This is the News page of
Marinela Olaroiu and Wim van den Heuvel

About us

6-9 September 2017
The heat continues as does the work in Varvor. We started cleaning the ‘summer cottage’, making a parking place for the car, and designing the garden connected directly to the cottage. We are not ready yet for the opening party! But we invited already the first guests (Sebi, Veronica, Corina, Dan) for it during a nice dinner at Galaxy on Saturday evening.

5 September 2017
After 4 months maturing on oak, we bottled our wine Crama Casa Alba 2016. We counted to need 100 bottles, but we came 50 too short. Fortunately, we saved enough 2 liter plastic bottles. Next step is to clean the oak barrel and to prepare it for the new wine. 

31 August – 2 September 2017
We deserve a break. Together with Dragos and Olga we made a wonderful trip along and on the Danube around the ‘Iron Gate’.  First, we stopped in Strehaia to visit the Monastery ‘Sfante Treime’ from 15th century. We stayed for one night in Eselnita (Pension ‘Septembrie’ recommended!) and went with the catamaran through ‘cazanele mici si mare’ impressed by the views, the nature, tabula Traiana, and Decebal. The next day we passed the border (a dam in the Danube between Orsova and Turnu Severin) and drove through Djerdap National Park (visiting Lepenski Vir and Golubac castle) to Pension Dunavski Raj (in the woods close to Golubac). The next day we took the Serbian countryside, having lunch in Negotin and back – taking the 2nd dam in the Danube – to Craiova. It was a real break (see also 'Personal').

21 August 2017
After weeks of hard work in the heat of Varvor – building, reconstructing, replacing, and painting our ‘summer cottage’ – we felt some rain drops. Another week to go with cool weather (about 30 C) and we may have an opening party!  And then we need a short holiday on our holiday.

14 August 2017
Together with our colleague Prof. Ioana Dana Alexa (University of Iasi) we executed a study, including 31 European countries, to analyse the effect of changes in welfare and health policy (because of the economic crisis) in European countries on life satisfaction of older European citizens. It is accepted now for publication in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research.

4 August 2017
The heat wave (canicula) does not stop. We are now 4 weeks in Oltenia and we had one day with 25 degrees Celsius and a good rain shower. The last days the temperatures reach 37 to 38. So, today the siesta has been introduced! Work until 13.00, lunch and ….. we show ourselves outside not before 17.30. Another life style, not bad!

3 August 2017
After years of searching for a suitable place to be buried, we have ordered to construct a grave for both of us in Varvor de Sus, behind the graves of Marinela's grandfather, grandmother, and over-grandmother (see also personal). A place on the edge of a forest with a beautiful view over a valley with a lake at the end. Today the grave is ready. We will enjoy that view as long as we can!

23 July 2017
Today we visited Cetate and Maglavit in South Dolj and Vidin in Bulgaria with Dragos and Olga as guides. All three places are located next to the Danube. The monastery of Maglavit is the Fatima for Romanian orthodox. Vidin was an ancient Celtic settlement known as Dunonia and fortified by the Romans, called Bononia. The Baba Vida Fortress, built from the 10th to the 14th century, is the main landmark. Cetate - an old, rarely used port on the Danube – is well-known for Port Cultural Cetate: a place on the banks of the Danube to enjoy art and gastronomy (and do not forget the wines) (see also personal).

19 July 2017
Today we started making the garden in Varvor de Sus accessible. A job that will take several weeks.

11-14 July 2017
It has taken some time and more energy to make the garden in Craiova accessible. In the coming weeks we will let the pickled weed - a mountain - slowly disappear.

7-9 July 2017
In the course of the morning we started our journey to Craiova. Driving on Friday in Germany means many delays. Neumarkt in der Obernpfalz brought us the rest we needed after 8 hours. The trip the next day to Arad was even more exhausting. But on Sunday afternoon at 13.00 we were in Craiova: 32 degrees Celsius. Pfff ...

24 June 2017
Today, for the first time, we are participated in the annual members' meeting of the ‘Vereniging Rembrandt. An interesting meeting with well presented, interesting plans for the coming years and afterwards, a visit to 'De Stijl' in the municipality of The Hague.

