IsraelQueensday is the best holiday in the world. It’s when the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. On this day the whole country turns orange. This is because the Queens name which is ‘van Oranje’, meaning ‘of Orange’. Especially Amsterdam is absolutely amazing. All the canals are packed with boats with partying people covered in orange, the streets are filled with children selling stuff and there are massive raves all over town. I can’t really compare it to anything else I’ve ever seen. I love it. But I had to miss Queensday in Amsterdam this year.
The beauty is that the Orange feeling is very big with the Dutch, meaning that Dutchies all over the world celebrate this day wherever they are. And so do the embassies. Embassies all over the world open their doors for the Dutch community and for their relations. I’ve been to one of these parties once in Jakarta, which was a blast. This year I’m in Israel on the 30th of April.
I’m not alone; I’m with my dear friend Els van Diggele. Els has written two books about Israel and is now in the process of writing a third, about the Palestinian point of view. She is an absolute expert and lives in Ramallah at the moment. Ramallah is where I went after Jerusalem on the morning of the Queens birthday. I already knew it was going to be a very interesting day. The plan was to go not to one, but to two receptions on Queensday. Starting with the one at the Dutch mission in Ramallah at one o’clock, then make our way back past the border controls all the way to Tel Aviv where the party started at 7 o’clock in the evening. A rather tight schedule seeing as you never know what will happen at the border control.
I bought a jacket in Jerusalem that morning and hopped on bus 18 to Ramallah. It was the first time for me so the huge wall separating the Palestinian Territories from Israel made quite an impact. It goes on for about fifteen minutes driving in the bus. Then you arrive at the checkpoint. Soldiers hang around. Luckily they weren’t interested in us so we could move along. On the other side of the wall you immediately see the difference. This side is poor, dirty and dusty. Huge graffiti’s pay homage to Arafat on the wall the Palestinians detest so much.
I meet Els at the bus station and we take a taxi to the Dutch mission. It’s not an embassy but a mission. In front of the mission, big suv’s tell us we’ve arrived. It’s a small building with a garden around it in which the reception is held. When we enter the surreal crowd of businessmen and diplomats confuses us because it suddenly seems we’re not in Ramallah anymore. But this is diplomacy and it has it’s own style, everywhere in the world. Heineken, Dutch cheese and herring wait for the small crowd after the speech of the chef de mission.
After the Dutch and Palestinian anthem she speaks about the Dutch support for the Palestinians, how the occupation should end, the building of illegal settlements stopped and en passant how the Palestinians should stop throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers. She uses the Dutch motto (which is French odd enough) je maintiendrai, I shall maintain, in her speech to emphasize the resilience of both the Dutch and the Palestinians. Her counterpart the Palestinian Prime Minister in his speech explains how stones really are the only things they have to throw with.
I am convinced that I have finally come to a place where I won’t know anyone, and then I bump into the girl who lived next door when I was sixteen. Before we know it however we have to start moving if we want to be on time for the next reception. We hitch a ride with friends of Els. This saves us a lot of time because we can drive to another, easier checkpoint. We have foreign passports so no problems there either. They drop us off in Jerusalem where we jump on a bus to Tel Aviv.
When we arrive at the ambassador’s residence, where the party is held, we immediately see the huge difference. The massive house is absolutely packed. The Dutch anthem is sung again, this time of course followed by the Israeli one. In his speech the Dutch ambassador refers to the excellent relationship between Holland and Israel. He refers to a sentence in the Dutch anthem, ‘to expel the tyranny’, which he thinks is appropriate for both our peoples. It’s all very interesting to say the least.
The later it get’s, the looser the diplomats are. Unfortunately we have to return to Ramallah. Which means the bus to Jerusalem, another bus to Ramallah and passing the checkpoint again. This time two female soldiers don’t even notice us passing while watching TV. It can be much worse Els explains. At around 1:30 AM we’re back in downtown Ramallah and order a falafel. We talk about all we’ve seen, the differences between the parties and about the interesting way diplomacy works. How we could easily pass the border three times in a day to visit parties. And about how and where I should take my photos in this immensely complicated place.
