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Article published

Posted 11 June 2008 - Kosice (SK):


Back in April, Dutch magazine Perron E invited me to write an article about corruption in Bulgaria. And so I did, and I also supplied photos to go with the article. The magazine recently got published and the end result looks cool. Unfortunately, it is only available in The Netherlands and in Dutch language. The orginal full-text version is available here.


( Varna - BG, April 2008)
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Reached the Black Sea

Posted 13 March 2008 - Varna (BG):


Got an offer to write an article for an official printed magazine! It has to deal with corruption in Bulgaria which is not an easy subject to photograph, simply because most of it escapes the eye. But I`m giving my best and will post a reference as soon as anything gets published.

Other thing: I was planning to get to Romania tomorrow, but connections between Romania and Bulgaria are a bit disappointing. There are only two buses a week, even though the distance to Constanta is less than 200 kilometres. The next one is on Saturday so I will take that one and try to find another subject for my Us Europeans article of tomorrow.


( Varna - BG, March 2008)
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Dutch and Flemish in Bulgaria

Posted 12 March 2008 - Veliko Tarnovo (BG):


The university of Veliko Tarnovo has a separate department of Neerlandistiek (Dutch language and culture), which is headed by a fanatic Bulgarian lady. There are at least 20 students who are learning Dutch, most frequently as a part of their studies of German. Most of the department`s contacts are with Flanders. The students therefore speak Belgian rather than Dutch.

Today, the faculty received the Secretary of Political Affairs from the Dutch Embassy. There were some questions back and forth and it was an interesting meeting and I was happy to be allowed to join. Anyway, here`s a photo of some Dutch-speaking Bulgarians:


( Veliko Tarnovo - BG, March 2008)
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Nice hotel

Posted 11 March 2008 - Veliko Tarnovo (BG):


I have arrived in Veliko Tarnovo which is one of Bulgaria`s main university cities. This is one of the hotels in town, but it`s not where I am staying.


( Veliko Tarnovo - BG, March 2008)
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History lessons

Posted 10 March 2008 - Kazanlak (BG):


Unlike most of its Central European neighbours, Bulgaria has not tried to wipe out its communist past. It still has many Soviet-style monuments that are neither properly maintained nor destroyed. They are just there: silent witnesses of changing times.


( Kazanlak - BG, March 2008)
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Authentic train travels

Posted 9 March 2008 - Kazanlak (BG):


Once a train spotter always a train spotter. The good thing about trains in Eastern Europe is that they are actually trains. They have a locomotive, carriages, they make some noise and you can open the windows. Distances are long so traveling is still an adventure and people are still willing to share their journey with fellow travelers. Today, I played chess with a Bulgarian guy and enjoyed the chocolate that a girl in the same compartment offered to share with us. All of that with the Bulgarian landscape sliding by in the meantime.


( Tulovo - BG, March 2008)
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Spring in Bulgaria

Posted 8 March 2008 - Plovdiv (BG):


After a few cold days, the sun is back out and today was a very nice day for taking photos!


( Plovdiv - BG, March 2008)
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News from Plovdiv

Posted 7 March 2008 - Plovdiv (BG):


Hello from Plovdiv, which is probably the least inspiring-souding name of all of this trip. In Dutch at least. But the city is quite alright, I have a nice host and the weather is supposed to get better during the weekend. Apart from that, my brother arranged to come visit me in Austria at the beginning of May, which is exciting news! He will come to Munich by night train, travel along with me to Vienna in about a week`s time, then fly home from there.


( Plovdiv - BG, March 2008)
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Photographer = terrorist

Posted 6 March 2008 - Sofia (BG):


The Netherlands is not the only country that is going crazy about terrorism. I suspect the UK to soon have more CCTVs than inhabitants, for which I congratulate them with pity.

Being a war photographer has always been dangerous, but the frontline has moved a lot closer to home. Everybody is now a police officer in London, and photography is put on a par with terrorism. Well, in my experience it already was anyway, so what`s new actually..

Photo from Sofia, where the weather keeps changing. Almost 20 degrees on my first day here, only 2 degrees today. The photo is yesterday`s, when the temperature was somewhere in the middle between the two. Coming days prove to be normal again, around 10 degrees.


( Sofia - BG, March 2008)
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Dutch news

Posted 5 March 2008 - Sofia (BG):


Seeing The Netherlands on international TV is usually a pleasure, but these days it is not. CNN reported about Dutch and Danish flags being burnt in Pakistan today, as a response to the forthcoming release of a provocative film that presents Islam as a backward religion. The Dutch Prime Minister tried to explain why the Dutch government cannot prevent the film from coming out. He seemed to be very happy about his moment of fame, but he is only adding fuel to the flames by coming up with ridiculous warnings and explanations.

A nationalist politician by the name of Geert Wilders is at the source of the unrest. He wants to prove that the Koran is as dangerous as Hitler`s Mein Kampf, which most of the Dutch rightfully judge to be nothing but a provocation that is slowly killing the Dutch ideal of tolerance. Support for the case is on the rise though. Mr Wilders manages to get a lot of attention for his case as he seems to address issues that have not been dealt with for the last decades immigration being the main one. Many people are happy to hear his message, and those who are not open to his ideas are frightened by the consequences of his words.

Somebody is tearing the Dutch society apart, and uses the magic words `Freedom of Expression` as a lame excuse. Somebody is killing one of The Netherlands` best-kown traditions, which is called tolerance. Somebody is also killing the best practice of isolating radical opinions by taking the poison out and integrating the remainder with mainstream politics. Somebody has lit a fire that others are clumsily nourishing by trying to blow it out.

Anyway, my everyday reality is fortunately different from all the trash and I hope the situation will move back to normal before I return home. Today`s photo shows the hot water taps in the centre of Sofia, which people can freely use to get their daily supply of clean drinking water.


( Sofia - BG, March 2008)
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Churches in photos

Posted 4 March 2008 - Sofia (BG):


Churches are usually very difficult to take normal photos of. They always require some special treatment or optical trick to make them come out right. Apart from that, they have usually been photographed by so many people that there`s almost nothing left to record. Anyway, I made an exception today and tried to record the impressive Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia.


( Sofia - BG, March 2008)
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Bulgaria and the EU

Posted 27 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):


Just like Romania, recent EU entrant Bulgaria is also having difficulties properly managing their newly acquired status of member.


( Sofia - BG, April 2005)
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Russia today

Posted 17 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):


On 2 January 2006, I wrote about how I expected Russia to claim back a leading role in world politics during 2006. With some minor delays, they are working hard to make that forecast come true. They are having arguments with the USA and Europe alike.

Furthermore, it seems like your not in an enviable position if you owe something to Russia. Estonia claims to be under cyber-attack from Russia after removing an old Soviet memorial from the centre of its capital Tallinn. Internet, originally designed as a method that would enable people to keep communicating during war, has instead become the battleground itself..


( Sofia - BG, April 2005)
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Posted 2 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


One more trend I expect for 2006: a self-proclaimed resurrection of Russia as a world power at the expense of the U.S. of A.


( Sofia - BG, April 2005)
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