Daughter got a new inflatable beach ball. The previous didn’t survive a game of ‘tennis’ that involved a stick as racket. This one is also a globe. When I came home she ran to me showing it and out of the blue said “it shows the entire world, it even has Great Britain.” Don’t know where she got it from or why it was important to her, but she very clearly articulated Groot Brittanië, which sounds like Great Brittaniá in Dutch.

Rite of passage. Daughter rode her bicycle to daycare today for the first time (at her own suggestion), while I walked behind, and guided her at the roundabout and crossings. Of course she had cycled far further already, but going to daycare on a bike seemed a different achievement to her, as it was not an outing to the park e.g. but a different way of doing a daily routine.
We chained her bicycle to the fence and went inside.


Today was the first time I had to be really cross with our little one. With a friend she had used a set of color markers to not just draw on the board intended for it, but everywhere else in her room as well. The door, the walls, the floor, lightswitches, all the furniture such as her bed including the sheets, the lamps and her piggy bank, the Sonos speaker, the toys in her room, and the poster frames on her wall. The door and the wall can’t be cleaned and will need a new coat of paint at some point. The rest luckily could be wiped clean quickly.

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Welcome home, again, Alberto. What a nice write-up. When my (then Honduran) brother in law received his Dutch nationality, we as family attended a similar session with him in his hometown Utrecht. Although it was definitely more formal (with an oath and all that jazz), it was also very festive and relaxed and not just a routine.

Of course it does mean that as a Dutchman I now get to make Belgium jokes about you. But luckily that goes both ways, you get to tell Dutch jokes about me. Brussels is one of those places that prove every time I visit that Europe works.

Replied to Home, again | Contrordine compagni

…our mayor welcoming us to the large, colorful, slightly shady Brussels family (yes, shady, since our cultural heroes are people like these – and proud of it!).
Way to go, my fellow Belgians. No, this country is not perfect. It can be quite dysfunctional. But these things are fixable. What matters most to me, is the ironic, tender humanity you so often manage to infuse in life here. If this is Belgium, I am happy to have chosen to make my home here, and proud to be one of you.

In december I had a tooth pulled. As a consequence I had to chew on the right side of my mouth in the past weeks. Earlier this week I had a dream that I was also missing two teeth on the right side. Today I lost an old filling on the right side. So tomorrow back to the dentist for some emergency fixes.

ArjenArjen painted by Jillis Groen, after a photo of Arjen at TEDxDelft 2018 I think.

Friday evening I went to the Vrijland estate near Schaarsbergen/Arnhem. This former hq of the Dutch 11th Air Mobile Brigade (who still reside nearby) is currently used by the Hack42 collective. Here the book launch of “Infosecurity (Gran knows why)” and opening of the art exhibition “Into Nothingness” took place, in the former chapel of the estate.

Arjen Kamphuis was well known for his work on government transparency, and especially IT and online security. He e.g trained journalists on how to do their work more safely, and consulted various companies on their IT security. He also e.g. consulted the Dutch government in 2013 on why using voting computers is bad practice in an accountable democracy. Next to that he was an avid hiker and mountaineer. In August 2018, during a trip in the north of Norway he went missing, and is presumed to have died due to a kajaking accident. I’ve known Arjen through his work for well over a decade (and I’ve written about his disappearance here before). I’m sad about his disappearance, and as a result have been more active in paying what I learned from him and what he made me aware of forward since then.

Friends of Arjen have collected a selection of his writings and talks, as well as the text of his 2014 book “Information Security for Journalists” (2017 Dutch translation) that he wrote together with journalist Silkie Carlo. Friday they launched a printed version of that collection with the title “Infosecurity (Gran knows why)“. The subtitle is a reference to Arjen’s grandmother who, having witnessed WWII is said to have inspired him in his government accountability work, and in being alert to surveillance overreach like we are experiencing now in this digital age.

The launch saw some short speeches by friends and colleagues, and the chapel setting in part made it feel like for some it was also a way to say goodbye, a way to organise some sort of closure. Next to the book launch, it was also the opening of the exhibition “Into Nothingness” with paintings by Jillis Groen. Scenes from Norway’s nature and Arjen’s disappearing form.

Opening exhibit / book launch Arjen
Audience listening to Helma de Boer presenting the book