Travelling in Europe: by country what can and can’t be done this summer

From 15 June onwards, we are allowed to go back to many countries on holiday in Europe. At least from our cabinet. Because the Dutch are not yet welcome in all Schengen countries, even governments sometimes brood on an official decision. An overview of our correspondents on the ground.

Belgium will reopen its borders to residents of Schengen countries from 15 June. This was announced by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès yesterday at the end of the National Security Council meeting.

The border will remain closed for the Dutch tourist until 1 September. The country will relax border measures from 15 June, but only for Germany, Norway and Iceland.

From 15 June, Germany will be accessible to dutch and other tourists from EU countries, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom. This as long as the corona situation is similar to that in Germany. Hygiene regulations apply everywhere, a distance rule of at least 1.5 metres, contact restrictions and a gait requirement in shops and urban and regional transport. A general scheme for catering, holiday homes, campsites and outdoor swimming pools is lacking. Länder decide for themselves what is allowed.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
No restrictions or quarantine on the spot (as long as the number of infections in the Netherlands remains below 15 per 100,000 inhabitants).

It is not allowed to go on holiday in Finland from a Schengen country. It is unknown until when the borders will remain closed, at least until 15 June.

France wants to lift border controls from 15 June. From that day on, foreigners are welcome again. However, the Dutch Cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light for dutch nationals to be admitted. EU citizens do not need to be quarantined unless they come from countries that quarantine French. In France, however, hygiene rules apply. Special protocols have been drawn up for campsites, for example around the swimming pools. In cafes and restaurants there must be 1 meter distance between tables. If you want to go to the bathroom, you have to wear a mask. In Paris and surrounding areas, only the terraces are still open, due to the increased risk of contamination in the capital. For the time being, all rules apply until 21 June.

According to Greece, aircraft from the Netherlands will be welcome at athens and Thessaloniki airports from 15 June. The Dutch Cabinet still awaits a formal green light on the opening up. Passengers will be tested on arrival. Whoever has the virus must spend 14 days in quarantine. After a negative test, a week of self-isolation follows. If you want to avoid this, you have to fly from Groningen-Eelde, the only Dutch airport not on the European blacklist that the Greeks use. Via Germany is also an option. Moreover, that list is constantly being updated. From 1 July all tourists are welcome at all airports, but Greece can still refuse or quarantine holidaymakers from countries to be determined.

The Dutch cannot now go to Hungary, possible easing as of mid-June.

Since Wednesday, Italy’s borders have been open to tourists, as have the borders between the 20 Italian regions. In principle, Dutch tourists are allowed to go on holiday all over Italy. On arrival at airports, the temperature is measured and in case of fever, passengers can be subjected to a virus test. There are different rules for each region, for example on arrival in Sicily and in Puglia you are obliged to register on a special website. Taking the car to Italy is still a problem at the moment, the only possible route is now via France.

Croatia (not a Schengen country)
Croatia has been open for tourism for several weeks. The first Dutch have already been spotted on the campsites of Istria. For the time being, holidaymakers at the border must show a confirmed booking for accommodation.


Luxembourg’s borders are open, but not for holidaymakers who want to stay in Luxembourg. Only essential movements are permitted, and tourism is not included. It is not clear until when these restrictions apply. Campsites, hotels, restaurants and cafes are only accessible to luxembourgers themselves.

As of 1 July, the international airport is open again, but not for the Dutch.

From 15 June only Danish tourists are welcome in Norway. According to local media, the Prime Minister is now talking to Iceland, Sweden and Finland. After that, Norway looks further into other nearby European countries.

Austria will open its borders to all neighbouring countries except Italy on 15 June. That border will also open as soon as possible, but that depends on the contamination rates of the Italians. Moreover, the Dutch Cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light to ensure that our country is welcome again. Hygiene regulations apply throughout Austria, but from mid-June the gait requirement only applies in urban and regional transport, pharmacies, health facilities and in places where 1.5 metres can’t be kept away. Catering, campsites and outdoor swimming pools are open, but with restrictions.

Poland does not allow foreign tourists until at least 12 June. The West Polish resorts on the Baltic Sea and the popular German-Polish island of Usedom may be accessible again from that date. The other border crossings with Germany may open on 15 June. Restaurants and campsites in Poland have been open to domestic tourists since last month, but strict rules apply, such as a limit on the number of guests allowed.

With open arms, the Portuguese are ready to welcome tourists: the first holiday flight from the Netherlands arrives on Thursday. The restaurants are open, museums and other attractions as well. Through a traffic light system, sun worshippers can see which beach there is, between umbrellas must be three meters away. Everywhere the advice is to keep your distance, in shops, public transport and other enclosed spaces a mouth cap is required.

No restrictions or quarantine on the spot, tourists must be able to show proof that they have booked an overnight stay in Slovenia.

For the time being only necessary travel, situation after 15 June unclear.

Spain extends the state of emergency for another two weeks, which will be finalised on 21 June. Moreover, the Dutch Cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light to open its borders. Not all regions will have completely come out of lockdown by the end of the 21st. This is in phases, the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, for example, are slightly behind the rest. But in the vast majority of regions there will be no more restrictions. The Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and most of the Costa’s are already well advanced. Hotels, apartments and campsites are allowed to open again throughout the country.

Czech republic
Possible easing of the overall entry ban as of 15 June.

Turkey (not a Schengen country)
The Government of Turkey has indicated that tourists will be welcome again from 20 June. But for the time being, the Cabinet does not recommend travelling to countries outside the EU/Schengen zone.

Until June 15, only necessary travel. After that situation is still unclear: possible extension of the mandatory quarantine on arrival or a Covid-19 test.

There is a negative travel advice for the country for the time being. Sweden’s borders are open to foreigners from other EU countries, although tourist travel is also discouraged by the Swedish government. The country has no quarantine requirement for travelers. The beaches, restaurants and also some museums are open.

In Switzerland, the borders open on 15 June. However, the Dutch cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light that dutch people are welcome. The wearing of mouth and nose protection is recommended in train, bus and cable car. Tickets should be purchased online as much as possible. The catering industry has restrictions, for example everyone has to sit (at a table). Hotels may open wellness areas provided that a maximum of one person per square metre is allowed in swimming pool, sauna or steam room.


Reconstruction: how George Floyd was killed in 8 minutes and 46 seconds

How did George Floyd die? Using footage from bystanders and surveillance cameras, The New York Times reconstructed his fatal minute-by-minute confrontation with police.

On May 25, Minneapolis city police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a store employee accused him of paying for a pack of cigarettes with a fake $20 note. Seventeen minutes after the first police car arrived, Floyd lay unconscious on the ground, restrained by three officers.

By studying the video footage of bystanders and security cameras, along with the official documents and after consulting experts, The New York Times was able to reconstruct the minutes before Floyd’s death.

The day after George Floyd’s death, the four officers involved were fired. Shortly after, Officer Derek Chauvin, who can be clearly seen in the footage as the officer sitting on top of Floyd, was charged with manslaughter. Chauvin pressed Floyd’s neck with his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while he repeatedly begged for help and indicated that he was out of breath. Even when the emergency services arrived, Chauvin remained with his knee in the neck of the then unconscious Floyd for a full minute.



Man who was innocent for 37 years blows everyone over on America’s Got Talent

59-year-old Archie Williams blew everyone away during the latest audition round of America’s Got Talent. The American was convicted in 1983 of a rape he had not committed and served 37 years in prison. Behind bars, Williams was a loyal viewer of the popular talent show, longing to one day participate. His dream came true this week: after his audition, Archie was treated to a standing ovation and a hug from judge Simon Cowell.

After an unwarranted prison sentence of 37 years, Archie Williams is now a free man again. On stage of ‘America’s Got Talent’ he looked back on the terrible period he has had. “I couldn’t believe it was really happening,” he said of his arrest for rape in 1983. I knew I was innocent. I didn’t commit a crime. But as a poor black boy, I didn’t have the financial capacity to compete with the state of Louisiana.”

