It has been a rough and tough time, a stressful time. A time of complex administrative procedures, of intense deliberations, of winding up and finalizing things, of arranging things, of clearing up and cleansing and most of all a time of waiting. Stressfull, stressful waiting.
I never thought that returning to one’s own country could be so complicated. Even for some-one like me who speaks the language and has a masters degree in law.
But now things are looking better. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train coming this way.
Let me tell you what happened.
Even though I have a Dutch passport, that obviously is not enough. You need a lot more. Heatlth insurance, insurance for your house and your home contents, for your car and for your personal liability. You need a new driving licence and you have to pay road tax. The insurance for your car is far more expensive than in France and there is no road tax in France. Here it is a lot of money.
You need gas, water, electricity. You need to register with the local city council, a procedure that will be followed by an impressive number of local taxes. You need telephone, television and WIFI facilities. You need a new general practitioner and a new dentist. But that’s all pretty normal.
Things are getting complicated when you buy a house. Especially when you buy a national monument, like I did. My property dates from the year 1733 and part of it is still a museum, a grocery museum.
The property consists of three houses, two of them are national monuments. They were in a bad state when I bought the place and needed extensive and costly renovations. The third house had to be made into living quarters. There was nothing, just a toilet and a small wash basin. I thought that as long as I did not change the appearance of the monuments, everything would be fine. Not so. I thought that we could built dormers without asking permission first. Not so.
For now the civil servants came into play. Civil servants that take a pleasure in informing you that you have to stop the work immediately and that must ask permission from the city council. Civil servants that are not here to help you, but to oppose you. That is how it looks and that’s how it feels. And I am not the only one. It is as if they want to prove their value for the community by slamming you with rules and regulations, not caring about the consequences of their attitude. Where in France we had some incredible laws, rules and regulations and various new taxes all the time, in the Netherlands we, usually, have rules and regulation that make some sense, but here we have too many civil servants that make no sense at all.
I will not go into detail, but it was a sad and a bad experience. Having paid almost 90.000 euro’s for renovating the two monuments and making the house habitable, taking great care in keeping everything in an authentic state, keeping the museum intact and keeping it open for public on special occasions, it was not enough. I had to remove the insolation from one roof, I had to break down one dormer and I had to provide them with new drawings, costing almost 2.000,- euro’s. The roof is now more than 5 months without tiles.
Luckily I am both a lawyer and an author so I can write good and very, very polite letters. Which I did. It is an impressive file. And fortunately I had some good consultations with another civil servant, a man who was both knowledgable and helpful. They really do exist. I told him what might be the consequences in terms of appeal procedures, formal complaints and media attention, together with my intention to close the museum, if the city council would follow the advice of their civil servants. And he told me what might be a reasonable compromise. Fortunately, I just heard it, and this is a new phenomenon in our borough, the city council put the advice of their civil servants aside! An incredible decision. And a great relief for me!
And then I remembered, from my experience at Les Labadous in France, that if you really want something and if you are meant to have it, then you have to proof that you are worthy. It is never easy.
The the rest of my administrative procedures concern the possible tax returns that I may receive after renovating two national monuments. Another impressive file, with manhour costs, material costs and pictures of the situation before and after renovation.
So you can see my friends that I have been rather busy.
01 Roof without tiles.jpg
Final arrangements in the house
Work in the house continued. I had a wonderful shed built in my little garden. Also in the old style, with old tiles. It could house a lot of stuff like my bikes, my garden chairs, my garden equipment, a freezer and my tools.
I still had to unpack about a 100 boxes of the removal firm. Mostly books. It was too much. I gave a lot of stuff away, or brought it to shops for recycled goods. I made new shelves, and put all my books on shelves, more than 5.000 books. I made new shelves for my grocery stores. I hung my paintings on the wall, wherever there was some open space. I had all my clocks repaired, I made a lovely kitchen and I put all my sweet memory stuff, stuff from the Royal Netherlands Navy, from my time with Fokker Aircraft Manufacturers, from my sailing the high seas and from the places where I lived and worked, all sweet memories, in a long hallway, thus creating my very own museum. Finally I put all the lamps, the lights and the switches in the right position.
And still there was, and still is, a lot of stuff that I don’t know what to do with. I have collected so much stuff in my life, far too much stuff. But it is hard to part from some of it.
And finally, when all was said and done, I asked two ladies, mother and daughter, experienced cleaning ladies (poetsvrouwen) to get rid of all the dust and grit in my museum, kitchen and and bathroom. It took those two ladies 7 days to do the job. To dust off every little package of tea, coffe, tobacco, etcetera in the museum, to shake all the linnen and cotton, to remove all the chalk spots from mirrors, bathroom and kitchenand and more, much more. And now, now it looks fine.
The house is my home now. It is a lovely place. You are all welcome to come and visit me and to have a look!
03 About 100 boxes left.jpg
05 grocery stores.jpg
10 Memory stuff.jpg
11 My own museum.jpg
13 Museum stoves.jpg
14 Tabacco kept warm.jpg
15 Museum 1.jpg
16 Museum 2.jpg
17 Museum 3.jpg
18 Museum 4.jpg
19 Museum 5.jpg
It is better now my friends, much better, after I received the permission of the city council. What a relief. For not only my house, but also my health suffered in the past months. First I had problems with my eyes. They were solved with two catarct operations. Then my blood pressure rose over 200 as a result of the rude attitude and the hypocracy of the civil servants. Causing heart problems. And referring me to a cardiologist.
Next came my hearing. It is still okay, but next year I may need some help. And finally my feet, my tows played up again. My big tows are growing inside. It is a family problem, it is in my genes. So a consult with an orthopedist and new shoes. And next year the dentist may also have some workt to do on my upper teeths, teeth that have been broken too often.
