The Athenian, a unique picture of Greek history.

Greece has a large amount of printed newspapers and magazines. Fifteen daily national newspapers, sixteen sunday papers and ten weekly papers. Besides that, there are dozens of local and regional printed newspapers, and more than a hundred magazines. But printed Greek news in the English language is hard to find. For many years, I was a fan of Athens News, a newspaper which first appeared in 1952. I couldn’t properly read Greek in the 90’s, and when travelling through Greece, … Read More

My Greek wine tips

Greek wines are gaining more and more popularity. The quality is rising, there are more boutique wineries and the export is expanding. In 2011 my book Druiven en droesem, een reis langs Griekse wijngaarden was published. Since then, the Greek wine industry has developed extensively. Nowadays, there are more than 1200 wineries. They produce 2,1 milion hectoliters wine. Consumers abroad are getting slowly familiar with Greek grapes like Xinomavro, Agiorgitiko, Malagousia and Assyrtiko. A few weeks ago I sat down … Read More

Workplace and museum: the Passimenterie Mentis in Athens

Traditional factories and workplaces in Greece are dying. They either scale up their production, replace outdated machinery and modernise their production lines, or they just perish and close their doors. Just very few workplaces still cherish their old machinery, keep on producing like they did for decades. Mostly because their owners can’t afford renewing and replacing, sometimes because they just love their old-fashioned production line. One of the oldest manufacturing venture in the country, Mentis, started in 1867. The factory … Read More

The revival of wines from Greece

“It’s taken 34 centuries, but Greek wine is finally good”, wrote wine writer David Williams in The Guardian a few days ago. Greeks are indeed among the first in the world to have produced wine. But despite the long history of winemaking, the wines themselves were not that great, and couldn’t compete on the international market. A lot changed some twenty years ago. A few young winemakers were trained in the best wine schools abroad, and continued to learn the … Read More

Robert McCabe’s passion for Greece

From June 10 to June 16, 2023, the Embassy of Greece in the Netherlands organized the exhibition Greece: Images of an Enchanted Land in the Atrium in The Hague. The exhibition showed some of the best photos of the American photographer Robert McCabe. I was asked by the Greek ambassador ms. Catherina Ghini to give a short introduction to this exhibition. In May, to prepare for this presentation, I had the pleasure and the privilege of meeting Robert McCabe in … Read More

The Bay of Navarino

Visiting places where a fierce war once raged, is not one of my favorite activities. Some people like to visit the trenches of the First World War. Others travel to Normandy just to see where the British and Americans landed in the final year of the Second World War. Others ‘collect’ military cemeteries. Yet I must admit: in Greece I recently discovered that it can definitely have its charms, to visit a place where a war has been fought, and … Read More

Book review: Clay Perry – Vanishing Greece

For years I had been looking for the book Vanishing Greece. I had first seen it in the late 1990s in the small bookshop on the main street of Kardamyli on the Peloponnese. But I was on foot, backpacking through the Taygetos Mountains. I had just taken one last weight-saving measure by leaving my second pair of hiking socks behind and breaking off the handle of my toothbrush. Every gram counted. Buying this heavy photo book during this mountain trip … Read More

The ultimate Greek paradise – the house of Joan and Patrick Leigh Fermor

  The sand-colored stones that were used to build the house, come from the nearby Taygetos Mountains. The Cycladic island of Paros was the supplier of the white marble elements. The rough gray stones on the floor were transported from the Pelion peninsula in the north of Greece. Wooden shutters that protect the windows from heavy storms and burning sun, are painted light blue; the same soft matte color that you often see in the French Provence. The huge, multi-level … Read More

Kastoria. City of bears and Byzantine churches

The road signs along the side of the highway are obvious. The warning signs show a large mother bear with a small one behind her. There are also signs with the text ‘Prosogi perasma arkoudhas’ (‘watch out, bears are walking here’). Now I also finally understand the metal fences that we have seen for miles on both sides of the highway. Bears on the road. In the afternoon, we left the airport of Thessaloniki with a rental car, on our … Read More

Anafiotika, an island without sea

The capital of Greece was still a large village two hundred years ago. When Athens was chosen as the capital by King Otto in the 1930s, it was home to about ten thousand people. After that it went fast. In 1879 more than sixty thousand people lived there, in 1896 more than one hundred thousand and now there are almost four million. Many Athenians come from other parts of Greece. As early as the 19th century, people from all over … Read More