Despite forensic evidence and testimony confirming Williams’ innocence, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 22. “They wanted someone to pay the price,” Archie told judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel. “But I never let my mind go to prison.”

Finally free
Williams’ case was taken into the hands of the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to wrongfully convicted in the 1990s. Finally, a fingerprint analysis in 2019 could prove its innocence. The man was released in March last year.

All these years in prison, Archie dreamed of participating in the talent show as a loyal viewer of the show. That dream came true now: after an impressive and emotional version of Elton John’s ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, Williams was treated not only to a ticket to the next round, but also to a standing ovation from the jury and the hall. Simon Cowell was so touched by the performance that he took to the stage for a big hug, while the audience cheered and cheered him on.



Enjoying his Frisian: discover the Alde Feanen

It’s beautiful summer weather; with the distinctive white cloud skies. From the village of Wartena we sail to our place of stay in the heart of the water-rich Aide Feanen — a boat trip is the only way to get there. We’re going to lay at a jetty. ‘Ah, you will already have our accommodation there,’ says photographer Hillebrand, pointing to the ship’s cottage that arrives with a flying Frisian flag. A so-called ‘boathouse’, which can dock anywhere. How cool is it to enjoy only the sound of whistling birds and rustling reeds for two days in this floating shell, far away from the inhabited world, for two days with the low bog.

friesland shipping house

With the goat in the attic
Curious ducks come to take pole height — people are not used to them in this place — but they flee when Jacob Nauta arrives with his electric praam, a flat peat ship. Jacob provides sailing sons in the area by evening light. He was born and raised here and knows the area like no other; an ideal guide. Once we are on the road it quickly becomes clear to us that the Alde Feanen is an eldorado for plants and (predatory) birds. Roe deer and otters also feel at home there. This area used to be inhabited by hunters and fishermen, who led a meager existence there,’ says Jacob. ‘People put peat on it themselves to stoke their stoves.’ Jacob adds: ‘The area used to border the Middelsee, an arm, and was regularly submerged because of the excavations because there was no grinding yet. The people then moved to the attic with the goat. This is how the caps (excavated water puddles) and strips (drop-off bags) were created that you see around you.’ That the area besides flora and fauna also overflows with the stories, it turns out as we sail through the Langesleat, the long ditch between the villages of Wartena and Eernewoude. Jacob: ‘The Langsleatttenman is haunted here which is the spirit of Wibe, far descendant of King Redbad, who mistakenly beat his own brother Bouwe to death with his blacksmith’ hammer. He hasn’t been resting since then. Sometimes he would help people who sailed here by moving their ship forward. But when they docked in the evening, their ship turned out to be on the other side of the ship the next day. Or the walkway was gone. Very occasionally the mind sails along a bit on the helmet wood or on the boom.’ Jacob will drop us off at our boathouse after the beautiful evening cruise. It’s getting really dark now. We enjoy on our back deck with a glass of wine from the last light and its magical appearance on the water. What a freedom!

Far from being fished out
At 5:00, the alarm goes off. Today there is a very special activity planned: we are going to see up close how eel fishermen empty their traps here. You don’t normally experience something like that?!

With Jacob again as skipper we sail through the low bog for a while until we see a small boat in the far of a road with two men in yellow trousers. it turns out to be professional aling fisherman Ale de Jager and his predecessor Johannes Postmus. “What do you think?” responds John when I ask him carefully about his age. Even before I can make a throw, he proudly replies: ‘Eighty!’ And then, “I’m still busy with it; I still go fishing regularly and repair the nets at home.’

Ale, meanwhile, pulls a long shot out of the water. In the middle of the net, the catch squirms: a pair of wrist-thick alen and bycatch. Johannes immediately throws the small fish overboard, after which flying terns immediately dive off. The eels are ververbed in a barrel. Ale sprays the net with a kind of fire hose and attaches the net back to one of the many bollards that are set up in the water. “How do you know how to fix the pole?” I ask as a layman. Jacob explains and points out, “Do you see those poles over there in a line? An ”keernet’ is bound to it. The eel swims around that net and then so in the trap.’ He points again, but now in a different direction. ‘Those few poles that aren’t in line, there’s the fuiknets on them.’ Yes, now that I look at it closely, I do recognize a system in the setup. Ale explains that he used to be a carpenter, but as a child he loved fishing. Soon the idea arose to become a professional eel fisherman. But yes, how do you get in between, he thought. There are only ten eel fishermen in Friesland, who have divided the entire fishing area among themselves. And the profession is passed from father to son. Exceptionally, Ale was able to take over the baton from the aforementioned John. Ale now fishes sustainably in a thousand hectares of fishing area in the heart of Friesland, including the Alde Feanen. Eel that is substandard goes back into the water. Ale: ‘I’m looking to the future. Even then, there must still be eels to fish for.’ Besides fishing for eels, he is also involved in smoking it. He sells the eel to restaurants in his fishing area. “You can’t get it fresher.”

We have been deeply impressed by the beautiful but heavy work of the Frisian eel fishermen. And of the drive with which they practice their craft.

eel fishermen friesland

Frisian professional eel fishermen Ale and his predecessor Johannes practice their craft passionately. Photo: Hillebrand Breuker

Paddling through slog
We sail in peace along the reed collars back to our boathouse. As soon as we get there we transfer our stuff into a motorboat and canoe. I take the canoe and paddle slowly away from our boathouse, back to the inhabited world. With the warm sun on my back I glide through narrow diter full of leaves of the yellow plomp, a kind of small yellow water lily that is also depicted on the Frisian flag. Here and there, a swan flower blooms. I reach a lake in the middle of this almost tropical magrove forest, surrounded by bushchages and with two white swans in a field full of white water lilies. For me this is pura vida in optima forma. For me, this is a little fun on his Frisian.

In the narrow ditto you will find yellow plom everywhere, which is also depicted on the Frisian flag.


sleeping under the stars in North Groningen

Frits’ house and garden are very secluded

What does a night’s sleep in the Groningen open air do to someone?
‘Often, at the beginning, so right after arrival, guests still suffer from stress. “There are other campers,” they grumble. ‘Then we have to share this and that…’ My answer is the same time and time again: take a look at it, enjoy a day and then make a judgment. At some point, they’re gone. They ‘de-stress’ and open up as it were. They just need a little time to get in. Many guests see my grounds as the perfect place to unwind after a long working week, and enjoy quality time, clean air and 180 degree sun. They arrive here, get out of the car – [as an illustration Frits breathes deep through his nose] – and get an overdose of oxygen. Really, I respect people who live in Amsterdam, where space and fresh air are limited.

My terrain is the perfect place to unwind, and enjoy quality time, clean air and 180 degree sun

It sounds like you’ve created some kind of oasis. Does it feel the same way?
“It’s funny you call it that. My brother lives in Australia and a while ago he was visiting. He too was enthusiastic about the Campspace and the contact with guests that comes with it. And guests, in turn, enjoyed speaking to an Aussie (someone from Australia). My brother just noticed that the Campspace should have been called corroboree. A corroboree is a meeting place in Aboriginal culture. They come together to dance and tell stories. I have to agree with him; my Campspace does indeed feel like a meeting place.

Around frits’ yard lies a nature reserve of 16 hectares

To what extent can guests get in touch with you?
‘I’m definitely open to it. But I’m not going to get in their way either. Since 1992 I have my own construction company. I specialize in the use of organic materials. For work, I travel all over the country. I usually leave on Sunday nights, and i’ll be in an Airbnb until Thursday. What makes my Campspace unique is that as a guest you can check in and out whenever you want. You’re always welcome, even when I’m not home myself. As a result, it’s always a surprise who I find in the yard on Thursday night. I have been receiving guests on my property for over ten years. In all these years, All I saw was happy faces after I got home. What else do I want?

