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Dutch politics

Elections surface in the swamp. Only the cloggies can vote. People who wish to keep their original nationality and live here due to work or relationship with a Dutch partner have no right to vote in national elections. Most Dutch think this is perfectly 'normal' and are completely ignorant of the fact that Dutch people CAN vote in Britain or Ireland. When I inform Irish or British friends of this, they are genuinely amazed that a European country can even be allowed to flaunt such blatant discrimination.

The government has been busy pushing forward a non-dual citizen policy. Meaning, I can't be both Irish and Dutch. Realizing that the regulation would also effect Dutch people who live abroad, they're hastily pushing forward legislation that says if you are Dutch you CAN have dual-citizenship, but if you're a foreign national living in Holland you must choose to be one or the other. Confused. Don't be, its simple, the Dutch don't like foreigners so if every…
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Where now?

I've been busy of late cleaning up my web presence. For my work I help people with their websites, so unfortunately my own web stuff gets neglected. I began this blog to improve my writing, learn more about blogging, show some photography, and communicate with people internationally. Overtime, it became somewhat fragmented.

Perhaps most beneficial, was that it served as therapy, scribbling down my anxieties as an Irishman living amongst Dutch Calvinists. Looking back in black and white helped. So where now? I have a website for my work which includes a blog, I have a youtube channel dedicated to my passion for pipe smoking, and I think I should leave it that way. Like my Dutch brothers, I will segregate and compartmentalize more.

So where does DubintheDam take us now? The title clearly states, "A Dublinman in Amsterdam". That is the narrative. The language of that story has often been too angry, but Dutch society still continues a slippery slide too far right xenophobi…

Celebrate not tolerate

I think the picture says it all....there's certainly no need to explain this one to an ex-pat who's lived in The Netherlands for more than a few months. Summer holidays are quickly approaching....thank heavens.

Surveillance

A picture paints a 'probably' Dutch lady of Moroccan decent rounding a corner on the left, camera in hand, cautious eyes with olive skinned beauty - bright in the sun. On the opposite side a Dutch couple of whiter decent stroll down a lane. He, with mobile in hand, glances intently through the café window. It beacons cosyness or gezelligheid. Constantly searching for that gezelligheid is the great pursuit.

Look upwards and you will catch a CCTV camera dangling from a lamp post, forever filming the tourists and skinny junkies that wander by. In Holland caution is a frequented manner of greeting, people should first be scanned. In conversation, eye contact is minimal but surveillance is practical. That's what I see.

Apples and oranges

Look closely at this image, click again and you may see what I see. It was taken recently in Eindhoven in the south of The Netherlands a few hours prior to a football match. For me, two things jump out. A state of casual ease coupled with an undercurrent tension.

The abundant draping of orange by a broad section of society for a relatively minor football match (San Marino was the intended victim) is indicative of the nationalistic fervor the Dutch exude. The score was equally excessive,11-0, no prizes for guessing who won.

In Holland everyone wears a uniform, it's usually a, "look at me, I'm not wearing a uniform - uniform". Conformity is king and the 'casual look' is the fashion at court. They have 'oh' so many uniforms. Businessmen are sometimes referred to as "Blue Blazers", wearing cargo pants with suede shoes and god forbid, "Don't ever wear a tie"! Whole platoons of them will be seen, all wearing their uniforms together …

A stone

Pictured above is my most prized possession. It doesn't even qualify as a stone, just a hunk of concrete. It sits on my balcony surrounded by more attractive objects, but none so relevant.

Shortly after arriving in Amsterdam in 1998 I began working in a busy ad agency in the city center. After a gruelling day at the Mac I would often stop at a coffeeshop homeward bound. It's still there on the Oude Hoogstraat, 'Pick up the Pieces' it's called. Sometimes I would smoke a joint, others not, but would always meet friendly colourful international types and chat with the staff who became good friends over the years.

Holding the door open to release the weary workers from plumes of marijuana was a large piece of concrete. After many months I inquired about it's peculiarity, it some how beckoned significance. I was told that indeed it was a very special piece of cement. The owner of the café was Kishore, an Indian Surinamer who also owned a hotel in Schneverdingen tha…

Brown Café

A café bedecked in all things dark brown umber. Sounds depressing? Sometimes it can be. It is a uniquely Dutch phenomenon. The colour of brown is adopted in the Netherlands as old Protestants once adorned themselves in black. Practical, reverent and clerical. By comparison the warmth of the reddish tone is almost indulgent.

I think back to childhood days in my fathers pub, where dark hues suited well the sticky mess of spilled Guinness and billowed nicotine. In Holland the Brown Café is an art form, each premises carefully replicating a non-existing time and place somewhere in the past. Today's commercial interior designer can choose any type of fitting and carpentry from weighty catalogues to meet the wishes of his 'food and drink' retail client. The Dutch are in no need of such catalogues. Once their houses looked the same, but today people are more likely to put Ikea in there living rooms with the wooden patina being left behind at the café on the corner.

Over the last…