Dutch film "Bride Flight" opens in U.S. movie theaters today

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Dutch film Bride Flight opens in select U.S. cities today and will expand to theaters across the country throughout July.

The film is a romantic drama inspired by the true story of the 1953 KLM flight that entered the “Last Great Air Race” from London to Christchurch, New Zealand. The flight was dubbed “Bride Flight” by the international press, because of its special passengers -- young women with wedding dresses in their suitcases, traveling to join their fiancés who had already emigrated to New Zealand. Leaving behind the gloom and scarcity of post-WWII Holland, shy but sensual farm girl Ada, dogmatic Marjorie, and Jewish fashion designer Esther are filled with hope for a future of love and freedom.

Each takes a very different journey in their strange new land, but together with handsome bachelor Frank, they form a bond on the flight that continues to link them for decades to come. Honored with Audience Awards at film festivals across the U.S., the movie evokes a time of slim choices and desperate optimism, with sweeping views of the New Zealand countryside, stunning period dresses, and the faint smell of Pinot Noir from the thriving vineyard Frank establishes in New Zealand.

In Dutch and English, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.
http://www.brideflightmovie.com/

Exploring Historic Dutch New York

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Exploring Historic Dutch New York is a travel guide for the Dutch history of the wider New York area. The book was edited by Gajus Scheltema and Heleen Westerhuijs, and includes chapters by 16 internationally renowned scholars exploring such topics as Dutch art and architecture, Dutch cooking in America, furniture and antiques, and many more. The book will be officially released on June 23rd -- we received a preview copy and spoke with the editors.

Gajus and Heleen started working on the book in 2008. They share a strong enthusiasm for the Dutch heritage of the New York area. Gajus is Consul-General for the Netherlands in New York until the summer of 2011 after which he will become the Dutch ambassador to Pakistan; Heleen graduated in 17th century architecture in New Netherland. They took as their starting point the celebrations for NY 400, which commemorated Hudson's arrival in America in 1609.

NY 400

"When I arrived in the US as Consul-General four years ago, we started organizing the festivities for NY 400", says Gajus. "These 2009 celebrations turned out very successfully, featuring for instance a large number of museum exhibitions and many other events. We donated a Pavilion designed by architect Ben Van Berkel, to the city; Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Máxima visited New York City a week long in September. It all met with great enthusiasm. Moreover, in 2009 more than 30 English language books on Dutch-American relationships were published, many of them of very high quality. However, none of those books would bring you to the Dutch legacy in a comprehensive way"

Heleen: "During NY 400 we met so many great people, many of whom are now contributors to the book -- Gehring, Jacobs, Shorto... The connections we made in 2009 during the festivities really culminated in this book. It's great to have so many specialists contributing articles about the Dutch cuisine in America, Dutch family names, Dutch art in the Metropolitan Museum, etc." Gajus adds: "The experts contributed to the main text, as well as to various inserts in the book, such as on topics like Dutch architecture or the Holland Mania of the 19th century."

Dutch history of New York, New Jersey and Delaware

The book addresses the question: which traces of the Dutch past are still visible today?

"The legacy of the Dutch period is much larger than most people realize”, says Gajus. “We have included all famous Dutch-Colonial houses in the Hudson River Valley area, New Jersey and Delaware. It's really worthwhile to see them. But we also documented lesser well-known houses. Many of the houses date from after the Dutch period, but continued to be built in the Dutch-Colonial style. During the Revolutionary War, for example, many people left Brooklyn for New Jersey, which now accounts for a large portion of the legacy. "

Heleen: "We felt that it was necessary to bundle all traces of the Dutch period, and to provide a single place to find the Dutch history in the region. Architecture is one of the most important heritages of the Dutch."

The book provides addresses, phone numbers and opening hours of the destinations. The introduction is by Russell Shorto, author of the book "The Island at the Center of the World", which introduced the history of New Netherland to a wider audience.

The maps in the book, created by Henk van Assen, are very useful. They provide a good overview of where the various houses and museums are located.

Dutch translation

Gajus: "Until now, there had not been a true travel guide for Dutch New York. Our book tries to meet that demand." Heleen adds: "It is more than just a travel guide -- it's a historical travel guide, with lots of background information. That's why we believe that a translation into Dutch would be valuable. For a Dutch audience it would be interesting to have a Dutch translation and we're hopeful that this will happen sooner rather than later."