Plenty to do. For example, pick your own vegetables or relax in the sun

What is there to experience on and around your yard?
‘There is always a place that is needed for you at that moment, from the wind and in the sun. You can lie down in the grass, you can sit under a tree, you can pick your own vegetable from the vegetable garden or you can sit behind the attic window with a booklet. If you prefer to go out, you can of course also grab your bike and cycle to the Wadden Sea – Europe’s largest beach. On the North Groningen coast there is usually no human being to be seen. When they lose me, I’ll be at the dob, an excavated nature pond in the adjacent nature reserve of the State Forest Service. The water is pure and clean. You can swim there all year round or practice the Wim Hof method (breathing technique) for example.

End your evening around the campfire

The nearby Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer will not apply until late at night. What does it mean? And what can guests expect

‘Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer (Lauwersmeer National Park and the area around it) is the least populated part of the Netherlands. The stars are extremely visible because there is hardly any light pollution. You feel like you’re in a 3D starry sky all the time. The Milky Way, Orion; You can see them all. There are tours you can do at night. You’ll go into Dark Sky Park with a ranger. Your mobile phone is left behind, because even if your screen lights up, there is already light pollution. It’s only when you’ve walked around here that you realize how dark it can really get. So the Dark Sky Park means that a new world is opening up for you, that you will see the bigger picture a little better.’ − € 20 per night


This way fruit remains longest-lasting (and that’s how you keep it best)

Nothing as healthy as a fruit basket on the table, which everyone can take their own all day. Then of course you want to be able to enjoy it as long as possible. That’s how your fruit is best – and you do this against annoying fruit flies.

In your smoothie, by your yogurt or something out of control: fruit is delicious. But unfortunately, on hot days fruit ripens faster than when it is cold. This also means that you can keep it for less time. How do you make sure that your fruit holds good as long as possible? We figured it out for you.

Exactly how long you can store fruit depends on the type you choose. “There are ways to extend the shelf life of your fruit. One fruit is best used in the fridge, while the other fruit is a longer life in a bowl outside the fridge,” says , spokesman for The Nutrition Centre. She stresses that it is best to eat fruit separately rather than in a smoothie.

Fruit in the fridge

Apples can be kept in the fruit shelf for a small week, but in the fridge you can store them for 2 to 4 weeks. “Make sure your fridge is set at the right temperature for optimal taste and shelf life. A temperature of 4 degrees is best. At this temperature, bacteria and fungi grow less quickly and at the same time your products suffer as little as possible from the cold.

Soft fruit such as raspberries and strawberries is also best stored in the fridge. For optimal shelf life, place the fruit on a piece of kitchen paper on a plate or in a bowl. The kitchen paper ensures that your fruit does not get moist, so you can keep it well for up to three days. Kiwis, grapes and pre-cut fruit are also best used in the fridge.

Hole in a lemon
Lemon and other citrus fruits retain their taste best and longest outside the fridge. It’s good to put a ‘grab stock’ of fruit on the table in a fruit bowl because it makes you grab a piece of fruit faster, but the rest is better stored in a cooler place: between 10 and 15 degrees.

Do you need a little lemon juice for a dish, for example? Then don’t cut open the whole fruit, but stick a hole in it and squeeze it out. So you can use it more often and he stays good longer.

Outside the fridge
Bananas and other exotic fruits also benefit better from a spot outside the fridge. This group suffers from so-called ‘cold decay’. This means that they do not go well at a temperature below 7 degrees Celsius. As a result, cells break down and the fruit loses moisture faster, which negatively affects the taste. Eventually, the fruit can even rot from it. The best option is to store them in a cool pantry. One exception: when the fruit is cut, no matter what kind, it is best to keep it in the fridge.

“Do you want to keep fruit good as long as possible? Don’t put it close to bananas’
Do you want to keep fruit good as long as possible? Then don’t put it near bananas. Bananas repel a substance called ‘ethylene’. This strengthens the ripening process of the other fruits. Fortunately, you can also use this to your advantage: is your avocado still too hard, but do you really want to do it through your salad this morning? Then put it in a bag together with a bunch of bananas – et voilà: the next day your avocado is ripe

Rotten spot spotted? Don’t throw the fruit away right away. A spot on a strawberry is of course not good, but as long as it is not too big you can just cut it off and you can still eat it. “Also does the rest of the strawberry look a little fair and feel soft, then it is better to throw it away

Rotten spots
‘Look, smell, taste’, is in the case of fruit a saying that the Nutrition Centre likes to use. “If your fruit is no longer good, you will taste it immediately. Do you see a moldy or beurous burr in a box with other blackberries? Then take these out to prevent further molding from the other blackberries in the box,

Fruit flies? This helps them prevent it.

Fight them by cleaning up properly. Do not leave sliced or peeled fruit in the kitchen or living room.
Swap your garbage bag regularly – especially if you find that there are fruit flies in it.
Use a fly cap to protect your fruit from fruit flies and other insects.
Wash your fruit well before you eat it.
Put a bottle of red wine with a bottom of wine in the kitchen: within one day you have captured a large part of the Fly family


The 10 most beautiful villages in France

We can’t travel yet, read about it. The Michelin Guide The most beautiful villages in France, for example. Travel journalist Hans Adventure was inspired and made his own selection.

Le Bois, Savoie
In Champagny-en-Vanoise, the valley ends and it looks like the buildings are ending. But a narrow road will take you even further. The asphalt climbs almost perpendicularly and wriggles through a gorge until a plateau looms with in the middle of the hamlet of Le Bois. One hundred years ago, this was a thriving farming community with hameaux, groups of houses of wood and stone inhabited by large families. Some of the buildings are in disrepair, part beautifully refurbished and in use as a holiday home in the summer. In Le Bois, original façades – sometimes the old advertisement of a café or shop are still visible – recall the vivid past. The place is peacefully on the edge of the Parc Nationale de la Vanoise

Collioure, Pyrénées-Orientales
“Come here,” Henri Matisse wrote to his friend and fellow painter André Derain in 1905. Immediately after arriving at collioure station, he had fallen in love with the light, the village and the languid life on the coast. That summer, the fate of the fishing village of Collioure changed and – according to the experts – that of painting. Matisse and Derain had the colours popping on their canvas and the village became a popular destination for painters and art lovers. Beautiful it is still there with pastel-coloured houses, a robust castle, traditional fishing boats and a spectacular rock coast. In bar Les Templiers there are reproductions of works with which artists paid their bills. Among them also Picasso, Chagall and Dalí.

Balazuc, Ardèche
Balazuc balances on a steep rock face above the fast-flowing Ardèche. Every time the wind in the valley stirs up, the houses seem to be blown into the abyss. Yet they have held out for centuries. The town of Balazuc almost still looks like it did hundreds of years ago, when the Seigneurs ruled the Balazuc there with a strict hand, controlled the region and went on a crusade. The Rue Publique was the main street of the village in the Middle Ages. When you walk through it, you’re constantly surprised. Due to a beautiful water source, a special façade or an alley that hides under old vaults. Take a wall at the edge of the village and wait for the sun to drop behind the mountains across the water. Pure magic!

Cassel, Le Nord
Cassel’s appeal is in the unique atmosphere. It feels like France, but the village looks like Flanders. Including a Grand Place that is invariably the centre of a city or village in Belgium. Cassel is located in the heart of Frans Vlaanderen, surrounded by places with names like Boeschepe and Bollezele. After a series of wars and borders, these originally Flemish villages finally ended up in France at the beginning of the 18th century. For a long time people stuck to their West Flemish dialect, but nowadays there are hardly any inhabitants who speak it. Cassel is the ideal starting point for a visit to this region full of buildings that are more Flemish than French.

Claviers, Var
They are characteristic of the hinterland of the Côte d’Azur: the villages perchés, high-altitude villages overlooking a landscape of olive trees, vineyards and undulating hillland. Many sun worshippers take a trip from the beach to top performers such as Gourdon, Tourrettes-sur-Loup and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Claviers is just a little further away from the main tourist concentrations and has remained authentic. The village has a small medieval core with creep-by-sneak-through streets, which used to bustle with activity including cobblers, basket braiders, tailors, olive mills and potters.

