Archive for category The Netherlands

For Cleves – Exposition Elena Boccoli

The exposition Für Cleves began on Thursday November 7, 2013 . Sigrun Heinzel en Elena BoccoliOver 80 invited guests were present at Heicks und Teutenberg at the Fischmarkt in Cleves, Germany. The artist Elena Boccoli  is showing 13 of her works to the public. The hostess, Sigrun Heinzel praised Elena for her great work. A wide range of different style paintings  are to see until January 15, 2014. 

Elena Boccoli, born in Maasbracht, The Netherlands, daughter of an Italian father and a Dutch mother. She is raised in Italy. First in Posada Sardinia and at the age of 22 she went to Piemonte. In 2000 she came back to the North and moved to Kranenburg Germany. In 2004 she moved to  Cleves. Here she lives since then and it was in this little town she developed her artistic activities.

Hundertwasser, an Austrian painter inspired Elena Boccoli.  It all started by copying a few of his works. Great patterns of colours and many characters and figures is typical  for his works and this appears in the paintings of Elena as well. She developed her own style and took a distance from her inspirer. From  abstract to surrealistic images in acrylic or oil paint. Many Cleves Sights and attractions are eternalized by her on canvas.

Cleves (German: Kleve) is a small town, about 30 kilometres from the Dutch city Nijmegen. Through time, Cleves is closely connected with The Netherlands. The duke Johan Maurits came back from Brasil to Europe and accepted the post of governor of  Cleves  in the 17th century. He gave this town wealth through a huge city park and attracted many dutch nobles and other important people to the city centre. In the 19th century the famous landscape painter Barend Cornelis Koekkoek came over from the Netherlands and established, downtown, his school of painting. In 1843 he constructed Belvedere and two years later his city palace. These are only a few examples of many famous people who came to Cleve.

When you enter the town via the Tiergartenstrasse, you will see on your left the Forstgarten, which is the second most impressive city parc of Germany. On the right side Kurhaus, a spa house from the 18th century which is a museum now. Further up many villas appear on both sides of the road. Most of the houses designed by Dutch architects for the rich from the Netherlands. Until the 19th century, most of the Cleveners lived in the upper town.

Elena Boccoli painted several architectural highlights. The Schwanenburg, Stiftskirche, Haus Koekkoek or the Schutzenhaus. Unfortunately this last building doesn’t exist anymore. Elena Boccoli brings back the house on canvas in a colorful pallet. Or paintings like the Elsabrunne from Karl-Henning Seemann, the Schüsterken from Jupp Brüx are all an ode to Cleves.


The paintings about Cleves are a real eye catcher as soon as you enter Heicks und Teutenberg. But as she has a wide orientation, the visitor is surprised by the pop-art stylish paintings in the back of the room. Definitely worth to pay attention to these paintings as well.


The Vernissage started at 7:30 pm. Half an hour before, several guests were standing in the doorway already. Shortly before the official opening the crowd entered the room at Heicks und Teutenberg. Young and old people. Business people, artists, families,pensioners etc. The hostess Sigrun Heinzel started the exposition by a speech. The guests were informed by a short impression of the artist Elena Boccoli. The second speaker was the artist herself. She thanked all the guest who came tonight in large numbers. Mannfred Hendricks composed piano music to lead the people from the first to the last painting. The catering was well taken care of by Heicks und Teutenberg. For everyone was enough food and drinks.
At 10 pm, unfortunately the evening came to an end. Everybody spoke out their compliments for the wonderful evening and a few potential buyers informed about the possibility to own one of Elena’s paintings.

The last day of the exposition is the 15th of  January 2014 and can be viewed 7 days a week from 7:00 am till 6:00 pm.

Für Cleve


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Interview: Frank Beuken tells Al Rasub about the Arab Spring

Original interview at Al Rasub

Frank Beuken is a Blogger   and a political analyst, he talks to Al-Rasub about his coming novel and changing political conditions of Arab world..


Al-Rasub:     Frank, can u  tell us briefly about your younger years and school College life .

Frank Beuken:  I was born in Baarn, The Netherlands. I have seen many schools as my parents moved quite a lot. Several places in the Netherlands, France and Belgium. High school was my highest grade. Due to severe problems at home I ran away and lived temporary in a shelter home. I first tasted freedom when I lived in a town called Nijmegen in the Netherlands. I became active in protests against government decisions which were undermining normal civil rights. As well against American weapons to be place in the Netherlands. I spent many of these years in the so called underground culture of the town. Evenings were filled with philosophical discussions with friends which lasted often till the next morning.


Al-Rasub:     You have a very close look on Arab Spring, will you explain the context of Arab Spring ?

Frank Beuken:    From the first moment in Tunisia when a boy set himself on fire out of pure frustration against the authorities, my attention for the Arab spring was born.

Of course I was always against suppression and followed the news in Romania 1989 when the dictator Ceausescu was captured and shot by a military tribunal. The people of that country suffered for many years just because one man “owned” the country and found he had the right to abuse the people. With fear for their lives, young people, supported by miners dared the stand up against this cruel man. With the fast that 1 of 5 men in Romania had served the Securitate (Secret services) they were never sure who to trust. But they won with the right spirit.

In Tunisia the young people found the strength to stand up as well and they succeeded. Egypt followed, then Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and many more countries. The young people just had enough of these cruel dictators. All they wanted was respect, jobs and a normal future without fear.


Al-Rasub:    How do you think Arab spring gets its targets ?