Gajus: "Our book aims at a broader audience than most travel guides. We target three groups: New Yorkers and Americans in the area with an interest in history; Americans with Dutch roots, such as the members of the Holland Society, and last but not least tourists from the Netherlands."

Official launch

An official launch of the book is planned for June 23th, in the Museum of the City of New York, the co-publisher of the book. The following day the editors will present the book in the Netherland Club of New York.

The book is a must-have for history buffs and people who are interested in the rich Dutch heritage of the New York region. As Russell Shorto writes in the introduction, "Everyone who reads history has the same secret wish: to go back there." This book helps you find your way around.

Exploring Historic Dutch New York
Editors: Gajus Scheltema & Heleen Westerhuijs
Generally available in stores from mid June
Available for pre-order on Amazon.com

New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion Opens in New York City

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Last week the Peter Minuit Plaza and New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion were inaugurated with a ceremony. Several dignitaries from New York City and the Netherlands officially opened the Plaza and Pavilion on the most southern tip of Manhattan in New York City to the public.

Part of part major project that includes a complete overhaul of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, the Peter Minuit plaza is a transportation hub and public area located directly in front of the ferry terminal.

The New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion anchors the north end of the plaza. This $2.3 million gift from the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's arrival into New York Harbor honors four centuries of Dutch-American friendship and a mutual passion for the values of innovation and creativity, diversity and openness, entrepreneurship and progress.

Design by Ben van Berkel

The Plein and Pavilion was conceived by the Battery Conservancy to create an "outdoor living room for spontaneous and scheduled activities, public markets, seating and shade". The gleaming white pavilion on the plein was designed by Ben van Berkel of UNStudio, Amsterdam.

The design for New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion creates a 5,000-square-foot programmed space housing regional organic food by Merchant’s Market, as well as the Alliance for Downtown New York’s Visitor Information Booth.

Official opening by Prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima

In September 2009, during the celebrations of NY400, there was an official opening ceremony of the Pavilion with Prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima, but the actual construction of the square and pavilion was not completed at that time.

Photograps on Dutch Arts Events
The Battery Conservancy: http://www.thebattery.org

Black Butterflies at Tribeca Film Festival

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The Tribeca Film Festival is now celebrating its 10th anniversary season. Among the entries this year is Black Butterflies, a German-Dutch-South African production, directed by Oscar nominee Paula van der Oest (Zus en Zo), with an international cast headed by Dutch movie stars Carice van Houten and Rutger Hauer, and Irish actor Liam Cunningham.

Correspondent Yolanda Gerritsen went to the red carpet opening of Black Butterflies and reports to us her impressions of the event and the film.

A red carpet opening

Director Paula van der Oest and actress Carice van Houten looked fabulous and ready for their close-up as they arrived at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema in Manhattan. Carice van Houten showed up in a stunning Chanel black and white striped skirt, black top, Louboutin shoes and a saucy little brown hat. Paula van der Oest had chosen a simple and elegant black dress and black and white Marc Jacobs shoes.

Van der Oest told how she came to make this movie about Ingrid Jonker, a brilliant but troubled young South African Poet who tragically committed suicide in 1965 at age 31.

The producer of an award-winning documentary on the life and poetry of Ingrid Jonker encouraged Van der Oest to make a feature film about her.

With powerful and intelligent performances by Carice van Houten as Ingrid Jonker (“I like roles I can sink my teeth into”), Rutger Hauer as her father, and Liam Cunnningham as her lover Jack Cope, director Paula van der Oest has created a haunting and heartbreaking portrait of an artist whose life was an unending emotional rollercoaster. Carice van Houten was awarded as Best Actress by the Tribeca Film Festival last night.

Ingrid Jonker

Ingrid Jonker (1933-1965) is beautiful, funny, free-spirited, spontaneous, uninhibited, a loving mother and a brilliant, irrepressible poet. But she is also very difficult, tempestuous, cruel, contradictory, child-like, and emotionally unstable. She often writes, or rather, paints her poems on the walls, a steamed-up window even, maybe to see herself reflected back to her, or maybe to know she is alive, or maybe just to leave a reminder she once existed.

She tries again and again to reach out to her father, to gain his love and respect. But Abraham Jonker is a cold, rigid, rightwing Afrikaner, Minister of Censorship in the Apartheidsregime who has no use for a daughter whose poetry, politics, and freewheeling life-style with her writer-friends embarrass him. He is emotionally unavailable to her and every time she is rebuffed and rejected by him, she goes into an emotional tailspin, drinks too much, has more affairs, even attempts suicide and ends up in a mental hospital a few times. Her need to have her father’s acceptance leaves an emptiness in her soul that can never be filled, however hard she tries. But her poetry sustains her, it is her lifeline.