Cancale, Brittany
A stone’s throw from the famous fortress town of Saint-Malo is the village of Cancale. Cosy centre, beautiful waterfront location, charming harbour. But above all, Cancale is the capital of oyster farming and culi fans come from far and wide to eat oysters here or buy them directly from the producer at the market. Some growers have opened their business to visitors, including a tasting and peek at the oyster banks in the sea. From the higher cliffs there is beautiful views of the hundreds of oyster fields that fall dry at low tide.


Bonneval-sur-Arc, Savoie
Bonneval-sur-Arc is a small human bastion in the wild mountain world of Haute-Savoie. It consists of a relatively modern centre with some hotels and apartments and an authentic part that belongs to Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, a club of beautiful villages with strict admission requirements. The old part has hardly changed in hundreds of years. The houses are built of wood and grey stones, with slate roofs and small windows. The village, located 1800 metres high, is located at the foot of the Col de l’Iseran, known for the Tour de France. A short walk leads to the abandoned hamlet of L’Écot, which is listed on the list of monuments and feels like the end of the world.

Le Poët-Laval, Drôme
The ancient part of Le Poët-Laval consists of ruins that stimulate the imagination and refurbished streets through which you can walk pleasantly. It is as if you are visiting a village that has slept for a hundred years and has recently been pulled from under the ivy and thorn bushes. At the top is the donjon, the fortified tower, with the remains of a castle. Below it is a terrace among the olive trees from which you look out over the Drôme. Writer Gerard Reve lived in the lower part of Le Poët-Laval. His house – La Grace – is still there, opposite the bakery. He also had his ‘Secret Estate’, hidden somewhere high in the hills. Reve was happy with his surroundings, but less enthusiastic about village life. ‘At least you still have real rights in Schiedam, I’m just talking about nothing with the neighbours. However, it is formidably beautiful again’, he wrote to his partner Joop Schafthuizen in 1977.


Mers-les-Bains, Somme
About 400 protected art nouveau buildings make Mers-les-Bains one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Europe. The promenade is a succession of colourful facades with wooden balconies, bay windows, ornaments and decorations of mosaic and tilework. The town became popular when the end of the 19th century a railway link with Paris and le tout Paris wanted a holiday home there. As if a miracle, the historic centre has almost endured the Second World War. From Mers, as the place is called in short, you definitely have to discover the coastline. It is spectacular with steep cliffs and wide beaches, where wind and waves have free reign. On foot you can also visit the town of Le Tréport, which is across the estuary. A cog wheel takes you to a viewpoint and a World War II bunker.

Arbois, Jura
Many Dutch French visitors literally leave the Jura on their way south. Not warm enough for the sun worshippers, not high enough for mountain lovers. But the region is beautiful and full of surprises. Take the village of Arbois, which is surrounded by hills and vineyards. The compact centre is full of houses in earth tones with colored shutters. In the narrow streets you will find shops with products from the region, with the emphasis of course on wine. Arbois is also known thanks to Louis Pasteur, the man who in vented the theory in the 19th century that many diseases are caused by tiny small lives. In addition, he discovers a vaccine against rabies. His statue stands in a small park on the main road through the village and his former home is now museum.


The best street food: recipe for Hong Kong egg waffles

In the world of waffles, these dough pads are distinguished by their bite-sized size: each waffle consists of thirty egg-shaped balls that are held together by the crispy batter.

160 g sugar
2 large eggs
60 ml condensed milk
120 ml water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted butter
80 g flour
31≤2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp custard powder
baking spray

1-Beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl.
2-Add the condensed milk, water, vanilla extract and butter and stir everything together.
3-Sift the dry ingredients over the bowl and stir until you have a smooth batter without lumps.
4-Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
5-Heat a waffle iron and inject the light with cooking oil.
6-Pour the batter into the waffle iron and fill it to about three quarters.
7-Close the waffle iron and turn it around so that the inside is completely covered with batter.
8-Bake the batter for 2-3 minutes on both sides until crispy and golden brown.
9-Place the waffle on a cake grill for 1 minute and serve it hot.

Gai daan tsai (‘small eggs’) was born halfway through the

20th century when the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed and many Chinese sought refuge in hong kong; the growth of the population asked for a creative use of the limited culinary resources. Some claim that the batter was made with damaged eggs, others that the waffle maker’s egg-shaped cutouts had to correctly compensate for the lack of eggs.

Trial notes
Amid the savoury dumplings and hong kong’s spicy aromas, the scent of sweet egg waffles strikes you as a sepia-colored reminder from grandmother’s kitchen. The vendors often have several waffle irons on the fire, so that each customer is assured of fresh waffles. from the irons the waffles are shaken on a grid and then put in a paper bag. Warm they are the best: the ‘egg shell’ is crispy and the yellow inner is soft and melts on the tongue. The waffle should be sweet, but not ant sweet, and it should have a pleasant aftertaste. Because a waffle can contain up to thirty ‘eggs’, it becomes a task to work them all warm ly inwards; this makes the easy to tear and distribute snack very suitable for eating with friends.


Stonehenge streams the solstice online for the first time

The ancient, mystical place Stonehenge in England has announced that for the first time ever it will live stream its solstice feast in the summer on English Heritage’s social media accounts.

Stonehenge is one of Britain’s greatest archaeological mysteries. Despite countless theories about the purpose of the place, ranging from a sacrificial centre to a celestial clockwork, no one knows for sure what drove the prehistoric British to spend so much time and effort on its construction. The first phase of construction began around 3000 BC, although recent archaeological finds show that the area had been sacred for hundreds of years before work began.

Stonehenge hosts one of the world’s most popular summer celebrations every year on the longest day of the year. Thousands of visitors come to see the sun rise behind the Whole Stone, but with the COVID-19 pandemic it is not possible to receive a crowd this year. Instead, the English Heritage organisation will offer a livestream of the sunrise on Sunday morning GMT on 21 June on the social media channels. “We hope that our livestream will provide people in the area and far away with an alternative opportunity to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year,” said Nichola Tasker, director of Stonehenge.


Forgotten states of the US: Roadtrip door Idaho

With its 50 states, the U.S. has countless road trip options. For another road trip in the future, think about an intriguing but lesser-known state: Idaho.

This state in the form of a raised gun is an exciting enigma: rugged and elegant, urban and wild, old and new. The topography limits the location of cities to a few locations that bend down from boise’s northern protrusion to Yellowstone on the Wyoming border like a fishing hook. Idaho contains rich wilderness, sharp peaks and foaming rivers, as well as high desert plains and rolling arable land. With its forests, rivers and air, the state offers a personal and undisturbed outdoor experience and a look at the roots of American history. Perhaps, in addition to all the natural beauty, you will be surprised by the inventive and creative spirit in the villages and towns of the state. An authentic journey through Idaho offers space to roam; an exceptional trip ensures that you get dirty nails.

Day 1 Explore the Boise River Greenbelt, a footpath between the city’s cultural destinations: art, history, parks, zoo and gardens. Dine at the Basque Block.

Day 2 From desert to mountains: take the meandering Payette River Scenic Byway to McCall. Raft or kayak on the Payette River or cruise silent waters on Cascade or Payette Lake. Stroll into McCall in Ponderosa State Park.

Day 3 Relax on the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway to Stanley along rugged mountains, crystal clear lakes and wooded meadows. Don’t forget to watch stars in the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve.

Day 4 After Galena Summit, Sun Valley offers outdoor activities with a distinctly decadent taste. Alternate a morning bike ride or fly fishing with visits to boutiques and art galleries. Take a chair lift to the top of Baldy and soak up the midday sun above the Wood River Valley. Switch to the evening with live music at the Sun Valley Pavilion of Whiskey Jacques’.

