TIC visits Alphen’s Guild Day
Article by Anne van Oirschot
On Sunday, June 11th a small group of TIC members stepped into the past in Alphen at an annual festival day for Dutch and Belgium Guilds. Members Sondra and Jean Francois have lived in Alphen for many years and enjoy the unique charm of this village. When they learned that the local St. Willibrordus Archery Guild in Alphen would be hosting the national Guild festival, they invited TIC members to come and join the fun. Since Sondra and Jean Francois’s beautiful home is on the main street – which was also the parade route for the guild celebration, TIC members would have a front row seat!
After a simple lunch, we carried chairs out and admired the different Guild groups as they paraded by. 45 different Guilds participated and it was a treat to see the different costumes and flags from each group. Sondra had invited their neighbor (a former Guild member) to watch with us and he was a wonderful source of information regarding the history and customs of the Guild. There were small and large groups in the parade, but all had a group of drummers and a pennant carrier. Many of the groups were named after Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of archers, but there were references to other saints in the Guild names as well. The bigger groups had more drummers, Clarion (kind of trumpet) players, flag flourishers, a “ royal Couple” and the “Emperor” wearing much medieval silverwork. The most impressive groups also had a beautiful horse to carry their pennant and they walked in a zig zagging manner down the street at the front of their group. Very impressive!!
Some of the guilds are very old – the oldest I noticed dated from 1394!!! – and their origin stems from archers who provided defensive military support for the local civic authority. The members were expected to buy their own weapons and uniforms. (A very Dutch approach: the citizens were responsible for the defence of the city and keeping the peace, without cost to the local government. ) While there is no longer a practical function for the Guilds, their members enjoy meeting to participate in the ancient skills of archery, drumming and clarion playing, as well as flag-flourishing.
After the parade, the groups all went to a large open field on the outskirts of town where there was a marching up of the combined mass of the group, followed by a day full of competitions in all the Guild’s ancient arts. It was such a treat to see observe the festivities! Thank you Sondra and Jean-Francois for your fun and hospitality!
By Anne van Oirschot
For our last book discussion gathering of the club year, we met at Anne’s to discuss the French best seller (well translated into English of course!) The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. The weather Gods even smiled on our group of 7 so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the garden and the mild evening. While not everyone finished the book, all who did said they had a bit of a hard time getting “into” the book. One comment made was that the author, who has studied philosophy, was trying too hard to be deep and meaningful in the beginning, succeeding more in being a bit pompous and confusing. Fortunately, that tendency disappeared and the story that was left was interesting and captivating.
A 12 year old girl and a middle aged woman. Two very different characters – from different generations and social classes – discovered each other as kindred spirits. They both found someone who truly saw beyond the stereotypes surrounding them to the real person within. While a tragic occurrence cut their contact short, knowing that there had been someone who truly saw THEM, made a lasting impact. An interesting read!
Article by Anne
The fun activity connected to this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 26th was a tour of Tilburg’s Pop and Dance Center – 013. Eleven TIC members met at 5:30 outside the door of 013 and enjoyed the beautiful weather, chatting while we waited. Gijs, an employee of 013, was our tour guide and told us a bit about the pop club. Built in 1998, it was the first theater built expressly for pop music and attracts visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and from further afield for some artists and festivals. After the renovations carried out in November 2015, 013 is larger and more leading than ever in the pop and dance scene. 013 is a club, and has an artistic agenda rather than a “for profit” mentality. The artists get the entrance fee charged for their performances, while 013’s income comes from modest subsidies and the sale of drinks at the venue. The recent renovation reduced the number of performance halls from 3 to 2, but both now have a larger capacity. While they are generally a “standing room only” venue, their spaces are sometimes rented out for events that require seating and it was strange to see their big hall all full of chairs! One of their most popular events is the Roadburn Festival (coming from April 20 – 23, 2017) and then it’s really hopping at 013!! It was a fun opportunity to get a good look at all the “nooks and crannies” of this unique venue and fur to take a TIC photo on their main stage. Those with no plans for Saturday evening even got free tickets to an after party at 013 of the gypsy festival.
After our tour, we wandered around the corner to the Studio Bar where Patricia was waiting with snacks and drinks. In addition to chatting about what we had just seen and what’s going on in each other’s lives, we had a short meeting with an overview of the past TIC club year. Here are some highlights:
- Membership is slightly down from 2015, but TIC still supports 73 expats in the area.
- TIC has members from 22 different nationalities!
- 1/3 of our (adult) members are employed by Tilburg University.
- A financial report was given by Emerald, our Treasurer. One highlight worth mentioning is that while our dues revenue is down from last year, thanks to the continued subsidy from the city, we were again able to offer a wide range of events at an affordable cost to our members.
- Thanks to Patricia’s hard work in organizing a wide range of fun events in the past year!! A (partial) list includes: 2 excursions, 1 TICkids event, 10 socials, 6 borrels, 1 lecture, and 7 book clubs.
- Event participation is 22.7% – up slightly from last year.
- We are partnering more with the city and the Holland Expat Center South in organizing events.
- Elections were needed for 4 Board positions: President, Secretary/Membership, Event Planner and IT Manager. Yolonda and Anne were re-elected, respectively, to the first 2 positions, with vacancies (due to no candidates) for the latter two. If any members are interested in helping out with some aspect of the 2 vacant positions, their contributions would be very welcome!
Article by Sondra
It may have been Venetians who introduced coffee to Europe, but it was Dutch merchant Pieter van den Broecke who smuggled coffee bushes out of Mocha (Yemen), and the Dutch East India Company that cornered the coffee market and supplied it from plantations in Java and Suriname.
David Liss sets his historic novel The Coffee Trader in the rough and tumble commodities market of seventeenth century Amsterdam. One would have thought that Tulip Mania would have put an end to wild speculation, but here we are little more than twenty years later and again fortunes are being made, lost, and made anew in frenzied deals. When we first meet rakish trader Miguel Lienzo he is living in his brother’s dank basement and ruing the day he put all his chips, and those of others as well, on sugar. We follow his machinations in the following pages from rags back to riches. Liss delivers an enjoyable tale of plot and counterplot, underpinned by good research and well-developed characters, pious, whorish, duplicitous, roughish, and downright nasty.
We met at my house, a converted café. None of the “brown” remains, but there was on the night plenty of the wide-ranging conversation and general gezelligheid emblematic of such places, and rich coffee, of course.
Article by Melissa Donders