About us and important others
The story of Freark (Fredrik) de Vries, born -1970- in a small Frisian city - the North of the Netherlands.
On the countryside, I had a peaceful growing up with my brothers (twins) and parents. Always on the water, leisure sailing in the weekend, fishing with my dad, sailing competitions or as a mate on a charter ship.
Ships engineering was the education I finished in 1989, wanting to see the world before I would eventually become a fisherman – my family’s trade since the earliest church registrations. My brothers went to university and this made me curious where my intellectual ceiling was. After spending 2 years as an apprentice, my next step was therefore to follow a BSc In Maritime Engineering in Amsterdam.
I lived on a maritime student campus in the city centre from 1991 to 1994. A personal test revealed an “exceptionally good insight in organisational coherence” what I put into practise by becoming a student chairman. The success proved the test correct and since I liked it a lot, it brought the idea forward of making this my future line of work. Shifting course required other education, provided by an MBA programme. By now continuing the family trade was not an option any more.
To fund this, I worked as a maritime engineer on cruise ships while, in between contracts, backpacking the globe extensively, primarily on my own, prior to starting my MBA degree in 1997. My dissertation was written in the UK, followed by a 2-month immersion in the US culture living with my family, and finally starting my career ashore.
After joining a Japanese international company, I ended up in a large Dutch IT company in 2001, just before the burst of the internet bubble. Rather quickly was the opportunity offered to work with a reorganisation team, which continued for 7 years in various constellations, developing the organisation as project manager and reporting to top management. Parallel did I join a political party to understand how people’s democratic rights are represented by politics.
In 2005 did I suffer a major break down, scary because the reason was unclear. This put me on the path of discovering my (un)awareness, understanding how my emotional side is impacted/challenged by my environment in order to learn about myself.
The inability of politicians to represent my democratic rights due to a lack of power, exposed by the 2008 financial crises, and the equal dysfunctional hierarchies of large corporations caused me to contemplate emigration and change jobs. In 2012 I emigrated as a "democratic refugee" to Norway, where after a tough start, I met my current business partner.
In 2016 we started a company, confronting me in great depth with the Norwegian culture. Although the geographical proximity & the linguistic similarities, the differences with the Dutch Culture, could NOT be any bigger. My question: “But, how is that possible?”, put me on the quest to find out why, to question a culture. The result, the Culture Questioned method is available on this website.
With the current sequence of crises (plural) developing, disrupting the majority of securities we rely on, the information available for you could prove to be powerful and valuable in building a different future, by asking (the right) questions, according to Socrates …
Oslo Norway - March 2020
This transit way of life, quickly made me see life in ways that others couldn't & helped me to heavily doubt for how things seem to be, cause I could "see" that nothing is at it seems.
Someday in 1998, I watched on MTV the videoclip of the Welsh band Manic Street Preachers:
"If you tolerate this, then your children will be next”. That one screening made me reject everything around me, while its lyrics pushed me to question the "obvious".
That "obvious" was Culture.
That’s how I... Questioned Culture.
I was a fairly good athlete. I started by riding the pommel horse, then I jumped over the pole, to end up running hurdles. In other words, I was “A rider & a jumper” (as a Greek Cult quote says)! In 2004, however, a serious sports accident shuttered both my career and my life. That was when, Michelle Pfeiffer in “Dangerous Minds” shown me; why I should become a teacher.
In 2005, I started my BASc Degree in “Applied Social Sciences” & “MASS Culture Methodology” at the University of Crete & the Oslo College of Applied Sciences. This programme gave me the opportunity to become a School Teacher for my very first time. That one classroom was where
I became the prince of my castle. A fragile yet powerful ENFP castle.
In the meanwhile, I never stopped getting lost in Music, not even after Mtv wasn't available on my TV set anymore. As such, in 2000 my second hit came from the Olympic Games of Sydney. During the Closing ceremony, the Australian band Savage Garden performed their new song called "Affirmation". Little did I know that its lyrics would become my affirmations for life.
It was that very same year, when the Eurovision Song Contest also came into my life.
Twenty one years later, I can firmly say against all beliefs that it's not just a Contest.
Eurovision is the biggest non-sport Event in the world & the best school I have ever attended.
The "Eurovision Song Contest" started in 1956. Since then, it's the biggest active platform on the planet. A school of Social & Cultural Greatness! On & off the stage everyone has the opportunity to speak out, portray and convey a story. Your story. Yet most importantly, to be 200% yourself.
In 2015, I explained through my article “Why Eurovision will always be an inclusive voice”, how the Contest created a more inclusive Europe. By that time, I was already mingled in the Brussels bubble and the European Union. Therefore, I did my best to remind them the importance of their sister project. Since then, I keep on preaching Eurovision like another... Manic Street Preacher.