12-22 June 2017
Scientific knowledge is important, but its application in practice is not self-evident. For a profession as a nursing science this is of great importance. Wim visited 5 research programs together with colleagues to learn how to implement new knowledge and interventions. One thing is evident: it is not easy.

9 June 2017
Today, we join the meeting of the nurses network, build around the programme “From Knowledge to Action II” in Utrecht. The programme is promoting the quality of nursing and care by carrying out research, developing and testing innovations, and implementation and guaranteeing of improvements and innovations in daily practice. Today, the future research agenda will be discussed.

12-30 May 2017
We used some time not only to check our health condition, but also to ‘repair’ what was needed. After some discomfort we feel better again. Time to return to ‘work’.

30 April -2 May 2017
Leaving Craiova at 9 o’clock in the morning (Romanian time) arriving in Mosonmagyarovar (called Ad Flexum by the Romans) at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. A historical town near the Danube with thermal water  and on the international cycle path (EuroVelo No 6). Interesting place to visit. Next day we stopped in Bessenbach situated in natural park Steigerwald and stayed in a real guest-house. We arrived the next day in Spaubeek, shortly after noon.  We had a speedy quiet travel.

27 April 2017
Marinela and Wim are invited to participate as speakers at the 5th Annual World Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology, in Fukuoka, Japan, December 2017. Each present a paper in the session on ‘Public Policy and Health for Older People’.

18 April 2017
Wim published a blog on respect for fundamental values of other people, wondering why Dutch politicians put on EUthanasia  (see:

15 April 2017
Paste fericit. Eastern time has started in Oltenia; so time for shopping, slaughtering the lam and meeting family for dinner and small talks. It takes about a week. This is Oltenia too.

10-12 April 2017
With hard work and ending with a lot of scratches we restored – with help of Mihai – the fences in Varvor de Sus, which were destroyed by 2 cows and 1 horse of the neighbor to feed them for free. We pay the damage and the police drinks coffee with the neighbor. This is Oltenia.

8 April 2017
Various new restaurants – good ones they say – have recently been opened in Craiova. Last night we tried CRAFT together with Olga and Dragos; a good one indeed.

28 March 2017
PALIATIA will publish an empirical study on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide into the practice of palliative care, raising the question ‘what is the connection’. The issue raises various questions. Wim works on an editorial to analyze: is there a bridge between palliative care and physician assisted suicide?

21-23 March 2017
Cleaning the fields in rural Varvor requires another work style. Pruning, cutting and then raking and burning are the first steps. The little goats curiously climbing all over and the sun burns from morning to evening. The first stork has arrived and makes his nest for the bride, impatiently waiting.

16-17 March 2017
Weeding, pruning grapes, planting garlic, onions, beans are the first task in Craiova. We enjoy it every time again. It is an unbelievable atmosphere almost downtown.

12-14 March 2017
Spring already arrived in Oltenia, so time to leave the Netherlands for ‘gardening’ over there. A pleasant drive brought us to the cold, small Austrian town Haag am Hausruck for a good beer, diner and sleep. The next day we arrived in Arad and felt the spring. The next day we arrived in sunny, warm Craiova, but the very cold winter of this year had damaged our water supply system. So, it is not only gardening.

3 March 2017
Outcomes of the ‘Between Knowing and Doing II’ research programme come bit by bit available for education and practice in the field of nursing and caring. Wim worked on a plan for implementation of these outcomes to optimise to use of these new findings and to improve the quality of care. Such implementation is part of the work of the researchers and an essential task for organisations of care professionals. Such new findings also need to be available for education in caring and nursing.

27 February 2017
Marinela and Wim were invited to participate in an EU call on promoting human rights and social diversities in Europe. Today was the last day to send in the proposal. So, we did together with colleagues from Austria, Croatia, and Hungary. We will see or it will be ‘different or indifferent?’

10 February 2017
We started a new research project on well-being in old age, analysing data from 31 European countries. Especially, we are looking for the impact of national policy measures on life satisfaction of older citizens.

27 January 2017
We are proud that JAMDA not only published our manuscript, but proposed to publish it as soon as possible because it was considered as an excellent and important study by the Editorial team. Judge yourself; read How Important Are Health Care Expenditures for Life Expectancy? A Comparative, European Analysis

24 January 2017
During the 13th meeting of the committee  ‘Between Knowing and Doing II’  (a national research programme on nursing which Wim chairs) we as committee discussed how to realise ‘doing’. There is (always?) the tension between investing in science and doing in practice. We are optimistic to find a way.