In the beginning of the film she is saved from drowning by the writer Jack Cope (not an actual event). A tempestuous relationship ensues, but it does not last. He cannot accept her other dalliances and decides to go away for a few months to be with his sons. She feels terribly rejected and ends her pregnancy, which he doesn’t know about, in a dirty back ally room in a black township. Still, Jack Cope remains her anchor. She continues to call on him every time she is in trouble and each time he comes to her rescue.

During a demonstration to protest the passbook law for blacks, a black child is shot and killed. She gives voice to her shocked reaction to this horrific act in the poem ‘The Child’, an angry, yet prophetic cry for freedom and hope. At the opening of the first session of the democratically elected South African Parliament in 1994, almost thirty years after her death, Nelson Mandela recited ‘The Child’ and praised its author as “both a poet and a South African who celebrated life in the midst of death”, thereby creating a renewed interest in Jonker’s poetry.

Die kind is nie dood nie

The director and producers chose to make this an English language film - no doubt for practical and economic reasons - so the poems are translations. It would have been wonderful, certainly for a Dutch audience, to see and hear her words in Afrikaans, the language in which they were written. Afrikaans still uses the double negative. So “The child is not dead” is really “Die kind is nie dood nie”, which makes that denial of the child’s death all the more emphatic and powerful. That said, even in the English translation, her poems are an essential presence in the film, as they tie the fragile fragments of Jonker’s life together.

One of her books wins her a trip to Europe, which turns into a deeply disappointing experience, leading to a serious breakdown in France. Her father authorizes electro shock treatments for her, which rob her of her zest for life and her ability to write. With her only lifeline gone, she is swept into a downward spiral she cannot escape from and she finally ends her despair and her life in the pounding waves of the ocean near Cape Town.

Much of the film is shot in South Africa. The incredible beauty of the scenery is in stark contrast with the tumultuous political events of that era (1960’s), which in the film simmer right under the surface but do erupt at times as a reminder of the dark reality of the Apartheid regime.

Ingrid Jonker’s love of the beach and the ocean is one of the leitmotifs in this film: carefree beach scenes alternate with shots of powerful waves crashing, churning, and pounding with overwhelming force on sand and rocks. They are a visual expression of Jonker’s inner turmoil, her uncontrollably contradictory emotions, which crash and churn inside her and ultimately lead to her self-destruction.

Black Butterflies is an engrossing film. It opened in Holland last month, but plans for a wider release are as yet unknown. It deserves to be seen. There is one last showing in the Tribeca Film Festival, tonight, Friday April 29, at 10.00 p.m. at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema, on 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Black Butterflies at Tribeca Film Festival

Dutch Entrepreneurs Unfazed by New York City’s Red Tape Jungle

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Guest author Merel van Beeren wrote about Dutch entrepreneurs in New York city. Merel is a Dutch graduate student at New York University in the Global Journalism program.

Over 400 years ago the Dutch founded New Amsterdam, laying the foundation for what is now the most famous city in the world. The island of Manhattan “would become the first multi-ethnic, upwardly mobile society on America’s shores,” as Russell Shorto wrote in ‘The Island at the Center of the World.’ A little over fifty years later, in 1664, the British took over reign of the city, renaming it New York. But the Dutch haven’t disappeared.

Apart from historical landmarks, street names and metro stops no American can properly pronounce like Hoyt-Schermerhorn, the Dutch continue to be a part of the city – especially through business, in keeping with their history of worldwide trade. New York City is host to over 2,800 internationally owned businesses. According to the 2008 International Business Directory – a project of the Office of the Mayor and the United Nations – 91 of those are of Dutch origin. That makes 3.25 percent which, for a country of only 17 million inhabitants out of a world population of almost 6.8 billion, is a considerable proportion.

Not only have large organizations like Philips Electronics or Ovid Technologies made the move to the United States’ international business capital, but small businesses have started international branches or have built companies from scratch.

The most European city in the country

What most Dutch people find attractive about New York is the success of the multicultural society, muses Ad Hereijgers, an urban planner turned bikeshop owner. It is something that has been on the decline in the Netherlands, he says. “Combine that with the friendliness and optimism of the average New Yorker, and you have a city that offers a great living situation.”