Food & drink
Basque cuisine

Idaho is more diverse than its reputation suggests. Boise has a remarkably large Basque community, the largest outside Spain. The Basques began to settle in Idaho in the early 19th century and now they are giving the so-called Basque Block in the center of Boise flavor with paella, lamb, chorizo and croquetas

(a kind of croquette). If you miss the annual Jaialdi (a culture festival), take the time to sample the regional specialties offered here all year round. Idaho’s unique Basque cuisine has evolved into a combination of traditional Basque flavors with American products like lamb.


Yes, there’s an Idaho Potato Museum. Yes, potatoes from Idaho are exceptionally delicious and ubiquitous; about 6 billion kilos of it is grown annually. Whether you’re eating delicious fries at Boise Fry Company (you can choose your own potato variety) or an unconventional ice cream potato (don’t worry, it only looks like a pager), the humble potato is inseparable and proudly attached to Idaho.

Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve

This is a strange and very subtly changing landscape of hardened lava flows surrounded by a diverse natural park. Descend into caves, climb cinder cones, and discover the history of the Shoshone-Bannock Native Americans through archaeological discoveries in the region.

Priest Lake

This pristine 9,300-acre lake (pictured in the forest above) reflects the Selkirk Mountains. In addition to the usual water activities, tree lovers can admire 2,000-year-old cedar trees (up to 3.5 meters in diameter and 45 meters high) in the Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars, while snow fanatics can indulge in neat orbits.

Shoshone Falls

The waterfall at Twin Falls is 275 meters wide and over 60 meters high. The water flow is strongest between April and July. The nearby Shoshone Falls Park offers beautiful photo points, a playground, picnic meadows and hiking trails, in addition to hiking and swimming opportunities. It is one of the most beautiful places in the western USA.

Wild Salmon River

The Salmon River, which begins in the waters of Redfish Lake (also the end point of the longest migration of red salmon in North America), is called the ‘river of no return’ for its fast currents and steep canyon walls. It’s partly next to the huge, rugged Sawtooth Wilderness, so a trip across this river could be the American adventure of a lifetime. See 1.5 billion ancient rock (Idaho’s oldest), rare and diverse wildlife, and ancient pioneer spots.

Art, Culture & History
Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Among Boise’s ethnic inns, restaurants and bars is the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, a successful project to introduce people to Basque culture and how it traveled 10,000 kilometres west from the Pyrenees to Idaho. Lessons euskara, Europe’s oldest language, are also offered (see the programme).

Old Penitentiary & Botanical Garden

In Boise, you can stand behind bars that kept hardened criminals inside during the wild west. The cold stone and iron are echoes of the pioneering past, but with the neighbors, Idaho’s modern history is brightened up. After tasting prison life, stroll through the 12 diverse gardens.

Silver City

See a rare mining town that has barely changed since the 1860s. Roam more than 70 buildings including a hotel, school, church, cemeteries, and the birthplace of Idaho’s first newspaper. It is located in the hinterland of Owyhee County and the Silver City Road closes in winter, but is open from Memorial Day (late May) to the end of November; all-wheel drive is always recommended.

World Center Birds Of Prey

At this center in Boise (pictured above), Fall Flights (September to November) showcases the natural elegance of birds and the expertise of the trainers by letting hawks, owls and falcons do fly shows. Visit the archives of the Falconer’s Library and the outdoor and indoor exhibitions to see how they handle conservation here.



Mountain biking in Croatia: marshes and nature parks in Slavonia

We can’t travel yet, but if we can do that again soon, Slavonia might be a happy destination. The green, hilly region in eastern Croatia can be well explored on foot and by bike.

1. Resilient Vukovar
The music in the bright pink coloured passenger boat is a tad too loud, just before the departure of a 45-minute cruise from Vukovar over the Danube. It sounds like military marching music, bombastic. A special welcome to this brand new electric boat with room for sixty passengers. When the Magenta 1 Vukovar Waterbus – as the boat is called – goes sailing, the smiley captain happily turns down the volume considerably. To the delight of guide Gorana Kušic: her voice does not reach that far. Kušic – also working as a curator at the Vukovar Municipal Museum – was born and partly raised in Vukovar. “During the war in the 1990s I lived in Germany for a few years, but I’m glad I’m back,” she says.

The Danube, as the Danube is called in Croatia, lies peacefully. On the right is the border with Serbia, on the left vukovar. Just after The Second World War, this city became one of the most developed cities in the former Yugoslavia, producing textiles as an economic pillar. In this prosperous city with beautiful, monumental buildings, Croats, Serbs and other populations lived side by side without any problems. The boat sails past the huge borovo factory complex, where shoes from Bata and Adidas, among others, are produced. By the end of the 1980s, the factory had 20,000 employees, now there are only 3,000.

Everything changed in 1991, the year the Croatian War of Independence began. Twelve Croatian police officers were murdered near this factory complex on 2 May 1991. It marked the beginning of a gruesome period, with the Battle of Vukovar at its lowest point. It began on 24 August with the encirclement of the city by the Yugoslav People’s Army, supported by military forces from Serbia. The city was defended by less well-armed soldiers of the Croatian National Guard. No one could get in or out of town. There were 2,000 civilian casualties. Kušic was lucky, she says. “A few days before the encirclement, I fled to Germany with my family.

When the boat turns at Borovo to return to Vukovar, Kušic points to the water tower. Until 1991, residents of Vukovar came here to have a picnic. In the upper part there was a restaurant. During the Battle of Vukovar, the structure was hit daily by mortars, but the water tower remained standing. And yet the badly battered tower – despite many holes – stands proudly standing. Vukovar Nocturne, so is called a collection of tangible war memories in and around the city, including the Ovcara Memorial Hall, the Ovcara mass grave, a cemetery with war victims and The Homeland War Memorial Centre.

In 2020 Vukovar will be a spacious city, with lots of greenery and new construction. A number of old buildings are still there, such as The Grand Hotel, the Franciscan monastery, the Saint Philip and Jacob Church and the old gymnasium. A small part of the Baroque centre has also been preserved. Restaurants and cafes are plenty of them. Because of its rich past, the city – with about 30,000 inhabitants – has above average museums, which mainly tell the history before the war.

2. Tough climb in Papuk
There my rented mountain bike stands shining against the porch of Eco Point Jankovac, the bike rental company in The Papuk Nature Park, which opened last year. This hilly park in the otherwise predominantly flat Slavonia is located between Zagreb and Vukovar. It is a matte black bike of the brand Trek, not a cheap one, with battery. Is it necessary, electric support? “Why be difficult when it’s easy,” says the landlord, smiling. “We also have them without a battery, you know.” Please, I’m not averse to a little challenge. For 8 euros you can pedal for three hours, helmet and a ticket of the area are included. “The routes are well signposted,” the landlord tells me.

The first 600 meters go down nicely. But whoever drops has to climb, too. And sure enough, beyond the bridge is a warning sign with a big exclamation point above the word serpentina: hair-playing bends! A subsequent sign indicates that the rate of increase is 10 percent. After a few minutes of climbing, the sweat gushes from the forehead. The woman from the bike rental already knew.

After the tough climb of at least fifteen minutes there are twelve silver poles, they symbolize the twelve Croats that were shot dead in 1991, after which the Battle of Vukovar began. At the monument are candles and a wreath.

The asphalt overflows into unpaved and less steep paths along flower fields, streams and waterfalls. And through forest with impressive oaks, beech escarpments and pines. The ticket remains in the pocket, the route is indeed well marked.

Papuk Nature Park is one of the most popular recreation sites in Slavonia and a Unesco geopark: throughout the mountains you can see remnants of geological history. The many mountain bike trails are easy to connect and hikers also get their money’s worth here. In a lake near the largest waterfall in the park you can canoe.

