At a Catalan Japanese wedding

Chieko weddingAt the Catalan wedding, the bride threw her bouquet in the air.

We left our house in the early morning (4:30 am!) to travel to Tarragona today, visiting the wedding of two dear friends of us. An international Japanese/Spanish couple that live in Shanghai. They host a party in Spain for the family of the groom. Nevertheless, a small delegation of Japanese did fly over.

At was a great party; Great food and I was amazed with the dancing. The elderly danced the waltz, the younger ones enjoyed salsa and the Japanese seemed keen to do horse-dancing on Gangnam Style. The Catalan received their Japanese, Korean and Dutch guests like family.

Sanoma christmas party


picture taken by @SigridBu

Over the last few years, Sanoma thew some huge parties for christmas. However, considering the large downscaling the company went through in 2013, a huge party didn’t seem in order. However, there was room for a small party with a DJ. Nevertheless it was a great (and jam-packed) evening! I managed to borrow a google glass v2 from a journalist for a while, the first time wearing glass was very interesting. Drank way to much at the party but had great fun.

Living and working in Korea

I was invited to be a panelist at the Korea Symposium at the Hogeschool of Amsterdam. Since there were mostly students in the auditorium, curious about doing an intern in South Korea, I’ve elaborated a little bit about my time there, even though it’s almost four years ago already.

Getting started

At the time we were studying in Sweden, we were offered to pick an exchange study in another country. For me that was a chance to experience the culture of my wife, Suna. When we flew to Korea in the spring of 2008, I was excited to start studying at the Korean Development Institute (KDI). This university is known for both business and political studies. I still wonder if KDI expected two blonde Scandinavians or if they were okay with us flying over.

After the study, I was fortunate enough to extend my stay with an internship at ING Korea before I had to go back to Sweden.

Finding a job or internship

Some students showed some interest in finding a intern or job in the country. When walking around in Seoul a lot of people will inquire if you are a English teacher, as most foreigners are. If you really want to work there, don’t be picky. But frankly, if you have a skill which can work for big companies you have a bigger chance. It also helps to speak the language, although this is less of an issue in international companies. Be aware that you have to work longer hours and have less days off compared to Europe.

It’s recommended to study some Korean as there aren’t many company that would hire a non fluent speaker. There is a small chance at an international company but studying a little bit will help you tremendously. There is a school in Amsterdam which has a class every saturday where you can learn, visit their website for more information.


During my internship at ING I experienced a lot of interesting events. In a company of 500 locals, I was one of 10 foreigners. Unfortunately, this also caused some friction with some. One particular colleague wasn’t shy of showing discontent, all until we ended up talking friendly over soju (Korean liquor). He then spoke friendly to me about his feelings and we became great colleagues afterwards. I learned there and then that solving problems are easier in a beer-hof opposed to the work-floor. (A theory that I wasn’t able to bring to China afterwards)

I was really sad ending the internship at the time and threw a party for my dear colleagues.

Business clubs

Once established, my wife shook hands with a former president of Korea, I met the Dutch minister of foreign affairs at the time.
We made it a habit to network and visit business and political events. This also helped me find a job. For one, we joined the Dutch business club in Korea and joined them on many occasions. Since there weren’t a lot of Dutch people at the time (likely about 200), it was easy becoming close with most of them. We joined the club to the BA cigarette factory and to the DHL hub. They also organize a Dutch Orange ball event every year. There are many business groups these days, including the Amcham Korea.

Watch the full video here

Bruggenloop Rotterdam

Ran the ‘Bruggenloop’ in Rotterdam together with my dad and Gijs. The fifteen kilometers went smooth and I finished five minutes faster compared to last year. Apperantly there aren’t a lot of vibram shoes yet as people like this photographer insisted of taking a photo of only my shoes. There was one real barefoot runner, kind of risky because there was glass on the court. Anyway, Gijs thought it was funny how my shoes got attention and snapped a picture of the scene, right in front of stadium ‘de kuip’ in Rotterdam:


Map of air pollution in Asia


The map above shows the climate around Asia in a real time map.

See the map for yourself at:

It reminds of the NASA imagery from 2010 with a similar view.. Not only air quality needs to be considered, Isabel Hilton talked about the soil problems China is facing with on Sinica podcast last week (18 minutes into the show).

Pictures from Shanghai

Last week, friends from China have been posting some sad pictures of the foggy/smoggy city. Business insider gave four possible reasons for the recent peak. One factor might be the upcoming christmas season. Ofcourse car usage increased but the problem isn’t one of China’s, it’s due to China being the factory of the world, it might be a problem for the world.

Hope these problems will get less, I’ve been tracking PM2.5 levels in China ever since 2010. Initially through the numbers put out by the US embassy. They seemed to go down at the time, but perhaps only due to the Shanghai Expo at the time.

Shanghai picture from Weixing

Shanghai Picture from Weixing


Shanghai Picture from Weixing

Sunday morning run with Suna

Ran a 15 km round from Culemborg to Everdingen, with Suna following on her new bike. A great start of the Sunday. Even though it’s generally quite dark this time of year, today it was bright and very nice outside.

i’ve left dailymile for runkeeper. my account is here.



Hendrick Hamel

Almost every Korean has heard about Hamel, have you heard about him? He was the first westerner to write about Korea, back in 17th Century.

In 1653, he arrived at Jeju island (link follows to my holiday at jeju) along with his crewmates. He was a bookkeeper for the Dutch East India Company. They were actually on their way to Japan. The men were captured by the Koreans and were forbidden to leave the country. After 13 years they managed to escape to Japan and bring back his writings to the Netherlands.

Every history book in Korea mentions his name. The first public recognition of Hamel in the Netherlands occurred early in the 20th century, when a local street was named after him. They also made a statue for him. As we passed by Gorinchem yesterday, a visit to his statue and a picture were obligatory.

His journal is published as a book under his name.

Korean class

Spent my Saturday learning Korean, I haven’t done anything else since 2011. As you all know my goal is to have conversations with my mother in law.

Recently I have been starting to watch some Korean television as classes have become a routine. Make some homework at home and practice speaking with your fellow students in class does seem to help little by little. When that Korean song ‘Gangnam style’ was popular I noticed a lot of new students trying to pickup the language, although that effect seem to have worn off. Recently the teachers allowed me to pass to advanced class, I’m trying to keep up by studying during my Sundays. Last Saturday we were only with three people.

Promising [startup documentary in Dutch]

edialdekkerI was a bit surprised to see Edial Dekker’s face on the homepage of (VOD of Dutch public tv) tonight. I met him a few years ago and remembered his move to Berlin with his brother. They started a company called where one can pitch and sell activities to groups of people. About a year later,they raised 1.5 million dollars and started expanding. A lot happened since then. So frankly, he deserves to be on the homepage of A success story? Follow the episodes from this humble documentary about these enthusiastic founders at Below a trailer of episode 2.

[Mac] Export all your iPhoto events to folders

I’m using a mac for over a decade and thus moved my photos into iPhoto almost automatically. But, I never really that program. It’s slow. Last week I decided that I wanted to get out. That was easier than I thought:

Download phoshare here.

And just run the program. You can select the folder to export to. According to the developer, Phoshare preserves both the original and modified image, and I was able to export using a *year*-*month*-*day*-*title* -format, which I really like! I’ve counted the photo’s inside the library and inside the folder, just for verification. I’m now iPhoto free!

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