There is no lack of examples of American series and films trying to make something Dutch only to have it looking and sounding German. The bad remake of ‘Kidnapping Mr. Heineken’ had the wrong colour bottles and actor Mike Myers had a terrible Dutch accent in his 1990s Austin Powers movies, but at least he was joking.
As some of you know, the current season of the American series ‘Homeland’ was entirely filmed in Germany, and lots of it in Berlin. However, the latest installment, episode 7 of season 5 has some scenes set in Amsterdam, in the Zeeburg district, which had issues that most viewers probably wouldn’t get and don’t really have to because the story flows well.
First, the screenshot above. The Zeeburg district has been part of East Amsterdam since 2010. Houseboats and a canal were a good idea, but the architecture isn’t Dutch, and if that’s not a problem, the German yellow construction sign should be, as it reads ‘bau’ (‘construction’ in German) instead of ‘bouw’ in Dutch (hard to see here). You could have told me this was Denmark and I would have bought it without the sign. The reference to Flevopark in the east was spot on, but the street called Tolstraat is in another district. No separate bike paths could be seen, and streets and houses were way too big to be in Amsterdam. Oh, and the yellow license plates had too many letters on them to be Dutch ones, but points for the blue one on the taxi.
This fall another American series, ‘The Vampire Diairies’, took a trip to Amsterdam in their first episode of season 7 and got a lot of things wrong, but were not trying too hard. Two main characters are seen drinking beer with a windmill on it, which is fake but funny and then they order whisky which comes in glasses I’ve never seen here. The Dutch license plate on the car was fine, but the cars didn’t look very European, there were no separate bike paths and the street was too large. The cafe looked slightly European though.
And since I like trilogies, I caught an old episode of NCIS, season 8 episode 9 that was set in Amsterdam. It had an actual pan of an Amsterdam canal and a tight shot of a cafe that looked vaguely European. The joint one of the characters was smoking was not realistic because you just don’t light one up at an ordinary cafe terrace despite the rumours, and the weather was way too nice. Again, suspension of disbelief came in handy and the story was fine.
Seasoned Arnhem stop motion filmmaker Mascha Halberstad is up for a Berlin Music Video Award 2015 thanks to a video she made for the UK band The Prodigy of their song ‘Wild Frontier’. Frontman Liam Howlett asked her personally to make the video, and according to De Gelderlander, she is a favourite to win the German award.
Featured on the album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ from February 2015, here’s ‘Wild Frontier’:
Niels Kalk lives and works in Berlin, but is from the Netherlands and studies at the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen. In 2004 he drew a four-pager for Zone 5300. His Flickr collection is extensive and also shows off his love for collage.
Three Dutch wines, interestingly enough from the North, South and the East, have all won gold medals in Berlin at the Berlinale Wein Trophy, according to one of the winners, Marius van Stokkom of vineyard De Linie in Brabant.
Van Stokkom from the town of Made won for his extra dry white wine De Linie (2007), Rudolf and Yvon Jonker from Venhuizen of vineyard Westfriesland in De Swanenplaats were crowned for their dry white wine Auxerrois (2007) and Frederik Verhoeven from Groesbeek of vineyard De Colonjes won for his dry white wine Cabernet Blanc 2007.
And yes, there are tons of vineyards in the Netherlands, but the wine that is produced is either too expensive (we’re used to acceptable table wine for 5 euro, paying 30 euro is not going to happen), only available very locally (a tour around the vineyard is fun for the whole family, methinks) and let’s face it, not that great… yet.
One of the most famous Dutch winemakers is Ilya Gort of vineyard La Tulipe in France whom I saw give a presentation last fall in Amsterdam. Of all the blowing your own horn and drinking he did on stage – his wine is the perfect table wine for 5 euro so to speak – he made some excellent points that changed my attitude towards everyday wine drinking:
– Look at the wine.
Take a few seconds to actually look at the colour of what you’re drinking. Someone worked very hard to get it that way.
– Smell the wine.
You smell your food before you eat it, give your wine the same courtesy.
– Respect the wine and use a proper glass.
I almost can’t drink from my tumbler glasses anymore, it doesn’t taste the same.
Yes, drink the cheap stuff this way too and you will see the difference when you drink a better bottle.
And I can’t resist posting this film with Ilya Gort (in English with some French, subtitled)
Cees Nooteboom is the very first Dutch writer to receive an honorary degree from a German university, the Free University in Berlin. He is one of the Netherlands’ greatest authors, having won a string of literary awards and one day expected to win the Nobel Prize for literature.
Oddly enough, he is more popular in Germany where he is very much in demand. In the Netherlands, Nooteboom is a successful writer, but it is said that he will never become as popular in the Netherlands as he is in Germany where almost all his books are bestsellers. Nooteboom’s German publisher Suhrkamp has just published his complete works in nine volumes, while the Bezige Bij publishing house in Amsterdam has no plans to do the same.
According to Radio Netherlands, the Dutch are more likely to name Harry Mulisch as being up for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
I can’t help but say “No man is a prophet in his own country”.