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June 24, 2016

Robot to carve stone apostles for Nijmegen

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Jurgen Braun who restores statues has programmed a robot to carve the 12 apostles out of stone for the Latin school in Nijmegen, Gelderland, a national monument.

The apostles’ socles were eroding and the statues became dangerous, which is why they were taken down. The robot, that hails from Tienhoven, South Holland, can produce one apostle in a week by working 24 hours a day, something a human just can’t do.

Although the robot can do a lot itself, an artist has to intervene in order to complete the statues properly because robots aren’t perfect, explains Braun.

Have a look (in Dutch):

(Link: nos.nl), Photo of Nijmegen and the Waal river by Rein Ketelaars, some rights reserved)

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June 23, 2016

Amsterdam abolishes discriminatory youth minimum wage

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 3:23 pm

Amsterdam is the first Dutch city to finally put an end to the discriminatory practice of paying employees between the ages of 18 and 23 only 45% of the adult minimum wage.

The Netherlands is one of the few European countries where this practice was commonplace, something that is illegal in many Western countries. The city will start by adjusting the salaries of younger people who work for the city. Although the city of Zwolle, Overijssel started doing this before Amsterdam, Amsterdam is making more serious adjustments according to the youth workers’ union who has been pushing hard for change.

In April of this year the Dutch government decided to lower the youth minimum wage from 23 to 21, but yeah, that’s still discrimination. I have yet to hear a good argument besides exploiting young people for this wage discrepancy.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of the VOC HQ (East India Company) by Josh, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)

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June 21, 2016

Fire truck again too big for station

Filed under: Automobiles,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:03 pm

In Flevoland in 2013 a fire brigade bought 14 new trucks, five of which didn’t fit in their fire stations.

It has happened again, this time in Almen, Gelderland, but with a tanker, which is five centimeters too high and one metre too long for the fire station, a 40-year-old station that is due to be either replaced or renovated. It’s odd that fire brigades don’t talk to each other about a problem I am sure has happened before more often than the press has reported.

I guess it’s one way to get a new fire house or renovate the current one. Maybe that’s the idea.

(Link: www.blikopnieuws.nl)

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June 20, 2016

Swiss company gives 19th century Amsterdam colour

Filed under: History,Photography by Orangemaster @ 4:58 pm

800px-Amsterdam_photochrom

Thanks to the magic of photochromy, the art of reproducing colours by photography, the company Photoglob from Zurich, Switzerland lets us enjoy colour pictures of Amsterdam taken between 1890 and 1900, which were originally black and white.

Thanks to RTVNH having a slow news moment, you can enjoy more pictures of Amsterdam including the Amstel river, Central Station, the Rijksmuseum, and a few more by following the link below.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Dam Square, Amsterdam by Unknown, some rights reserved)

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June 19, 2016

Most expensive Dutch comics album sells for 6,000 euro

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 7:22 pm

grote-otter-hans-kresse-catawikiOnline auction house Catawiki has sold a comic book by Dutch author Hans Kresse for 6,000 euro last month.

According to Parool, it is the highest price ever paid for a comic book by a Dutch artist.

Kresse’s book, called De Grote Otter (The Great Otter) and believed to have been published in the 1940s, is the only known complete first edition copy—another copy exists, but lacks a cover. Exactly how many copies Kresse or his publisher printed is unknown. A second edition from 1953 had a print run of 2,500 copies.

Later last month Catawiki sold a textless Tintin album for 40,000 euro. The auction house claims that this makes it one of the most expensive comic books ever sold at an auction—a statement that gives blogger and comics collector Popokabaka a fresh opportunity to warn his readers for the apparently stormy relationship the auction house has with the truth. Several copies of Tintin alone, the blogger claims, have sold in the past five years for considerably more than that.

In 2010, Belgian Marc Sleen’s Doris Dobbel sold for 12,000 euro, making it the most expensive comic book written in the Dutch language.

(Illustration: Catawiki)

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June 17, 2016

Denim tents set up at Oerol festival

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

denim-tent

For Oerol, a cultural festival on the island of Terschelling held annually in June, the very first BlueCAMP jeans tents will be set up, although they are not yet available for purchase. The tents are said to be water-resistant, can breathe, and are made from 25% old denim, with the hopes of that percentage going up in the future. Their ground sheets are made of Recuppasta, a sustainable plastic made from old bits of tarpaulin.

The entire complicated process of recycling people’s old denim is done in the Netherlands and Belgium. Apparently, the average Dutch person has six pairs of jeans in their wardrobe, and earlier this year we told you about the country’s denim obssession, which means collecting old denim in the lowlands at festivals sounds like a plan.

(Link and photo: www.bright.nl)

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June 16, 2016

Kids get sick on glue thanks to their teacher

Filed under: Health,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:00 am

Students at a school in Spijkenisse, South Holland got sick after their teacher gave them a lecture on street children sniffing glue in Brazil. It’s one thing to try and explain this to kids to get them to empathise, it’s another to have them sniff hazardous glue to get the point across.

