We visited the Deventer Book Market today, which takes place along the IJssel river quayside and in the city center’s pedestrian zone. Said to be the largest second hand book market in Europe, with some 600 vendors. In earlier years there have been well over 100.000 visitors, but today was predicted to be very rainy, so there were likely much less people around than that. Actually it remained mostly dry until after lunch and we had a pleasant stroll through the town and stocked up on books for Y to read, some old SF pockets for me, and some books for E too. Just as we drove away the heavy rains really arrived.

It has been many years since E and I last were at the Deventer book market (it had been 8 years since we last were in Deventer at all). As on a visit almost two decades ago, what stood out is how with the streets filled with many people browsing all those book stalls, how very very quiet it is. So much so that we thought the kitchen sounds and table conversations around us at lunch to be noisy in contrast.

The ca. 1530 Weigh House overlooking some of the book stalls

The majority of the stalls are along the IJssel river quayside. In the background the Wilhelmina bridge, originally built 1939-1943, blown by retreating German forces in 1945, rebuilt 1948 using the original design. This bridge was used in the movie ‘A Bridge Too Far‘ about the allied landings in/around Arnhem, as a stand in for the bridge in Arnhem itself (because there too modern buildings surround the bridge for the 1945 setting of the movie).

What AI can do, we can do better. A sign on a stall of a group of professional book translators we briefly chatted with.

Sometimes it is ok if your government wants to store your fingerprints. Like, when they use them as artwork on city hall.

Last weekend Elmine and I strolled an afternoon through Deventer an old Hanseatic city in the eastern part of the Netherlands. We came across a shop window where a group of people were busy making clay moulds, which had us intrigued.

The clay moulds, it turned out, were made from finger prints, to be cast in metal and then used on the facade of the new city hall as window covers/decorations. A project by local artist Loes ten Anscher.

The finger prints are from citizens in Deventer themselves. One in every forty-three, from the city and surrounding villages, from every age, has been asked to provide a finger or toe print, to be cast in metal. The 2.300 prints are cast in metal and used on the newly built city hall. Every metal cast has a number, and the person providing the finger print gets a pendant with that number. They will know where their finger print is on the building, but noone else.

I really love this project, making citizens part of the building where those that provide public service work, and involving them up to the level where they have their fingerprints all over local government. One example where I think government storing my finger prints is actually not so bad!