addicted to plastics

Plastics: are we addicted?

Are we addicted to plastics?

Looking across the table at lunch today, I noticed depressingly that pretty much everything we had on the table was packaged in plastics. It amazes me often how hard it is to use less of this in daily life. And clearly today was a very bad day for Plastic Free Tuesday.

The Netherlands online in China

Today is also the day that a new online platform was launched in China,, which brings news and developments from the Netherlands to China. The platform focuses specifically on innovation, sustainability and CSR.
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Renewing a 2016 goal: Myanmar

As I started my work day this morning, opening up my laptop, I got distracted. On my desk were some leaflets from yesterday’s event, a seminar on doing business in Myanmar organized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the travel guide I bought a few months ago that I got off the shelf after I got home from the event.

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London calling

The travel virus caught me early: I left for Hobart, Australia for a year when I was 16. Living there, I discovered how much bigger the world was than the small village I grew up in in the Eastern part of Groningen in the Netherlands – even if my life there already gave me a relatively wide view of the world.

Since then, I lived in Haenosaki (a small village in Nagasaki-prefecture in Japan), in Osaka, in Tokyo. I’ve travelled, mostly in Europe and Asia, seeing some unique and fascinating parts of this world.

Just last year, I spent a month in Shanghai: that trip started out with the same question that is now the trigger for this post:

In which city do you want to temporarily live and work?

At that time I was looking for somewhere in China. I chose Shanghai.

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Leaving on a jet plane

A couple of months ago, waiting at a ground floor gate at Schiphol airport for my flight to London, the man next to me turned and said “it really is a miracle, isn’t it?”. As he said this, we were watching our plane taxi towards the glass we were standing behind and come to a perfect stop.

To me, the miracle isn’t that this huge, very heavy metal box manages to stop exactly where it should, but rather that that airplane manages to stay in the sky for hours to take hundreds of people to their destination.

I was reminded of that conversation this morning staring out of the window of a bus on my way to Haarlem, passing by Dutch polders and large parts of the Schiphol territory. Looking outside I see a fleet of KLM planes, planes coming in to land over our heads, planes taxi-ing across the highway to get to their gates. Most people on the bus stared with amazement and maybe some with travel envy to the planes taking off or landing in front of our eyes.

Travel hasn’t lost its appeal or its wonder for me. Being on a plane, well, that part is not my favourite but the idea of travelling to somewhere far away, waking up after a long flight – or preferably, an overnight train – in a new destination is still one of my favourite things.  And I can’t wait for some of the exciting travel coming up in the next few months. Business ánd pleasure.


Being I_am_Europe

‘Rotating curation’: does that ring a bell? If you’re on Twitter you may not know the official name but you might have seen them pop up: they are Twitter accounts with an account holder which changes weekly (usually), often used for accounts connected to locations: countries, cities, etc.

I have followed @sweden for a while now, apparently the first of these #rocur accounts, but until last week I had no idea of the huge amount of accounts there are. That is, until I curated one of those accounts: @I_am_Europe.

I applied for the curation for a few reasons. The main one being that it seemed like fun. Also a new way to have unexpected conversations, find interesting people and so on. A way to learn a little more about what works on Twitter in terms of engaging an audience. And maybe an opportunity to share and talk about some of the topics I think are important.

It was fun, but definitely also a learning experience again on the dynamics of Twitter.

Some of my take-aways from the week:

  • Interacting via a ‘new’ account and (partly) on a timeline of people – and group of followers – you don’t know is really quite hard to do at first. Of course, I could use my existing contacts – and I have sometimes – but I was also looking forward to be able to add to any new conversations. But it takes time to figure out who is who and what people are talking about.
  • Partly a continuation from the previous point, I underestimated how much time it would take to do well. Especially with my original plan of discussing some topics backed up with a bit of research and deciding how to integrate them in a day of tweeting without feeling like I was pushing these topics too strongly. And getting stuck in an unexpectedly chaotic work week didn’t help….
  • Considering those two points, it was very interesting to see what people replied to, favorited, re-tweeted. And mostly they were pictures of my city, pictures of shopping for food at the local farmer’s market or sharing excitement about an upcoming Arcade Fire concert. Huh… so much for interacting about all those other topics.
  • I used Wednesday most to share some other things, which on that day was mostly RT’ing and talking about the 25 year ‘anniversary’ of the Tiananmen Square protests on June 4th, 1989. An occasion I felt deserved a lot of attention.
  • Being ‘I_am_Europe’ also gave me access to some other sources and some people helped me out in finding some difficult-to-find data for research I’m working on. Yay, thanks again!

All in all, fun week! And I hope that the 1200+ followers of the account enjoyed my tweets of course.

But also, for me it proved that engaging and interacting on topics on Twitter that go beyond the daily details is difficult and takes time to work on – not just with physical time during a day to be online, but also time (weeks, months, …)  to build an audience and a connection with that audience. Suffice to say, using social media successfully isn’t easy….