Monday, October 22, 2012

A Neighbor Day in the Netherlands

In between our heres-n-theres, visitors, and this-and-that-there are the little gems that just seem to happen here where we live.  They may not be big in the total scheme of things but they're memorable nonetheless.

Like, for instance, the annual Burendag (= Neighbor Day) that has happened each September now for 7 years.  It was first initiated by the Douwe Egberts coffee company in 2006 and then picked up by the Oranje Fonds, a national charity for social initiative amongst different groups of people.  In the Netherlands, a cuppa koffie is the symbol of getting together with people you don't know.

For us here at our De Lindeborg retirement complex, and for the first time ever, our Poort6 landlord company sponsored a BBQ here in our courtyard.  It was our 2012 Neighbor Day BBQ.  Time for everyone to come out of hiding to meet each other.

The Poort6 men came out en force to set up and serve us.
Floor (bottom right above) is our huismaster (house master).

What a spread!  This is the Dutch BBQ way with 4 different meats:
bratwoorst, chicken saté (3 sticks), hamburger and slice of ham.
As we were served each meat, the server signed his initials on our tiny menu slip.
White/red wine and/or beer to drink.
And all for €5 per person!

In the end, there were only 40 of us who showed up of around 200 potential people.
Many were the regulars who always show up at our gatherings throughout the year,
but the one new neighbor who sat at our table was Wim (bottom left above).
And as luck would have it, Astrid had connections with him because of their tennis years in the area.
That means we got to know one new neighbor that day!  It's a start.

And while we're at it, these are the ones of my Friday's Rummikub group who were there!
Top:  Lena, Meindert, Moi and Sophie (in early Alzheimer's)
Center:  Gonnie and Blanche.
Bottom:  Jouke Our leader), Gerrie and...Elt (husband of Sophie who joins us after Rummikub for drinks).
Two were missing:  Frida and Henk. 

Can you tell who my favorite is?  
Dear, dear Meindert...always speaking English phrases whenever they fit.
"You are my sunshine!" And always with that smile.
A little wobbly on his feet but do I care???

For 2 hours, from beginning to end, we truly embraced being neighbors!
I think even "the help" totally enjoyed being with us old geezers.

Here's to next year being even bigger and better!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A month earlier, back in August, while out-n-about in our city center on the last day of the week's Summer Festival, we visited the wood-carving exhibition of Adrie Bezemer inside our Grote Kerk :

 His carvings were lined up all around the inside of the church.
I hate that I didn't take more pictures of his handiwork but you can see it here
He's been doing this as a hobby since 1999...and he's from Goudriaan, just 6 miles away.
We met another neighbor!

 It's such a treat to meet and interact with such artisans.
Remember when Astrid got to learn how to blow glass from Mart Martorell?  
THIS is what I would want to learn:  how to turn wood.  So the demonstration was wonderful.

 The day reminded me of a painting Dad had in our house growing up...
of Jesus as a young carpenter.
I'd love to find it....

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

When we walked out of the church that day, the stage was set up in the city square, highlighting the end of the musical festival.  And there he was, Barry...

   ...the friend and neighbor of Astrid's son whom we've met several times.
Everyone that day was a neighbor.  Everyone.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Would you be my neighbor?


  1. I like the sound of Neighbor Day. We should adopt that holiday too.

    1. It's a great idea, Maria, isn't it. Maybe every day we can work on at least smiling at our neighbors?!! That would be a good start.

  2. Neighbour day is a very relaxed way of getting to know your neighbours. I used to live in a small village and we would have a street BBQ once every 5 years. All over the village. Streets were closed, to make it happen.
    The wood-turner did an amazing job, you could tell he puts in a lot of love and craftsmanship into his work.
    Barry totally surprised me by being there on the last day of the summer-feasts.
    He sure did a good job. He told me, he is a teacher too.
    Beautiful collages from our neighbours, a wonderful memory to keep.

    1. I love these Dutch traditions, MLMA! I'd like to believe our Neighbor Day next year will be even better, bringing out more neighbors we don't yet know. We've met so many wonderful people here-n-there. You know I love it!

  3. I love Neighbor day! What a wonderful tradition! Love all the photos of everyone!

    1. I thought of you, Robin, when I put together the collage of Meindert. HA! You'd fall in love with him. :) I can just imagine you having your own Neighbor Day where you live there in NYC. How fun that would be!

  4. Deliciously wonderful! And yes, I can see in Meindert what you love. :) He is beautiful.

    And the first thing I saw in the very top photo is that the man in the center looks like Mark!

    1. Awwww. I never thought about that one guy looking like Mark. You're so right, Ruth. And YES, that Meindert is something else. I love him to death. :) Thanks.

  5. What alot of beautiful neighbors, looks like everyone had a great time with such good food! I love visiting your 'hood!

    1. Thank you, dear Susan. Believe it or not, we're off today to see the wood turner at his home shop. We're really looking forward to it. :)

  6. Old geezers. Ha. Your younger of heart than most people I know. I have to swing bu the link to the wood carvings now..

    1. Actually, many of these old geezers keep ME young at heart. It's been so fun. But then, I have always loved the older generation, way back to when I was in high school! That still amazes me.

      This past Saturday we spent 2 hours with the wood turner watching him make two wood goblets for us. I'll be working on those images this week. What a treat for with the glass blower this past year!

  7. I don't know what is going on with your blog, my dear friend! When I try to post comments, it takes forever to load the comment form and then jumps all over the place before settling down and allowing me to comment. I'm not sure what that is about and am not experiencing it with other blogspot blogs. Hmmm...

    I love all the people photos... you capture such cheery countenances and I want to meet these people! About the wood turner... that link goes to a 404 page not found when I try to follow it. Maybe the server is down temporarily but thought you'd want to know in case it is a permanent link that has somehow died. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to visit and am now off to the next post to continue my birthday feast for my eyes before playing a bit with some of my own photos. Who knows... might even make a blog post myself before the weekend is over!

    1. Rats. I have no idea what's happening, Victoria. Another friend can't comment at all...but no one else seems to be having problems. I have no clue??!! I'm sorry for both of us, but thank you for trying!

      I have gone back to update 2 of the wood-turner's links and hope they work now. Technology! (sigh)

  8. Oh dear... my carefully written comment disappeared from the post... SIGH... something screwy going on with my ability to comment here... the most important part (beyond saying how much I enjoy visiting with you virtually) was to let you know that the link for the wood turner is somehow not working and goes to a 404 page not found. In case it is a permanent failure of the link, I thought you would want to know. LOVE all the people photos!!!

    1. Your link went into moderation, Victoria, because it was longer than 2 weeks past the blog date. I may go back in to change the settings! Thanks for the heds-up about the links, which I have hopefully now fixed!