The Frisian History and Literature Centre Tresoar in Leeuwarden, Friesland have made public a gift of 48 letters and 14 photos never been seen before they received from the family of the ex-husband of famous Frisian exotic dancer, Mata Hari. The only thing Tresoar had to do in return was turn it all into a book, so that everyone could enjoy the discoveries. The book ‘Don’t think that I’m that bad’ (‘Denk niet dat ik slecht ben’) by Marita Mathijsen-Verkooijen should be out at least in Dutch any day now.
One of the letters written during Mata Hari’s life in Paris in 1904-1905 talked about her one day become a mother and how difficult her life was in general, while in another she talks about living in Nijmegen and having to sell her bike to be able to survive. Mata Hari’s life story is a great read in itself, and these letters will certainly help historians and fans find out even more about her turbulent life. Next year in 2017, the legal documents of 1917 about her execution by a firing squad just outside Paris for being a German spy on 15 October 1917 will be made public, so stay tuned for more.
At the start of the summer, we told you about Americans trying to sing Dutch summer hit ‘Drank & Drugs’ (‘Booze and Drugs’) by Lil Kleine & Ronnie Flex. Now it’s time for the next level, the German version ‘Stoff und Schnaps’ (‘Drugs and Schnaps’), complete with lyrics and bouncing ball.
Ronnie Flex says he’d love to more songs in German because there’s “a market of 70 million people!” Actually, 80 million, but we get it, it’s not the Netherlands with its puny 16.8 million and a language dwarfed by German on the world scale as well.
September 21 saw the official world debut of a video assistant referee (VAR) in a competitive football game, starring Amsterdam Ajax vs Willem II of Tilburg (Ajax won 5-0). As well, Willem II midfielder Anouar Kali became the first player in the country to get a red card recommended by a VAR, after his yellow card in a Dutch Cup tie against Ajax was turned into a red one.
Staring at six video screens in a van, the VAR can review an incident when asked by the match referee as well as advise officials about incidents they may have missed. The International Football Association Board will probably decide in 2018 whether to authorise the use of video technology and incorporate it within the laws of the game.
The intervention confused fans of the Amsterdam-Tilburg game, as the change from yellow to red was not communicated to them, something that would have to be remedied. Other sports like rugby and hockey have been using VAR for a while, but football has been slow to join in. Video refereeing was tested again on September 22 with Rotterdam Feyenoord vs. FC Oss (Feyenoord won 4-1) , while I was in the pub for a quick visit.
The video referee communicates with the referee on the pitch within a few seconds of any incident. As well as advising on penalty and card decisions, they can help clear up cases of mistaken identity or infringements in the lead-up to a goal such as offside or foul play. If the on-pitch referee wants, they can also review the video footage themselves before making a final decision.
Enschede Airport Twente, close to the German border and little flight activity, now has a test location called Space53 for drones and UAVs. It’s apparently the first airport in Europe that allows drones to be tested in ‘complex environments and situations’. Nokia already plans to test Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management systems (UTM) there.
Space53 is a collaboration between businesses and the public sector in the region of Twente. Besides an airport and various spaces for research, development and testing UAVs, schools and universities have joined in. They’ve already had some swarming tests where a bunch of drones fly together and collaborate in the event of a calamity.
Fun fact: When the notary public wrote up the transfer deed for the airbase after WWII, he apparently had had one too many and it accidentally wrote ‘Twenthe’ instead of Twente, which is still written this way today by the local flying club.
The lost painting showed up on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, as the owner explained that their great-great grandfather and the artist were close family friends and their great-great grandmother was the governess of Tadema’s children. According to the show, Alma-Tadema holds the record for a Victorian painting at US$36 mln (about EUR 32 mln) for an enormous picture sold in New York a few years ago, but this painting is smaller and would be worth less, with no estimation suggested.
The painting has been restored and will be part of the upcoming touring exhibition of Alma-Tadema’s work at the Fries Museum as of 1st October. The portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1884, and went on display again in Liverpool in 1913, after which it hadn’t been seen until now.
UPDATE: the BBC showed aired, and the painting was valued at 230.000-346.000 euro.