New York is the American anomaly, some people say. It is the most European city in the country, but it offers more than Europe can – it is the place where pioneers are celebrated, where opportunities abound, and where you can reach the ultimate levels.

Playing in the Champions League

“Working in New York means playing in the Champions League,” remarks Stef Gans, the CEO of marketing consultancy firm EffectiveBrands, referring to the elite European soccer league. “In the Netherlands, that’s just not an option. And that applies to basically all commercial branches in the world of business.”

Hereijgers, who had been coming to the city since the early 1980s for his work as an urban planner, had long been involved with the real estate business when the economic crisis hit. Instead of being a negative experience, for Hereijgers the crisis actually helped free up some time for a new enterprise: Rolling Orange, a store selling Dutch commuter bikes in Brooklyn.

“We have a simple business plan, but not without risks,” he said. Combining the store with his work as an urban planner offers some security. “To me, the bikes are also a means of communication. They are a way to touch upon themes within urban planning, to talk about the city’s issues that need to be addressed.”

The store also has a mission: making bicycles into a way to get around, instead of just part of a hobby. “It’s not just a store, it’s a sort of lifestyle,” Hereijgers said. By making the store and the process of building the bikes accessible to the public, Rolling Orange hopes to get more and more New Yorkers to make bicycles their preferred choice of transportation – as is so common in the Netherlands.

“A sober, realistic way of thinking is part of the Dutch DNA,” Hereijgers believes. “That way of thinking has brought us a long way, including outside our borders, and especially in this city.”

New York as a key to reach the American architectural community

For Trespa Design Centre, originally from the Dutch town of Weert, New York was a key way to reach the American architectural community. The company mainly manufactures paneling for building façades, and the New York location also offers space to architectural and fashion events, for which their Chelsea location is ideal.

“We were lucky enough to already have some contacts,” said Todd Kimmel, business development manager for Trespa, about starting up in New York. “For an international business to come in, a lot of success lies in the networking and the relationships that you had prior to coming in.”

The New York branch opened in 2008, but its expertise didn’t suffer from the economic crisis – where companies mostly opt out of constructing new offices during a crisis, they might spruce up the exterior of the existing building instead.

The crisis was less easy on EffectiveBrands. The business was created in Amsterdam but expanded to New York six months after its launch to have more access to international markets. The effects of the crisis were strong in its field – advertising and marketing – but very different from those in the Netherlands.

“A remarkable difference between here and the Netherlands is that here, when it goes bad, it goes extremely bad, but it bounces back just as fast.” Where the Dutch continue to struggle with the consequences of the crisis, Americans are already celebrating a new period of success, Gans said.

New York City's red tape jungle

Although Agentschap NL, a Dutch government agency that advises on foreign business start-ups, claims that “foreign investors face no particular obstacles in establishing companies in the United States,” small entrepreneurs do feel it is not as simple as it is for Americans.

A Dutch architect I spoke to who moved to New York several years ago, found that practicing his craft in the city is not easy. The process of becoming a licensed architect can take years and it seems like American architects are favored – entrepreneurs from other Western countries who can offer highly qualified work pose a threat to their American colleagues. Diplomas and licenses from foreign educational institutions are valued far below their American counterparts, leading to a significant delay before foreign entrepreneurs can begin practicing their craft.

An article in Fenedexpress, a Dutch professional magazine for businesses looking to go global, speaks of the overwhelming amount of rules and regulations for new companies. In particular the different levels of government– local, state, and federal – are confusing to foreigners, and are often referred to as the “red tape jungle”. The process has only become trickier in the last decade.

“Since 9/11, it hasn’t been easy for foreigners to come in and build a business,” Gans said. “There is a lot of paperwork that you have to go to prove that you’re not affiliated with any sort of terrorism. It is harder today than it has ever been.” And it’s not just the paperwork.

“America is a country where you have to prove yourself in a short of period of time,” said Jeroen Bours. He is the CEO of Darling, an advertising agency, and the man who thought up Mastercard’s Priceless campaign. The pressure to perform is very strong.

“Starting your own business is something that everyone can do," Bours says. "Doesn’t matter who you are, what languages you have, or who you know. Everyone can easily start up a business tomorrow.” The ease with which you can start something, he adds, is only matched by the ease with which you can then fail, just as hard.

But Bours is convinced that the combination of a Dutch work-ethic and the pressure that New York puts on its citizens can also lead to great businesses. “If you want to work as hard as you can, you will make it. Period.”