JerusalemWhat is the capital of Israel? Wikipedia says it is Jerusalem. International Law says it is Tel Aviv. That’s where the government is. Opinions differ when you ask around in the streets...
year project traveling to ALL
countries in the world
to photograph street life
in the centre of all capitals.
"For the first time in history it is
possible to visit all countries in
the world in a free, transparent
and fast way.
It's possible; therefore I want to
see and do it. I want to find out
what the world looks like in
our time. How far have we come,
how much are we alike and
how different are we. I want to
meet the people of my time.
To capture a small
part, but a part
indeed of their
Awesome pic “@jeroenswolfs: Looking for the right #Streets in #Madrid #Spain. What a cool city! http://t.co/SwhqEa3Ysk”16 days ago • reply • retweet
Looking for the right #Streets in #Madrid #Spain. What a cool city! http://t.co/wpg7FqjhYw rt @jeroenswolfs16 days ago • reply • retweet
Fretteeee 17 days ago • reply • retweet
Anyone? “@jeroenswolfs: Who has friends in #Madrid? Going there tomorrow for a long #Streets weekend. Thnx!”20 days ago • reply • retweet
@jeroenswolfs good luck & enjoy!27 days ago • reply • retweet
Heading 4 #Luxemburg for its Streets shot. Sunny weather and a nice town:) #swolfs28 days ago • reply • retweet
RT @Montecatini_NL: RT @jeroenswolfs: New blogpost in the #HuffingtonPost: go Goats of Hope, #Uganda #hope ! http://t.co/ZtRAiU5BU7 #swolfs28 days ago • reply • retweet
RT @jeroenswolfs: New blogpost in the #HuffingtonPost: go Goats of Hope, #Uganda #hope ! http://t.co/ZtRAiU5BU7 #swolfs28 days ago • reply • retweet
RT @jeroenswolfs: New blogpost in the #HuffingtonPost: go Goats of Hope, #Uganda #hope ! http://t.co/ivXnMPBjyk #swolfs28 days ago • reply • retweet
Shooting Uganda: Goats of Hope http://t.co/AWmBMNLie7 via @HuffPostTravel #Swolfs28 days ago • reply • retweet
New blogpost in the #HuffingtonPost: go Goats of Hope, #Uganda #hope ! http://t.co/S6aO04scbO #swolfs29 days ago • reply • retweet
Streets of the World photo of South Africa, country number 107 bij #swolfs @jeroenswolfs: http://t.co/RMfvYM0zBo29 days ago • reply • retweet
Streets of the World photo of South Africa, country number 107 bij #swolfs @jeroenswolfs: http://t.co/JPLAO6aYJM29 days ago • reply • retweet
@jeroenswolfs how is visa chase working out? Last change for your contribution, tomorrow we have our big event!SA still welcome of course!Tx40 days ago • reply • retweet
@ #Ghana embassy in Pretoria South Africa. Sorry sir, you have to go to Holla: http://t.co/4FbBWCkIbj #swolfs40 days ago • reply • retweet
@ #Ghana embassy in Pretoria South Africa. Sorry sir, you have to go to Holla: http://t.co/ofN0bTspBw #swolfs40 days ago • reply • retweet
RT @jeroenswolfs: Trying to get #Ghana visa which is very difiicult. Need 2 references there. Who can help me out? #swolfs #sotw43 days ago • reply • retweet
@GhandiSquare waiting for the sun to move in position #Joburg #swolfs http://t.co/CXe1Dpx4cJ RT @jeroenswolfs43 days ago • reply • retweet
RT @jeroenswolfs: Trying to get #Ghana visa which is very difiicult. Need 2 references there. Who can help me out? #swolfs #sotw44 days ago • reply • retweet
Trying to get #Ghana visa which is very difiicult. Need 2 references there. Who can help me out? #swolfs #sotw44 days ago • reply • retweet
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