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May 24, 2015

Some children ‘not white enough’ for school

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 1:52 pm

The disturbingly casual Dutch terms ‘black schools’ and ‘white schools’ in the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam refer to schools with ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ and ‘kids that look Dutch’ because Dutch is code for Caucasian and everything else gets lumped into ‘black’.

Unfortunately but not surprisingly, ‘black schools’ don’t do as well as ‘white schools’, and smart parents of both groups try to get their kids into ‘white schools’. Many parents will claim to want their kids to go to a ‘mixed school’, but they are only considered good schools when there’s more ‘white’ kids than ‘black’ kids.

Two schools in one neighbourhood decided to challenge this segregation by getting the ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ to wear T-shirts that say ‘Is this white enough for you?’, so that two ‘mixed schools’ don’t close because more parents are sending their kids to ‘white schools’ in other neighbourhoods. It’s sad that small children are being taught that their skin colour is putting people off, to put it mildly.

Amsterdam is a city that proudly keeps counting how many different nationalities live together in harmony, but when it comes to schools, segregation is commonplace.

(Link: politiek.thepostonline.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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May 23, 2015

Very rare copy of Mein Kampf on display in Amsterdam

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 5:28 pm

mein-kampf-adam-jones

After having been prosecuted for selling ‘Mein Kampf’ and getting a slap on the wrist for it, the Totalitarian Art Gallery in Amsterdam is back in the news with a ‘very rare’ signed copy of Hitler’s controversial book.

The local Anti-Facist League is demanding the book be confiscated and that the gallery be closed down, but the police told them they cannot legally do either of those things. ‘Mein Kampf’ (‘My Struggle’) can easily be found on the Internet since about 1998, but the book version is still banned. As well, the copyright on the book will run out in 2016, making it even more difficult to control any distribution of the work.

Gallery owner Michiel van Eyck is currently displaying the book in his shop, not selling it, and there’s nothing illegal about that. There’s an appeal currently ongoing on the original verdict against Van Eyck. However, banning a physical book that can be found easily and for free is ‘mopping the floor with the faucet running’, as the Dutch would say.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo by Adam Jones, some rights reserved)

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May 22, 2015

Bosch your photos, there’s an app for that

Filed under: Art,Photography,Technology by Orangemaster @ 12:01 pm

Bosch-app

Making the rounds since last fall and distributed by Dutch company No Strings, the Bosch camera app lets you add some Hieronymus Bosch characters to your pictures. I gave it a quick spin with my paper bin (see pic) and it is fun and easy to use.

“Bosch camera reanimates 500 year-old creatures and people taken from the paintings of Bosch. A stroll in the woods or a visit to the local supermarket could turn in an awesome adventure.”

It’s Bosch’s famous characters that keep so many people intrigued, even to the point of deciphering buttock music from the famous painting ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’, which is currently the object of feuding Spanish museums.

(Link: Hieronymus Bosch The Movie on Facebook)

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May 21, 2015

Science still a man’s world in the Netherlands

Filed under: Science by Orangemaster @ 11:26 am

Out of 66 countries surveyed for a recent American study at Northwestern University, the Netherlands came out on top for perpetuating gender stereotypes that men are scientists and women, not so much. Other ‘emancipated’ countries such as Denmark and Norway known for their gender equity also perpetuate these gender stereotypes.

“Dutch men outnumbered Dutch women by nearly four to one among both science majors and employed researchers,” David I. Miller, lead author of the study noted. “The strong stereotypes in the Netherlands, therefore, reflect the reality of male dominance in science there.”

Miller also mentions the importance of teachers having to quote someone more contemporary than Marie Curie, as if women hadn’t done anything noteworthy in science since the 1900s. Marie Curie won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 together with her husband Pierre Curie, and was the only woman to win twice, with a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911 all on her own. Curie must have had an influence on her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie who won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 together with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Both Joliot-Curie children, a daughter and a son also become scientists in their own right.

The more women there are in science, the less gender stereotyping there should be in the long run, Miller points out.

I recommend reading soviet writer Natalya Baranskaya’s ‘A Week Like Any Other’ from 1969. You’ll find out about Olga, a full-time research scientist, wife and mother of two and all her female colleagues who went into science because it was the best place to work, albeit not without its own problems.

(Links: phys.org, en.wikipedia.org-2)

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May 20, 2015

Phototrope shirt for running at night

Filed under: Design,Sports by Orangemaster @ 12:21 pm

Phototrope

Developed based on her own experience running in Amsterdam, which when it’s dark makes you feel like the frog in the old video game Frogger, Dutch designer Pauline van Dongen has created a phototrope shirt using LEDs and foil, designed to improve safety for runners. It is made from technical jersey embedded with washable strips of the low-energy lights and sections of reflective ‘prismatic’ foil material that curve around the body.

Most runners including myself tend to use flashing bicycle lights or bits of clothing with reflective material, but none of it illuminates anywhere near as well or looks as cool as Van Dongen’s garment. She wanted to create a design that felt more like a garment a runner would wear regardless of the safety aspects, as runners need to be comfortable, and dangling lights or bracelets are not the way to go.

The jersey is still a prototype, but I already want one. Find out more about Van Dongen’s ideas with the use of a cardigan that helps with patient rehabilitation.

(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)

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May 19, 2015

Americans try Dutch sweets and survive

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:21 am

Honingdrop

After having Americans try sweets and foods from many other countries, the Dutch held their breath to find out what happens in the recently released ‘Americans Try Dutch Sweets’ video.

