We’re going to party like it’s 19-
Hold up, it is! No, you didn’t immediately hear Will2k inside your head? I think that song ruled my head for 10 months of that year. Luckily, there were more things going on in 1999.
Because on the first day of that year, several countries of Europe got a new coin: the Euro. A lot of people weren’t pleased, me included. For years, I had worked hard on getting the shiniest coins only in my awesome guilder coin bank. There were no coin banks for Euros! Lately there isn’t any kind of bank for Euros, but that was certainly not discussed at the time.
Things that were discussed were songs of the Top 40/60/100, because in the nineties, there was a channel called MTV that showed video clips all day (can you believe it?).
My birthday song, “Mambo No. 5,” was on number one, Jennifer Lopez-before-she-was-JLO came in second with “If You Had My Love.” The rest of the top five was more women: Ann Lee’s “2 Times” (don’t look that up, you’ll be humming it for a week) and Britney Spears’ “Sometimes.”
Back then there were no pro- and contras when it came to Miss Spears. Everybody loved her. Even adorable cute tough guy king of high school Rory. To see him dance to “Hit Me Baby One More Time” during the end of the year partyâ€¦ 13-year-old Freckle melted, even though months earlier I had written, â€œI think I’m going to stop with boys for a whileâ€ in my diary. Never underestimate the power of pop music and bright blue eyes.
A whole other power showed itself in The Hague that year: the power of media. Slobodan Milosevic was up to trial for the things he had done in Kosovo. It seemed like there were more journalists, victims and disaster tourists than The Hague citizens in town. I think it was the first time I realized what kind of power (and responsibility) we had in that city.
On the note of media: in September ’99 Big Brother was created. Yes, that was the Dutch. I’m very sorry we started it. The company that created it bombarded us with how Shocking, New and Amazing it was going to be. I watched two episodes, didn’t like any of the people in the house and didn’t understand why I would watch them do nothing for an hour.
This wasn’t the only pop culture thing I didn’t understand. Going to the cinema? Why? The only reason why I watched The Sixth Sense in 1999 (#2 in the top 5) was because my brother was curious and so went out to rent it from the video shop. From the most successful films that year, I only watched Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (#4) and The Matrix (#5) and definitely not that year. Number one Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and #2 Toy Story 2? Haven’t seen them yet.
The very little time I spend on film was all for 10 Things I Hate About You. Yes, even Rory had nothing on Patrick. Oh Heath Ledger, how I miss you at the most random times.
BOOKS (I didn’t read any of these books. My eyes were firmly focused on horse books and everything fantasy and I refused to read Dutch because English was so much better)
- The Testament â€“ John Grisham
- Zaterdag â€“ Youp van â€˜t Hek
- Fortuna’s Daughter â€“ Isabel Allende
- Mevrouw mijn moeder â€“ Yvonne Keuls
- De Cock and de dood in antiek â€“ A.C. Baantjer
With the lack of unlimited internet, television was a much bigger part of my life. Cartoon Network has been in the Netherlands since 1993, but 1999 came with Angela Anaconda. Hello new role model in being awesome without caring what people thought of you.
Angel provided the role model of the guy you wanted in your life (does my preference for brown haired (brooding) men show?) and the exciting world to go with it. Let’s just say that I underrated ordinariness and safety.
Something also started in 1999 â€“ and which I think the entire missing world is out on â€“ is Wie isâ€¦ de Mol? (Who is the Mole?). It’s also the longest showing show I’ve ever followed, as it is still on television right now. In WidM, you have thirteen candidates and one mole. Through different challenges (mental and physical and every year in another country) they have to earn money. The mole will sabotage them, but in secret. Because you can’t win WidM with being the smartest or quickest: every episode ends with a test about how well you know your candidates and who you think the mole is. The winner leaves with the prize money. After fourteen years, it still rules Dutch television.
Fourteen years. I still feel cool admitting that I’m a nineties child, that I consciously experienced the turning of the millennium. I’m also very glad that I’m not thirteen anymore.