Last evening I spent listening and singing along to songs from some well known musicals at The Sound of Musical. The songs were played by the Dutch Northern Orquestra, accompanied by acting and singing of three young Dutch talents and a children’s choir. I especially liked the performance of “Singin’ in the Rain”, “Annie”, and “My fair Lady”. We attended this musical in a small theater called Muzeval, in Emmen. I loved that they performed for such small audience 😀

Today I visited Camp Westerbork, where 700 people (including King Willem Alexander) had been reading out 102.000 names of victims of the Holocaust over the past few days. I witnessed the reading of the last names, by Bloeme Evers-Emden. Bloeme was 14 years old when the Second World War hit Amsterdam. She was forced to go into hiding from the Nazis and was subsequently arrested and deported to Auschwitz on the last transport leaving the Westerbork transit camp on 3 September 1944.

I did not realise – until I did further research – that she had known Anne Frank and her family. Jewish children were placed in separate schools, wherefore – in 1941 – Bloeme befriended Anne Frank and her sister, Margot at the Jewish Lyceum. Bloeme was in the same grade as Margot, but in a different class. I was shocked to read that her class kept shrinking from deportations throughout the year, to the point that only three students were left at the end of the year. By the time oral examinations were administered three weeks later, Bloeme was the only student in her class.

It is hard to believe that Bloeme, the women I met today, was on the same train to Auschwitz as Anne Frank and her family.

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The Mangalica is a Hungarian breed of pig that descended directly from wild boar populations around 1833. It is an unusual pig as it grows a hairy ‘fleece’, similar to that of a sheep. The only other pig breed noted for having a long coat is the now extinct “Lincolnshire Curly Coat” of England. The Mangalica was formerly bred as a lard pig (pig fat), and were therefore large and round. The demand for lard has dropped, and so today the pig is a rare breed that I thought was worth dedicating a blog post too. A new festival is written down on my list of things to do; the Mangalica festival in Hungary, which is celebrated every year between the 6th and 8th of february.

Such a special moment. On this day I realize how important having a kingdom is to many of us, Dutch people. Today our Queen Beatrix retired on her 75th and made place for her eldest son Willem-Alexander, who today is crowned as the new King of The Netherlands. The special fact of today was that his wife, Maxima, who is from Argentina and very loved by the Dutch people, was not going to continue as princess, but was also to be crowned as Queen. A lovely couple who I trust to make a fresh difference in Holland. How beautiful is this?!:[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE8i1_PtPlU[/youtube]

1001004008486399I just finished reading a fascinating book about Queen Beatrix, “Dwars door alle weerstand heen” written by Jutta Chorus. Beatrix was a very capable and dedicated Queen and I would recommend this book to any Dutch citizen or people interested in the Dutch Royal Family.