15 January 2017
Amazing how children (or do you only notice that for your grandchildren) develop. It was indeed some time ago, but still we (grandmother Marinela and  grandfather Wim) were impressed by the appearance and spirit of both Steef and Lou (and their parents). Wim, evidently, enjoyed most playing with them: there were three kids in the room.

12 January 2017
The Societal Council of TOPICS-MDS, which Wim is chairing, did meet in Utrecht to discuss the agenda for 2017. TOPICS-MDS is an unique dataset, containing data of 43.000 older citizens and 9000 informal carers. The council considers as an important task to stimulate that the data should be used – directly or indirectly – to support the persons who delivered them, i.e. Dutch older citizens and their informal carers.

9 January 2017
Issue 1 of PALIATIA 2016 (volume 10) is published on line. See

24 December 2016 Va ureaza La Multi Ani si un Craciun fericit. We wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year  

9-10 December 2016
Wim had several meetings in Amsterdam and The Hague to discuss the first results of an European study and to plan his agenda for the first months in 2017. Such plan is needed because some projects are time-consuming and need travel abroad.   

7 December 2016
We both love books, fiction and non-fiction, science, art, history. It is not only about reading it is also about holding, smelling, rereading and looking up. But, we have to many books and need to select the remain. The first selection were books on rehabilitation and disability, about 500 titles, which we gave to Adelante.

3 December 2016
Marinela published an article online about the benefits of the health care system in Cuba. The article is based on a visit in Cuba and literature reviews. The Cuba health care is based on a strong primary care system, which is multidisciplinary and neighbourhood organised. Within 3 days she received over 1400 hits and 35 comments from Romanian colleagues, not all impressed by this ‘communist system’.

29 November 2016
We wrote an article about the relationship between healthcare expenditure and longevity. It s part of a larger project to analyse the relationship between (governmental) expenditures and health care outcomes. We submitted the manuscript to the Journal of the American Medical Doctors Association, impact factor 2015 is 6.616, which will publish the article online.

11 November 2016
Marinela and Wim made an analysis of the ‘health status’ of the Romanian health care system ‘Unde ar trebui investit în sănătate?’  Where to invest in health? Published in Viata Medicala Nr 46 11 November 2016. We advice to invest less in bricks, but more in the quality of the health care personnel and the implementation of standards and protocols. Seeănătate.html*articleID_12503-dArt.html

10 November 2016
After many years we attended the EUPHA congress again; this time in Vienna. A lot has changed in the way ‘public health workers’ (still many researchers and a few policy makers) communicate, but networking is still important, which is now an official part of the programme.

4 November 2016
Before leaving Craiova we ‘celebrated’ our pleasant, busy, long stay with attending a concert of the ‘Filarmonica Oltenia’ with Gian Luigi Zampieri as conductor playing Mozart’s  Concert nr 24 (piano and orchester) and Bruckner’s Te Deum.

30 October 2016
Marinela – as cosmopolitan physician – wrote about point 8 of the 10 points plan of the Romanian prime minister: By this paragraph I turned my attention with the hope that, if supported by the government after the elections, perhaps Romania will no longer occupy the last places in European health statistics. The reform thus far from the Romanian health system could have much to be entered in the record book, for lack of leadership, vision, management, communication and civic involvement. See further*articleID_12450-dArt.html

29 October 2016
For three days we have needed to repair the fences surrounding pasture and stable in Varvor convert new posts and barbed wire tensioning. It resembles barbed wire on the prairie ....

21-22 October 2016
We needed full two days to make our ‘tuica’. We distillated over 50 liters of high quality.

15-18 October 2016
To meet some business partners we traveled to Bucharest on Saturday, comfortable by train but with one hour delay. After various meetings on ongoing projects and new research plans we came back without any delay, but with a train which we did not expect.

12 October 2016
Number 4 of PALIATIA (volume 9) has been published online (see )

5 October 2016
On invitation we enjoyed the premiere of Verdi's longest opera (> 4 hours) Don Carlo by the Romanian Opera Craiova. Outstanding soloists, a good choir, a committed conductor, a modern scenography and choreography made it a special evening!

