My name is Jochem Kühnen. I was born in 1980 and my wife and I live in Beek (Ubbergen) in The Netherlands. I've made this site to share things I like with people, vent opinions and to show friends, family and whoever else who's interested, pictures I've taken.
One of the things I like to do is spend time outside and enjoy watching all forms of life. One of my main interests is birds, but I love watching plants, insects and mammals as well. I learned a lot about plants by joining the KNNV (roughly translated into Royal Dutch Organization for Field Biology), but especially the local department's plant workgroup. From about the end of april 'till september, the plant workgroup organizes weekly excursions. The remaining time of the year, there are gatherings every two weeks in the depot of the Nijmegen Nature Museum for lectures by workgroup members or detailed courses on certain plant families.
I'm also a member of the Bird Workgroup Nijmegen and one of the few people active in it's Common Swift workgroup. The Common Swift (Apus apus) holds a special place in my heart. It's the most spectacular bird species in the Netherlands in my opinion and I love to see them perform their aerobatics during the short time in mid-summer when they're here. I'm involved in several projects to preserve excisting nest places or create new places, more about that can be found on the special Swifts section on this site.
Another interest for which I've created a special section on this site are wild (mostly solitary) bees. I think the way of life of solitary bees is very intriguing. To me much more so than that of the so well-known honeybees. I don't catch and kill bees to determine the species which is pretty common practise in entomology, but I can determine the species by catching, photographing and releasing bees and wasps most of the times. They also make excellent subjects for nice photography when they visit the wild flowers in our garden, some of which I planted with certain specialist bee species in mind.
I often go for walks in the forest on the hill (more acurately called a 'lateral moraine' if I'm not mistaken) that lies practically behind our house. The forest features several streams and lots of special plants and animals can be found there, like the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), which is rare in the Netherlands and rare plants such as Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium), Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant) and Wood ragwort (Senecio nemorensis).
I also often visit an agricultural area called the Ooijpolder, which is only about 5 minutes away by bike from where I live. It's not just agricultural though, there are areas that are nature reserves as well.
When I have a bit more time off from work, I love to visit the Dutch Waddensea islands or the south of Limburg (Zuid-Limburg). Beautiful and unique places...
Another thing that is a large part of who I am and how I live is the fact that I'm vegan. What that means? It means I not only don't eat meat, but also don't eat eggs or cheese, drink milk, wear leather or use beeswax. I also don't use products that contain other ingredients that are of animal origin, like colouring-agents made of red lice or the gelling agent gelatin. There's quite a few of so-called E-numbers I don't use as well, like charcoal which is often made of burnt bones.
I guess you can imagine this lifestyle causes me to make a lot of alternative choices. Luckely, organic food stores offer a lot of vegan products.
The x's in my website's name stand for me being straight edge, which means I don't use drugs of any kind (including alcohol).
Another thing I like to do is listen to music. Mostly alternative styles such as black metal, hardcore, post-metal/sludge and indie-pop, but also some 'normal' pop and rock bands. To see what I'm listening to take a look at my Last.FM profile) or click on the small 'recently played' list in the botom right of this page.
If you wish to get in touch for some reason, email me at kuhnenjmAThotmail.com (use copy and paste! ;) And replace the AT by @)