Second postcard from Netherlands

Time flies and I have been already 1,5 months in Breda. The autumn has finally started here also, but luckily it has been beautiful weather most of the time. I actually like the fresh autumn air, and  darker evenings. Feels like a fresh start after the long summer. I wrote some first impressions from the life in Breda few weeks a go in the Postcard from Netherlands -post, and today I am writing a second card. Last time I wrote about amazing things (and few less amazing), but today I am sharing more little things, which have catch my attention lately. And actually most of the things I am sharing with you today, are somehow food related.  But as I am a foodie, it is a topic I give a lot attention in my life and see the differences easily.

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NO FAST FOOD. I have realized that it is surprisingly hard to just to grab example lunch fast from the nice places. And with nice place I am now referring to everything else than McDonald. There are so many nice places offering for lunch toasts, soup and salads, but it is almost impossible to find a place where they offer take away also, or have fresh sandwiches ready, so you just choose one and continue.  I generally think that people should eat more slowly, spend more time together and make lunch also a nice moment, and for these the system here works perfectly. But you know, sometimes you just want to grab something fast and not spend few hours for lunch.

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BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. So ok, I don`t know if it is the genes or what is going on here, but EVERYONE looks just perfect. Tall, thin and so stylish! I feel like I am in the land of perfect looking people, and I should go for a full makeover. Hahah! We have been laughing with my friends how the families look like they have run out from TV-commercial, as they are so beautiful! I admire how everyone looks so stylish, healthy and happy. And I think I can count with one hand fingers all the overweight people I have seen the past weeks. Believe or not, people here looks super healthy! Maybe it is the biking, maybe it is something else, but it is working!

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YEAST. I love baking, and when I am cooking I try to do everything from a scratch if possible. And for me this means making example pizza dough, bread every now and then and some pastry. Because of this, I use fresh yeast a lot, and it is something I can buy in Finland from every supermarket with less than 0.50€. So imagine the moment when I go to the supermarket and they think I am some kind of crazy lady, because I am asking fresh yeast. Yeas, the +50 years old lady working in the supermarket told me she had never used it, nor did she know where to buy it. She simply could not understand why someone would need it. Same happened with one granny I was talking about this in the supermarket, but also with my local friends. Luckily in the end I did find one supermarket in Breda selling fresh yeast, so it is not a problem anymore for me, just strange!

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SERVICE. I did comment a little already last time how polite and nice people here are. But I want to talk about service little more. I have never in my life got so good service than I have got here. And now I am not speaking about good service as being polite, but to taking it to totally next level. It is not once or twice I have not find something I was looking for from the shop, and the staff has instructed me to go to some other shop. They don`t see it as a competition if I go somewhere else (like they do in Finland), but they are genuinely helping you out. Even in the restaurants this has happened, as example once we could not find anything suitable for my friend with strict  diet, so the owner told us where to go instead. And I could tell you so many other examples, but then you would be reading this till end of next year, haha!

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ORGANIC EGGS. So let`s talk about eggs little. I use eggs a lot, like really a lot. And I have been using organic eggs now for some years. In Finland, the organic eggs (if you buy them form supermarket) look perfect and identical. And I never actually thought about this, until I came here. Here you buy organic eggs from a supermarket and they are all different. Little different in size, and definitely not identical. This might be a stupid notion for most, but I started to think the eggs a lot after this. Because eggs should not be perfectly same, especially in my opinion when they are organic. So what is it that is different in Finland and here in the egg production, just wondering!

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OPENING HOURS. Everything is open so differently here than in Finland. And I feel I am still not totally getting the system. Sundays example many supermarkets are closed, or they are open only for a short time. But then most of the other shops are open all day, and there is a lot people shopping in small shops in the center. However when it is Monday, many smaller shops are not open, or open later in the afternoon, but supermarkets are open from morning to evening. And then there is Thursday, which is some kind of official shopping and going out day in Breda. Most of the shops are open even till 21.00 and the city is full of people. Bars are open till 4am or later, and last people go home when others wake up for work. And if we start to talk about cafe places and restaurants, the system gets even more messed up, as example Saturdays many nice cafe places close already at 17.00. Why? Yeah, and then there is the bakeries. In Finland bakeries open super early, and you can get fresh things easily before 7am. Here I have been out before 8am and hoping to get something fresh from a bakery on my way, but no no. They are mostly opening 9am or so..again asking why?

