Posts Tagged With: Dutch influence

Vacation time! (Or: A week in Boston)

Roger, Marco and I just returned from a little over a week in Boston (March 15 – 23). We stayed at the Battery Wharf hotel in the North End, on the waterfront.

Google Map of Boston North End

And with the airport only across the river, this meant taking a water taxi to the hotel! That’s a new one for me – it was awesome. We pulled up to the hotel’s dock after a 10 minute ride or so. Since the photos from inside the taxi were rather abysmal (it was foggy and raining), here’s a looking at the taxi leaving after dropping us off and a US Coast Guard ship. Apparently their base was next to the hotel.

Boston water taxi and US Coast Guard boat

Here’s a look at the hotel, visible on the room key that they didn’t ask us for/we forgot to return. There’s at least three hotel buildings (we had upper right), with the fourth a spa/fitness center (lower left).

Hotel room key and Boston Charlie ticket

This was definitely a luxury hotel – around 7 or 8 at night housekeeping would stop by again to deliver fresh ice and full-sized water bottles as needed. The TV offerings were also superb, which meant that Roger got his fill of the Game Show Network and Family Feud (the channel not being available in the Netherlands). The only downside to the hotel was that the internet cost extra, to the tune of $10/day. Doable, except that it was password protected and only allowed one connection on at a time.

Also visible in the picture is a “Charlie ticket”, or the ticket used for the public transportation. It was remarkably cheap compared to the Netherlands, with a 7 day ticket costing only $19 (in The Hague a day ticket costs €6.50). The term “Charlie” was apparently named after a character in a 1948 protest song “Charlie on the MBTA” which protested a 5 cent exit surcharge on longer rides.

Here’s a few Dutch items we came across. The first was a Dutch football shirt, found at the Newbury Comics store:

Dutch football shirt at Newbury comics

But don’t let the name fool you. The store is 90% pop-culture items and 10% comics, with only the latest few weeks of comics available, and no back issues. We did visit a few other comic book stores though (New England Comics and Comicopia) so Marco was able to get his fill there.

We also visited the City Target (Target being a department store) near Fenway Park and came across some Dutch stroopwafels at the Starbucks:

Dutch stroopwafels at a US Target store

However we were told that the stroopwafels do not taste as good as those from the Netherlands, so it seems likely that they are made somewhere in the US (it also seems likely considering the “non-GMO” label on the packaging, something that is abundantly common in Boston packaging it seems. It means no genetically modified organisms). The stroopwafels come from Rip van Wafels, which is based in California.

There’s a lack of touristy stuff in this post, but I should be able to get to that over the next few days.

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Heineken (Or: New York City advertisements)

While Marco and I were in New York City we came across this advertisement for Heineken and the US Open.

“Once again, the Dutch is the favorite at the US Open.”

Grammatical issues aside, I hope they are talking about being the favorite beer, and not the favorite team!

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Chessboards (Or: New York Ren Faire 2012)

Two weekends ago a friend (Amy) and I went to the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY.

First up, we have the “Cast in Bronze” show, with the bells which were made in Asten (in the Netherlands).

The message I wrote on the large chalkboard near the entrance.

Then we came across a booth selling dolls and assorted accessories.

A random group of performers in the street.

One new thing we did this year was catch a “chess” match. This one was the Sheriff’s chess match, and included characters from Norse and Greek mythology, I believe. While it started like a typical chess match (you can see the white squares and green grass squares where they could stand), it quickly dissolved into duels. The gentleman above represented Hercules.

Finally, near the end we had The Dead Bob show. More funny than I expected it to be, and full of adult jokes. I would recommend it if you get the chance to go see it.

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Colonization (Or: Dutch is the best choice!)

A long time before there was Marco in my world, there was Colonization.

1994, in fact.

