Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back among the Dutch

DSC04744 I’ve landed back in the Low Countries after a couple of weeks abroad…’finding that I’ve forgotten how to look both ways for bicycles before crossing the road.  Part of it might be simple jet lag: I had a lovely 12-year-old in the seat next to me who was doing her Dutch lessons for much of the flight.  However, she needed to get me up so that she could walk each hour, so it was a wide-awake 9-hour flight.

DSC04752There was heavy frost on the ground and the smaller canals all had a coating of ice.  Maybe this will be the year that the Elfstedentocht returns to the Dutch winter. The 11-city ice skating race hasn’t been held since 1997,  but given all of the peculiarities in the weather, anything’s possible.

Two bits of Dutch technology news to start the weekend:

Dutch Island

  • Earlier this month, the Dutch Parliament asked a commission on coastal development to assess the feasibility of building islands in the North Sea.  Primarily intended as an extension of the sea barrier, they would also serve as new land for housing, farming and nature reserves.
    • Taking a page from Dubai, the proposal includes plans to shape the archipelago as a tulip (concept, right).  It’s certainly an appealing, although expensive, idea.

  • portret-t1verhagen The World Technology Blog recently reported that the Dutch Foreign Minister (Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken) , Maxime Verhagen (left) is one of the world’s most networked politicians.  It goes way beyond having his own e-mail, web page, and blog.  He has an active Twitter feed with over 1500 followers, and is reported to answer questions and engage in dialogs through the medium.  His web page even has a geolocation feature so that you can see where he is all the time, and he posts photos of his travels via Twitpic
    • It’s great to see a politician embrace social media this way: Maybe President Obama can take the example as he tries migrates his followers from the campaign into government.

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