My dad's cousin Albert picked me up from Schiphol airport and we went for dinner at his house near Haarlem. My dad's other cousin Angelique came by, and with kids and partners it was quite a feast. We had not met a lot when I was younger, but we all became great friends while I was living in Amsterdam in 2004 and now I try to visit as often as I can.
Saturday morning I had a meeting with the owner of the Frozen Fountain (on the Prinsengracht), Cok De Rooy (yes the Dutch have funny names sometimes). Cok is the guy who first started to champion young Dutch designers in Amsterdam, before Droog and Moooi were around to do it. His store is in my opinion one of the best design stores in the world. We had a great chat and he showed me around the store.
From there I headed East to the base of the Red Light District and the home of Australian designer Anthony Dann (or 'Anthony Dann the cardboard man', as he is known by his friends). He and his wonderful fiance Pheobe have been living here for a while now and were nice enough to offer me a place to stay for the night. We were soon on bikes on the way back West where I had arranged to meet my Dad's long lost cousin Robb at his house on the Keizersgracht. When my grandfather was a young man he lived in Holland and started a business with his brothers. Having had enough of the post war recession in Holland, my grandfather moved to Australia, while his brothers turned their business into a massive industry. As a result my Dutch side of the family are LOADED and my grandparents lived in a shack with a dirt floor with six kids. Oh the pain...
That night we were going out for a drink with Anthony and Pheobe, little did we know that their friends had organised a surprise engagement party for them. Happily Anthony and Pheobe became engaged a few weeks ago and the party was in the honour of such a happy union. It was in a great little Spanish deli in the Pijp, just around the corner from another incredibly creative Australian, Lucy McRae. Lucy dropped by for a late drink and the evening was complete. If you haven't checked out Lucy's work, DO IT (see Lucy's blog here). She has just designed an amazing suit to be worn in the upcoming film clip of Swedish pop-star Robyn. Very interesting.