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DUTCH LUNCH. In Finland we mainly eat two hot meals a day. The schools and lunch places offer hot meals, and it is less common to eat example only bread for lunch. Here it is totally opposite. I feel it is extremely hard to find decent hot meal for lunch here, and people mainly eat toasts, bread or something small like that. Salad and soups you can find, but I feel the soups are super small, and salad not that fulfilling as they are in Finland. I struggle with this especially in long school days, as I just cant survive all day with bread or small soup. A lot snack carrying happening every day, girl gotta eat right?

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FRENCH FRIES. There is somethings totally strange going on with Dutch people and french fries. Or am I supposed to call them Dutch fries? Whatever you call them, they are everywhere! There are a lot places you can buy only fries, and many times in the restaurant people order extra fries. And now I don`t mean extra portion, but you example order meat with side dish, and then as a extra also fries. I went to eat on a nice restaurant, and got fries as a extra side dish, which made no sense when I think what I was eating. The only good thing is, that many times the fries are hand made, and taste better than any other fries you have had in your life.

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WHOLE FAMILY. Just like in Italy, also in Netherlands the whole family goes out together. It is totally normal to see people sitting in a terrace, or restaurant with their dog. This so rarely happens in Finland, especially inside the restaurants. I actually like this a lot as he/she is part of the family, and after staying home alone long day (while people are working) you don`t want to leave again for some hours your family member alone. And when it comes to children, there is no problem taking them with you, when you go for a drink with your friends. I saw just yesterday two couples in a bar/restaurant, and both had a baby under one years old with them. Tey all took a glass of beer/wine together with their snacks and had a nice conversation. Nothing strange, just a normal Sunday. I know in Finland this is totally appropriate, but I think it has more to do with the alcohol culture.

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STREET ART. I have fallen in love with street art already in Italy many years a go. It is something I am missing in Finland, as I feel it is nice way to give little something extra to the city. I never thought Breda would be so full of street art as it is, and full of so good art! There are so many AMAZING works around the city, and more is coming all the time. Last week we met group of Finnish artists in Breda doing new murals, what a funny coincidence. I will be writing about this more later, stay tuned!

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ENGLISH. I have admired how so many people here is talking good English. Even the old lady, same age as my grandmother, in the supermatker was speaking so good English, we ended u having a full conversation with her. But then if we start to talk about written English the story is totally different. Me and lady A visited example Breda city museum, and no single word was written in English. And that is not only place I have experienced this. I can understand if example restaurant does not have English menu, but places where also other than locals and domestic tourists visit, it would be highly important to have English signs also. This also is case when it comes to ingredient list in food. It takes surprisingly long time to do your groceries when no single word is written in English. Thank god for translators!

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HAVE A MINT. Most of the restaurants give you mint pastil, or small candy together with your check. First I was not sure what to think about this, but after eating something with a strong flavor it is actually nice to have that small mint. However you should know there is a huge difference between the restaurants. We once got super strange sugar candy kind of things (really don`t know how to describe them), and sometimes you get actually nice and fresh pastil. This is something I think in Finland would be seen only as a extra cost, but here I kind of appreciate it.

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Remember to keep your eyes open every day, as we tend to become little passive in our every day environment. I have got a lot positive feedback from locals, as I have somehow managed to show “new” details from Breda to them in my blog. So next time you step out, try a new street, new cafe place or visit that attraction you see every now and then, but never seem to have time to visit.

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Spellbinding – Koepel Panopticon Prison

I have visited many amazing places the past weeks, but I have to say, that not often you can describe something with the word spellbinding. However one place in Breda for sure deserves this word, as it is extremely interesting and holds your attention completely. Koepel Panopticon Prison is one of the three panopticon- inspired prisons in Netherlands, and we were extremely lucky with lady A to visit this prisons last month. The prison was actually operating till 2014, and has not been open for public very often after that. But it seems once again, that we have been in a right place in a right time with lady A, as I have heard from locals how hard it is to visit this place. It will be difficult to give a good overview of this amazing building and the idea behind it, but let`s try!