In Brussels, I started working around the Erasmus Programme. Quite soon though, I became a Political Correspondent. There, I was known as: The Communication Activist. I was branded
my nickname, due to my direct manners, my reasoned framework & my Humane mindset.
During my four years there, I took over many responsibilities and wore many hats. This mindset paid me back in numerous ways and ranked me among the Top European Youth Leaders (2016).
And then... I took the worst decision of my life: I married #Brexit.
In August 2017, I tried to relocate to England. Few months later, though, a car hit me. By that time, I was a researcher, raising questions over the European Identity of (Great) Britain. That accident shuttered my career & my life (again). It was the very same accident, however, that proved to be a blessing in disguise, by giving me the opportunity to progress to my next level.
Through CQ (Cultural Questioned), I try to bring on-board my ‘go the extra mile’ habit and my innate qualities of Cultural Intelligence, Empathy & Creativity. Qualities that are massively boycotted in our modern Cultures for the sake of Fear, Resistance & Jealousy. And yes...
I'm very aware that breaking this awful Cultural Code ain't easy job. But in the end…
It doesn't even matter.
How everything started ...
Our collaboration actually emerged, even before we knew that it would emerge.
We (Kristian & Fredrik) first met in October 2016 at a co-working space in Oslo, Norway – because Cultural differences. Few months later, however, we both went our own ways – because life happens. Kristian married #Brexit in Britain, while Fredrik carried on his life in Norway.
In February 2018, Kristian's life went completely out of order, when a car hit him at a pedestrian crossing of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. However, it was this accident that brought him back to Norway, one year later. And that March in 2019 was the most crucial moment in time. It was when Kristian reconnected with Fredrik, while he also met the Chief Editor of “The Oslo Desk” Ka Man Mak. She, would eventually become the reason for Kristian & Fredrik to elevate their relationship from a personal one to a professional one.
Fredrik had never stopped his personal research to understand the Norwegian cultural. But Kristian, hadn’t stopped either – despite his traffic accident. Fast forward to July 2019, a health problem that both of them were experiencing at the same time (for no obvious medical reason), brought them at the table of the Oslo Opera Cafe. Since then, they haven't left the table & never stopped discussing.
Life kept on happening and Kristian was found in Sweden. However, Kristian’s initiative to introduce Fredrik to Ka Mam before his departure for Sweden, gave to Fredrik the opportunity to share his findings with Ka Man and roll him in the world of podcasts.
This podcast started a more intense collaboration between the two, by writings scripts, discussing many aspects, making in-depth analysis & finally recording some material. Keeping the research they had done, they also incorporated existing theories & methods (like the Socratic method) to test & validate their work.
With a quite spontaneous decision, Kristian temporarily moved in with Fredrik for a while in March 2020. But little did they know that they would unconsciously challenge their own cultural findings & insights... simply by experiencing them.
Kristian & Fredrik, finally concluded that people need to take notice of these insights, cause these insights can fundamentally change their lives. It was mind blowing to realise that a change as small as making questions, can bring such an important change in our societies, making our future more stable. The art of making questions is the fundamental tool in the quest of understanding culture and exactly what inspired them for the name of this website.
Culture Questioned (abbreviated to CQ).
CQ is the door to a new future. A new stable future for you, your family & your society. But it’s up to you, whether you will open this door. This is the freedom that (you think that) you still possess.
About important others
Tribute to the important others, without them our insights would not have happend.
There work was and is a source of knowledge leading to our own insights into culture, Our insights are available on this site and we hope they will contribute to your growth, insight and understanding of life.
Serial entrepreneur in photography and education
Chase was born in Seattle, USA. His father was a Police officer and his mother a biotech administrator. He attended the San Diego State University on a football scholarship, from where he graduated with BA in Philosophy. Few weeks before graduating, though, Chase's grandfather died and left all his photography equipment to his grandson. Chase eventually decided to go on a trip in Europe, where he discovered his passion for photography.
Chase is empirical and self-taught. He learned photography through experimenting & independent study. Through his life, he spent many years and thousands of dollars chasing everyone else's dream for what he was supposed to be. Therefore, it was only when he quitted this path that felt alive again.
What Chase wanted, was to become a photographer & an entrepreneur. Since opening his own studio, Chase has photographed for Volvo, Nike, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung and many others. He is known for his kinetic style and emphasis on landscape, lifestyle & sports.
Chase has received endorsements from Polaroid & Nikon, while he is the youngest person to be named a Hasselblad Master & an ASMP Master. In 2008, his Kung Fu HD series received the first place in the Special Effects category at the International Photography Awards. He has also received honours from the Prix de la Photographie de Paris and the Advertising Photographers of America.
In 2010, Chase co-founded ‘Creative Live’: An online educational platform that offers classes across the Creative Industries. Since then, it has become the world's largest streaming educational company.