1 October 2016
We are executing various projects at our places in Varvor de Sus, a countryside village which once was a well-known place for travelers to rest. Now there are new plans to make a national park of its surroundings. There is a lot of wildlife. Our projects have to do with restoring, repairing and redesigning. Today we finished two projects: new electricity in our main cottage and a labyrinth in our garden (see also under personal).

24 September 2016
We started the fermentation of the ‘most’. As estimated we filled 4 ‘bottles’ of 50 liters. Now we have to be patient; the whole process will take several months, including the aging of the wine in oak barrels. We stay optimistic about the quality.

19 September 2016
We harvested the grapes in time and made ‘most’ of high quality. Now we continue with the fermentation for the wine. We expect about 200 liters of wine. The last two days we celebrated ‘blocon’, the grape harvest and Marinela’s birthday with family and friends. Today, rain at last after weeks of sun and temperatures over 30 C. Time to rest.

5 September 2016
We arrived yesterday in Craiova after a long trip (due to road accidents and traffic jams) with overnight stays in Bamberg (Germany) and Arad (Romania). We discuss further scientific cooperation with the university and health care workers in Oltenia and the Dutch foundation SOAZ, with special interests for the developments in rural areas. After the meetings, we will stay to harvest the grapes.

30 August 2016
The Societal Board of TOPICS-MDS, chaired by Wim, discussed the procedures to control the quality of this unique dataset. Also the Board formulated various research topics which could make the data set even more relevant for elderly and policy makers.

23 August 2016
The programme committee “From Knowledge to Action II” , chaired by Wim, discussed 4 research proposals and the progress of the leadership project. All projects are part of lines of research and aimed to strengthen the quality of nursing and care by carrying out research, developing and testing innovations, and implementation and guaranteeing of improvements and innovations in daily practice.

7-9 August 2016
Time to return to Spaubeek after 50 days enjoying Oltenian life style. Overnight we stayed downtown Gyor (wonderful restored and tasting the Hunarian goose liver) and at the marketplace in Schlüsselfeld (enjoying the local products of Frankenland). Coming back in Spaubeek after such a time means heavy garden work.

5 August 2016
Wim has accepted the invitation to serve on the jury of Cross Care. Cross Care aims to encourage, to steer and to accelerate innovation in healthcare. The project supports the development and implementation of innovations by offering an experimental cross-border care setting. These pilot projects, or Living Labs give companies or HMOs the opportunity to work out meticulous and successful product or service. Fifteen innovative projects should be judged on relevance and quality.

31 July – 2 August 2016
The wedding of Gabi and Tatiana took 2 days. At 10 am at the town hall, at 14.00 the groom goes to visit Nasul (Wim) at home – with about 15 people and music - to invite Nasul to the groom’s house. Nasul prepares the groom for the church ceremony and Nasa (Marinela) the bride. At 16.00 all wedding guests come to the church ceremony and after that the guests join the dinner and party (with excellent music and endless dancing) till the next morning. In the afternoon follows a final BBQ deep into the night. We were Nasul and Nasa (the spiritual parents of the new couple). The next day we visited the tomb of Ivena and Ion Roventa, whose place we might take as Nasul and Nasa.

29 July 2016
After 7 days step 1 of the restoration of our home in Varvor is completed: a new roof. Phase 2 follows in September.

22 July 2016
In Varvor, we finished a part of the restorement of our Paliatia vol 9, no 3 has been published. The content includes two original studies and some interesting news/comments (see

17 July 2016
A validation study on the predictive value of the Groningen Frailty Indicator on care utlization of community-living old Romanians is accepted for publication in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Researchand is In July 2016 available on line(see ). Marinela is the first author of this article and Wim the last.

14-16 July
Dragos and Olga were visiting us some days in Craiova. An opportunity to talk together, to dinner, to taste our wine (!), to visit a museum and - not to forget - to (re)install the PCs to have – after three months due to ‘illegal action’ of Godaddy – access again to our websites. Multemim!

9 July 2016
What used to be a hutch to store wood, we have converted to (for) an outside kitchen. A beautiful new multipurpose room. Gata!

1 July 2016
We needed about one week to clean our garden in Craiova; hard work with over 30 degrees C. The fruit season is exploding. So we went to the market to by all kinds of fruits to make jam of. Delicious!

