The World Championship of Living Statues, Arnhem, 2017 – Part 1

In this, last, post on this site (the designated space will expire while I upload the photos) I’m showing you some of my photos taken during this year’s competition.

Children’s works were not separated from those of adults, but most of them were presented close to each other in the new market place at the side of the cathedral and at the city hall, and that’s where I began too.P1140992P1140994P1150004P1150010P1150013This one may not have been performed by a young artist, but placing several performances right before the grey parapet surrounding the building area was definitely a strange and bad mistake. True, they got enough of the faint autumn sunshine, yet, it provided for strange effects.P1150017P1150019Fortunately, one could move on to sculptures better placed in the inner city. Here most performers were adults. P1150021P1150025P1150030P1150034P1150039P1150042P1150057P1150059P1150061

With this, my storage space is full. I’ll see you in my new blog with the second part of my rendition of this event. See you there soon.

by P.S.



One of the most famous fun parks in the Netherlands is Madurodam in The Hague. Its main theme is to let people see outstanding buildings from around the country in miniature. To some extent, this is comparable to LEGOLAND in Denmark, where objects are built, naturally, out of Lego pieces. Here, the building materials are undefined, probably clay and wood, often interspersed with metals and plastic, all nicely painted, so all surfaces correspond to the originals.

Near the entrance, visitors find themselves in the waterworld of the Netherlands, with all sorts of ships, bridges, dams and dykes.P1130661P1130664P1130681Of course, the windmills cannot be far away, as they have always served water management at least as much as the milling of grain.P1130662This area serves as a major attraction for little children, not only because of the thrill of watching – or waiting to watch – various trains flip by, criss-crossing the area, but because they can cooperate with each other on putting out a fire on a tanker, float wooden containers down rivers and channels or load and unload containers in a harbour.P1130665Further inside the park, the area is more or less arranged by cities. Here we can visit the inner cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and others along with famous architectural relics around them. Starting with Muiderslot, the castle of Muiden SE of Amsterdam, here’s a series of examples without special order.P1130677P1130679P1130680The quality of some of the models is really beathtaking.P1130682P1130690P1130691I really appreciated the care invested in the immediate environment of the models: what in reality are tall trees or full-grown bushes have been pruned back, ikebana style, with breathtakingly realistic miniature trees and bushes, where even the flowers are fit to size.P1130693Fortuntely for toddlers and small kids, there’s a big and good playground behind this row of houses:P1130696There are some other exhibitions showing Dutch history and the life of the person, George Maduro, who was the inspiration behind the park. In the middle, there’s also a huge globe-like structure, ‘Fantasitron’, in which people can be scanned in 3D and afterwards be posted a 3D sculpture of themselves.

Unfortunately, the structure, which can be seen in the middle of this photo,P1130688is, in our opinion, is ugly and destroys some of the effect of the place. Besides, the park is rather small for the €16,5 entrance fee. The size of the area can be judged well based on this photo:P1130699and we can testify to the fact that it is small.

Whereas it’s a nice model of famous Dutch landmarks, little children would hardly appreciate this aspect. On a day with a lot worse, but a lot more probable weather, children couldn’t really play with water. Even we had no interest in the historical exhibitions, how could little children? But those water games offer nothing for parents, who would appreciate the historical features on display, but then again, this all is only about the Netherlands, so if you’re not familiar with most of the buildings, what is there for adults to enjoy for the price?

Taking up the comparison with Legoland again, the area is a tiny portion of that for nearly half the price. This place is not suitable for a daily programme without children as it can easily be walked in a couple of hours. In Legoland, the models represent famous landmarks from all over the world and in larger sizes, even fit for a real slide surrounded by figures. That one is great fun for all ages, this one is only suitable in part for adults and in the other half for little kids. We had a good, sunny day with two little kids, it was worth it, but still, for me, it was a bit of a let-down. I’d definitely not come again on my own, or without kids.

by P.S. and Z.J.S.


Date of World Championship of Living Statues Arnhem 2017?

I know, I know, this is my second photoblog, I should post photos here, but this is about future photos. First we have to know when the exhibition is coming.

