Earlier this year, having a drink at certain types of shops started as an experiment in January and February in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, after which some 40 odd smaller cities joined in. The idea is that you’re not supposed to drink somewhere that doesn’t have the proper license, but in the spirit of getting people to the shops, the rules were temporarily relaxed as a pilot project.
However, in the small city of Doetinchem, Gelderland the ‘blurring’ of the laws on alcohol has led to a questionable situation where booze is being served in a children’s clothing shop, which according to STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy, claims is crossing the line.
STAP is very much against this ‘blurring’ (the actual word used by the Dutch in English), even more so in a shop meant for kids. I do get the serving a drink at the hair salon and more adult clothing stores, but yeah, I don’t see any real good in serving booze to parents in a children’s clothing store other than getting them to buy more.
Then again, the local government claims that children do not go into the shop in question when alcohol is being served, as it is about evenings for special clients when nobody under 18 years of age can get it, which starts to make more sense.
Regardless, STAP is going to start writing ‘letters on legs’ to borrow a fantastic Dutch expression that means writing serious letters with threats to sue in them.
A Belgian man from Turnhout, Jan Starckx, bought a portrait of a young girl in a red dress for 450 euro, which has turned out to be an original Willem de Kooning (shown here), a Dutch-American painter originally from Rotterdam.
Authenticated by experts on the BBC television show ‘Fake or Fortune’, the painting has been valued at between 55,000 and 100,000 euro. Starckx intends to exhibit the work first in Turnhout and then in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels where it was painted. In April the work will be brought together with a similar work, ‘Portrait of Renée’ at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, USA.
“I thought it was a great painting and I was intrigued by the signature that misses the final ‘g’: ‘Wim Koonin’ it says”, explained Starckx.
On 8 September the experimental sounds of Dutch composer Roland Kuit will be heard in space as part of the OSIRIS-REx NASA mission, which will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called ‘Bennu’ and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. The mission’s goal is to get more insight into the origin of life.
Kuit’s sounds will be placed on a chip that will be left on the asteroid, which will send his music into space, powered by solar energy. “I think it’s great that NASA uses science as a vehicle for art, as art is something that differentiates humans from the rest”, explains Kuit.
Here’s a screenshot of the character ‘Baantjer’ from the show of the same name for which Toots Thielemans performed the theme on the mouth harmonica. Thielemans has died today, aged 94. He was very talented and played several instruments, and was well known for playing the mouth harmonica, among others, for Dutch films and series.
Here’s the theme to the Dutch detective series ‘Baantjer’ Circle of smiles (yeah, screenshot typo) composed by Jurre Haanstra, a show that ran for eleven years. And then there’s the catchy intro music to Paul Verhoeven’s classic Dutch film ‘Turks Fruit’ (‘Turkish Delight’), composed by Rogier van Otterloo and performed by Toots Thielemans, a tune many people can whistle to, no problem.
Find out more about Toots Thielemans yourself, as the international name dropping could go on for days.
And then there’s his most popular tune ever, which most of our readers surely know. Can you guess what it could be before you press play? Hint: it’s 47 years old.
Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 10:58 pm
The year was 1672. The 80-year war of independence of the United Provinces against Spain had been hard fought, but had also ushered in a golden age in which trade, science and arts blossomed. Now that progress was halting. The Treaty of Münster in 1648 had seen the recognition of the young Dutch republic as an independent nation, but 24 years later fresh enemies were at the door. England had declared war, followed by France and a bunch of German bishops.
An Anglo-French attack over sea had been thwarted with ease by the mighty Dutch fleet, but the weakened Dutch army could not stop the French from invading over land. The Dutch tried to retreat to the redoubt formed by the Dutch Water Line; a huge lake formed by flooding parts of Utrecht and Brabant. The flooding went slower than expected and it also made the people outside the redoubt feel they were being left to their own devices. People started panicking and started looking for scapegoats.
These scapegoats were found in the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt. The former was the grand pensionary of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland, which made him the de facto leader of a federation of provinces that preferred not to have leaders. It also brought him in direct competition with the line of Orange-Nassau which had assumed the stadtholdership and had turned it into a hereditary position. The Oranges were the favourites of many people who saw in the latest heir, William III, a new leader for the new war.
Cornelis had been framed for the crime of conspiracy and had been banished from the country. On 20 August 1672 his brother Johan came to pick him up from prison in The Hague, but outside a mad crowd awaited them. The rabble lynched the brothers, mutilated their bodies and cut parts off. The heart of Johan was cut out of his body and thrown in his face.
The painting shown here was created by Jan de Baen. On the back is written: “These are the corpses of Jan and Cornelis de Witt, painted from life by an important painter, as they were hanging from the gallows at 11 o’clock in the evening. Cornelis is the one without a wig, Jan de Witt has his own hair. This is the only painting painted from life on 20 August 1672 and therefore worth a lot of money.”