One year later he also created the ‘Chase Jarvis Live’. The purpose of these series was to broadcast interviews with professionals from the Creative Industries, like art directors, entrepreneurs & authors.
In 2012, Chase contributed to the New York Times story ‘Snow Fall’ which won a Pulitzer Prize. One year later he was reckoned as one of the world’s most influential photographers. One year later, he received an Emmy nomination for his documentary ‘Portrait of a City’.
Most lately, Chase partnered with Apple to create the Photo Lab - an initiative to bring photo technique classes in more than 500 Apple stores. He also published his signature book ‘Creative Calling’.
Official Website: https://www.chasejarvis.com/
Professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
A Question asked by Yali, a local politician, during a walk on a tropical island in New Guinee caused Jared Diamond to work for 25 years finding the answer. The question Yali asked was: "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinee, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" (Prologue p. 14).
The answer is written in the book "Guns, Germs and Steel".
Jared is an American geographer, historian, anthropologist & author, born on September 10, 1937, in Boston (USA). Both of his parents were of Ashkenazi Jewish decent, who emigrated to the United States.
Jared began studying piano at the age of six. Years later, he attended the Roxbury Latin School and he eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology & history from Harvard College, as well as a PhD on the physiology and biophysics of membranes in the gall bladder from the University of Cambridge.
After graduation from Cambridge, Jared returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow. In 1968, he became a professor of physiology at UCLA Medical School. While in his twenties he developed a second, parallel, career in ornithology and ecology, specializing in New Guinea and nearby islands.
Although his two careers, though, Jared is mostly known for authored several popular science books, in which he drawn topics from a variety of diverse fields, including anthropology, ecology, geography and evolutionary biology. His most popular books might include: The Third Chimpanzee (1991), Guns Germs and Steel (1997 - awarded a Pulitzer Prize), Collapse (2005), The World Until Yesterday (2012) and the Upheaval (2019).
Because of this academic diversity, Jared has been described as a polymath. In 2005, Jared was ranked ninth on a poll by Prospect and Foreign Policy of the world's top 100 public intellectuals. Among his many other awards are: the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Lewis Thomas Prize (honoring the Scientist as Poet) and the National Medal of Science. Most lately, the ‘Westfield State University’ granted him an honorary doctorate.
Nowadays, Diamond has developed a third career in environmental history. Therefore, he is a Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (USA).
Johnny is an Emmy-nominated video journalist of Vox, filmmaker & YouTuber. He is currently based in Washington DC, from where he reports on interesting stories from the US and abroad.
Johnny has spent his last years reporting and sharing these human-centered stories, through the Vox Video Series ‘Borders’. He has a passion for taking a step into overwhelming & complex matters. Therefore, his visual style of motion graphics is blended with cinematic videography, in order to distill these complex matters into a comprehensive, relatable & understandable message.
Johnny holds a BA in International Relations from the Brigham Young University & an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American University. Therefore, he believes that if someone wants to know a country’s deepest fears, he/she needs to look at its borders. Governments draw borders, but humans live inside them. Every border has a different story of origin and a different character. That’s why; borders can encourage, exchange or instigate violence. From the North Pole to the northern shore of Africa, these lines have played a decisive role in the past, present and future of billions.
Johnny spends a good portion of his time in meeting & listening to the people who live on these front lines of international relations, where the decisions made by governments play out on a human scale. He has never met an audience, whom he won’t try to explain vast macro concepts – including his two little boys (!!) who have spent hours listening to why the world works the way it does.
Most lately, Johnny co-founded ‘Bright Trip’. The first travelling education company worldwide. The idea about Bright Trip came, when three travelers who found themselves in a loss for resources, decided to tackle travelling in a relatable, visual and digestible way. Having travelled extensively, Johnny hopes to create a place that makes travelling tangible, accessible and of course – understandable.
Serial entrepreneur and author
Lewis was always dreaming big, even if he suffered as a kid at school. Reading was a major challenge and he couldn’t comprehend well too. Therefore, he ended up feeling the dumbest of his classroom. He was also tall, skinny & goofy looking, making him an easy target for the fun of others. No shocker, why he was bullied a lot. Lewis end up feeling that he doesn’t have any real friends and that he couldn’t fit.
Lewis, however, was very good in American Football! He left early from College, to pursue a Sports Career in professional Arena Football. Indeed, he is the former NCAA Division III record holder for the most receiving yards in a single game.
He managed to play for one season, but he collided with a wall while diving to make a catch and snapped his wrist. After the last game of the season, he underwent a surgery that ended up his Sports Career and shuttered his personal identity.
Broken, broke and clueless, his obsession with business, marketing, product design, human behavior and what value really is, made him to begin a powerful journey that would change him forever.
