The meaning of Summer


Summer! It’s finally here. After long, cold dark nights the season that most people look forward to has started. Today I want to have a closer look at the meaning of this popular season. Is it hyped up by most people? Or is it truly one of the most magical times of the year? Here, in the Netherlands, people have a tendency to complain about the weather and how bad it is. It’s one of the “go-to” topics when engaging in small talk. It’s almost as if we have a collective hate towards rain and cold temperatures. So when summer arrives with its higher temperatures our society looks a bit friendlier because there is no need to complain anymore. We gradually start wearing less clothes and our carefree spirit gets shown to the world. There are festivals everywhere, random spontaneous barbeque gatherings and children splashing in their tiny swimming pools.

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Mukbang and food in the modern world


One summer ago I didn’t have much to do so, as any bored millennial would do, I browsed the web for new and interesting things that I could watch, or listen to (or a combination of both).What I ended up finding was strange, funny but above all very relatable. It was a video of a woman named MommyTang (this is her username) sitting on the ground in front of a big table where she was able to cook food while talking about a topic. When she finished preparing the food she started to eat it. On camera. My first reaction was one of surprise: how is this a video that thousands of people like to watch? As I was thinking that I realized, to my astonishment, that I had already watched more than half of the video. After that I was left with so many questions: what is this and how did it come to be a ‘thing’? And, why is it a ‘thing’ in the first place? Now I have to confess something to you: that summer I ended up watching quite a lot of those videos and I think that I have found the answer as to why.

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How can multilingualism affect our identity


We live in a world where speaking more than one language is seen as a positive thing. Multilingualism is encouraged, and as our world becomes more globalized, multilingualism is seen as a normal part of a child’s upbringing.

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The grimm side of fairytales


When hearing the phrase “once upon a time…” most of us already know that we are about to be told a fairytale. I don’t have any statistical facts on this, but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that most children love fairytales. Maybe it’s because of the desire that humans have towards storytelling. The magic of being enveloped in a story that is factually impossible but on the other hand intriguing could also be a part of this. Or, maybe it’s the idea that we are not encouraged to lie in our daily lives, but when it comes to fairytales there are no rules to making up the best of stories. Fairytales provide an endless world of possibilities, and all of this happens while the listener knows that the ending will be a safe, satisfying conclusion of “…and they lived happily ever after.” Continue reading “The grimm side of fairytales”

Magazines: the ultimate hand guide for women?


Elle Woods: “I bought you some necessities—some Calvin Klein 720 count sheets, the entire Clinique skin care line […] and the Bible.”

(Holds up a copy of the Cosmopolitan magazine)

Brooke Taylor: “You’re an angel”

The above quote is from the popular movie Legally Blonde. The main character, Elle, is a lawyer who has to defend her friend Brooke, who has been accused of murder. While Brooke is in jail, Elle brings her some “necessities”. One of these necessities includes the “Bible”; Elle isn’t talking about an actual religious Bible here, but about a popular magazine. Magazines have always been an important part of a girl’s upbringing in popular society. The importance of these magazines to girls and women is oftentimes highlighted in the media through movies like Legally Blonde. But what are the effects of this unofficial “hand guide” on women? And why don’t we see men reading magazines as often as women do? These are some questions that have been passing through my mind and that I will aim to answer for you. Continue reading “Magazines: the ultimate hand guide for women?”

Seven songs of Christmas: a holiday soundtrack


The holidays are around the corner and with that comes Christmas. There is a lot to say about this festivity. On the one hand Christmas can be materialistic, commercialized, boring and a disappointment (last year I heard someone say that they did not like Christmas because they did not like their family). Not to forget that Christmas is a celebration that oftentimes cannot be escaped; it’s everywhere. It’s seen as the norm, and people who do not (because of their religion), or cannot (perhaps because of lack of family or money) celebrate it just have to live in a world were an entire month (if not two to three) is dedicated to this holiday. Continue reading “Seven songs of Christmas: a holiday soundtrack”

100 years of Fiep Westendorp


On December 17th of this year it will be exactly a hundred years ago that Fiep Westendorp was born. She was a well-known Dutch illustrator most famous for bringing writer Annie M.G.Schmidt’s characters to life in the 50’s. Her work is still relevant, as most children nowadays are still familiar with characters that were illustrated by Westendorp a long time ago. I would even go as far as saying that her illustrations are part of Dutch cultural heritage. I read books with Westendorp’s illustrations during my childhood and enjoyed them thoroughly. Well-known books such as Jip en Janneke and Pluk van de Petteflet still bring joy when I think of them. Continue reading “100 years of Fiep Westendorp”