Queen's Day 2011 in the United States

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April 30th is Queen's Day, a national holiday in the Netherlands to celebrate the Queen's Birthday, and there are over 30 celebrations for orange clad Dutch expats and immigrants throughout the United States.

In collaboration with NLBorrels we present a list with all Queen's Day celebrations throughout the USA: see the event page here. Note that the events organized by the Dutch Embassy in Washington and the Dutch Consulates require an RSVP by tomorrow. Almost all events have an orange dress code.

San Francisco's Union Square in orange

Nathalie d'Adelhart Toorop, the assistant to the Netherlands Consul General San Francisco, is coordinating, together with a committee of volunteers from the Bay Area Dutch community, a large Queen's Day celebration on Union Square. The program includes a performance by the Princess Christina Concours winners, a beergarden and live music. Dutch food like cheese and pastries will be on sale, and for the children there will be a vrijmarkt and various events. A highlight is a guided bike tour from the Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park to Union Square and a guided Dutch Design bicycle tour (more info at SFDutch.com). In the evening there are celebrations in the Supperclub and by NLBorrels in Azul, a night club.

"Our inspiration for an event at Union Square was the Indonesian Day that has been organized the last 15 years", says Nathalie. "Our Deputy Consul General Jaap Veerman represented the Netherlands there and really liked the atmosphere."

The World Cup celebrations at the Civic Center were another great stimulus. Says Nathalie: "The San Francisco Parks and Recreation commission are enthusiast about this event because of the good experiences with the Dutch parties at the Civic Center."

"It's great to be able to celebrate Queen's Day like this, and share it with the people of San Francisco".

KDNY'11 in New York City

Since 2002 NLBorrels has organized the largest Queen's Day event in the United States, in a midtown Manhattan club.

NLBorrels New York organized the first party in a big Irish pub in 2002 when unexpectedly close to 400 people showed up. What started as a fluke has grown into a huge yearly event, drawing crowds of more than 1,000 Dutchies, friends & partners, serving typical Dutch foods like bitterballen and ample beer.

Sander Raaymakers, founder of NLBorrels: "We're looking forward to paint Manhattan orange again; ticket sales this year are moving very fast."

Other chapters of NLBorrels also organize local Queen's Day events, including in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, as well as many cities abroad. At last count, the member database of NLBorrels comprised of over 15,000 Dutch expats in 80+ countries.

May 4th and May 5th

On May 4th, Dutch Remembrance Day, there will be a ceremony at the Netherlands Carillon in Washington D.C., followed by a Liberation Ball in California in honor of Dutch Liberation Day.

Dutch-American Friendship Day 2011

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April 19 is Dutch-American Friendship Day, a day to celebrate the historic ties of the United States and the Netherlands.

While it is less well-known than Dutch-American Heritage Day on November 16, there are several events this week in the United States and the Netherlands .

Opening game Dayton Dutch Lions FC

The Dayton Dutch Lions FC will play their opening game of the season tonight against Charleston Battery in Bellbrook, OH, with an "All Things Dutch" kick-off event. Dayton Dutch Lions is a professional soccer club in Ohio supported by Dutch Eredivisie side FC Twente. Their jerseys are, of course, orange.

Other places that celebrate the event include the Zwaanendael Museum in Delaware and the American Business Club in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Special guest at the American Business Club will be Mrs. Fay Hartog-Levin, the US Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Dutch-American Friendship day was proclaimed by Congress in 2007. Read more about Dutch-American Friendship Day.

Dutch Heritage Month in Ontario, Canada

In related news: the Canadian province of Ontario proclaimed May to be Dutch Heritage Month a few weeks ago. From the bill:

By proclaiming the month of May as Dutch Heritage Month, the Province of Ontario recognizes the important contributions that Dutch Canadians have made to the economic, political, social and cultural fabric of Ontario’s society.

May is a historically significant month for the Dutch Canadian community. On May 5, 1945, the Canadian forces were instrumental in the liberation of the Netherlands from occupation during World War II. The Netherlands celebrates its independence and liberty, along with the heroic efforts of the Canadian forces, with a national holiday known as Liberation Day, which takes place annually on May 5.

USCIS Launches E-Verify "Self Check"

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Last week the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a new tool for individuals in the United States to check their own employment eligibility status. This new "Self Check" application is part of the ongoing roll-out of the E-Verify program, which aims to help employers check the employment status of new employees.