19-21 June 2016
Summertime! So, there we go again direction Craiova and Varvor with stops in Enns, the oldest city of Austria, and Caransebes in Romania. Both cities are worthwhile to visit and have nice accommodations.

17 June 2016
Today was the third time that the newerk of researchers involved in programs 'between knowing and doing II' met. This time in Amsterdam. An inspiring day, which Wim opened. Also see

12-14 June
Some busy days in the west of the Netherlands (The Hague and Utrecht) with presentation of the self-evaluation 'between knowing and doing' at the Ministry of Health and the Association for Nursing and Care. Also a fascinating meeting of the Social Council of TOPICS-MDS. We used the interval to visit family.

11 June 2016
We visited a nice exhibition ‘Entwicklung’ in the garden and home of sculptor Cell Lemmens in Spaubeek. The exhibition of sculptures was supported by paintings of ART Carly. Also the garden itself is a work of art.

28 May 2016
After more than two months absence the garden in Spaubeek needs a ‘refreshment’. We worked for days with some friends to clean it up.

17-19 May 2016
Time to leave Craiova en to return to Spaubeek. Wim was invited to participate in an EU Erasmus project. So we used our way back to meet some partners to discuss the projectproposal. After a stay in Lajosmisce (Hungary) and Pommerfelden (Germany) we arrived safely at home.

7 May 2016
Now that summer has begun in Craiova (> 30C) chimneys have to be inspected and repaired. There are now three beautiful, restored, white 'towers' on our White House.

1 May 2016
Easter in the Orthodox Church. Dragos and Olga are visiting us in Craiova. In the morning we have visited some fortified houses from the 16th century (Kulen) near Craiova. A scenic drive through the countryside. In the afternoon we were invited to an Easter dinner at Nela. A delicious Easter Sunday.

27 April 2016
During the last 4 weeks friends were helping us to make a fence around the 'main house' in Varvor. It is now ready with gates and locks. Quite a job in the bush bush. A total of 20 trees were to be cut down. Gata!

23 April 2016
Today we organise ‘pomana’ to commemorate Ion and Iveta. After the visit of the graveyard (with prayings and blessings of a priest) we went to Varvor to bring pomana to their old friends and after we visited the neighbours in Craiova for pomana..

14 April 2016
Medisch Contact - a Dutch weekly magazine for doctors – publishes today an article written by Wim, entitled: Rather 'happy' instead of 'healthy' aging. It is a commentary on WHO's action plan 'Healthy Ageing' which focuses too much on health and functional capacity. However, health is not the only thing that determines the well-being of the elderly.


Marinela en Wim write colums and comments on various subjects, related with health care. Some are in Dutch, other in Romanian. Most of the Romanian ones are published in Viata Medicala (see Links: Dutch ones include:

- Waar investeren in gezondheidszorg? (11 November 2016)ănătate.html*articleID_12503-dArt.html

- Liever happy dan healthy oud worden (Medisch Contact 6 april 2016)

- EU burger niet gezonder of wijzer, wel armer. (Trouw dinsdag 21 October 2014)

- Oudere en zorgverlener hand in hand; motto voor zorg aan kwetsbare ouderen? Een voorbeeld van over de grens. Artikel voor Medisch Contact januari 2013

- Ouderenzorg: leer van verleden. (Trouw 8 september 2012)

- Kwaliteitsinstituut overbodig maken. (Medisch Contact 2011)

- Indicatoren voor de kwaliteit van zorg. Wie worden er beter van, de patiënten of de managers. (Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie 2011)

- De ouderenzorg is hard aan verjonging toe. (Trouw 2010)

- Sterke zorg voor kwetsbare ouderen. (Medisch Contact 2010)

- De moord op de verpleeghuisarts. (Medisch Contact 2009)

- Verpleeghuisarts, aangenaam. (Medisch Contact 2009)

- Verpleeghuisarts op Bonaire. (Medisch Contatct 2009)

- Nieuwjaarconcert 2008

- Onthand Ouderenbeleid. (NTGG 2008)

- Genoeg handen maar niet de juiste.... (Medisch Contact 2008)

- Rollator slecht surrogaat voor helpende arm. (Trouw 2007)

- Geen column voor de Staatssecretaris van VWS

- Ons congres ......... The morning after

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