Sometimes you know the panel is going to hate it, but it’s tough to find anyone that hates ‘stroopwafels’ (‘syrup waffles’). When I travel abroad and need to bring a small gift, stroopwafels are my best bet. You should warm them up on a mug of coffee or tea and then eat them or buy mini-stroopwafels and eat the whole bag.

Haribo is a German company and Germans as well as other nationalities also enjoy drop, so even if drop is more of a Dutch favourite, it’s always fun to see people’s reaction to trying it for the first time, like babies biting into a lemon and wincing their cute little faces.

‘Boterkoek’ (‘butter cake’) is easy to like, so no weirdness there, just a buttery taste. ‘Autodrop cadillacs’ (‘gummy pink cadillacs’) are nice because the strawberry flavour is not artificial and you can do wonders with the caddies on cupcakes. And yes, gummy products are originally German. The rum beans are bean-shaped chocolates filled with rum, although you need to pop them into your mouth in one go or else. I have no idea who came up with the brilliant idea for this type of sweet, but chocolate and rum is an international combo of deliciousness.

I say we need at least a second video with many more types of cakes and cookies (hey look, a Dutch word that made into English, from ‘koekjes’) and possibly a few other regional delicacies.

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May 18, 2015

ISIS terrorists use fake passports from ‘Enshede’

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 4:01 pm

isis-passport-forgery-al-aan-tv

When rebels raided an ISIS safe house in northern Syria, they secured dozens of passports stolen from Westerners, Al Aan TV reports.

Among the many real passports was also this forged Dutch passport signed by the mayor of ‘Enshede’. Since there is no place called Enshede (but Enschede exists), border controls should have no problems stopping the holders of other copies.

Using the sch-sound to separate the good guys from the bad has long been practice in the Netherlands and Flanders, especially since foreigners don’t seem to be able to pronounce it correctly. The Flemish are said to have used the war cry ‘schild ende vriend‘ (shield and friend) during the Battle of the Golden Spurs to differentiate themselves from the French, and fishermen returning to the main land after the Nazi attack on 10 May 1940 were told to use the password Scheveningen to tell them apart from German agents.

I am guessing the forger wrote the name Enschede the way he heard it.

(Link: RTL Nieuws, Photo: Al Aan TV / RTL Nieuws)

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May 17, 2015

Train driver stops for wounded cat

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 1:17 pm

intercity-train-dutch-rail-kismihokLast Monday a Dutch Rail train driver discovered a wounded cat on the rail road between Utrecht and The Hague near Gouda.

The driver of the ‘intercity’ train stopped his vehicle so that the conductor could take the cat on board. An animal ambulance took the cat from The Hague Central Station to a vet. According to AD, tweeting passengers praised Dutch Rail staff for their quick action.

Although it is unclear what how the cat had become injured, its front left paw had to be amputated, as had part of its tail. The bridge of its nose is also damaged and it has a concussion. The animal hospital reported on Facebook that all things considered the cat is doing well and is adapting quickly to its new situation. Although many people have shown interest in acquiring Juna, as the ambulance staff have called her, the hospital will wait two weeks for the original owner to report.

In 2013, a train driver in Limburg stopped to pick up a cat lying on the tracks. In 2014, a rail road employee caught a pregnant cat that had walked off the train in Enschede and brought it to a shelter.

(Photo by Flickr user Kismihok, some rights reserved)

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May 16, 2015

Windmills that generate twice the power of traditional windmills

Filed under: History,Technology by Branko Collin @ 9:27 pm

windmill-leiden-branko-collinAlthough windmills are an iconic representation of the Netherlands, they haven’t actually been used much for the past two centuries.

The ‘invention’ of the practical steam engine by James Watt in the 18th century made short work of the Dutch reliance on windmills. The use of wind power for pumping water out of polders saw a sharp decline in the 19th century.

Ironically, the abandonment of windmills did not stop the development of these devices in the Netherlands. According to Low Tech Magazine:

In the 1920s and 1930s, however, when windmills had stopped working almost everywhere in Europe, the Dutch started a research program that led to the final development of the classical windmill. In 1923, the “Dutch Windmill Society” was founded, with the mission to improve the performance of windmills generating mechanical energy. Among the members were famous millwright builders like the Dekker Brothers. The results were spectacular.

[...]

[While] a traditional windmill could be worked for around 2,671 hours per year in the Netherlands, the new streamlined design could be operated for 4,442 hours per year – more or less doubling the annual energy output.

(Link: Making Light; photo: regular windmill De Put in Leiden by me)

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May 14, 2015

Dutchman cycles to London with his cats

Filed under: Animals,Bicycles,Design by Orangemaster @ 10:26 am

Poopy-screenshot

Using a modified cargo bike named the Poopymobile, inspired by the Popemobile, pet shop entrepreneur Thomas Vles cycled to London with his two cats Mushi and Cheesy last month. Owner of pet design company Poopy Cat in Amsterdam, he knows that cats hate to be locked up in small cages or fly and decided to cycle with a typical Dutch ‘bakfiets’. Mushi and Cheesy are apparently used to going everywhere by bike since they were kittens.

On YouTube Vles said that, “the cats were priority number one during the trip. Should we even remotely think that they were not comfortable, we would stop. There was driving an accompanying car with in which they could always go. Our trip was supported by two veterinarians and we kept an eye on everything 24/7. We have noticed that Mushi and Cheesy were really enjoying their time in the ‘kitty mobile’ – they wanted to stay in there even when we had to get out to sleep!”

(Link: nieuws.nl, Screenshot of YouTube video)

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