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I have to say, that before visiting the prison I had never heard about panopticon buildings. I mean I knew these kind of buildings exist, but I did not know more about the idea behind it. And more I have read about it, more interesting it is, so I want to give a short overview about the idea behind panopticon. The panopticon is a institution building type, which was originally designed by English philosopher  and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1798. The idea behind the concept design is, that all (pan-) prisoners can be observed (-opticon) without them knowing if and when they are being watched. The clear view of every prisoner is reach because of the central platform, and the cells are surrounding this area in a ring. It is not of course possible, that one guard could see in every direction, but when the prisoners can not know when they are watched, they have to act as they would be watched at all times. This is said to control effectively prisoners own behavior constantly – interesting! What is also interesting, is that the word panopticon is reference to the name of a hundred eyes giant Panoptes from Greek mythology.

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Bentham did not originally plan panopticon only for prisons, but to be used for hospitals, schools and other institutional buildings also. Still when talking about panopticon mostly people relate it to prisons. In Bentham`s original design, addition to guards being able to see the prisoners all the time, another essential element was, that the prisoners could not see the guards. However no true panopticon prison following Bentham`s original design has ever been built (not sure why), but many circular prisons with panopticon tower has been build. There are approximately 25 panopticon inspired prisons in the world, and in the Netherlands there are three of these.

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Architect Johan Frederik Metzelaar desigend the Koepel panoticon prison in Breda, and it was built between 1886-1895. The prison has housed both men and women, but the most known prisoners are “The Four of Breda”. They were German war criminals captured during the Second World War. In 2001 the prison got national monument status and then in 2014 the prison was closed. After it has been housing refugees, which sounds like a smart move, as there is a lot space and “private” rooms. I tried to find out which kind of plans has been made for the future, but did not find information about this. I think it would be amazing venue for many things, so I hope they will use it innovatively.

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Only the first floor cells were open during our visit, and they were actually nothing special. But it would surely have been interesting to see the prison from “higher” for different view and photos. And I have to say it was SO difficult to make photos in a round area, which would give good overview of the place.

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There is also ground floor in the prison, and the main floor is partly made from glass. But visitors were not allowed to walk in the glass area, which was a smart thing as both me, and lady A were wearing dresses that day.

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The ground floor had this one bigger room with arches and I cannot imagine for what use this space was designed originally. Maybe for the guards, or?

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In the ground floor there were also few rooms with kitchen. I kept wondering if these were open for the prisoners in the last years, or if these were maybe build when the prison was used for the refugees. I think it is nice not to know all the details when visiting places like this, so then you can imagine different “solutions”. Maybe later I will find the right answers and then it will be nice to see how close my thoughts were.

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The prison is so huge, that it felt like there was not so many people visiting it, even tough I think there was actually a lot people. The day we visited the prison, you needed to have a reservation for your visit. Thank`s lady A for making it! It was nice that they controlled how much people would be same time inside, so you could make your visit without crowd. But I also think that this way not everyone got the change to visit the prison, which is sad.

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Outside the prison looks more like a castle and I could have never guessed, that the building has been a prison.

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I have to say, that this post ended up being much more “lesson” of history than I originally planned it to be. However, I hope you got at least some view of panopticon and the old prison. Have a nice evening!

xoxo,

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3 things…

October is here, how did this happen? Where did September go? I feel like summer has been going on forever and suddenly it is October. The weather in the Netherlands has been so good the past weeks, that I feel like autumn is only now starting. Crazy! It is currently raining here and I am sitting home alone, drinking new tea I bought earlier this week and feeling lazy. Lazy in a way, that I cannot imagine creating something super amazing here today for you to read. Some time a go I was reading a nice 3 things.. -post from the lovely Avec Sofié blog, and thought it would be nice to do the same sometime. So today in my lazy mood I am sharing with you 3 things, with beautiful doors from the old town of Tallinn.

doorsoftallinn16 (16 of 16)3 things, I like…

  • Fresh flowers. I love fresh flowers because it is such a simple way to bring joy into your life. I also think we should give much more flowers to our loved ones.
  • My life the way it is now. I have not been so happy in my life in a long time as the past weeks. I have interesting studies going on, I have amazing people around me and I finally feel that I have got over all the less nice things in my life.
  • Autumn! I can start to wear scarfs, sweaters, leather jacket, hats and all my leather boots. And I do also like the rainy autumn days when you can just stay in, and listen the rain while drinking hot tea and reading a good book. Ou how I have missed this season!

doorsoftallinn16 (15 of 16)3 things, I don`t like…

  • People who are late. I have been waiting people the past weeks more than ever in my life. I think it is highly disrespectful if you always come late to meetings.
  • Milk. I haven`t drink milk in 15 years, and I don`t think I could finish one glass if you would ask me to. I don`t like the taste and to be honest, I don`t think it is healthy at all.
  • Feeling sick while traveling. I have to always sit in the front when traveling with a car, as it is the only way I don`t feel sick. And same goes when it comes to bus, only front row to me. Sadly I feel also sick in boat / ferry, so water is not my friend when it comes to traveling.

