Gradske priče - Razglednica / City Buzz - Postcard
četvrtak decembar 14, 2017
CULTURE
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Razglednica iz Beograda od holandskog domaćina

Ralph van der ZijdenNeobičnu gradsku priču saznaćete od Ralfa van der Zijdena, Holanđanina koji već dve godine živi u Beogradu i promoviše ga stranim turistima kroz jedinstvene biciklističke ture. Beograd mu se uvukao pod kožu i, kako sam kaže, nije zažalio zbog odluke da ostavi svoj život u Hagu i preseli se.

Godinama je, radeći za NVO i kasnije za grad Hag, posećivao zemlje Balkana na svaka dva meseca. Posao mu je bio da održava odnose sa Beogradom, Zagrebom i Sarajevom i da menja imidž Haga – grada koji je mnogo više od Međunarodnog krivičnog suda po kojem ga znamo. Onda je kriza pogodila Holandiju, a njegova putovanja u ove krajeve Evrope su ukinuta. Beogradska atmosfera mu je toliko nedostajala da je kupio kartu u jednom pravcu, spakovao kofere i poneo jedino što Holanđaninu treba da preživi − bicikl.

Koliko se Vaš utisak o Beogradu razlikuje iz perspektive turiste i sada kada živite ovde?

Mnogo više sam video za dva godine koliko živim na Dorćolu, nego za sedam godina turističkih i poslovnih poseta. Uvek sam se pitao kako to da u centru grada možete videti Rome koji nasred ulice peru šoferšajbne dok čekate na semaforu. Nije mi bilo jasno zašto se to dozvoljava, a sada sam se i sam navikao. Čudno mi je i to koliko se svi ponose i vole svoj grad, a sa druge strane, niko ne želi da uradi nešto pozitivno – na primer, smeće se baca svuda. Ovo je grad ekstrema i zato je zanimljivo svaki dan.

Kako ste došli na ideju da pokrenete biciklističke ture iBikeBelgrade?

Problem je što se u Srbiji bicikl vezuje za starije ljude koji ne voze kola ili za profesionalne sportiste. U Holandiji ćete na biciklima videti biznismene, ministre, studente, policajce i decu. U svim većim evropskim gradovima se vozi rekreativno. A, pošto je biciklizam moja velika ljubav, u tome sam video poslovnu priliku u kojoj ću uživati − radim ono što volim, živim gde sam želeo i promovišem Beograd strancima. Inače, svaki dan vidim nešto što nedostaje i sve su to šanse za pokretanje biznisa. Prijatelji mi kažu: „Tebi je lako, nisi odavde“. Nisam razumeo takvu logiku – kako meni može biti lakše kada ne znam jezik, ne poznajem nikoga?! Sada mi je jasno, u institucijama se drugačije ponašaju prema strancima. Ipak, nije dobro svakog dana ponavljati kako je nešto nemoguće, jer onda stvarno i poverujete u to. Zato često čujem da ovde nema šta da se radi, a ja stvari vidim drugačije...

(Nastavak teksta u štampanom izdanju)

 

Postcard from Belgrade from the Dutch host

You'll hear an unusual city story from Ralph van der Zijden, a Dutchman who lives in Belgrade for 2 years now and promotes it to foreign tourists throughout unique cycling tours. Belgrade got under his skin, and as he says himself, he did not regret his decision to leave his life in The Hague and move.

For years, working for NGOs, and later in The Hague, he visited Balkan countries every 2 months. His job was to maintain relations with Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo, and to change The Hague’s image - a city that is much more than the International Court of Justice by which we know it. Then the crisis hit The Netherlands, and his travels to these parts of Europe were canceled. He missed the Belgrade atmosphere so much that he bought a one-way ticket, packed his bags and took one thing that a Dutchman needs to survive - a bicycle.

How much your impression of Belgrade is different from the perspective of tourists and now that you live here?

I saw a lot more in 2 years that I live in Dorcol than in 7 years of tourist and business visits. I always wondered how it is that in the city center you can see Roma people that wash windshields in the middle of the street while you are waiting at the traffic light. It was not clear to me why this people allow this, and now I'm used to it myself. It’s strange to me how everybody is proud of their city and they love it, and on the other hand no one wants to do something positive - for example, trash is thrown everywhere. This is a city of extremes, and that’s why it’s interesting every day.

How did you come up with the idea to start iBike-Belgrade cycling tours?

The problem is that a bicycle in Serbia is seen as something that older people drive or to professional athletes. In Netherlands, you will see businessmen, ministers, students, police officers and children on bicycles. In almost all bigger European cities they are ridden recreationally. And since cycling is my great love, I saw a business opportunity in which I could enjoy – I do what I love, I live where I want and I promote Belgrade to strangers. Otherwise, every day I see something missing, and all that things are chances to start a business. My friends say: "It's easy for you, you're not from around here." I didn’t understand such logic - how can it be easier for me when I don’t understand the language, and I don’t know anyone?! Now I know, in institutions they behave differently toward strangers. However, it is not good to repeat every day that something is impossible, because then you really believe in that. So often I hear that there is nothing to do here, and I see things differently.

(Continue reading more in printed edition)

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