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April 20, 2014

New Greetings from Holland

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 9:21 am

nwe-grten-uit-nhm-flickr

In 2009 four organisations decided it was time to reboot Dutch travel postcards, the ones containing cheese, windmills, cows, cheese, wooden shoes, cheese, cheese, tulips and cheese, amongst others. Have I mentioned cheese?

They asked the public to come up with new iconic images of the Netherlands and some 8,000 people responded by sending in photos, often reproducing, referencing or riffing off the same old icons. The resulting postcards were displayed in a travelling exhibition called Nieuwe Groeten Uit… and writer-photographer Hans Aarsman and writer Anna Woltz collected a selection of the cards in an almost-postcard-sized book of the same name.

Hans Aarsman told his publisher Nieuw Amsterdam in the video interview shown here: “You see a lot of family photography. For instance, there is picture of a father and son peeing off a boat together, taken from the back—you just know the mother took that photo. [...] You [to Woltz, ed.] wrote about how people photographed their pets, believing the result to be iconic images of the Netherlands. And the funny thing is sometimes that is true.”

The Nieuwe Groeten Uit… exhibit was organised by the short-lived Nationaal Historisch Museum and by FOAM, ANP Historisch Archief and BankGiro Loterij.

(Source photo: Flickr / Nationaal Historisch Museum)

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April 19, 2014

“Amsterdam, give Holocaust survivors their money back!”, says NIOD

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 1:39 pm

museumplein-jcm718What should a city do when its citizens survive the death camps and arrive home to find all their possessions stolen, even their homes (where now Nazi collaborators live)?

With possible answers ranging from “give them a hero’s welcome” to “do everything in your power to restore normality” to “charge them back taxes for property they haven’t had the use of”, after World War II was over, the city of Amsterdam chose the latter.

Three years ago university student Charlotte van den Berg stumbled upon 342 cases of retroactive taxes for Holocaust victims in Amsterdam’s city archives where she worked part-time. Toby Sterling reports:

Van den Berg notified city officials about the documents and received assurances they would be fully investigated. Now and then she checked in, only to learn that nothing had been done. [...] In desperation, she turned her findings over to Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool in March 2013.

There is a method that seems to be favoured by Dutch officials who wish to deal with the wrongs their predecessors committed long ago, whether they had assisted Nazis with persecuting Jews or killed civilians in the revolutionary Indonesian war, and that method is to let the passage of time finish what the evil-doers started.

Parool’s publication of Van den Berg’s findings in 2013 got the ball rolling though and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies started its own research. NIOD’s report is due later this month, but in the meantime details were leaked to the press. The institute will allegedly recommend that the city repay 400,000 euro in fines and 4.5 million euro in back taxes. That’s just for one very narrow category of taxes, “fees for long-term leases when the city owns the ground a house is built on”.

(Photo by Flickr user jcm718, some rights reserved. Here you see the Van Gogh Museum on Museumplein in Amsterdam. Currently a prime real estate location, Jewish owners of a house in this location had to sell the land because they couldn’t afford the costs involved in making the house liveable again and partly because of retroactive taxes, according to Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad)

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April 18, 2014

Startup invents ankle bracelet to avoid sprains

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 1:47 pm

Presented at the YES!Delft Network Event a few days ago, the Delft startup EXO-L has invented an ankle bracelet that stops sprains. It is custom made (even the colours) and contrary to tape or a brace, you can continue to move.

Inventor Marcel Fleuren has ankle problems himself, and tape and braces were not working for him, either. Since he wanted to continue playing football, a sport with a multitude of sprained ankles, he invented an alternative during his studies at the Delft University of Technology.

Using a 3D scanner, the EXO-L is made to measure as it comes off the printer.

Listen the testimonial of a young football player (in Dutch).

Exo-L Testimonial Micha from Exo-L on Vimeo.

(Link: www.omroepwest.nl, Photo by Wikimedia user Carolus Ludovicus, some rights reserved)

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April 17, 2014

Rare Medieval coins excavated in Utrecht

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 10:58 pm

20140417 Vroegmiddeleeuwse muntvondst Domplein  (11)

The ongoing excavations under the Dom Church of Utrecht have led to the finding of gold copies of tremisses, of the Madelinus type, issued from Dorestad, a large settlement of the province of Utrecht and an international trade hub of Northern Europe from the 7th to the mid 9th century. Also found at the same spot were silver sceattas, minted in England, Frisia (Friesland) and Jutland (Denmark) also around that period.

The coins denote a turbulent period in Dutch history when the Frisians and the Franks were trying to control the strategically located city of Utrecht.

The coins will be on display as of Friday 18 April at the Centraal Museum Utrecht.

(Link and photo: www.cultureelerfgoed.nl)

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April 16, 2014

Pop-up furniture that folds easily and warms your seat

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 12:07 pm

Screen shot 2014-04-16 at 12.09.14 PM

Soullmate, a Dutch product by Design Studio BOMM and Sit & Heat, is pop-up furniture for two that can be folded away in seconds and warms your bum if it’s cold outside. They say cold is 0˚C, but then again they are Dutch and that’s considered cold here.

“The bench, table and pallet together have a dimension of 120 x 120 x 110 cm, which can fold to a height of 35 cm, making the Soullmate easy to transport and store. In a short period of time you can create an event space with a great atmosphere.”

I love how quickly it folds and I encourage you to find out more about the seat warming aspects.

Folding the Soullmate from Sit & Heat on Vimeo.

