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Lucie de Nooij | NIKHEF | The Netherlands

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Sziget

My earliest memory that has something to do with politics is the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. I was five at the time, and I remember that my parents sat in front of the television stating over and over that this was a day of international importance. And that my future would be so much different from theirs at my age. My dad traveled to Berlin not to long after that and brought us a piece of the Wall in a plastic box. It was pink on one side. Maybe, we all should throw a German party this year at November 17, to celebrate twenty years after the Fall.

Het Oostblok (The Eastern Bloc), as the countries behind the Wall are still referred to, still give me a feeling of far-awayness. I expected the Danube to be very grand, cold and dirty. I expected Budapest to be very crowded, grey and harsh. A city in Hungary is probably very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. Arriving to Budapest I found out that the city is indeed grey, but almost empty, and spacious because of the Danube, which is (luckily) broad, cold and brownish. The city is beautiful in a faded glory kind of way.

Just north of town one of the Danube’s Szigets (Islands) in turned into a festival arena once a year. We spend a week surrounded by (Balkan) music, beer and people from all over Europe. The nice thing about a festival is that you have the change to go and listen to music you usually would not hear. The concert of The Prodigy was by far the most forceful. One of my friends mistook my face of wild panic for crude pleasure, just before I ran for coverage. It made me think about that time when my father mistook my expression of utmost incomprehension for surprise when we were listening to his African drum beats and he told me that this was improvised. I had not guessed differently. Seen from a large dustbin, the Prodigy concert was good, by the way.

Back at the Nikhef, I have to say I enjoyed the combination of Eastern Europe obscurity and music. I will defenetely be back.

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