It was my first time learning about the Dutch (who knows how accurate it really was). Colonization is a Sid Meier computer game where you can choose from one of four nationalities (Spanish, English, French, or Dutch). Your goal was to leave the Old World to come colonize the New World of the Americas. As it was a ‘city building’ type game, it was right up my alley, along with the Civilization series, Sim City, Caesar, and Pharaoh/Cleopatra.

You see a pattern of what games I like to play? I don’t like to fight much, though I’ll tolerate it if it’s not the main focus of the game.

In Colonization, every nationality had its own perk. For instance, English was into immigration, so you got an extra immigrant at the start of the game plus more immigration bonuses later on. The French interact better with the native Indians, while the Spanish get a bonus when fighting the Indians. But the Dutch… the Dutch get better prices, and they get an awesome Dutch galleon ship at the start of the game which can carry 6 units of cargo.

From The Dutch look to be taking over the world… or at least this part of South America. There’s some Indian cities on the left (the grey cities with the cross and exclamation points) plus an Indian in a loin cloth, and an English settlement in the upper right.

So for most of my time playing Colonization, I played the Dutch. I am all about trading and cargo and getting money. Although my second favorite choice was the English for their immigration benefits.

A view from the city’s production screen. Note on the lower half in the middle, they are currently loading a Dutch galleon with its coveted 6 cargo spots. Currently it has muskets in the first cargo hold.

The one thing you always have to be weary of is making some cheap money by selling muskets and horses to the Indians. You think they won’t use them against you 30 turns later? Ha.

The goal of the game is to declare your indepence from the Old World… but when you click the revolution button, you better be prepared for the wave of revolutionary army units which appear right off your shores 1-2 turns later. The more cities you have, the more units will appear.  You’ll see that this particular city is not looking for a revolution that much, as in the lower left only 2 colonists (19%) want it, whereas 11 colonists (81%) still prefer not to rock the boat. But that will change. That will change.

It’s almost enough to make me want to download a copy of the game again. Hmmm…

If you’re interested in a nicely detailed strategy guide, check out the Civilization wiki (both games are Sid Meier titles).

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Distance (Or: Finding Dutch things in random places)

Earlier this year, the Dutchies and I visited New York City – a tradition that actually began long before I was in the picture. It just became a lot easier to do when they had a free “hotel” at my place! We were walking along 42nd street, and I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I stopped, stared, and realized that there was an advertisement with some Dutch cities on it.

Mind you, I no longer remember what the advertisement was about, and there were other cities pictured (in both directions), but it was still interesting enough to take a picture of.

Dutch directional sign in New York City

It’s always useful to know exactly how far you have to go to get somewhere!

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Cast in bronze (Or: A bit of Dutchness in America)

Shortly after my first visit to the Netherlands, I went to the New York Ren Faire in Tuxedo. It was a lot of fun – that was where I decided that my favorite beer (on tap at least) is Sam Adams cherry wheat. The mix of cherry and beer in the same concoction was actually rather good!

After a wait for a bus from the parking lot to the faire itself, we entered. One of the first things we came across came from the Netherlands…

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Statues (Or: An unlikely coincidence half a world away)

I spent a year and a half in the Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. During that time I did a bit of searching on Dutch culture and history — this was before I visited the Netherlands.

One of the things I excitedly learned was that there was a statue of William the Silent in the Hague. I didn’t really understand why his finger pointed to the Binnenhof at one time (or, more accurately, what the Binnenhof was) but I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia.

William of Orange statue at The Hague, Netherlands

But I had seen a similar statue at the College Avenue campus… one that points in a seemingly random direction. Upon further digging I realized that there was a replica of the Hague statue placed at Rutgers University, due to the University being founded by Dutch ministers back in 1766.

William of Orange Statue at Rutgers University (from Wikimedia Commons)

I kept the secret for a month, telling my then-boyfriend that I had a surprise to show to him when he was in the country again. I remember dragging him to the statue, refusing to tell him what I was going to show him, and the look on his face when he realized what it was.

Half a world away, but so close without my realizing.


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