3. Snakes in Kopacki Ride
And again there is a dark coloured snake on the asphalted road on top of the kilometre-long dike. Today I am in the marshy nature park Kopacki Rit, a stone’s throw from Osijek and about a 45-minute drive from Vukovar. It’s snake number eighteen, after twenty minutes of cycling. Half of them are dead, knocked down by cars. But this one moves, painfully slowly. Dark red blood drips out of his mouth, he hisses when I get closer.

Kopacki Rit, with an area of 238 hectares, is one of the largest natural marshes in Europe and is nominated for unesco’s natural heritage list. This is where the Rivers Drava and Danube meet. Because both regularly flood, the water level of the marshland changes time and time again. A valhalla for any animal that loves water.

The mountain bike – rented at the recently opened education centre – is a great way to explore the area. The roads are right, the signage is clear and the vistas are beautiful. An attempt to get off the beaten track by choosing an unpaved path right next to a farm turns out to be no smart move: a barking dog comes running towards me. The friendly-looking farmer calls the animal and makes it clear with sign language that cycling elsewhere makes little sense. He’s right, the dirt path runs after a mile of death.

It suffocates in this park of birds, about 300 species live there. Like the rare bald eagle and the black stork. Deer and wild boar don’t show up today.

After almost two hours of pedalling through the marshland and along pastures and arable lands, I’m back at the bike rental. A good base for boat excursions to shallow foothills of the swamp. Also here begins the White Water-Lily Boardwalk, a hiking trail of a few kilometers. For 6.50 euros you can go on an excursion with a guide. Canoeing with a guide is also possible.

When I tell the employee about the snakes along the way, she chuckles. They’re just ring snakes. They cross the dike to hibernate in a dry place on the other side.

Out & home

Slavonia is about 1600 kilometres from Utrecht. The best option is – normally – fly on Zagreb and then rent a car. Return tickets are available from 130 euros, including via Croatia Airlines. Trains to Zagreb are also possible, the ride takes about 22 hours, with three or four transfers. Returns from 100 euros.

Stay at
Comfortable sleeping in former stables can be done at Ivica i Marica on the edge of the tiny town of Karanac, not far from Kopacki Rit. From 50 euros per night.

Heritage Hotel Kurija Jankovi in Luka,č is highly recommended for more grandeur. Double room from 56 euros per night.

Renting a bike is not expensive, for about 8 euros you have a good mountain bike, including helmet and ticket of the area. If you are not well trained, you can opt for an extra pair of euros for an electric mountain bike. Routes can be found on the websites of the national parks. There are also addresses of bicycle rental companies.


Hotels Greece may reopen from 1 July

After weeks of lockdown, Greece has begun a phased reopening of various services in the country, with the aim of reopening hotels in July.

Speaking to CNN, Mitsotakis said that traveling would only be an option if it is considered safe. At European level, he said he would support travellers to get an antibody or PCR test before they arrive in Greece, stressing that if tourism is indeed possible, travellers should be prepared for their experience to be very different. ‘More social distance, maybe no bars open and no street crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece, provided the global epidemic comes down.’ The Prime Minister also said that Greece would reopen at best on 1 July and that they are preparing for it. The plan requires protocols to be drawn up with respect to airlines.

Like many countries around the world, Greece’s recovering economy has been hit hard by the loss of tourism. Mitsotakis, however, was optimistic, telling CNN that he hoped the worst for the country would be over.


Hair loss: this is how it comes – and this is what you’re doing

Losing your hair is particularly annoying. Fortunately, in many cases there is something to be done about it. Like: make sure you experience less stress in your life.

If you’ve just vacuumed your house, it’s full of stray hair again in no time. Either you wash or brush your hair and (a lot) more hair comes loose than you’re used to. You wake up and your pillow is full of hair. So annoying. How is hair loss caused? And are there ways to stop it?

According to hormone expert Ralph Moorman, hair loss occurs if we lose more than 100 hairs in a day. This sounds a lot, but it’s not so bad. “We have about 100,000 hairs on our heads on average. The amount of hair you have is hereditary. As we age, the number of hair follicles and therefore the number of hairs decreases.

It varies from person to person how long your hair can be. Every hair has a hair growth cycle. A hair consists of two parts: the follicle and the shaft. From the shaft grows the follicle, the root of the hair. As new hair in the follicle develops, the hair shaft pushes it out. This will cause your hair to grow.

Bald at once
Not all hair follicles grow at the same time. Anyway, otherwise we’d have lost all our hair at once. The hair growth cycle consists of three phases: growth phase, transition phase (growth grinds to a halt) and degradation phase.

During the first phase, new hair growth takes place. This takes between 2 and 7 years. The length of your hair is determined in this first phase. Eyebrows and other body hair have a shorter growth phase than your head hair.

After the growth phase you get a transition phase, which lasts two to three weeks. In it, a hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply. Then he gets into the demolition phase. This is where the hair is loosened and it falls out. At this stage you will find hairs in the shower gutter or on your brush. After the last phase, the cycle repeats itself.

There are multiple causes of hair loss. A common cause in women is PCOS: the balance between oestron (sufficient), testosterone (more than adequate) and progesterone (insufficient) is disturbed. This is particularly common in overweight women, insulin resistance or underweight.

Hair loss also occurs in the event of a lot of stress. This is due to a large presence of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. “The proteins in the hairs are then affected. Lactic acid accumulates, which makes the hair weaker and falls out faster,” moorman explains.

In order for your hair to grow optimally, it is important that your thyroid gland works well. A delayed thyroid effect causes poor blood flow and poor supply of nutrients to the hair. In addition, it reduces growth rate.

In addition, hormonal changes have a major impact on how full your hair dos is. If you are pregnant, the percentage of hair seen in the growth phase is about 95 percent. After your pregnancy, due to rapid drop in estrogen, these hairs move to the breakdown phase faster than usual.

This increases hair loss three months after your pregnancy. This hair loss is not permanent. Once your estrogen is back on the record, your hair will return to its ‘normal’ cycle and grow and fall out normally.

‘Baldness in men is largely hereditary. Unfortunately, you can’t escape it’
Baldness in men
One of the factors that affects both men and women is hair loss is stress. In addition, baldness is largely hereditary in men. Hair loss in men often follows a fixed pattern and as a man you can hardly escape it.

Another cause for baldness in men is the calcification of blood vessels around the hair follicles. As a result, blood flow decreases and fewer nutrients can reach the follicle and less waste is disposed of. “There is also a large amount of the inflammatory substance PGD2 in the scalp of balding men, which has an inhibitory effect.”

For many men, getting bald is a blow to self-confidence. Fortunately, there are more and more possibilities to disguise or prevent this ‘problem’.

“For example, hair doctors with a ‘trichoscan’ of the scalp can assess hair density and make a prediction about the course of the kaling process. Based on this, a treatment can be chosen,” says Moorman. “A lotion for improving blood flow in the scalp, a hair transplant or injections of growth factors are treatments that are increasingly being done.

Magic remedies
There are plenty of hair resources on the market. Moorman says you can’t expect miracles from most. Especially if you have a lot of aptitude to go bald. “Taking dietary supplements and minerals, for example, only works when you have shortages of these substances.”

“By supplementing this deficiency, your hair can indeed start to grow faster than before, but you already have enough of that particular vitamin and you will try to replenish it, then little will happen.”

Various spreads for stimulating blood flow to your scalp can also help. “These ensure that your nutrients can reach the hair follicles better or faster, resulting in better hair growth.

Tips from the hairdresser
According to hairdresser Nikki Visser, there is a ‘limp hair follicle’ in the event of a hair loss. There are special shampoos and kours that will make this hair follicle strengthen again. “Biotin, iron and vitamin are good to swallow against hair loss,” explains the hairdresser.

Also, there are some things that are bad for the hair, but they don’t necessarily cause her to fall out. “Some people confuse hair loss with broken hair,” says Nikki. “For example, they think that after wearing extensions you get hair loss. This is not the case: the hair is broken down faster, causing you to lose them. But this doesn’t mean they’re falling out.”