Well, today I suddenly remembered that I missed last year’s edition if there was anything. I found something about it a month or so after it had happened early June. But I hadn’t seen any ads about it, or any crowds either, for that matter, so I’m not sure it happened.

From what I can read this year, it has now become a biannual event. Which is strange because I visited each year since 2010, except 2014, when I couldn’t be here. But anyway, I’m glad to be able to find that it’s taking place at the end of this August, when I can be here. You can read more here.

The only problem is that it may not … At the beginning it’s black-and-white. And it gets repeated near the end as well, following the Dutch explanations, under “Gegevens”, i.e., data. However, just above that, it says, “Meer informatie over activiteiten rond World Living Statues in Nederland vind je hier »“, which means, you can get more info about the activities of the event by clicking on that link, and then you’ll get into trouble. No, not that there’s nothing there, no. The real trouble is that there it says it’ll happen on Oct. 1 this year. Quite unlike the Dutch, I’d say. So be careful, if you can, with your bookings this year: you may arrive at the end of August to find nothing but that you’ve missed the possibility of booking for Oct. 1.

If I can get further info and a rectification or clarification of the date, I’ll post it here. Further, if the even does take place one way or another, I’ll post photos too – but perhaps on a third of my photoblogs, as this one may have reached the limit of data I can upload by that time.

Update: I’ve managed to get confirmation from the organisers that the correct date for the competition this year is 1 October (with the warm-up event running on the previous evening in Ede). The date has also just been corrected on the first site, so everything is all right for a great event. Hope to have helped you. See you in October.

by P.S.

Prague, part 3

p1120534A bit long after the previous post, but not forgetting this wonderful city, I’m starting out at a quite inglorous place – at first sight, those odious shafts above the river catch the sight of the visitor. However, the house in the middle is the Smetana Museum. We mustn’t forget that Prague was the birthplace or working home of numerous excellent Czech composers, some of whom are famous, like Smetana, some less famous but non-the-less excellent, like Vítězslav Novák (, Zdenek Fibich or (Isaac) Ignaz Moscheles ( among others. However, beside Dvorak, Smetana is definitely the most well-known Czech composer, so let us see his statue a bit taken out of these inglorious surroundings: p1120538This time, we are going to concentrate exclusively on the other side of the river, so we’re crossing over the Charles Bridge again and approaching the castle differently. Actually, the following routes are the more usual ways to approach than those in my previous posts. On the way, though, there’s an interesting, partly underground shopping area, which reminds us of the fact that the Czech were once also famous about their crystal-ware. How much of it is real now is anybody’s guess. p1120540 But take heart, there are at least scores, if not hundreds of other shops in the area selling something similar stuff.p1120546 On the other end of the bridge, we find ourselves in small but beautiful streets again. p1120549p1120550p1120554_st-michaelp1120552Under those arcades, lots of small pubs, restaurants and vendors can be found – but behind them, we can also get a glimpse of real life: p1120555p1120558p1120560Having reached the upper level of the castle, it is worth crossing a bridge over an old ditch under the walls on the other side. A rare, but beautiful aspect of the cathedral, real old castle walls and a nice garden is our prize. p1120567p1120569p1120571My real aim today is, however, inside the castle: the Lobkowicz Palace. The building is huge, though not particularly interesting, but inside there is a good museum from the collection of this once mighty family over the centuries. Be generous with your purse, though: the entrance fee is rather steep, about €14. Most of the paintings are, uninterestingly for me, are portraits of old family members and related people one tends to forget, but the artefacts are mostly very fine.p1120583p1120584p1120585p1120587p1120588p1120590p1120591p1120592p1120593p1120594p1120595p1120596Some members of the family used to be very refined musicians, so a room full of their instruments is in order – if I remember well, Beethoven is said to occasionally be among the guests who played on some of them along the earl.p1120597There are a few very interesting paintings in the last room: originals by Canaletto and a couple of others. From the historical view, at least, they are very-very interesting.p1120598p1120603Leaving the museum-palace, we pass some other beautiful views, like this gate to the plaything museum, but I’m leaving you here before you get too tired. The last part of my Prague posts is still to come.p1120508

by P.S.

