What actually is Kingsday?


Festival season is finally approaching and get ready, because the Netherlands can surprise you with an abundance of lively experiences:  Every Dutch festival is a reason to celebrate, eat Dutch food and party, so grab your calendars to mark the best of the Netherlands’ upcoming festivals!

2nd of June: The Crave Festival

The Crave Festival in The Hague is an electronic music dance event among the several huge festive multidisciplinary art events — more than 200 — in several venues all over the city. A few names for the 2018 lineup are Alienata, Aurora Halal, DJ Stingray, among others. Check it out at www.thehaguefestivals.com

16th of June: Flag Day (Vlaggetjesdag), Scheveningen

The harbour, crowded with fishing boats and lined with restaurants that serve up fresh seafood, is where the Dutch herring fleet is launched with a colourful Vlaggetjesdag (Flag Day) Netherlands festival, held annually on the first or second Saturday in June. Fishermen’s wives dress up in their traditional costume. The fleet then returns with the new season’s herring catch, amid much fanfare. For more: www.vlaggetjesdag.com

15-17 of June: Pinkpop, Landgraaf

This huge pop and rock Dutch music festival, held in the city of Landgraaf in Limburg, has been running since 1970, making it one of the oldest in the world. Its name comes from the Dutch pinksteren meaning Pentecost, which is when it’s traditionally held. It’s a three-day festival with all-star lineups from the worlds of rock, pop, dance, electro, hop, indie, punk, folk, alternative and more. Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars are a couple of the headliners for the next festival, on 15-17 June 2018.  

13-15 of July: North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam

This jazz Dutch festival began in 1976 and has run annually since then. The performances in the three-day event are held in an indoor sports arena and a concert venue, Rotterdam Ahoy. Although the audiences are big the festival still seems to retain an intimate atmosphere. The 2018 programme opens on 13 July and continues until 15 July.  

July: Rotterdam Summer Carnival (Zomercarnaval)

Now more than two decades old, this carnival welcomes more than one million visitors to Rotterdam for the Dutch answer to Rio. Latin music and the vibrant energy of Brazil are played by more than 25 bands marching noisily through the city streets. At night, revellers can enjoy live music performances played on two stages in the city centre. In 2018, the carnival starts on 27 July, the Battle of the Drums is on 29 July, and the street parade is on 29 July.  


Burnout, But Don’t Burn Up


After spending years and years being educated and constantly filling out standardized tests, the idea that these quantitative attributes carry on to impact us for the rest of our lives evidently looms over our heads. Or not. Either way, as each term dawns upon us, it can get a little more difficult to remember why you choose this life in the first place. I’ve gone through burnouts time and time again, and while I haven’t yet mastered the art of preventing them, I have some tricks that help me get out it.

Realize when you’re going through a burnout versus when you’re just having ‘one of those [lazy] days’.

While burnout may differ for everyone, I know when I’m going through one when I’m exceptionally demotivated, can’t concentrate on anything, and feel like no more information will diffuse into my mind. It feels more physically challenging than just having to go to a lecture when you’re really not feeling it. Learning to realize whether its a burnout or a lazy day helps you know when you really stop overworking. Realize, accept, and then try to get out it.

Take a break.

Rotterdam, and the university, have a lot of calm spaces to recollect yourselves. You could take a scenic stroll alone or with friends, take a nap back a home, or just chill. There are great spots that I personally recommend for some serene downtime, either around Kralingse Bos for free, or in the Trompenburg Gardens for around 3 euros. Beyond partying and studying, it is very important to take time for yourself to have some ‘downtime’ where you’re in a situation where you feel most calm. This really helps in, well for lack of a better term, rebooting yourself, so that your burnout doesn’t get the best of you. The sense of calm rather than a mental obstacle you can’t get over reduces the length and even strength of the burnout.

Eat something good.

This doesn’t just mean something healthy. Taking care of yourself physically will help you take care of yourself mentally; and vice versa. However, it is important to sometimes eat for your soul rather than just your beach body. Why? Feeling happy, even momentarily, can boost your motivation to do other things. If you’re really keen on staying ‘healthy’ rather than having something really greasy, there’s always really delicious fruits (personally, I miss the guavas and mangos from back home in Thailand) that you could try to get your hands on.

Do some work, but take frequent breaks.

Being someone with immense bad luck, I have never had a burnout that was kind enough to come before a break of some kind – no, I would always have more deadlines and more tests upcoming. As much as it sucks, doing a little bit of work or study maybe in 15 minute increments with similar breaks helps. Forcing yourself to concentrate might end up being counterproductive in some cases, so when your mind wanders off, instead of feeling like you need to punish yourself and force your interest onto your assignment or reviewing, take the break your mind craves.

And even more so, try not to leave things for last minute beforehand so that you have paced yourself out and aren’t stressed the night before the exam because you haven’t studied enough. If you’re honest with yourself and try to understand yourself and adapt instead of fighting it, you’ll never let a burnout burn you up.


Keep Calm and Power Up

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How to make sure your study breaks don’t take five hours each.

In the midst of exams, deadlines and stress, you are studying for hours, and all of a sudden you start to feel a massive headache – with a side of extreme frustration. There is only one solution. You need a study break. However, the problem usually is that you either have no time for a break, or you take a small break that will automatically lead to an accidental free afternoon…

So let me show you my five tips for short breaks that can calm you down and power you up for another long study session!

  • Get some food

You can either go down to the store and get yourself some brain food, or get creative with all the stuff you have left in the fridge. Don’t just open a bag of chips and get back to your desk. That cannot be seen as a break. The point is to focus your attention on something else completely by spending 10-30 minutes preparing some food that you can then use as a snack during your next study session. Think about a nice (fruit) salad, your own milkshake or some cooked pasta. Easy to make, healthy and great food for study!

  • Watch a comedy show

Giving your brain the time to relax and to not think about anything can be just what you need sometimes! Unfortunately, Netflix can easily get you distracted for too long. When you want just a small break, then a two-hour long movie is not really an option. Neither is a 40-minute episode, since we all know we won’t stick to just one with those cliffhangers. But the great thing about comedy shows is that most episodes don’t end with cliffhangers, they are only twenty minutes long and don’t require any thought! Perfect for a short break.

  • Go for a walk or run outside

Nothing more refreshing than fresh air. You don’t even have to walk for long. A quick walk around the neighborhood can already do wonders for your concentration. And if walking is too slow for you, you can always speed up and run for a little while instead.

  • Finish all those necessary, boring tasks

Do some laundry, clean your bed, organize your music playlists, pictures or clothes. Clean up your photo album on your phone or old conversations on WhatsApp. Maybe these aren’t the most exciting tasks ever, but they are at least taking your mind off of studying while being productive at the same time. And another plus, while these tasks provide not much fun or entertainment, you will be more likely to keep it short!

  • Call a friend, but don’t text!

With texting, you’ll easily get distracted by all the other apps. But when you just call up a friend you can talk for a while, feel sad together, talk about the stress of life, or give each other a small pep talk. Your friend (hopefully) has a life of their own and things to do, so they won’t be able to stay on the phone for too long. But it can be a fun, short distraction for your brain, so that afterwards you can focus your attention again on your upcoming exam or paper.

Now, I cannot guarantee 100% success rates for these techniques. Although designed as short breaks, without the right discipline, these can easily turn into long breaks. But anything can happen if you want it to. I hope these ideas work as well for you as they are working for me, and if not, I hope you enjoyed your break by reading this!