Frank Beuken:  The Arab spring was already very successful. Several dictators fled or were killed. The people took back what belongs to them. The country itself. It is now important to stay focused. A good example is Egypt now with Mursi, who wants to get more power than Mubarak had. Maybe his intentions are good and does he really wants to protect the revolution but it is unacceptable for the people on Tahrir square. Many of their friends died or are in prison. Mursi needs to listen to them. Not to Tantawi, who in my opinion is still very much in power. Often I wonder if Mursi is a puppet from the army and with this idea, a democracy is still far away. And the youngsters on Tahrir are aware of this.


Al-Rasub:     There is a common perception in many groups in Muslim world that Arab Spring is American funded moment, what are your observation and opinion ?


Frank Beuken:   Personally I think it is the biggest offence for all these young people who have given their lives for the revolution. The first real proof that America couldn’t be in control, when Obama mentioned the resign date of Mubarak. But it didn’t happen. Mubarak stayed in charge. Obama lost his face with this awkward moment. People who believe that foreign powers have set up the Arab spring, are conspiracy thinkers. People who always believe that higher powers are behind it. The Arab Spring is pure and started and finished by these brave young people.


Al-Rasub:    Some critics says that Arab spring divided Muslim world or specially Arab world in two groups, Liberal and Fundamentalist and they give the examples of Tunisia and Egypt what you think ?


Frank Beuken:  These critics are often people from the west, with a huge lack of knowledge of the Arab world. Remember that Ben Ali, Khadaffi, Mubarak and now Assad as well, always mentioned the danger of fundamentalists? They wanted to warn the nation for a fear what doesn’t really exist. I mean of course there are extremist groups but they do not have the power to set the revolution in their direction. Personally I believe Al Qaida is a myth. In a sense that it isn’t a worldwide terroristic group. Every extreme group uses the name Al Qaida to impress the world. Fear is a tool to make the nation to believe in their leader, to protect them against evil.


Al-Rasub:     What will be or should but the outcome of Arab spring like moments ?


Frank Beuken:    To my opinion this isn’t an issue what will be solved in one or two years. Of course the expectations of the western world are probably the same as the people in the Arab world. We all hope that democracy is installed within a short time. That is the ideal world but unfortunately, reality is otherwise. People lived for over 30 years under suppression. Most of the people, survived by adapting them to the system. And for most families, the basic things are important: A home, a job, to be able to feed your family. Now everything is turned upside down. Suddenly the oppressor is gone. Security forces fell apart and people feel liberated. But then, reality of all day life comes around: Homes, jobs, feed the family etc. To be honest, I think it will take up to 30 years to have a full stable country again. Don’t forget; most people think the same way: Freedom. But still there are many groups who are still either supporting the former dictator or groups who want to take over control. Also these people need to be given a place in the new society. They cannot be ignored, as they are there. It will take a full generation before the whole consensus is a fact.


Al-Rasub:   What kind of lessons can be learned from Arab spring, especially in Muslim word.


Frank Beuken:   The revolutionaries must stay focused until the end. They have to stay alert until  a democratic constitution is established and protected.


Al-Rasub:    Tell us something about your Books and what inspires you to write a book ?


Frank Beuken:  With all the information and all the conversations I had with revolutionaries from Egypt, Tunisia and Libya I felt to do something. To write a book was a long time wish from my and what subject was better than the Arab Spring. What I did is I combined the protests in a novel. It is a story based on the Arab Spring. The reader will experience the protests in the streets, social behavior and to see a world which is so different than west Europe but so very much alike as well. After all, we are all human beings. This book is an ode to the young man, or the young girl in the middle of the freedom fights. The book is written in my language, Dutch, but soon it will be available in German and English. Inshallah soon in arab as well.


Al-Rasub:    What keep you busy during your free time?


Frank Beuken: Since August I started to write a new book. Again a novel in which east meets west. Still I talk a lot with people from “the arab spring” countries.


Al-Rasub:   What are your future projects on which you are working or you want to work?


Frank Beuken:   As said, my new book of course. Secondly, my wish for next year, is to meet the people I had contact with in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.


Al-Rasub:  Your message for our readers ?


Frank Beuken:  Believe in mankind. Stay focused and let’s unite because, we are in a far majority compare to small extremist groups who want to tell us how we have to live. So we can win and make this world a better place for all. Respect, dignity, peace and a future for all.




Frank Beuken can be reach at:



Curaçao and the Shell heritage

In 1985, Royal Dutch Shell sold its refinery in the port of Curaçao to the former government of the island. For the symbolic amount of one guilder. The refinery was outdated and no longer met the current environmental standards. The legacy for Curaçao is a very outdated facility and a huge asphalt lake. The Dutch government, then a co-owner of Shell, puts pressure on the government of Curaçao to either dismantle the refinery or a clear plan for the future.

Curacao’s history dates back to about 3000 BC. Rock paintings and artifacts show that the island was already inhabited. The Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda was the first Western discoverer who set foot on Curaçao in 1499. The original inhabitants, the Caquetio, were expelled and the island transformed into a major agricultural and livestock project. Large numbers of sheep, cows, horses and pigs shipped from Spain and its colonies to the Caribbean island.

In 1634 the Spaniard surrendered after being defeated by the Dutch. The West India Company saw a perfect base for the supply of slaves from Africa. Several attempts by the Spaniards to retake the island ended to nothing. In 1791 the island was officially a Dutch colony. Since 2010 Curaçao is an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Since the eighties a few corrupt politicians agreed to acquire the refinery, Since then the island is doomed to his downfall. With the approval of the Netherlands, Shell could dump its garbage for just one guilder. This saved the company probably millions of dollars in remediation costs. These costs now fully reside with the island government. The Netherlands puts pressure on Curaçao to come up with concrete plans for the near future without a financial aid fund to support the island. Every day of delay affects the entire ecological and economic system of Curaçao.

As long as there are no clear guidelines for the refinery it can have major implications for the future of the population. A magnificent example of Dutch shear politics.

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