Category: Intercultural communication

The light of St Lucia (Finland)

Over Christmas I received a Postcrossing postcard from the Swedish speaking minority living along the coasts in Finland. Although the card itself showed the Viking line, which cruises between Turku or Helsinki in Finland and Stockholm in Sweden, the sender talked about the celebration of St Lucia on the 13th of December. Although that is …

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The Pensacola Beach sign in Florida

A perfect Postcrossing postcard for this week – it is very sunny here in Nijmegen – is the one I received of the Pensacola Beach sign in Florida. It is an iconic landmark from the 60s which points the way to the beach bridge to get to the barrier island that is Pensacola Beach. Initially only …

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The Stadthuys in Malacca

This Postcrossing postcard came from Malaysia, but has a Dutch ‘background’. It shows the Stadthuys in Malacca, which might well be the oldest remaining Dutch colonial building left in Southeast Asia. It was built shortly after Malacca was captured by the Dutch in 1641 and modelled after the city hall of Hoorn, the Netherlands. That …

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Food for thought: TEDxNijmegen, accelerating from age 0 – 110

A couple of weeks ago I attended TEDxNijmegen, which was a very inspirational day. I learned something from each and every one of the speakers, but here’s what struck me most: The power of numbers The talk of Amy Robinson (A game to map the brain) was about citizen science, which for me opened up …

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The Elk Man from Perm, Russia

This Postcrossing postcard is also about symbols of a culture (see Folk costumes from Poland), but this time not about a contemporary culture, but an ancient one. It came from Perm, at the geographical centre of Russia, and shows a bronze cast of the Elk Man – a priest or a warrior. These Perm Animal Style casts …

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A cure called Placebo

This week I came across a newspaper article about the potential of the placebo effect. The article quoted Josien Bensing, professor in clinical and health psychology of the University of Utrecht, who argues that instead of trying to eliminate the placebo effect, we should try to use it. In 2010 she published an academic article …

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Folk costumes from Poland

Via Postcrossing I received a 40-year old postcard from Leszno, Poland, which shows different folk costumes. Folk costumes are often associated with a geographical area or a period of time in history. It is a way in which an identity can be expressed. This is also the case for clothing in general. One example is a school …

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Canada – Dragon Boat Races

From Canada I received a Postcrossing postcard about dragon boat races. It read: “Greetings from Toronto, Canada, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There is always some festival (music, cultural, food, movies) going on and restaurants from every country can be found around town. Happy Postcrossing!” One of those festivals is the …

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Can you go beyond your stereotypes?

“For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see.” Walter Lippman The other day I attended Science Café Nijmegen. This time it was about cognitive illusions, and one of the speakers, prof. Daniel Wigboldus of Radboud University Nijmegen, talked a bit about stereotypes. His story, in …

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Defending your PhD thesis: the Dutch way

Today a year ago I was defending my PhD thesis at Radboud University Nijmegen. It was quite a happening, what with the pedel, seven examiners in full academic dress, two paranimfen to support me, and all my friends and family present. This, of course, is not how it happens around the globe. For example, in …

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