(Link: phys.org, Photo: screenshot Soullmate)

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April 15, 2014

Man films daughter growing up, becomes YouTube hit

Filed under: Film by Orangemaster @ 3:39 pm

Vince Hofmeester

Dutchman Frans Hofmeester has been filming his daughter Lotte weekly from ages 0 to 14, and a few days ago, he placed a time-lapsed video of her on YouTube.

Two years ago Hofmeester had also placed the first video when Lotte was 12, which had more than 4 million hits. Last year, he placed one that had some 900,000 hits and his latest one is currently at over 2,500,000 hits.

Hofmeester has also posted time-lapsed videos of his son Vince (see pic) from 0 to 11 years and other films related to his family.

Here’s Portrait of Lotte – 0 to 14 years in 4 min. (The Original):

(Link: www.metronieuws.nl, Photo of Vince Hofmeester, screenshot of a YouTube video)

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April 14, 2014

Dig in with Nijmegen and uncover something Roman

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am

From 14 April to 18 May, the city of Nijmegen, Gelderland, the oldest city in the country and synonymous with Roman ruins, is inviting its citizens to come and dig up some finds with archaeologists. You’ll need a ticket to join in the merriment, 10 euro for 2 hours of excavation. All kinds of related events (in Dutch) for children and adults alike are also being organised.

The excavation is to take place on a site belonging to the Honig food corporation, where remains of a 2000 year-old temple have been found. Archaeologist Kees Brok says people have expressed interest in joining in, so that’s why they’ve turned it into a fun group activity.

I doubt anyone can keep what they find though, but it’s a good way to get the job done fast and learn something.

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo: BOOR, Rotterdam)

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April 13, 2014

Photo mag New Dawn features young photographers

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 10:37 am

newdawn-branko-collinAs I swung by the (relatively) new PhotoQ photo book store on Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam last week, the owner handed me a free tabloid paper called New Dawn.

New Dawn focuses exclusively on photography and puts photos and their makers front and centre. It contains announcements of exhibitions, portfolios (often of young photographers), interviews and reviews of photo books. It appears once every two months and is distributed via a large number of venues such as art schools, museums, coffee houses.

If you’re not in the Netherlands you can still follow the New Dawn blog which contains much of the same content (albeit not in tabloid format). You could also contact the publishers and ask them about a paid subscription.

To me magazines about photography are much more interesting than the unfortunately far more common magazines about photo equipment, so I definitely hope New Dawn keeps it up.

The current issue contains photos by Sharieta Berghuis (cover), Sarah Mei Herman (below), Koos Breukel, Iris van Gelder, Paul van Vugt and others.

newdawn-sarah-mei-herman

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April 12, 2014

‘Occupied’ an unwelcome word during first King’s Day

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 10:19 am

bezet-martijn-van-exel

The Amsterdam district Centrum has declared the word ‘bezet’ (Dutch for occupied) a verbum non gratum, an unwelcome word for King’s Day.

During the Dutch national holiday, the whole country turns into a single large flea market. Citizens often chalk or tape a rectangle on the pavement the night or even days before to ensure themselves of the best spots and write the word ‘bezet’ in the middle for good measure. Parool reports that the district feels the word would be in bad taste so close to Remembrance of the Dead (4 May). To me that suggests (tongue firmly in cheek) a minor victory for the Nazis almost 70 years after they were chased out of the country by Canadian, British and American troops.

Saturday 26 April will be the first King’s Day ever. In 1885 a newspaper editor in Utrecht organised a Princess Day to celebrate the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, which evolved into Queen’s Day when Wilhelmina ascended the throne. Since then the Netherlands has only had queens, but last year King Willem Alexander took over from his mother during Queen’s Day. King’s Day is celebrated on the king’s birthday, 27 April, except when that date is on a Sunday—then the holiday will be moved to Saturday. This year that happens to be the case.

(Photo by Martijn van Exel, some rights reserved)

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April 11, 2014

EU outlaws private copies from illegal source; government eager to comply

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:07 am

towers-cjeu-press-photosThe Court of Justice of the European Union decided yesterday that the Dutch practice of allowing downloads from an illegal source is itself illegal, Tweakers.net writes.

The court followed the hypothesis of advocate general Pedro Cruz Villalón who felt that the Dutch attitude caused “the mass distribution of illegal materials”. A spokesperson for the Dutch government told NRC that this makes downloading from an illegal source “illegal right away”.

The case was a continuation of one we wrote about earlier, in which manufacturers of blank media argued that since many copies came from illegal sources, the levies they had to pay shouldn’t be so high.

Dutch copyright law contains an exemption that says that copies made for private use are not infringing, regardless of whether the author was paid or not. Member of parliament Astrid Oosenbrug (PvdA) was surprised by the speed with which the government announced a ban on downloading: “That is of course not how things are done.” According to her, the government should explore alternatives first, such as raising levies.

Oosenbrug told 24 Oranges: “PvdA is against a ban on downloading. Citizens should be able to freely use the Internet. We also want to protect the makers, but we shouldn’t do that with bans. Instead we should stimulate legal download models such as Netflix, Spotify, Deezer and so on.”

The Pirate Party’s Dirk Poot (not represented in parliament) called for a drastic revision of copyright law and added that “the government’s attitude is made abundantly clear by the fact that it outlaws downloading as of today, but does not eliminate the levies on blank media with similar haste.”

TL/DR: Copyright law was once a matter between authors and publishers. Now it’s just a mess and everybody’s made to suffer except large publishers and lawyers.

(Photo of the court’s towers by Court of Justice of the European Union / G. Fessy, used with permission)

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