What can you do yourself?
Do not wear your hair (too) tightly in a tail. This can cause hair to break down and damage hair follicles
Don’t dye your hair when you don’t need to: hair dye contains chemicals that can pull into your scalp and harm your hair follicles.
Sleep with your hair loose! Sleeping in the night with a bun or tail creates tension with your hairline and roots.
Wash your hair with caffeine shampoo: caffeine makes your hair roots stronger and so your hair attaches longer to your scalp.
Use rubber bands without metal in them. Your hair can stick to the metal, causing them to break down. A good solution is a rubber rubber band, or a rubber band that is glued shut.


Which European countries are opening for tourism this summer?

The Ministers of Tourism in the European Union are constantly discussing measures to open the borders to tourists, possibly this summer. What does this mean for holidaymakers?

There is a risk that opening too early could lead to further outbreaks and outbreaks of infection, so governments will be cautious. Health and safety of the population determine all decisions. Social distance will also continue during a holiday; many bars, restaurants and cultural locations will remain closed this summer and medical tests may be introduced prior to flight. There is even talk of the introduction of a “Covid-19 passport”, a type of medical certificate to confirm the health condition of the holder, although the details are still being worked out and it is not certain. That’s because there’s still no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune to a second infection.

For the time being, it is still minimally possible to cross borders within the EU. On 17 March, officials called on Member States to close the borders until mid-May, allowing only essential travel from outside the EU to 26 countries, plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. An official opening date has not been announced and French President Emanuel Macron hinted last week that EU borders could remain closed until September.

However, some EU countries that have managed to keep infection rates low are beginning to test the possibilities. Below is a list of who does what and when. However, these are only proposals and can be withdrawn at any time. It’s important to check the latest government advice before making decisions about a trip. It is likely that a home holiday will be the safest option for summer 2020.

Croatia’s tourism minister, Gari Cappelli, suggested that campsites, marinas and hotels could open in remote areas. “A modest recovery could begin with these three target areas that could provide some isolation and privacy,” he told local media.

The Government of Cyprus says that it will open in part to tourists in July and that only travellers from countries that have managed to keep the rate of infection low are allowed to enter, including Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Greece and Israel. ‘We hope to know within a few weeks when tourists can come from these countries,’ Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told the Financial Mirror.

Greece’s tourism minister says the country will prepare to welcome foreign tourists from selected countries from July. ‘Opening the boundaries is something that needs to be discussed with health experts and we hope they will give us the green light to open gradually,’ Charis Theocharis told the BBC.

Spain’s Canary Islands could be open to domestic visitors again on 1 August, with plans to welcome international visitors by October. Tourism Minister Yaiza Castilla told local media that she wants to turn the islands into ‘a world laboratory for tourism safety’.


Is a health passport required to travel?

Some governments are thinking about the possibility of giving people a health passport so they can travel again.

Authorities in Greece say they can open national borders to tourists arriving with a health passport: electronic documents that ensure a person’s health status and confirm that they have been tested negatively for COVID-19. Travelers could show the document on their smartphone before boarding their flight and then have their temperature checked as soon as they land. Popular tourist destinations such as Sardinia, Capri and Ischia in Italy and the Balearic Islands in Spain are considering similar measures.

Governments in Germany, France and the UK are continuing discussions with researchers and technology companies about the possibility of developing these health or immunity passports so that people can move freely through their country. Similar to the color-coded QR health system in China that monitors whether a person poses an infection risk, passports would use data from antibody tests specific to COVID-19 to determine whether people currently have the virus or not. But there are concerns about the efficiency of these documents when they are introduced.

That’s because the World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is currently no evidence that people who develop antibodies after recovery from COVID-19 are immune to a second infection. In a report published on April 24, the WHO noted: ‘At this time during the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of immunity by antibodies to ensure the accuracy of an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate.” People who assume they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore health advice.’

For the time being, more research is needed before health passports are viable. But it’s likely that testing could become the norm when flying. In April, Emirates became the first airline to carry out rapid on-site testing. In partnership with the Dubai Health Authority, the airline tested passengers heading to Tunisia from Dubai on COVID-19 before boarding, with blood tests yielding results within 10 minutes.


Chip needs to tell me within minutes if anyone has corona

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Know within a minute if anyone has the coronavirus. That’s where the young Amsterdam company Spektrax is working on. It develops a scanner and a chip, which the virus should detect almost immediately in a little mucous membrane. Founders Eva Rennen and Johan Pieter Verwey hope to have a reliable test method ready in a few weeks, which they can bring to market in the coming months.

Spektrax’s test is initially like a regular corona test. Someone who is medically trained puts a long cotton swab in the nose or throat of a possible patient. This way, a little mucous membrane is ‘harvested’. Then the material goes on a chip, which is put into a hand scanner. In the scanner, the sample is shined with a laser. Molecules start to vibrate and so the ‘fingerprint’ of the virus must be visible.

The removal of the mucous membrane from the nose or throat lasts the longest. That could take a minute. The scanner itself then needs ten to thirty seconds to conclude whether someone has the virus, according to Rennen and Verwey.

Still in development

Spektrax stresses that the technology is still in development and still needs to be adapted. The company receives mucous membrane from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. This allows the software to learn what the coronavirus looks like. “We also test blindly, where we don’t know if it’s corona or not. We record what the scanner says and doctors see if it’s true.” Verwey and Rennen won’t say how reliable the system is now. “We want to go to 100 percent. But so far it looks promising.”

The system is made in the Netherlands. Verwey: “We can now make several tens of thousands of chips a month. In the coming months, we need to grow to hundreds of thousands. The scanner itself is a one-time purchase. After that, you’ll need a chip that’s put into the device for each test. After the test, the chip is thrown away and the researcher picks up a new chip.” Verwey keeps a low profile on the costs, but it is more than “1 or 2 euros per test”.

The system is primarily intended for doctors, says Verwey. But if it turns out that it does indeed work, “we can deliver it more broadly”. One person with one device can check about 30 people in an hour, he calculates. With a few people next to each other, he says it is possible to check all passengers of a plane in a short time, or the visitors of a festival. Running: “they’re places where you want to know if people are carrying the virus and at risk of infection, but where you don’t have the chance to start an entire lab.”


Beware of fleeceware apps: try for free first, then 10 euros a week

That cool photo editing app you might find on Facebook and you can use for free for a week before you have to pay for a subscription? Don’t. Android and iOS app stores have numerous so-called fleeceware apps, which pull tens of dollars from your account before you know the scam. How do you arm yourself against it? Our tech expert explains.

With that new app you discovered on Facebook, you can edit photos of yourself to make them look like a scene from The Simpsons. Geinig, so you install it quickly. You don’t think clearly for a moment and answer ‘yes’ to all reports. But then you get an email from Apple or Google, saying that there is a subscription associated with the thing that writes off 10 euros per more of your credit card. Good for about 520 euros a year if you just let that go.

What happened? You have fallen victim to fleeceware, a form of scam that has been common lately, both on Android smartphones and on iPhones. Computer security company SophosLabs has discovered and analyzed dozens since the beginning of this year and also discovered that hundreds of millions of users had already been caught. These are apps that allow you to scan barcodes, astrology apps, apps that pretend to read your palm through the camera on your smartphone, and of course countless of those aforementioned FaceApps that allow you to edit your selfies.

These apps are not illegal and do not violate the terms of use of the app stores. They’re fully functioning apps, though they typically deliver features that you might as well get from cheaper or even free apps, and there are more legitimate apps that subscribe to. Only questions that don’t extortionate: for professional apps, the prevailing prices are around 10 euros per month, for fun apps that are usually much lower. In addition, the subscriptions usually apply to advanced features, not the overall use of the app.

“Fleeceware apps are not officially harmful, but they are unethical,” says Jagadeesh Chandraiah, a researcher at Sophos Labs. Although there are elements to it that are at least on the verge of illegality, he continues: “They seem to encourage unsuspecting users to install these apps through aggressive online ads and what are probably fake five-star reviews.”

