Friday, May 29, 2015

Royal newsflash!

Students at first Dutch language school of Chicago are ready to meet Dutch King & Queen

Chicago, May 29th – The 75 Dutch and Belgian students - including our little man - of the TUL(i)P SCHOOL,  Chicagoland’s first Dutch language School, are in full preparation to give Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima a warm welcome during their first visit to the Windy City next Tuesday. At the Chicago Cultural Center a special spot has been reserved for the students, teachers and parents.
Principal Alexandra Van Oeteren: "This a very exciting moment for our students! They will be part of the historic event and will see and experience the connection with their roots."

About the Tul(i)p School
What started almost twenty years ago in the basement of a suburban Dutch family with just a handful of students, has grown into a school that provides Dutch lessons for elementary, middle and high school students at two Chicagoland locations.
Naperville students meet every Thursday afternoon whereas the classes in Chicago are taught on Saturday mornings. The Tul(i)p School, a non-for-profit organization, is the first of its kind in the area and is supported by Stichting NOB (Nederlands Onderwijs in het Buitenland – Dutch Education Worldwide). This Dutch foundation, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, supports Dutch schools worldwide by advising teachers and boards and by organizing annual workshops.

More information about the school: or

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chica-Go GREEN

Last Wednesday was a very exciting day for Leentje's Chica-Go and colleague/friend Ine Van der Stock: our very first Green Roof Tour. Belgian/American Eco diva (but also Environmental Economist mind you ...) Pamela Peeters, who's been hosting Sustainability Week in New York and Belgium for the second year in a row, was looking for other US satellites. Guess what?
Chicago is the first one, and we were the chosen ones to be organising this special day.

It took quite some prep work and administrative follow-up, and we were depending on the somewhat fickle weather of the past week, but we can easily say the Green Roof Tour was a huge success! Not only did we have enthusiastic guests, we had the most amazing speakers, so special thanks go out to Mr. Michael Berkshire, Green Projects Administrator at the City of Chicago, and Mr Edward Uhlir, Executive Director of the Millennium Park Foundation.
They both gave us an exclusive behind the scenes look at two of greenest spaces of this amazing city. Gentlemen: we had a wonderful, fun and instructive morning!

Before our Italian lunch at Filini (located in the Aqua Building), we visited the rooftop garden at this fascinating building designed by Jeanne Gang. The first 18 floors of Aqua belong to the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel, the higher floors are residential. Keith Koreng, chief engineer of the hotel talked to us about yet another interesting green part of Chicago.

Since this tour was such a success and we had to disappoint a lot of people who were on the waiting list, or of course working on a Wednesday morning, we promise you we will definitely do this again. Leentje's Chica-Go is in full preparation of a Green Tour that will take place at least a couple of times per month, so stay tuned for more!

Photos: courtesy of Michael Slowack 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Frida & Diego in Detroit

Frieda & Diego Rivera (c) Frida Kahlo

Last weekend we booked ourselves a rental car and drove to our friends in Ann Arbor (Michigan). Besides wanting to spend the long weekend with friends, relax and enjoy the good company (and good food of course ...), we were very much looking forward to visiting the 'Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit' exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

This exhibition explores the tumultuous and highly productive year that Diego & Frida spent in Detroit, turning point in both their careers. Between April 1932 and March 1933 Diego created one of his most accomplished mural cycles 'Detroit Industry' on the four walls of a centrally located courtyard at the DIA, now called the Rivera Court. At the same time, Frida, developed her now-celebrated artistic identity.

The Assembly of an Automobile (c) Diego Rivera 

Center piece of the exhibition are Rivera's epic preparatory drawings for Detroit Industry. But there are over 70 works of art on display at the exhibit, including works both artists created before, during and after their time in the Motor City.

Detroit Industry Detail 'Infant in the bulb  of a Plant' - (c) Diego Rivera

The event that influenced the couple the most, was the miscarriage Frida experienced while she was
in Detroit, on July 4th of 1932. We have seen some breath taking paintings and drawings both Frida and Diego created after this dramatic event. Rivera also included the event in his murals at the DIA.

Unfortunately we left the exhibition - and the shop - at 5 pm and were denied access to the Rivera Court to have a look at the murals. So: if you are planning to visit, take at least two hours for both the exhibition and the murals at Rivera Court. You may want to count an extra 30 minutes for the exhibition museum shop!

Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo in Detroit - until July 12th at the DIA.  Tickets are available online.
Tickets cost $14 (Tue- Fri), $19 (Sat - Sun) for adults. Kids ages 6-17 pay $9.  Added bonus: the audio guide has two versions: one for adults and one for kids. Our five year old loved his one!