Speaking

I decided this weekend that I would like to try my hand at presenting at an industry conference or two next year. I think that I have some interesting stuff to share when reflecting in particular on the 3.5 years I've spent so far at Booking.com - particularly on my favourite topic of the role of data in design and the challenge this poses to the ego of the designer and his position as magician of our modern web culture. 

I've spoken lots to other kinds of audiences - academic panels and peer groups, internally to my several hundred department colleagues at Booking.com, and at a couple of small events where the feedback has been positive, so I want to challenge myself to see if I can translate that in to an engaged, informative and entertaining presentation. This post is my stick in the ground and a prod to myself to actually do something about this, and hopefully a catalyst for me to start thinking seriously about the story I'd like to tell. 

Wish me luck. 

Hoge Veluwe

Victoria arranged for us to spend a few days on the edge of the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland, the home of the Kröller-Muller Museum, and a forest, and the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings outside of the Van Gogh Museum itself. We stayed in a Finnish-style cabin and had a lovely, relaxing time away from work and the city. The unexpected highlight was the fantastic architecture of the museum itself, which would I wish I'd got more photographs of. It's a late thirties, rather austere construction with a minimum of fuss and lots of big blocks of glass and brick set amongst a landscaped sculpture park in the middle of vast National Park.

The Museum contains a lot of Van Gogh stuff (90 paintings and 180 drawings form the complete collection, a selection of which forms part of the permanent exhibition), but also some unexpected treats from the likes of Mondrian, Monet, Barbara Hepworth and Picasso. We only managed to get around half of the place before we were zapped of energy, having walked across the park to the museum through the wonderful forest. 

Our Cabin - at De Roek in Otterlo. Probably about the same size as our apartment in Amsterdam. 

Our Cabin - at De Roek in Otterlo. Probably about the same size as our apartment in Amsterdam. 

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Walking across the park to get to the museum afforded me the opportunity to mess about with my camera again and try through taking endless photographs to get one or two which didn't look like they were taken completely by accident. The forest was beautiful, and totally unexpected in a country I thought was almost completely bereft of this kind of landscape.

On the way back home this morning we stopped off in Utrecht for a mooch around the city centre and some lunch, and I think we've pegged that as the next bit of the Netherlands to spend some time in - the city centre was beautiful, but for whatever reason most of the cafés, shops and museums were closed. There is much to admire a city which refuses to entertain Monday morning. 

Photogracht

It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll around the city today. I managed for the most part to avoid other humans by trundling down beautiful, quiet side streets; occasionally popping back out into the throng of tourists and boating-locals to cross a canal. Amsterdam looks at her best when the sun is shining.