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February 25, 2009

Making Light: European Tour 2009
Posted by Patrick at 11:38 AM *

Along with all the challenges of the last few months, this has been a season of significant round-number anniversaries for Teresa and me. December 1 was my 20th anniversary working full-time for Tor. On January 2 I turned 50. This coming Sunday, March 1, we’ll have lived in New York City for 25 years. And most significantly, March 23rd will be our 30th wedding anniversary.

In recognition of this, about three weeks from now, we’re going to get on a plane and fly off for an actual vacation…first, in Amsterdam (where I’ve been before, but without Teresa), and then Rome (where Teresa’s been before, but without me). We’ll return about a week into April.

In Amsterdam, we’ll be staying with Abi Sutherland and her family, thus creating a concentration of fluorospheric energy not previously seen on the European mainland— which brings me to the reason for this post. We know we have at least a few readers and commenters in that part of the world, and we’d love to meet them. Arbitrarily, we’ve decided that we’d like to arrange some kind of public meetup on the afternoon of Sunday, March 22, and what we need is suggestions for a venue—ideally, an informal eating-and-drinking establishment in (broadly defined) central Amsterdam, with flexible seating and a decently low level of background noise.

Comments are open. We zien jullie reacties graag tegemoet!

Comments on Making Light: European Tour 2009:
#1 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 12:45 PM:

How about Cafe in de Wildeman? It's fairly central (just off Damrak), music-free, has a very good beer range plus finger food, and there are plenty of eateries within staggering distance if you need something more substantial.

(NB: I won't be able to make it on the 22nd, alas.)

#2 ::: steve ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 12:57 PM:

By total coincidence, Jenny and I celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary on 22/3/09, and we're also going to be in Amsterdam....

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 01:12 PM:

On January 2 I turned 50.

Today's kids!
Have a wonderful making of light.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Serge #3: I second that sentiment (although I have to note that Teresa and I were born in the same year).

#5 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 01:42 PM:

Eeeeeeeee. (Starts looking for cheap train tickets and a room.)

Alas, I have no suggestions for a suitable venue. Maybe somewhere in the Jordaan? I have warm but fuzzy memories of that neighborhood, and there's a nice Sunday market with lots of yummy organic produce and a tiny flea market of sorts on one side.

#6 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 01:52 PM:


And what fortunate timing. I'll be in Sweden on business the week before, and traveling back from there, likely via Amsterdam, just about then. Let's see what the airlines can do :-)

#7 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 04:14 PM:

If you do a meet, I'll start looking for an excuse to go to Amsterdam now. How exciting!

A friend of mine who lives there has recommended de jaren (Ambience: Good; Food: OK; Beer: Excellent) but I've not been myself.

#8 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 04:28 PM:

I don't know Amsterdam, but I'm distinctly interested.

#9 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Helaas ben ik al sinds jaren niet meer terug naar Nederland geweest, en ik denk niet dat ik de vrije tijd heb om naar Amsterdam te gaan.

Maar veel plezier, en gefeliciteerd!

#10 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 04:52 PM:

Jakob @9:

Wat jammer! Wij zullen een heildronk op afwezige vrienden maken.

#11 ::: Jaws (CEP) ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 04:54 PM:

Will commemorative t-shirts for the Making Light 2009 European Tour be on sale? That would really freak out the next generation... especially if anyone saw Patrick wearing one on the way to a Whisperado gig, instrument case in hand...

#12 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Steve, #2: Well, by all means, come by on Sunday afternoon! (Assuming we figure out exactly when and where.)

Cafe in de Wildeman (thank you, Charlie Stross!) and Cafe de Jaren (much obliged, Sylvia!) both look promising. I like the fact that de Jaren advertises its "non-pushing" atmosphere. Could this be a literal translation of a Dutch idiom? At any rate, I get it.

#13 ::: steve ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 10:18 PM:

The Wildeman's a beautiful example of a brown cafe (much improved by the smoking ban) - it's closed on Sundays, sadly. De Jaren's more of an eating cafe (which is not to say there's not a good range of beer): big, light and airy, with a canal-side terrace. It can be packed on a Saturday, but Sundays tend to be quieter.

#14 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 10:51 PM:

Oh, fabulous! Congratulations on the 30 years and on choosing such a fun way to celebrate.

#15 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 11:12 PM:

I'd love to attend, but alas.

But, Mazel Tov, and all the Joy in the World be yours.

#16 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 12:59 AM:

How cool, PNH & TNH! Congrats on the anniversary, FWIW. John and I just celebrated our own 30th anniversary -- a bit more personal and hippydippy than a wedding anniversary, but whatever....

Isn't 30 years both an impossibly long and an incredibly short time?

Have a wonderful time in Amsterdam and Rome and all the points in between.

#17 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 02:24 AM:

From my advanced age and marital status I have to echo what Serge said. But hey, lawn occupation aside, happy birthday, anniversary of marriage, anniversary of NYC habitation, and anniversary of employment. Lots of good things to be thankful for.

I wish I could be in Amsterdam to celebrate with you; my most recent fortune cookie warned against ocean voyages, so what can I do?

#18 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 04:36 AM:

Hmmm, it might actually be possible, though I'd probably have to come in on the Saturday. Any recommendations for youth hostels unlikely to be innudated with drunken British stag parties? (I get enough of that sort of thing in Britain....)