The World Championship of Living Statues, Arnhem, 2015

This year’s edition of the festival was pushed even further later in the calendar, but it enjoyed nice weather and no delays by the Dutch Railways as I’d anticipated a few weeks ago.

The Statues by Night section was presented this year in Ede the previous night, so I missed that. In its place, I can start with the children’s section, which was very nice this time. I can’t resist but begin with a very naughty little fella. I wish you enjoy the rest as well.

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Performance at the World Living Statues event in Arnhem in 2015

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Hope you’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ll soon follow with the adult event.

by. P.S.

Moods and museums of Amsterdam – Part 3

Dear Visitor, This post is a follow-up on the previous parts 1 and 2 showing the beauty of Amsterdam and some of its museums on my first photoblog. However, in this post, I have to start with a museum I visited a second time over the years, and I have to warn you that my impressions were far from favourable. The good news will only come after this one.

The Van Gogh Museum is on the left side

The Van Gogh Museum is on the left side

This particular museum is situated near the great Rijksmuseum (shown in part 1 about Amsterdam) and the famous Concertgebouw at the Sourthern edge of the old city and is diagonally opposite to the greatness of those two. When I visited it years ago first, I had good impressions about the exhibition on show, but somehow my memories may have been polished by time, because this time I felt it was time and money wasted. Not that it took a long time to see. Basically, if one goes to a museum called after Van Gogh, one expects to see at least several paintings by said painter.  Here, however, there is one painting on show by Van Gogh, a couple by Chagal, Goncharova and a few other 20th-century Russian painters, and the rest is difficult even to see how and why they made it to a museum. P1090581P1090582 P1090583 Most of the pieces are on par with the museum of Arnhem, or a smaller museum in rural Hungary for that matter, so I haven’t taken photos of them. If it weren’t for two dozens of huge transparencies, or ‘installations’, transparent photos lit from behind, by renowned Canadian photographer Jeff Wall, the museum would be completely off the list of museums to be seen in Amsterdam. P1090591P1090584 P1090585P1090590P1090589 However, one doesn’t go to the Van Gogh Museum for photos, and these were there probably temporarily, it is no excuse for the museum. The content of the permanent exhibition is very meager, a real let-down in Amsterdam. My friend with me had to pay for it and was quite put out. Even when visiting free with a Museumjaarkaart, you should not expect much so as not to feel it. On the other hand, visiting the local Madame Tussauds was agreeable. As I lived and travelled in China about a decade ago, I had no opportunity to see the recently opened Shanghai and Beijing versions and the others mushrooming up around Asia. My most recent experience with Madame dates back to London in the 1980s. So I took an opportunity to see the one in Amsterdam with this friend a couple of weeks ago. Of course, all MTs have to include figures of local political leaders and celebrities. Instead of Queen Elizabeth, in Amsterdam we can see the new Dutch king and his wife, and the previous Queens, all of whom were generally loved in the country. P1090693 You can pose with the former Queen, and can even put a crown on your head as you please. P1090692But the exhibition actually begins with a very important historical figure, Peter Stuywesant, director-general of New Nederland in the middle of the 17th century. That was the time when New York was still called New Amsterdam, and a large part of the wealth of the then young, but prosperous Netherlands came from. P1090688 Unfortunately, a series of problems with the English texts also start here, which I can’t resist to expose here. I’m sure it’s not difficult to find which sentence was written with Dutch grammar … P1090694 Those interested in more of my explorations about mistakes in this museum, please follow the link to my language-learning site on the left side of this blog. The rest of the exhibition consists of the usual great international figures of history, arts and sciences. There’s not too much bias, though I personally do not know or care about any of the Dutch celebrities, but then again, the show provides one an opportunity to learn about the local culture as well. The quality of the artifacts is good, or at least decent, with only a couple that I didn’t really feel similar to the originals. But all-in-all, it a great success. I was also happy to get in for half the price with the Museumjaarkaart, the one-year card that provides free access to a lot of museums in the Netherlands for a year. P1090690P1090691P1090698P1090696P1090700P1090704P1090706 P1090710P1090715P1090723P1090726P1090728P1090729

Madam Tusseaud herself

Madame Tusseaud herself