This tool will become useful to verify if government records are up-to-date. This is especially important for foreign-born workers, whose employment status may change with transitions between various immigrations statuses.

Employment eligibility verification

E-Verify is an Internet-based program run by the United States government that compares information from an employee's Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States.

The program was established in 1997 but a government mandate for all federal government agencies to use it per October 2007 significantly increased usage. E-Verify is not without controversy and concerns about privacy and data accuracy have been raised.

From the press release: "E-Verify Self Check, a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), is the first online E-Verify program offered directly to workers and job seekers. The gives users the opportunity to submit corrections of any inaccuracies in their DHS and SSA records before applying for jobs."

Initially the E-Verify Self Check service is only available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia or the District of Columbia. In the coming months USCIS will continue to expand the E-Verify Self Check service.

https://selfcheck.uscis.gov/

A visit to "Vandaag" in New York City

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Our correspondent Noor Speckens visited Vandaag, a restaurant in New York City, to explore how Dutch it is; here is her report.

If you go to Restaurant Vandaag and expect to find the comfort food you remember from your childhood in the Netherlands, you will be sorely disappointed.

Vandaag, as per its website, advertises itself as a restaurant offering Northern European cuisine and "explorations focusing on Denmark and Holland."

Aside from the short list of smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), I cannot speak for the Danish part of this equation, except that it might confuse geographically-challenged Americans even more ("So, you’re Dutch? Are you from Copenhagen?"). The Dutch part, however, was lacking in the familiar Dutch staples, such as kroketten, puree or even patat friet. I guess there was no point in trying to compete with the Belgian snackbar "Pommes Frites" a few doors up the avenue. However, there were bitterballen to be had as a starter.

A lack of true Dutch dishes

Although the restaurant professes its preference for cooking with local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley, none of the solid winter dishes that comprise the bulk of Dutch cooking were on the menu. I was hoping for stamppot, haché or even a simple gehaktbal. Pea soup (erwtensoep) was listed, although "embellished" with "ham hock (OK), octopus (really?), matignon (we’ll have to look that one up), and chili oil (why?)", it probably cannot be called snert anymore.

Come to think of it, the only vaguely Dutch dishes were the "Vandaag Burger" topped with Gouda cheese and maybe the Hete Bliksem ("crisp fingerlings, bacon, apple, stroop syrup"). The rest of the entrees seemed pretentious and contrived such as for example "Red Russian kale with green strawberries, sweet onion, caraway", or "Albacore tuna with rutabaga, pomegranate and rye berries". The portions were small and not cheap.

Good selection of drinks

As for the cocktails, beers and other beverages: there were genever cocktails and aquavit cocktails, as well as various rather obscure Dutch and Belgian beers, (Danish) mead, which isn’t to say that they were bad. I had a glass of De Schelde Hop-Ruiter ale.

The restaurant’s interior is pleasantly modern, a bit stark perhaps, with clean lines; the floor is polyurethane-coated concrete, the tables, chairs and benches are made of blond wood. There are no tablecloths, upholstery, curtains anywhere to muffle the sound, which made for a rather echo-ey, noisy space.

The servers were American, the bartendress was Danish maybe, but none of them had the slightest idea what you were saying when you asked for one of the few items on the menu with the proper Dutch pronunciation or seemed to be aware of the fact that you were speaking Dutch and they were working in a restaurant with a Dutch name. All in all, eating at Vandaag was a bit of an alienating experience for someone looking for a Dutch experience.

Vandaag is located on the North-West corner of East 6th Street and 2nd Avenue in the East Village, 103 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003. Open for lunch and dinner.

http://www.vandaagnyc.com

Earnie Stewart, Dutch-American, in Soccer Hall of Fame

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Dutch-American soccer player Earnie Stewart was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday along with three-time World Cup veterans Eddie Pope and Cobi Jones.

Stewart, who was born in Veghel, the Netherlands, was a regular midfielder for the U.S. national team from 1990s until his retirement in 2005. He played 101 full international games for the United States with the first against Portugal in 1990 and the last against Grenada in June of 2004. He played in 3 World Cups for the USA and he scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over Colombia that sent the Americans into the round of 16 at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

His 111 goals as a professional in the Netherlands makes him the highest-scoring American in international club play. In 2001 he was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. Stewart was born to an American father and a Dutch mother and holds dual citizenship.

Stewart is currently back in the Netherlands, where he is the Director of Football for soccer club AZ in Alkmaar.

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