Heat wave


This past week the Netherlands experienced a heat wave. We were informed Ad nauseam by the media that there is no official heat wave unless there are, in the center of the Netherlands, five uninterrupted days of at least 25 C degrees, with at least three days with temperatures exceeding 30 C. Well, it happened. The way in which it was reported, however, gave the impression that it was due to major efforts of the Dutch population that this important feat was finally realized. I must admit that I am quite fed up with the constant overload of weather info on Dutch TV and radio. It already starts when I watch my first news program of the day at 6.45 am. The weather-man or –woman appears for a few seconds to announce that in in due time it will be revealed what weather we may expect! So, stay tuned . . .

Well, whatever. I have not been bothered too much by this heat wave and have not spent the week at the Costa Zeewolde) the beach along the strip of water separating the polder from the main land), complaining and puffing, and constantly wiping the sweat off my forehead. I spent much of my time with my laptop, on the balcony of our apartment. The good thing about my beloved MacBook Air laptop is that the screen is sufficiently sharp to allow me to work even when the sun shines abundantly. I have made good progress with the Dutch translation of a new book by Jean Claude Verrecchia about the biblical sanctuary. Jean-Claude is a Frenchman. Being a professor at Newbold College in the UK, he speaks English fluently, if not without a heavy accent. But most of his writing is in French. And thus I have to enlist up my proficiency in the French languages, which improved significantly during my recent assignment in Belgium.

It is a pleasure to be involved with this project. At times I have been translating something, all the time wishing that the author would have been more concise and longing for the moment the work is finished. But in this case each page makes me curious about the next, and it is exciting to meet new ideas all the time. The Dutch Adventist Church wants to publish this book no later than in September/October. In the fourth quarter of this year the weekly Bible studies will be devoted to the theme of the sanctuary. There is much to be said for providing the members with something that will not merely repeat what has already been said a hundred times.

But in between the intensive translation work, this week brought a few exciting moments that kept me out of the heat. On Sunday my wife and I visited an exposition in a building of the University of Amsterdam, dedicated to the history of slavery, and, in particular, its abolition. The temperature in the exposition rooms was pleasantly cool and there were only few visitors. The exposition proved to be extremely instructive and impressive. It was a pleasure to see how my friend Kenneth Boumann from Gent (Belgium) has made a significant contribution to this exposition. He has made many of his books and artifacts available. Kenneth is a passionate and erudite bibliophile/collector who has concentrated on certain aspect of the history of the Caribbean, in particular Surinam. It has been a joy to get to know him through his wife who, for many years, played an important role in the Belgian Adventist Church.

On Tuesday morning my wife drove me to Almere, where I got on the train for Brussels, via Schiphol. Since the debacle of the high speed Fyra train between the Netherlands and Belgium to travel to Brussels getting to Brussels has not become easier. But after a very pleasant train journey I found myself just after 10 am with a good cup of coffee on the terrace of my regular café on the Place du Sablon. This day I was to make good on a promise to a recently retired Belgian colleague to make our rounds along a number of good second-hand bookstores in Brussels. It proved to be a most pleasant day that also gave us the opportunity to compare notes during our excellent lunch on a shadow-rich terrace.

It may have been rather warm this past week, but the week gave me very little to complain about.