The Dutch are not a food country: the motto here is food as fuel, like the hearty cheese sandwiches I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. However, like most humans, they love tasty food and as of late, are flexing their great trading skills by trying to combine junk foods and also trying to counter food waste.
I just read a letter sent in to newspaper Trouw in which a couple actually believe that ‘normal’ food is poisonous and expensive organic and bio-organic food is the dog’s bollocks. I’m thinking they did not grow up with organic and bio-organic food because it’s not been readily available for that long, and read something somewhere about it and now act as if they are in a higher social class. I’m picturing a white Dutch couple with some education, 30s, where the woman cuts off the man when he’s talking, especially since he’s the only one making sense, as you’ll see. And he’s going along with it because he can’t be arsed to find another partner at the moment and I bet eats dirty poisonous food when she’s away at her mother’s.
The couple wanted to know if it is OK to ask their friends to cook them organic food at dinner parties and wonder if it’s not too annoying for them to ask for ‘non-poisonous food’. The man thinks it’s inappropriate, while the woman has asked friends before and it has gone well, but still they get invited less. I hope they realise their friends fed them normal food and are going to avoid them like poison in the future until the guy splits up with his girlfriend and finds a new shiny one who eats everything under the sun.
The answer the couple got starts with: “it is quite arrogant to ask your friends to serve you expensive organic/bio-organic food. […] Your menu demands are very different than those of vegetarians or from people with a specific allergy because normal supermarket food is not poisonous.” It goes on to say there’s no scientific proof whatsoever that normal food is poisonous and called the couple ‘bonkers’ to conclude that their friends serve them ‘poisonous meals’, which is horribly arrogant and incorrect. The author would invite them over, serve them normal food and never invite them again, too, with a smile.
The man of the couple believes that being with friends is more important than the food they eat, but his partner isn’t getting the message. I think food and dinner party etiquette isn’t this couple’s biggest problem.
Started up in Finland last year and already available in Sweden and Estonia, ResQ, a successful app that offers restaurants trying to sell cheap, leftover meals to hungry patrons is launching in Amsterdam this week. Other major Dutch cities such as The Hague and Utrecht are soon to follow this fall.
Research from Wageningen University claims the Netherlands throws out 51 million tonnes of food a year and that’s waste many groups would like to put a halt to. Available for iPhone and Android, ResQ will first aim at people who come from their work and want to eat something without too much fuss, like lasagna, sandwiches, salades, soups and baked goods, which are easy to sell fast rather than throw away.
In February a Dutch supermarket chain hired a chef to cook food that otherwise according to the law still had to be thrown out, but ResQ is sure to stop some of the waste.
The city of ’s-Hertogenbosch’ (Den Bosch) came second in this year’s Dutch “Traffic light region of 2016 Election”, after Helmond, both in the province of Noord-Brabant, and below you can watch a video shot in Den Bosch about how intricate and tech-savvy traffic lights for cyclists are. Den Bosch also features the country’s’ first Cycle-DRIP (Dynamic Route Information Panel) for cycling, an interesting read as well.
The video voice-over calls the traffic light button a ‘reassurance button’, which is mildly funny, but I’m guessing the contraption was taken over by pedestrian crossings. However, when you’re a visually impaired pedestrian, the ticking sounds the button makes after pressing it and when the light is green is very reassuring. Yes, the cyclist ‘reassurance button’ is possibly just for show and doesn’t make a sound, as it would be drowned out.
Using probability theory, four students at the Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris penned a paper entitled ‘Failure is Also an Option’ to prove that the best chance of being allowed to participate in the 100th edition of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen (aka ‘Nijmegen Vierdaagse’), which was held from 19-22 July 2016, was if one failed that year’s event.
The world’s most famous walking event attended by some 40,000 participants from around the world and featuring international armies and hardcore walkers alike, has a drop-out rate of about 10%.
Initially, the rules governing participation were the following: A walker who succeeds the n-th walk is admitted to walk at year (n + 1). Walkers who fail a walk enter a lottery. If they win the lottery, they get tickets to the walk. Walkers who fail two successive draws are admitted to the walk following the second lottery failure. In 2013, while computing our chances to be admitted to the centennial walk, we noticed a rather counterintuitive fact: By purposely failing the 97-th walk, walkers can actually increase their chances to attend the centennial walk.
We notified this inconsistency to the organisers and never got an answer, but the rules were subsequently changed.
The year of weird junk food combos is not over yet! Move over pancakes with fries, the discodel and the frikandellen vlaai for ‘Patatje 2.0’ (‘Fries 2.0’) named after cafetaria ‘t Huus 2.0 in Veenendal, Gelderland.
What it is? Straight up fries with a side of vanilla soft ice cream instead of mayonnaise, an idea one of the employees got from Sweden. The first thing that came to mind for me is Americans dipping fries in their milk shake, which my brain says I’ve seen somewhere before.
The picture above comes from Brussels: it’s fries with andalouse sauce, a mild spicy mayonnaise sauce.