Rarely does the evening news open with a story about outer space. But today, December 21, is a special day in the Netherlands. A Dutch astronaut is traveling in space. Andre Kuipers is shooting through the sky in a Russian rocket with an Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut. Their destination is the International Space Station, where they will live and work for 6 months.

The men were allowed to bring some personal items and Andre Kuipers, a true Dutchman, requested Old Amsterdam aged gouda cheese. The cheese had to be cut in order to fit into containers and then had to be specially sealed. As I type this, cheese is shooting across the sky.

On Christmas Eve if you think you see Santa Claus and his sleigh, it could be the space station with some very special cargo—Dutch cheese. And not any kind of cheese, we are talking old, old gouda. I have been here long enough to know the difference. This is not Velveeta, this is not plastic slices of orange cheese, and this is not cheese in a can.

There is a new star in our world today and his name is Andre.

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands to all of you, wherever you are.   


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  • Aledys Ver  On December 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I read and saw the news about Kuipers but I didn’t know he had requested cheese… Old Amsterdam is very good, I can understand why Dutch people cannot do without it for very long!
    Good luck, Andre!!

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