Lewis has built several online multi-million companies (incl. Sports Networker), became a New York Times bestselling author, started his own branded event, been a speaker in thousands of other events and advised billion-dollar brands. He has received media praise in every step he took.
Now, Lewis is committed to impact a 100 million lives through his podcast, books, videos, online courses, live events, experiential workshops and one-to-one interactions. His top-rated podcast ‘The School of Greatness’ is a business, leadership & personal development show that includes a wide range of guests such as authors, business leaders, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs and many others.
Lewis has already published three books: ‘The Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide’ (2012), ‘The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy’ (2015) and ‘The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live to Their Fullest Lives’ (2017). He has also been a co-writer in the 2009 book ‘Linked Working: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website’.
Official Website: https://lewishowes.com/
MATT D’ AVELLA
a filmmaker, director, producer and YouTuber
Matt was born in the United States on December 15, 1987. He is a filmmaker, director, producer and YouTuber, who explores what it means to live a good life. First and foremost, though, Matt is a minimalist, who spends most of his days by creating films & videos.
He is best known for his production ‘Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things’. The documentary was released in 2014. It was trending on Netflix and it was finally featured in the Top 10 documentaries on iTunes. The bestselling author Joshua Fields Millburn & the ABC Correspondent Dan Harris were featured in this documentary. Matt has also directed the documentary ‘Design Disruptors’ in 2016 and has hosted a podcast called ‘The Ground Up Show’.
Matt currently lives in Los Angeles (California) with his long-term relationship Natalie Pidding.
Official Website: https://mattdavella.com/
a novelist, journalist, historian and sometimes a broadcaster
Michaels book "The edge of the world, how the North Sea made us who we are" gives an excellent insight how geography and nature shapes culture with many examples still visible today in countries around the North Sea.
Michael grew up in the English countryside and in true English fashion, he was sent abroad to grow up: to the Universita per Stranieri, in Perugia (Italy). He returned in the UK to study history at Oxford, where he won a bunch of prizes. Actually, he was about to become an academic, when he realized that writing was the only thing he knew how to do very well.
He first joined ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper in Edinburgh during the headiest days of Scottish nationalism and in 1971, he was hired by the ‘Sunday Times’ in London.
In ‘Sunday Times’ he worked as a financial reporter, an editor of an ‘Insight Investigative Unit’ and a writer for the paper's Spectrum feature pages. At the same time, he presented current affairs programs on TV in Scotland and wrote documentaries for the BBC and STV.
From 1980 and for twenty years, he commuted between New York & Europe as a political an American political columnist for ‘The Scotsman’, a New York cultural columnist for the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and pieces for the Esquire, Geo, Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times and many more.
He has published ten books, but he is mostly known for his books ‘The Drowning Room’, ‘The Pieces from Berlin’ (both included at the ‘New York Times’ Notable Books of the Year), as well as ‘The Movie ‘Brats’. A book he wrote with Lynda Myles that was the first serious study of what the Scorsese generation did to Hollywood.
Michael now divides his time between London & rural Portugal, where he lives with his partner John Holm.
Sociopolitical commentator, vlogger, YouTuber and journalist.
Sydney is an Australian/American sociopolitical commentator, vlogger, YouTuber and journalist. She was born in Melbourne (Australia) in 1990, but growing up with her American mother, “blessed” Sydney with her unique accent.
In 2016, Sydney graduated from the University of Melbourne with a degree in Criminology. The same year, she gained international attention for speaking out against a petition to remove the Facebook page ‘Hotties of Melbourne University’. Sydney was quoted by several outlets (including Business Insider and the Daily Mail) for her belief that the Facebook page was “flattering” rather than sexist. The same year, she opened her WordPress account under the name ‘Be Brave’. Her account features original poems about love and heartbreak.
Sydney carried on her studies at the University of Melbourne with a master’s in Journalism. It was when she noticed that there was an issue in the way media were operating. Sydney realized that something needs to change, after she observed the conservative commentators in the American media that exposed the differences they had from the Australian commentators. Eventually, Sydney started to publish her ideas publicly, to write independently and to create video content for the YouTube.
Sydney rose to fame due to her outspoken nature and her views on the issues of Gun Laws, Men’s Rights and Immigration. Sydney, though, was close to not posting the video about Gun Control that made her famous: ‘Why You Can’t Compare Australia and the U.S.’. A friend, however, encouraged her to post it. Soon afterwards, Sydney joined ‘Sky News Australia’ as a guest commentator.
Sydney acted by wisely using the freedom of speech & the freedom of press. Her main motivations are to uphold the traditional values, repair the holes of journalism and give the left a run for its money. In August 2018, Sydney organized the first ‘March for Men’ in Melbourne. Despite the controversy created, hundreds of supporters showed up for the event.
Official Website: https://sydneywatson.com/