But the worst thing was ‘waiting.’ Waiting untill the city council had taken a decision. The whole procedure with the new drawings could take 8 weeks. That I couln’t take. Just sitting here and waiting. So I booked a last minute trip to Cambodia with the well known Djoser travel organisation. And I went to Cambodia, I was especially interested in Angkor Wat, from March 19th to April 3rd. It was incredible. You will shortly receive a separate newsletter of this very, very interesting trip!
Just one picture to wet your appetite!
20 Angkor Wat.jpg
There were a lot of supply goods for the grocery shop stored on the attic. But they had been moved backwards and forwards several times because new floorplates had to be made, central heating and electricity and water pipes had to be installed, wooden frames and bookshelves had to be installed, and things had to be painted. So it was a bit a mess.
Joke and Franklin came a few times to visit me and they took a lot of stuff with then, all with my blessing of course. I sold some cans and tins to a special collector. My daughter and my sisters took their turn and the Douwe Egberts museum in Joure also found some stuff they did not have in the museum. And the museum village in Allingawier also is interested in some things. But even then, there is a lot left.
I intend to sell some of it during the days that my museum is open for public, on the last Saturdays of the month, from April to October. Packages of tea, coffee, tabacco, several cans, tins, all kinds of old magazines, old newspapers, a lot of copper and tin products and much more. Some of it will be put on “Marktplaats” a special internet site where you can put up thins for sale. But you are welcome to have a look. Here are some of the products that will be for sale.
Not only did I sell or give away stuff, I also bought some stuff. Old fashioned sweets and candy. It looks so nice in those huge glass containers and it has a wonderful taste. Bringing up sweet, sweet memories. Have a look and have a bite!
21 Stores 1.jpg
22 Stores 2.jpg
23 Stores 3.jpg
24 Stores 4.jpg
25 Stores 5.jpg
26 Stores 6.jpg
27 Stores 7.jpg
29 Me and my sweets.jpg
What a special province. It never causes to amaze me. Every time we discover new places. Like het ‘Rijster bos’ in Gaasterland, a slightly hilly and sandy area in the south of Friesland. There are some mighty beech trees in that forest. Trees with strange shapes, their branches spread wide over a large area. Trees with a special energy. They might well be sacred places. Then there are the reed fields and the lakes and the flowers. Look at those lovely Pentecost flowers, if that is the correct word. And the swamps and peat fields. Wonderfull.
Now I am slowly integrating in the village of Exmorra. Meeting various people, attending special meetings. Talking to my neighbours and people that come by. The people are so friendly. And there is so much to do in this little village. Incredible.
30 The lakes.jpg
31 The sky.jpg
32 The Forest.jpg
35 Typical Church.jpg
36 The sun.jpg
37 The reed.jpg
38 The Trees.jpg
39 The ships.jpg
40 The swans.jpg
41 The mills.jpg
43a The Bell tower.jpg
44a The spring flowers.jpg
45 Huge beech tree.jpg
Trips and lectures
From time to time I have to get out, just for a day, or a day or two. Living alone and being alone for most of the time in this house, sitting behind your computer, is not living life to the full. So I go to Maastricht, driving through the new tunnel that took so many years to build. Going to Verviers in Belgium to the Notre-Dame des Recollets and admiring the two Black Madonna’s. Or to the mighty cathedral in Aachen in Germany. The rich cathedral with its beautiful paintings and statues. Where I can meet Mary Magdalene again.
I think that only I will stay for longer periods in the house when I start writing again. And you can help me there. What books should I write. What would you like me to write? You know that I have written 10 books now. Which books did you like and where do you want me to continue?
Another advantage from living in the Netherlands is that I can see my family more often. My daughter Femke and granddaughter Simone, my eldest son Gjalt and my youngest son Ewout with his partner Madelon and my two grandchildren Lola and Storm. It is good to see how well my children are doing, it is good to see them and talk to them and enjoy my grandchildren. Like I was enjoying this Easter brunch made by my daughter Femke and attended by all my children and grandchildren.
And I can see Door more often now, which is always a pleasure. We love to walk in the woods, in het Rijsterbos, or along the Zuiderzee coast. Or in the dunes at Bergen aan Zee or Schoorl walking along the beaches of the Northsea.
And I can go to lectures now. Lectures where they speak Dutch. About early Christianity by Jacob Slavenburg, about Crop Circles by Janet Ossebaard, about the piramids in Bosnia by Aafke Douma and Rob Heiliger. And I have been asked to give lectures myself. About Rennes-le-Chateau, about Mary Magdalene, about he Cathars and about Orbs. I love that and I have wonderful stories to tell and some amazing pictures to show.
46 Jesus and Mary Magdalene.jpg
46c Black Madonna.jpg
46d Golden Madonna.jpg
46e Schwartse Madonna von Brunn.jpg
46f Jesus and Mary Magdalene.jpg
47 The Northsea.jpg
48 The dunes.jpg
And surprise, surprise. If you thought that Orbs would only appear at sacred places like caves, crypts, waterfalls, cemetaries etcetera, you are mistaken. Orbs also appear in Exmorra. Not so spectacular as at Les Labadous, but they are still there. In the house and outside. And they appear in great numbers when it rains and even more when there is a thunderstorm. And there are some curious shapes. Reason for me to think about making a second, revised edition, an edition in print this time, and in English, from my Book “The Message and Beauty of Orbs,” and my eBook “De Orbs Evolutie.”
50 Orbs 1.jpg
51 Orbs 2.jpg
52 Orbs 3.jpg
53 Orbs 4.jpg
54 Orbs 5.jpg
55 Orbs 6.jpg
56 Orbs 7.jpg
57 Orbs 8.jpg
58 Orbs 9.jpg
59 Orbs 10.jpg
60 Orbs 11.jpg