Marcel van Delft
Jack of all trades, master of none.
Psychologist, teacher, writer, father, husband to wonderful wife, life-long learner
I saw the light (aanschouwde het levenslicht) in 1978, in a Dutch place called Gouda, famous for its cheese. Strangely enough, my family is named after a different place, called “Delft”, which I’ve rarely visited. My parents are originally from the Hague, famous for . . . well, you fill in the blanks.
I graduated from Leiden University in 2003, apparently having mastered something called Clinical and Health Psychology. But I only really learned psychology by living, learning, and most notably, making mistakes.
I am a great lover of stories, writing, philosophy, children, annoying questions (especially if I’m the one asking them), thinking, food, travelling, music, spirituality, nature, and my inspiring Indonesian wife and half-Indonesian kids.
Life has challenged me and I have been struck with illness, being told by “experts” that I would most likely be unable to have offspring, but had a kind of spiritual awakening after receiving miracles that proved those “experts” wrong – I have 2 kids now.
In the process of overcoming my personal challenges – especially facing some ferocious demons along the way – I have learned much about life, people, and religion – I am a Muslim convert. However, especially with regards to this religion, I do not claim to know anything, except being an expert on my own personal spiritual experience of course.
The most important thing I’ve learned so far, is the importance of surrender, acceptance, and gratitude. It has opened gates to realities I had not though possible – especially realities of my own psyche.
I am Dutch, meaning to say I am from the Netherlands. There are many stereotypes about the Netherlands (wooden shoes, windmills, tulips, dikes, drugs, cheese . . . you name it). And unfortunately, some of them are actually not that far from the truth:
Going Dutch. It has been said that a Dutch person would rather cut of an ear (Vincent van Gogh, anyone?), than spend too much money. If you are going out for dinner with a Dutch man or woman, chances are you will be paying for your own meal!
Bikes. The Netherlands is practically infested with bicycles. There are more bikes than there are people, and since it’s a relatively small country, that says a lot. Many are stolen also, so that means a lot of frustrated Dutch people.
Frankness. The Dutch are known for their “er geen doekjes om winden (not beating about the bush)”, meaning to say they are very straightforward and direct in conversation, sometimes coming across as rude when perceived by the uninitiated.
Tallest in the world. I am a modest dwarf measuring 1.88 meters, living among giants, often more than 2 meters tall. We truly are the tallest in the world.
Below sea level. Yes, it’s true, about one third of the country is below sea level! As a matter of fact, the lowest point is said to be 22 feet (6.7 meters) below sea level. Perhaps because of that, we experienced a great flood in 1953, causing many people to die, and even more to become homeless, only 8 years after World War Two.
Inspired by Dutch Review
The Netherlands is also known to be a nation of tolerance. Various ethnic groups with different values and religions live together in relative harmony, or at least, they’re supposed to.
Source: Central Bureau voor de Statistiek
Religious tolerance was the reason why many in the past fled their country to avoid prosecution for their different beliefs, to be welcomed by the Dutch. But even at that time, philosophers like Erasmus knew that the Dutch were just as “human” as most other nations on Earth: “Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn’t – it’s human.
In the past, I liked to passively make the world more colourful, by composing Dance music:
Now I like to fight ignorance actively, and increase compassion, gratitude, and peace, by teaching.