, 1968, the first section of the Rotterdam metro was opened: six kilometers, six stations, from Central Station to Zuidplein. I was there together with my father, but all I remember is that I saw a lot of people’s legs that day. I was only five and much shorter than I am today. A few years later, that first line was extended to my hometown of Hoogvliet. This resulted in a spectacular reduction of the travel time to Rotterdam. Instead of a one hour bus ride, the metro took us to “the city” in half an hour. Now,… Read More

Grassy dike between Brouwershaven and Bruinisse, part of a long distance trail around Lake Grevelingen

Hiking Around Lake Grevelingen

After the completion of the Oosterschelde trail, friends Arie, Maarten, Bart and I had to make a decision. Which long-distance hiking trail are we going to walk next? How about hiking around Lake Grevelingen? Remarkably, there is no official hiking route around this largest saltwater lake in Europe. But no worries, friend Bart lives a stone’s throw away from Lake Grevelingen and knows the area well. Time and time again he provides us with the most beautiful routes. In the last two years we have covered eight stages of the trail. Completion is expected in 2020, but here is already… Read More

The Lijnbaan Plane Tree Needs Your Vote!

I live in the center of a big city and yet only fifty meters from the Tree of the Year. Or, well, one of the nominees for the Dutch Tree of the Year election 2019 . Giant This tree, the famous Lijnbaan Plane Tree, the tree that has seen it all, has been nominated as a candidate for the province of South Holland. The 168-year-old giant is so large that I had to paste six photos together to get this full picture of it. Eye witness It is a tree that has a story to tell. A tree that has… Read More