Women make less than men – check, white people make more than others – check, and in the same vein, Dutch people who speak with a regional accent get paid less, according to economy professor Jan van Ours of Tilburg University. Van Ours noticed that age, level of education or coming from a village or a city didn’t make a difference, but accents did.
Van Ours, who grew up with the dialect of Goeree-Overflakkee, South Holland, says nobody had ever done research into the economic impact of speaking with a regional accent before. While 40% of the Dutch have grown up with an accent, it is possible and plausible that people are discriminated against because of the way they speak. He also says that someone with a heavy Limburg accent working at a call centre could be more difficult to understand than someone who speaks standard Dutch (‘Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands’). I admit I called Dutch Rail once and hung up on someone who had an accent I couldn’t place that was so thick, I had no clue what they were saying. And sometimes when co-blogger Branko is tired and speaks to me with his Limburg accent, I have no clue, either.
There’s enough prejudice going around that if someone speaks with a heavy regional accent they are perceived as being dumber – I get this as a foreigner and it’s normal. Confirming this prejudice, foreigners and migrants also take lessons to get rid of their accent and sound more like standard Dutch speakers, including born and bred Amsterdam residents who speak with the city’s dialectal accent. Some people from areas like Het Gooi, North Holland have a specific accent, but because it’s a rich part of the country people don’t point out their accent as quickly as they do others.
24oranges HQ is run by two people with regional accents, but I don’t see us doing anything about it anytime soon.
Professional bekeeper Leo Gensen from Wijk bij Duurstede, Utrecht recently drove a truck with an adapted trailer full of half a million bees down to the southwest region of Dordogne in France to ensure their winter survival.
“The biggest problem for bees is that there’s often not enough food for them in the Netherlands” he explains. Gensen has a friend in France who is an amateur beekeeper and a pensioner, able to take care of the bees this winter.
In mid-October another one million bees will take the same 1100-kilometre trip. Chances are this is the first time this has ever been done.
Back in 2011 designer Martine Poot from Vlaardingen of Studio Martijntje Cornelia started producing rings made from real cotton candy, which have been shaped by the environment.
“Changing to the wearer’s daily lives, the accessory reacts to sunlight or water, enabling it to uniquely change its form and color. Hand-made, each ring is unique and the transparent base emphasizes the pop of colour.” The rings are made from candy floss (aka cotton candy) and resin.
On 7 October, Ukraine is giving back five masterpieces stolen from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, North Holland 11 years ago. Twenty-four Dutch Golden Age masterpieces and 70 pieces of silverware were stolen from the museum on January 9, 2005, which back then had an estimated total value of 10 million euro.
In Ukraine earlier this year four Dutch Golden Age masterpieces were recovered in dubious circumstances while a fifth painting was handed back to Ukrainian authorities by an Ukrainian art buyer, also under dubious circumstances. The five paintings were ‘A Peasant Wedding’ by Hendrick Boogaert, ‘Kitchen Scene’ by Floris van Schooten, ‘Return of Jephta’ and ‘Lady World’ by Jacob Waben, and ‘Nieuwstraat in Hoorn’ by Isaak Ouwater.
To celebrate the return of the paintings, the museum will let people in for free as of 8 October for a week. The bad news is, ‘A Peasant Wedding’ and ‘Kitchen Scene’ are in very bad condition and will need crowdfunding to pay for their costly restoration estimated at 100,000 euro.
Today Rotterdam is celebrating Park(ing) Day, which sounds like a lot of pun fun. The city of Rotterdam is letting people take over a parking spot for free and camp out on it, as if it were a park. And to sweeten the deal, the rules of a park apply to the parking spot.
Park(ing)Day is part of Happy Streets, yet another let’s-use-English-rather-than-Dutch named event (where ‘happy’ often sounds like ‘hippie’ when some Dutch people pronounce it) lasting the entire weekend in order to promote ‘sustainable mobility and a better use of public spaces’.
The city will also feature yet another let’s-give-it-an-English-name-to sound-cool event called Walk’in Rotterdam, where people can take a stroll along various uncommon parts of the city with a knowledgeable guide who I bet will tell their stories in the country’s main language.
And Sunday is another why-use-Dutch-go-for-English event called Open Streets when streets will be car-free and feature other merriment.