doorsoftallinn16 (14 of 16)3 things, I did in the weekend…

  • I had the best gin&tonic in a long time. There is a nice gin&tonic place Suikerkist in Breda, and we spend a nice evening with friends there. My gin&tonic was called Double you and had Fever-Tree elder flower tonic and raspberries as well as blueberries in it.
  • I cooked pulled pork yesterday, and made burgers from it. It was first time I bought pork here, and I have to say I was little scared of the end result, as the meat was not exactly what I thought I asked. Still need to work the language a little more, hahah!
  • Worked one super inspiring, yet challenging, school project a lot. I have a big deadline in few weeks, and the project is taking much more time I thought. Happily I managed to collect good ideas yesterday, so it is easier now to continue.


doorsoftallinn16 (13 of 16)3 things, I can do…

  • Make fire in a fireplace / sauna stove. After living many years in the “countryside” with my family, you have to be able to do this, or you`ll feel cold. Talk about serious survival skills!
  • Improvise in the kitchen. This is a skill I feel extremely lucky about, because I know there is a lot people who always need a clear recipe and get lost if changes needs to be done. I just need to have idea and then I can improvise from there. And I have to say, 99 times out of 100 I end up doing a good job in the kitchen without following any recipe.
  • Tell my opinions. I think nothing in the world can be changed if people just keep their opinions to themselves. I don`t feel uncomfortable to disagree and speak out, which sometimes may feel  arrogant to others. But I think we need to have rich discussions and different opinions.

doorsoftallinn16 (12 of 16)3 things, I cannot do…

  • I cannot sing at all. I have never been able to sing and I don`t think it is something I could ever learn. Sadly!
  • Do amazing things with make up, and I really hate this. I am so unintelligent when it comes to lipsticks, contouring and all make up things. I would love to use example lipstick more, just don`t handle the colors and techniques at all.
  • Wear colorful clothes. I am black, white & gray kind of person. For me it is extreme if there is any other colors in my clothes, and also many patterns are no no for me. Yesterday I was wearing a new dress which has very neutral toned roses, and I felt totally out of my comfort zone.

doorsoftallinn16 (11 of 16)3 things, I would like to know how to do…

  • Walk smoothly in high heels, because I would love to use high heels more. Especially I would love to use heels more in every day outfits, to give a little more feminine touch.
  • Edit videos. I know very little about this, and I would love to learn even a little more. This way I could also do some video projects, as I dream example about cooking videos.
  • Amazing macarons. I have tried like million time, and still cannot get it right. I love macarons and I can easily say they are one of my all time favorite pastry.

doorsoftallinn16 (10 of 16)3 things, I should do…

  • Start to think where I want to do my second (and last) internship. For this I should refresh my Cv and LinkedIn, but we all know how much work that is. Also the next internship is more important than the previous one, as I hope it will help me to get a job after.
  • Read more everything. Books, articles, magazines, blog, social media and just everything. We have been talking a lot about this at school lately and I feel there is just so much more to learn and know.
  • More yoga. I can see already after few days how much it is affecting to me if I skip yoga, so I should give it again more thought.doorsoftallinn16 (2 of 16)3 things, I am stressing about…
  • Finding a job after my graduation next spring. I have little by little started to realize how close my final graduation is, so I have definitely started to stress about jobs. I know it is a lot about your own attitude, but you never know what is the situation when you are done with your studies.
  • That this autumn will end before I have managed to do everything I have planned. It is constant struggle between things you have to do and things you want to do. I have a lot school related things going on, but same time I also want to travel and see places. I also don`t want to plan too much ahead everything, so I hope I will not run out of time because of this.
  • Not being able to create good enough quality in the school projects I am doing right now. I feel I am expecting a lot from myself but also that the school is expecting a lot. So it is stressing me when there is all this pressure to do something amazing.

