Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Waal River Master Class

Far away from the sea, but a predictable way of experiencing white-water sea kayaking in the Netherlands is on the Waal River close to where Nico lives. At the junction of the river Waal with the Pannerdens Canal, passing river barges interfere with the strong river current creating standing waves.

Today, the extreme high water levels washed-out some of the regular play features, most notably the river groins, but enough remained for some nice play on this day that Nico organized for a group of enthusiastic sea kayakers.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Golden Age

Watching an episode of a new Dutch documentary series "The Golden Age" had me in for a small suprise. But first things first.

During my school day history lessons we were taught to take pride in how once the Netherlands was the richest and most powerful country on earth; Our 'Golden Age' under the Dutch East India Company until Britannia ruled the waves.

That 'pride' quickly evaporated when it when it became clear that the Dutch made their riches from being the biggest and most ruthless slave traders in the world, and more.

Only a few years back (in 2006), the then Dutch Prime Minister enthusiastically hailed in Parliament that we should be proud of a 'VOC mentality' (the global perspective). It was this remark that gave the narrator of the 'Golden Age' documentary series the idea to investigate what that 'VOC mentality' really meant.

In short: the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was the most imperialistic state-approved global terrorist organization the world has ever seen; then.

Oh, what surprised me? I learned that a Dutchman invented 'naked short selling' in 1609 on VOC stocks. OK, (naked) short-selling is just an advanced form of speculation, with lots of foul-play caveats. But in this age I just wonder how big of a global economic war we are currently in.

And how many decades or even centuries will it take for history-since is allowed to be 'rewritten' to that what it really was. With a Kafkaesque twist the International Court of Justice and the International Crime Tribunal ended-up residing in the Netherlands... Clearly, only losers end-up there, eventually, posthumously...

And so we're told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Nothing changes
On New Year's Day

(New Year's Day - U2)