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About Amsterdam, Holland, and Anton Hein
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About Amsterdam, Holland, and Anton Hein


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About Holland    About Amsterdam    About Anton   

So... Who is Anton?

[This page was written in 1996 and needs quite a bit of updating -- which will be done just as soon as I get around to it...

Anton Hein]

Brief History

Westerkerk I was born in 1957, on a houseboat across from the Westerkerk - Amsterdam's (and indeed Holland's) most famous church, located in the historic neighborhood known as De Jordaan. (And in April, 2000, I moved back to this downtown Amsterdam area).

My dad worked at Holland's largest bank, and spent much of his free time as a street preacher. Together with a number of other Christians, he founded the street-preaching ministry "Amsterdam For Christ," which for many years organized evangelistic meetings downtown.

As a child I attended the Bible Classes of "The Two Anns" - two American ladies who converted their own houseboat into a floating Sunday school of sorts. When I was eight years old, I accepted Jesus while attending one of their summer camps.

A few years later I made a more informed decision and, at the age of 13, I joined a traveling tent-evangelism team for several weeks during the summer. A year after that I started helping out at Christian Children's Camp during the summer. At 15 I published my first magazine together with some friends - our effort at evangelizing the kids in the neighborhood. Later I worked with Christian Youth Hostel "The Shelter" and meanwhile became the first person to play Christian rock music on the - then - rather staid "Evangelische Omroep"Off-site Link (Evangelical Broadcasting Organization) - safely tucked away in its once-a-month midnight to seven A.M. radio program.

My dad was always ready to help other Christians, and partly through his contacts I got involved with a variety of Christian ministries - including Teen Challenge, Christ is the Answer (a traveling tent evangelism team from the States which included a dynamite rock band), the Chinese Church, and Youth With A Mission. I organized some gospel concerts, helped people smuggle Bibles and other Christian literature into (at that time) "closed" countries, and wrote for a number of Christian publications.

I have been fluent in English since the age of 10; something that later came in handy when working with various Christian organizations here - many of which have an international staff. Naturally, I got to know many Americans, including a woman whom I later was married to for almost 14 years.

We moved to Southern California in 1979, and I stayed there for over 16 years. For most of that time I worked with the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, where I preached, taught, and led a home fellowship group. I earned my living as the Purchaser for a well-known computer database marketing research company.

California Flag

Alas - after a string of bad experiences, including the breakup of the church we were part of (due to it moving into un-Biblical practices and an increasing emphasis on extra-Biblical teachings), my divorce, and other unpleasant events, I moved back to Amsterdam in July 1996 - in part to help my parents cope with the sudden death of my younger sister.

Adjusting to the changes and coming to terms with the difficult things I'd experienced wasn't easy. However, being close to my family, getting re-acquainted with this great city, and enjoying the Dutch lifestyle has been - and is - a wonderful experience. There's no place quite like Amsterdam! And of course, through it all, I learned more about God's grace and mercy, as well as His ability to cause all things to work together for the good ... (see Romans 8:28Off-site Link)
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Hobbies

I have many interests, of which a few could rightly be called hobbies. For example, I love music, enjoying a wide variety of styles - anything from light classical to old fashioned rock, sixties and seventies oldies to - especially - alternative female vocalists. I liked Jewel before she was discovered. Other favorites female vocalists include Sarah McLachlan , Indigo Girls , Lisa Loeb , Joni Mitchell Tori Amos , etcetera.

Incidentally, I am usually tuned to Radio ParadiseOff-site Link  - my favorite internet radio station. Broadcasting from Paradise, California, it plays a steady stream of ''eclectic intelligent rock.'' Check their playlistOff-site Link, dig the fact that the station is listener-supported (commercial-free), and tune inOff-site Link If, like me, you have a high-speed internet connection, do yourself a favor and select WinampOff-site Link as your player, preferably with the 128 kbps stream.

I also like the Christian worship of Hillsong Australia , and contemporary Christian music by such artists as Rebecca St. James and Jars Of Clay

Mix in some contemporary jazz - anything from the old Crusaders Crusaders to Larry Carlton and Spyro Gyra

I'm a voracious reader. I love all kind of books, but particularly enjoy British-style Murder Mysteries. Among my favorite authors in that category are Elizabeth George P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell , as well as the more predictable, but always well-written books by Dick Francis or the culinary mysteries of Diane Mott Davidson - escapism at its best (and the recipes sprinkled throughout her books are fabulous!).