doorsoftallinn16 (9 of 16)3 things, that makes me relax…

  • Photo editing. This may sound strange for many, but for me it is super relaxing. Ok, if everything is working smoothly, haha! When I start to edit photos, I totally forget everything around me and focus fully on that. I can do it for hours without getting bored.
  • Walking around. I think I can be much more relaxed while doing something rather than only staying in the bed example.
  • DIY projects. It is like magic and takes everything else away from mind. I think it is the flow mood I got in when I start to do some new project. And I do miss this here in the Netherlands, as I don`t have so much possibilities to do creative projects. It is not the lack of time but lack of materials. I don`t want to buy a lot things for projects, as I have box after box full of materials back in Finland.

doorsoftallinn16 (3 of 16)3 things, I like to wear…

  • Simple and effortless dresses. And in black of course. Black dresses are the cornerstones of my closet as they fit basically in every situation. At the moment I am missing few new autumn/winter versions, so hunt is on!
  • Silver jewelry. I actually have not too many jewelries as I am very picky and use often same small and simple things. I have one favorite watch, few favorite rings and I use almost all the time same earrings. Ou yeah, and now I have a new favorite necklace; old Dutch coin.
  • Contrasts. I love example the combination of girly tulle skirt and leather jacket, or leather skirt with soft sweater. When you use only few colors, I feel it is important to play with textures.doorsoftallinn16 (4 of 16)

3 things, I would`t wear…

  • Adidas all star shoes. I just don`t like them at all, like there is absolute nothing nice in those shoes. And yes, everyone is now wearing them, but I just hate those shoes.
  • Flared pants. I think this has something do with the fact, that they were popular when I was a child. I remember clearly my first ones, and I did like them back then (like 20 years a go almost, hahah) a lot. But I think I am too short for those now, so they would just look everything but nice.
  • Denim shirt / jacket. I like how people combine denim shirts and jackets in their outfits but I cannot imagine wearing them. Especially all denim outfit is something I just don`t understand.

doorsoftallinn16 (5 of 16)3 things, I would like to get…

  • Alexander Wang Rogue, Rocco or Rockie bag. BUT when the price tag has numbers between 900 and 1300 (in euros), I am not getting one of these bags any time soon. Maybe when I get my first “real” job I can spend little money to this crazy bag madness.
  • Black leather dress. I have had obsession to this for a long time already, but just haven`t found the perfect one. I did try few last week, but still not the perfect match. I think it would be so nice later in the autumn with my fur coat.
  • Vintage fur coat. I know this is something that people have very strong opinions about. I personally don`t support fur industry, but I would love to have vintage fur coat.

doorsoftallinn16 (6 of 16)3 things, I am dreaming of…

  • Traveling to new places. Especially New York and Asia are in my mind. I hope in few years I can travel to these places and see many destinations from my bucket list.
  • Running. I have loved running before a lot, but after I was diagnosed with asthma I have been struggling with sports a lot. But I hope little by little I can start to run again and one day run a marathon.
  • Having a beautiful home with small garden. I know this is something really big, and not happening in the near future, but I do dream about my own home. Maybe I could do a little inspiration post about this topic later. Dreaming is already half way there right?

doorsoftallinn16 (7 of 16)3 things, I am scared of…

  • Being so far from my loved once as you never know what will happen. I worry example about my grandparents, because they start to be really old. So I am sad I cannot visit them often right now, and if something bad would happen I cannot go to them as fast as I hope.
  • Darkness. This is something I have been scared as long as I can remember. When I was a child I remember leaving the lights on when I went to sleep because I was so scared of the darkness. And few years a go while living with my mam in the countryside I had one of those nightlights, haha! I think it is the unknown in darkness making me scared.
  • Not being good enough for the things I want to do in life. I have big dreams example about future career goals, but I keep feeling I should be so much better to even apply to those positions. There is in certain things big perfectionist living in me, which makes things difficult, as nothing is good enough. I keep getting good feedback on many things, and still I feel I should do so much better.

doorsoftallinn16 (8 of 16)3 things, I hope will happen in the near future…

  • A lot traveling to the places I have planned to visit. So I think lady A and I have to sit down once again and take the planning to action. Luckily we will have a autumn holiday in the end of this month, so definitely traveling during that week.
  • Dinner party or brunch with friends. I have not organized a nice thing to my friends in a long time, so I hope I will find time to do this soon. So girls when are you free, I want to cook for you
  • Time, place and equipment for recipe planning, testing and photographing. I miss this a lot, and have so many ideas waiting. I would especially love to test out some traditional Dutch recipes and give that way inspiration to you also.

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I would appreciate a lot if you could tell me how you liked this kind of post, with more “personal” things. And hey, enjoy October!

xoxo,

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