#19 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 07:48 AM:

I think you can go to the restaurant in NEMO (science museum) without paying museum admission, and it's walkable from the Centraalstation. Best view in town - nice outdoor seating, if they have heaters.

Gefeliciteerd! If I still lived in Eindhoven I'd hop a train and come by.

#20 ::: FrancisT ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 08:30 AM:

That's completely useless. What you are supposed to do is come to Rome on March 22 and cheer me on as I stagger around the Rome Marathon then go to the Netherlands :)

#21 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 02:14 PM:

That sounds like a great celebration. Please post details of your trip, since I should be in the Netherlands in the summer and then maybe in the fall.

#22 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 04:31 PM:

Hmmm...  I dunno.  My first thought on seeing this thread was “Wow!  Teresa, Patrick and Abi all in one room (and maybe more)!  I have to get on a plane or train (from UK) and be there!”  But soon after, I chanced to hear this radio program Meeting A Star.*  Almost the first words were “Never, ever, meet your hero!”  Dare I go?

* You can listen to the program on the BBC web site for 7 days after broadcast, that is until 6 March 2009, 13:30 UTC.

#23 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2009, 03:43 AM:

John Stanning: Teresa, Patrick, and Abi aren't heroes, they're people. Highly intelligent and interesting people at that. I say go for it.

#24 ::: Auke ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 05:31 AM:

Allereerst natuurlijk van harte gefeliciteerd met alle heuglijke gelegenheden!

As fortune would have it, I live in Abcoude, a pleasant little village just south of Amsterdam, known mostly for having the only place name in the world starting with 'ABC' and ending on 'DE'*. Having enjoyed Making Light's hospitality for some time, I hope I'll be able to attend!

De Jaren would be a fine venue, I think, though NEMO also sounds nice. I know some other pleasant establishments, but they are all in Utrecht, I'm afraid...

Have a good trip!

* According to the Dutch Wikipedia, at least...

#25 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2009, 11:50 AM:

Ooh great. Welgefeliciteerd en nog vele jaren samen.

Places to meet up in central Amsterdam. Just across the IJ is Ot en Sien, which Charlie has been to as well. Good beers, a decent selection of food and plenty of room, as well as a smoking room for those so inclined.

De Jaren can be quite busy at times, but fortunately there are plenty of biggish pubs around there.

One I like is De Bekeerde Suster, near Nieuwmarkt, a five minute walk from De Jaren. There are also plenty of good and not too expensive restaurants nearby. Just don't be surprised by the ladies behind glass in some of the smaller streets.

#26 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2009, 01:11 PM:

Belated congratulations on all those anniversaries. I was initially thinking that I didn't need to comment on my envy at your trip and that I couldn't join your celebration there, but I abruptly realized that was delaying my congratulations to you. So, many more!

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2009, 04:04 PM:

John Stanning #22: I second what David Goldfarb has said. Having had the good fortune to meet Patrick, Teresa, and David (not to mention several other Fluorospherians) because by one of those unusual coincidences my occasions and theirs put us in the same city at overlapping times, I can confirm what he says.

#28 ::: Tom Womack ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 12:16 PM:

I've not managed to find an impressive youth hostel in Amsterdam. Once you filter out the party places, the ones miles outside the city and the ones devoted to the smoking of fragrant herbs, the only one I found remaining was the "Shelter Jordan" Christian hostel ( It was sufficiently comfortable and reasonably quiet, but it is Christian enough that I ended up feeling vaguely compelled to bible study on the Sunday morning.

#29 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 06:00 PM:

Never been to Amsterdam, dammit, although I have made it to Bruges (which I recommend heartily). I wonder if you can connect with Brother Guy in Rome?

#30 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 07:02 PM:

I think I've been to Amsterdam, as a young army brat; I remember a huge painting, in a museum, of a bunch of somber men with frills around their necks, and I also remember many, many bicycles on the streets. It would have been sometime during the original "Space... the final frontier" years.

#31 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2009, 01:54 AM:

Am looking forward to hearing about your adventures in both places and all points between... and happy anniversary!

#32 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2009, 10:14 AM:

In honor of flying into London, here's a paean to Stansted Airport.

#33 ::: Katya Pendill ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2009, 07:41 PM:


de jaren is great--been there and it's quite large and pleasant with good food--one can "hold court" there no problem.

Shall I ask Julie Phillips? She lives in the Jordaan and knows loads of places.

All best!

#34 ::: Jurie ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2009, 05:09 PM:

Damn. Would love to meet y'all, but I won't be in Amsterdam around that time. Despite being Dutch :(

#35 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2009, 11:19 AM:

Disregarding my failed attempt at irony up there (#22), I'm not coming, though I really wish I could.  In the UK, March 22 this year is Mothering Sunday, aka Mother’s Day, and my family has a long tradition of observing it.  My children are now 27 and 25 but they’ll be here to honour their mother and so, of course, will I.

#36 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2009, 09:35 AM:

Goshdurnit, I can't make it on the 22nd and I has a sad. I hope a 2010 edition will be possible.

If you're planning side trips to Belgium, you may be interested in visiting the Soldier's Life exhibit at the Mariemont museum, featuring the journals kept by Belgian grenadier Gustave Groleau from 1914-1918.

Happy anniversary and have a wonderful trip!

#37 ::: Bo ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2009, 03:13 PM:


Congratulations! Will the silent and invisible lurkers be welcome?

#38 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2009, 07:27 PM:

Bo @37:


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