perapalace

051. Pera Palace – fin de siècle in 2015

My wedding ring? I gave it to my wife in Pera Palace. Where else? Several of my blogs are about the rapid modernization of Istanbul’s infrastructure. Istanbul however is also a city of history that spans three millennia. Near the Dutch Consulate, just a few minutes away is Pera Palace, one of the ‘1000 places […]

Sea of Marmara

050. A Turkish Randstad, with a blue heart

I travel a lot in Turkey, just as I did over 30 years ago, when I visited Turkey for the first time. The hospitality of its people, the historic sites and natural wonders remain the same, but the infrastructure has changed dramatically. In the ‘80’s there was just one Bosporus crossing, while by the end […]

Kapel

049. The Chapel at the Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul: a place of work and worship

Strolling down the busy Istikal Caddesi, as every day 1-2 million people do, you might not notice a small chapel hidden behind the walls of the Dutch Consulate General, part of the intriguing history of Istanbul, city of Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Ottomans. This beautiful chapel on the Consulate grounds is not only a church, […]

Tourism

046. Tourism in Turkey: more than meets the eye

We ourselves are tourist. Discovering the world is in our DNA.  Sometimes we just wish to be away from it all, leaving one’s home country and enjoy the country of one’s (distant) neighbour. Last year, travel and tourism directly and indirectly contributed to almost 10% of the worldwide GDP, employing over 260 million people. These […]

2019_havalimani

045. Renewed Istanbul infrastructure boom (4): Fast Growing Metro Net

Istanbul is one of the few mega cities where new infrastructure is growing a bit faster than its enormous traffic problems. No small achievement, as infrastructure was neglected for decades. For a long time, travelling by car or public bus were the only options. By the end of the 20th century new master plans were […]

Warships

044. Warships sailing the Turkish straits: international law at work

The Black Sea is of crucial economic and strategic importance for its littoral states and so are of course the Turkish straits (Bosporus and the Dardanelles). Day in day out, year in year out, they remain open for traffic, connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea and from there to the rest of the […]

Renewed Istanbul

042. Renewed Istanbul infrastructure boom (3): Urban Development and Real Estate Projects

Without much ado in greater Istanbul a series of multi-billion dollar infrastructural projects is being implemented putting Istanbul on the first spot when it comes to new infrastructure in Europe. Some projects are controversial (third airport, the canal), others too long delayed (the expansion of the metro network), but one thing is for sure: their […]

Iftar at the consulate

041. ‘Iftar’ at the Dutch Consulate General

All over the world, Muslims are celebrating Ramadan. This holy month is observed by many Muslims with fasting, spiritual reflection and solidarity with the poor. Just before the sun sets and the ‘azan’ resounds from Istanbul’s innumerable minarets, friends and families gather around their dinner tables. The streets and squares of the city fill up […]

wc

040. How Dutch investments, polarization, Turkish politics and toilets meet.

The days that we diplomats “did not speak about cheese” are of course long behind us. Economic diplomacy has been a key pillar of our Dutch diplomatic work for many years; a world city like Istanbul is an ideal place for active economic diplomacy and as diplomat one has to be prepared to do show […]

Voetbalversiering in straat

039. Soccer: the most effective instrument in bilateral relations?

Each time I meet Yusuf, my local Turkish grocer, he refers to my nationality. ‘Kuijt! Kuijt!’ he says, while pointing to his blue shirt, adding ‘Fenerbahçe!’, not realizing yet it seems that Kuijt is going to leave for Feijenoord . His colleague usually joins the conversation by challenging his workmate with a firm statement; ‘No. […]