Of course, the culprits behind that fleeceware don’t even expect users to let that subscription go through that subscription for a year, or even months. But by taking money from millions of users for a few weeks, they still get a big deal. Because the good news is that when you’ve had your catch, you can easily put it right: you can simply turn off any subscription in your app store settings.

With Android, open the Play Store and tap the menu item to the left of the search bar (the three horizontal dashes), then tap Subscriptions. You’ll see a list of subscriptions, which includes the new ‘clandestine’ subscription. Tap that, choose Cancel Subscription and it’s gone. With iOS, open the Settings app, tap your own name, and then choose Cancel Subscription.


Enjoy flowering flowers online around the world

Many places in the world are covered with colorful wildflowers this time of year, but because of COVID-19 restrictions we can’t see them all in real life. Fortunately, you also have the opportunity to enjoy it online.

The National Trust in the United Kingdom has made a video of the 20-minute Hyacinthoides using its own archival material. Almost half of the world’s clocks are growing in the UK and national trust management spots are ideal for flourishing. Due to the warm weather, they bloomed early in many areas and you can enjoy the “slow TV” shots of the flowers in this YouTube video.

The annual poppy bloom in Walker Canyon, California attracts a huge number of visitors, but the path is closed to the public this year. To boost social distance, the city has posted a live connection to the site so viewers can enjoy the views of the poppies along Walker Canyon Trail from home.

Washington DC also encourages people to admire the cherry blossom online. You can visit the live “bloomcam” at the National Mall Tidal Basin here and watch the virtual offerings of the National Cherry Blossom Festival here.

An abundance of nemophila flowers, also called ‘Forest Sweetheart’, is currently flourishing in The Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan, which is currently closed to the public. New photos have been taken to show the 5.3 million flowers in all their glory, and you can view them here on the park’s Instagram page.

At this time of year, the Netherlands is usually equipped with beautiful tulips. This year the famous Keukenhof Flower Exhibition had to be cancelled, but instead “Keukenhof Virtually Open” has been launched. It shares a series of videos that show what the grounds look like, including a video featuring beautiful bluebells and another with the tulips.



Jan is an ICU doctor in New York: ‘If you don’t have money, you’re screwed here’

In New York, IC doctor Jan Bakker marvels at hospitals providing pointless care in the middle of a corona hotspot. “It is every man for himself and God for all of us.”

The first emergency IcPs will be closed again, says IC doctor Jan Bakker in the elevator of the University Langone Hospital in the heart of New York. Fewer new sick people, fewer new deaths. But the city lost at least 11,000 of its 8 million inhabitants. How can a virus so household in the home of the top of the medical world?

It is teeming with people like Jan Bakker (62), professor of intensive care, who was taken from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam to the prestigious Columbia University and has been treating patients at the Langone hospital at New York University for the past year. What has made this crisis clear is that the American health system is pretty much the worst system we know in the developed world. It’s best if you have money and want to get every possible treatment until your last gasp. But if you don’t have anything, you’re really screwed.

Run and fly

From his department, Bakker has a view of the East River and the district that is across the street, Queens, where the largest fires lie. While some nurses there feared for their lives for lack of mouthcaps, Bakker went to work with a reasonably comfortable heart. yes, it was running and flying, then suddenly 200 ICU beds were full, instead of 24, but the place was pretty under control. And mouthcaps still have more than enough in this rich hospital for well-insured New Yorkers.

Bakker also runs services at the bellevue public hospital just down the road, and has to deal with a very different group of Americans – those with untreated health problems. He picks up patients who only inject insulin twice a week because they don’t have money for a daily dose. “If you get Covid, of course you start with a backlog.”


There’s a lot wrong with the protests against lockdowns here, especially when you look at the financiers behind it, but I do understand that people are taking to the streets. Because from the moment it was announced that they were no longer allowed to work and were therefore laid off, they had no health insurance and no income. Then you hear: I’m lucky, because I got two more weeks of health insurance. As a douceur, you have to be grateful for that – that it doesn’t stop right in the afternoon.

All that inequality bothers him. But the hardest, says Bakker, were the ‘pointless’ treatments. The oldest patient we put on life support here was 99 years old. From a Dutch perspective, that’s just outrageous. You can’t do that, we say. Luckily, she died a few hours later. Fortunately, yes – that’s how he sees it, because a patient with no perspective suffers damage from catheters in veins and a hose in the trachea, without it yielding anything.

Delaying death
Some of them are dying here for a week. I’ve had a number of patients that everyone said: no chance. But the treatment is only being expanded. All you’re doing is postponing death. That’s very difficult, especially since it’s not negotiable.

“I finally told a family, “I’m not willing to do what you want, because your husband, your father is not a guinea pig. But you never know, they said. Well, before that, I’ve been in training for 16 years, and I’ve been intensely for 20 years now. Then you get the answer: we also know a lot, because we read a lot of articles. They wanted to give him antibodies and were willing to buy them themselves and deliver them to the doorman.

American mentality

Bakker has accepted it as the American mentality. As long as there is a chance, no matter how unmentionably small, everything is pulled out of the closet. No more on life support? That’s considered paternalistic. That Bakker starts very directly about the end of life, is found here confronting. (‘But all the families With whom I communicated in the Dutch way that it was not going to work anymore, came by to thank that I was so honest’). There are also commercial interests – no American hospital wants to be known after the corona crisis as the hospital where not everything is done, because the wealthy patients with generous insurers have to keep coming.

It stands in the way of cooperation. Bakker suggested in the public hospital to contact the city’s top institutions, to distribute patients across different hospitals, as in the Netherlands, and to relieve the pressure. Then a long silence fell, and they started chuckling. yes, nice idea, we’re not going to put energy into that, because it’s not going to work out. We’re struggling enough, they said, to make sure they don’t take our nurses away. They offer more salary than we do.”

Squeeze your hands

The beauty of working in America, bakker believes, is the expertise of doctors who perform the same treatment so often that they have become stars in it. The big problem, he says, is that it’s every thing for himself and God for all of us.” Dutch people are allowed to squeeze their healthcare system and ‘one of the most advanced IC models in the world’, he notes.

Bakker thinks that the management of an American IC would never be approved by the Dutch inspectorate. He wouldn’t be admitted to the ICU affiliated with his own Columbia University. ,,Be very happy with dutch care. When I was just working in the Columbia ICU, they asked, what do you think? Well, I said, it’s a mess. Huge noise. Everything’s open, there’s only curtains. And all those announcements over the intercom – phone for doctor who, phone for doctor who. If I need a heart valve, it has to be sewn in here, but then the next day a plane is ready to fly to Rotterdam as soon as possible.



Coronavirus causes brain damage’

The Brain Foundation calls on doctors to be extra alert to the effects of the coronavirus on the brain. The virus causes damage to the brain in different ways.

The coronavirus initially affects the lungs, this can then lead to severely reduced lung function and in the worst case also to lung failure.

Oxygen deficiency in the brain
This can cause oxygen deficiency in the brain. This causes damage in the brain regions that coordinate attention, memory and planning.

In addition, a long stay in intensive care can also lead to brain damage. The Brain Foundation points to a 2019 study that says that nearly 60 percent of all patients who are in intensive care for more than 48 hours receive cognitive symptoms.

These include attention and memory problems, overstimulation, behavioural change and extreme fatigue.

There is also evidence that the coronavirus can cause brain inflammation, the foundation says. “All this ensures that healthcare can expect a large group of new brain patients,” says Merel Heimens Visser, director of the Brain Foundation.

‘Be keen on cognitive complaints’
“We therefore call on physicians to be keen on possible cognitive effects in ex-corona patients so that they can be treated at an early stage and the risk of residual symptoms is reduced.”

The Brain Foundation believes that all patients hospitalized with corona should be screened for brain damage with a short objective test.