Help me write and share

The sharing economy, a circular economy and generally sustainable ideas are what I find most interesting in the world today. There, I said it.

For quite a while I’ve leered at these subjects from a distance. I’ve dabbled, dipped my toe in the water spoken to people and then not followed through properly. Now,  I want  to get involved. “This time it’s personal!”… Or something to that effect.

So I’m going to use this blog to track what I learn about these things by doing. Meeting people, putting stuff online to share, to give away and generally be more active in sharing.

Now, I’m pretty shy. I don’t usually enjoy setting up meetings. I rationalize away opportunities and tend to stay in my bubble. But I do like finding out interesting things from interesting people, once I get to know them. So by writing about these meetings I’m forcing myself out of the comfort of my zone.

By doing so I hope to make small changes which gradually add up to bigger changes. Changes for the good of course. Little additions of skill, knowledge and character. It’ll give me a change of scenery and who knows, a change in the world. Go big or go home, right?

This is my project, but kind of the point is that I can’t do it alone. So now that you’ve taken the trouble to read all the way to here let me ask you a question:

Who do you know that I should get in touch with to talk about sharing, the circular economy or sustainable ideas in general?

Let me know in the comments or email me. You probably have my address as this thing has yet to go viral.


About time

I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately. I’ve read two books in which time plays a large part. The first is The museum of innocence by Orhan Pamuk.

In it a love sick man collects objects which have a connection with a woman: “the object of his affection” if you will. What he collects can be a comb that she used, her ash tray and the cigarette butts in it, but also postcards of places that she frequents or labels from bottles of her favorite drink. anything, really as long as it has any kind of connection to her. Because she is a part of his life for a long time, the collection of objects keeps growing and his own connection to these objects becomes more and more complex. He spends time building a world around him based on his love for this woman and the physical manifestation of her through things. He chooses to dedicate himself to these objects, creating a history and an almost fictional story about the two of them together. Even though his goal is to tell the true story of their relationship using these things. An object only becomes worth anything when it has a story.

Because he does not collect the objects in chronological order the reader travels back and forth in time between memories and chance meetings, all the time making you realize that everything we do and even possess is a reflection on how we spend time and most importantly with who we do that.

The second book was Winter Journal by Paul Auster which is simply a diary written by the the author himself. He is in his sixties and writes down the most important events which led him to become the man he now is. It was comforting to read that when he was my age he did not have his life together. after having read this book I can not think why I sometimes think that I should have my life together or better still: Why do I sometimes think I DON’T have my life together. A ridiculous thought. 

Most importantly it made me realize how much time we all have to wonderful things. Soppy stuff I know, but it’s what I took away from the book.  


Never take a puppy on a date to a restaurant

In an Italian pizzeria on Saturday a couple came in. A bossy girl holding a puppy and a man looking typically Italian: open shirt, chest hair, slick black hair on his head. They sat down and from that moment the girl kept all her attention on the dog. So the man started checking his phone.
When the antipasti came she started feeding it to the dog as a treat for giving her a paw. The man wanted to do the same, but in the opinion of the girl he was doing it all wrong.
He was angry and left. He then came back, they did the same thing and this time she left! With her puppy of course. He put some money down and went after her. Two minutes later he was back, he sat down and started finishing his food. Head down, sulking.

The lesson is in the title.

Diabolo tax

Friday I spent travelling to Napels from Brussels. So I took the train to the airport. I had to leave very early in the morning. The train website told me I should take the Thalys high speed train from Amsterdam to Brussels, for which I needed a special ticket. To make sure, I went to the service desk at the station.

There a very helpful man told me that, no I did not need that high speed train and that I could still take the regular train. He printed my itinerary and advised me to by my ticket at the machine because it’s 50 cents cheaper.

I have bought a ticket to Brussels before and this time I did the same thing except to the airport.

After I had changed at Antwerp onto the train to the airport, the conductor came to check my ticket.

Something was wrong.

I had not paid the ‘diabolo tax’. Which, as I found out is a toll for the train to the airport.

I had no way of knowing about this tax which is five euro’s by the way. But the conductor insisted I pay up. I had no cash. (I was going to pin some money at the airport) If the conductor had not shown clemency I would have had to pay 60 euro’s to cover the administrative costs and the tax. This did not stop the conductor being pedantic about it though.

I still think it’s very strange that
a: The tax in not included in the ticket and
b. that it does not state anywhere that such a tax is mandatory.


Protospace – an introduction of sorts

I caught up with a fellow former Utrecht historian on Thursday. On purpose I must add. She is the communications officer for Protospace and I wanted to hear from her what that means.
She told me she does everything any regular communication officer does and a whole lot more. She also has to chase after investors, get her colleagues to communicate together set up meetings with other FabLabs and find other interesting partners so more people in Utrecht get to know about the work they do there and the things they have to offer.

It was a good chat and we discussed more than I just described. I hope somehow I can link what I do at the Library with what she does at her job, because I think both the Library and Protospace have things to gain from each other. Hopefully more on that in the future.

The design of farming

I got the time yesterday to sit down and watch two documentaries about Permaculture (yesterday’s topic). I learned much about farming and plants etc. Things like: direct exposure to sunlight damages soil. And: it’s not the soil which feeds the plants but the life in the soil (worm ‘culture’ and funghi for example). But what struck me most was the word design which kept coming back in these documentaries.

Apparently you can design agriculture in such a way that maximizes bio diversity which in turn lowers the cost of maintenance and if you use the right crops you can produce higher yields than the ‘usual’ cereals do, which is what we are growing most. The problem is we like our cereals and it’s hard to tell everyone to stop eating their ham sandwiches. I know this is over simplifying the matter and there is a lot more to industrial farming and I’m leaving stuff out and I am not an expert. I wish I was.

What I also thought was an interesting point was that hedges and trees grow vertically and therefore use the space on the ground that they grow on far more effectively than regular farm fields which are just flat. It’s this kind of design-y thinking that I enjoy.


It’s funny how things go sometimes isn’t it? Two days ago I stumble upon how to grow plants and I think “hey I can do that”. Then the next day I get a request from a neighbour on Peerby who wants information about permaculture. (growing plants, sort of.)

She wants to build a neighbourhood garden you see, and was looking for books on the subject. I don’t have books on the subject so I can’t help her directly. But I’m interested in her plan and it’s my job to find books for people. So I told her I was willing to help her get some more information. (If I can find stuff about Arabian accents, I can find things about growing plants!)

After browsing the web I did find some interesting things to read and watch. This whole garden thing could be rather good. Serves me right for having parents with green fingers.