Familiar with the excesses of America's unjust ''justice'' system, I also enjoy legal thrillers like those written by John Grisham and Steve Martini . (Incidentally, for a look at the real-life horrors of America's ''justice'' system, which is ruled largely by money and politics, see Actual Innocence : Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted by Jim Dwyer, Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck).

I know I'll get in trouble with some when I mention that I like several of Stephen King's books. Then there is the story telling of some of the oldies: Simenon, Irwin Shaw, Ernest Hemmingway, John Steinbeck, et.al. Robert Frost is my favorite poet. I read Jane Eyre before they made the movie, and even worked my way through the full version of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables . Sure, the musical , is better, but knowing the story adds a lot of dimension.

Amsterdam is a wonderful town for book lovers, and if you're like me and enjoy finding treasures in second-hand bookshops, this is paradise. Among the things I look for are unique cookbooks, as cooking is another of my hobbies. I love Mexican and Oriental food.

I also collect books and items that have to do with coffee and tea. I love good coffee, and appreciate tea for the "ritual" as much as the taste.

Incidentally, when I moved back to Holland, the US Postal Service managed to "lose" my entire library. Aaargh!
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Activities

You're looking at one of them - building and maintaining this web site. I have CFS (Chronic Fatigue SyndromeOff-site Link ), a condition characterized by, among other things, debilitating fatigue that is not helped by resting and sleeping.

Basically, while there are good days and bad days, CFS messes up your entire schedule - which helps explain why some pages on this site are marked as having been updated in the middle of the night... and why they sometimes aren't updated in a long time. I just have to go with the flow, and thus keeping a web site is an ideal activity.
Typing

Doctors do not yet know how to cure CFS, so I live on disability pay (a challenge, to say the least) and do what the doctors tell me to do: accept it, and try to keep exercising without exacerbating the condition.

Whenever I can, I ride my bike to a local park, the harbor, or the banks of the Northsea Channel - which connects Amsterdam harbor with - you guessed it - the Northsea.

I live in De Jordaan district, which is part of historic, downtown Amsterdam:

Jordaan - This trendy quarter is 10 minutes from Leidseplein. Built in the 1700s for the working class, it is now an enclave of boutiques, restaurants and artists lofts. The smaller side canals and streets are among the most picturesque in Europe.

Though it's right in the center of the city, parts of the Jordaan have a small-village atmosphere, complete with a weekly farmer's market. It's a wonderful neighborhood for walking, and often you can find me in one of those second-hand bookstores (there are over 125 of them), browsing unique little shops, enjoying a cold glass of Heineken beer or some cappuccinos at one of the "old, brown cafe's". Check this Dutch-language Jordaan siteOff-site Link for some great neighborhood pictures.

In the summer, the VondelparkOff-site Link is my favorite spot to relax with some ice-cream and a book. This is a good place to listen to eternal hippies give their renditions of Hendrix and Dylan tunes, hear the locals explain how to fix the government (or, if you let them, tell you how they would have won the battle of Waterloo), watch tourists tut-tut at the topless sunbathers, or find a wide array of religions, bongo-players, and trinket sellers. Tip: If you're lucky enough to catch the pet psychologist do her stuff stick around for a while. I'll never forget the way her diagnosis of a large dog of undetermined make changed the moment she got bitten by it... She charged the owner a double fee, claiming the dog had a dual personality.
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Some Thoughts About Christianity

I am a Christian, which means that I believe and defend the basic, essential doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the Bible. However, I reject the cultural, denominational and "spiritual" baggage churches have managed to add over the centuries. We can do with a lot fewer rules, a lot less positioning and certainly a lot less hot air. Christians ought to get their collective butts out of the pews and into the world where they have an opportunity to walk the walk instead of just talk the talk. (I can just see the "Dear Mr. Hein..." comments coming...). If you believe that being a Christian means you can't go to the beach, listen to Sarah McLachlan, watch TV, or eat tacos, we disagree (see this article). I don't boycott Disney, don't bash gays, and - get this - generally don't expect sinners to act like saints. Rather than bash them, Jesus ate with sinners, and so do I. I believe that until the Church learns how to do that, its influence in modern society will continue to dwindle.
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Get In Touch

That said, I think it comes as no surprise that I'm straightforward, open-minded, and easy-going. Should you plan on visiting Amsterdam, perhaps we can meet at my local hang-out. Feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear from you!

Anton Hein

About Holland    About Amsterdam    About Anton   
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