After sniffing glue used to remove graffiti, which contains the same toxic substances as the glue used in Brazil, two students were sick: one had to be treated in hospital and one at a clinic, while another six were treated at the school.

The parents were informed of the incident. Why on earth did this even happen, the media doesn’t say, but it seems the teacher didn’t realise that the graffiti remover was toxic. I think the teacher was stupid and irresponsible to say the least.

(Links: nos.nl, www.rtlnieuws.nl)

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June 15, 2016

Shops open until 10pm in Eindhoven goes too far

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 10:24 am

Having some shops open until 10pm is something many people in the Netherlands, especially expats, don’t know the uphill battle it was and may have helped push through without knowing it. The fight to have any kind of shop open past the regular Dutch hours of 6pm was won about 10 years ago when Albert Heijn decided to have supermarkets in major cities open from 8am to 8pm, something if I remember correctly political party D66 (Democrats), a party that traditionally caters to expats, were very much in favour of. At the time it upset a lot of smaller shops that claimed they could not compete, the same argument used for shops not being open on Sundays, but without the sorry Christian excuse that usually comes with it.

Rob van Gijzel, the Mayor of Eindhoven (Labour) would love to accommodate the expat population of his city by having all matters of shops in the city centre open until 10pm. His goal is to make Eindhoven more attractive to ‘knowledge workers’ who come from cities with millions of residents and who aren’t used to shops closing at 6pm on weekdays and 5pm on weekends, with the exception of ‘late night shopping nights’ until 9pm, usually Thursdays or Fridays. And of course this means the Dutch get to shop more conveniently as well. But the stakeholders are against the 10pm opening hours, saying “it’s a bridge too far”.

Back in 1996 when I came to work here as a PA for the summer, I lived in Delft and worked in Hoofddorp. I finished worked at about 17:30 and it was completely impossible to buy any supermarket food after 6pm: there were no Albert Heijn To Go’s at train stations back then. The Dutch would tell me to buy all my food for the week on Saturdays like everyone else, but how could I buy seven days’ worth of food for two (I had a roommate – we switched weeks) without a car or even a bike, never mind that our small student fridge couldn’t fit all the food? He had time during the day as a student – I didn’t.

Here’s what I had to do to get food for dinner: I would take the train to Hoofddorp as usual, but get off in Leiden since my connection was always a 25-minute wait. Supermarket chain Via (now defunct) was right next to the train station and open at 7am. Opening early was the trick back then to avoid the arguments about being open late. I would have 25 minutes to shop for dinner and catch my train to get to work. Then I would go to the office’s restaurant and ask to use their fridge to store my food. They laughed, but understood my logic. I’d bring the food home in the train and have food for dinner.

When I told my roommate how retarded opening hours were as compared to what I knew he said it will change some day, and it did. It could change some more though, so yes 10pm for at least food would make a lot of our lives easier and provide more jobs to people. Yes, some supermarkets are open until 10pm now, thanks to Albert Heijn and expats whinging about it. Go Eindhoven!

(Link: www.deondernemer.nl, Photo of an endive potato mash with meatless sausage by Jasja Dekker, some rights reserved)

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June 14, 2016

Expats find it tough to befriend the Dutch

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 7:48 am

dutch_flag.jpg

An online survey carried out by rtlz.nl and Dutchnews.nl with 1,123 respondents (including myself) revealed to anyone who hadn’t heard this before that expats find it really difficult and even ‘almost impossible’ to make friends with the Dutch, and tend to stick with other expats, which doesn’t help them integrate.

Many expats in the Netherlands come from Germany and England, two thirds of which are men and have an average age of 34, often considered an age at which people already have their groups of friends. An additional explanation is that since many expats don’t stay for long (three to five years), the Dutch won’t bother making new friends with people that won’t be there in a few years.

Work remains the number one place to make friends and sports clubs, the second. In fact, the Netherlands is often compared to a big sports club you need to be a member of in order to integrate. And of course learning Dutch will also help any expat loads, although when everyone around them constantly switches to English, it’s a major obstacle.

Rtlz.nl brought up a nice cultural example, which was if a Dutch person invites you over to their place at 8 pm, many expats expect it to include dinner because many of them eat at 8 pm or later, like the Spanish. The unwritten rule is that the Dutch eat at 6 pm and have had dinner, so don’t expect a meal. The funny thing is, the trains are full of Dutch people not eating dinner at 6 pm, so I dare say this unwritten rule needs to go. I was recently invited at 8 pm by Dutch folks, ate dinner before I came over and then was unexpectedly served dinner again because they wanted to accommodate the non Dutch folks, but hadn’t told anybody. I guess communication is key, but let’s call it an improvement for both sides.

(Links: www.rtlz.nl, www.dutchnews.nl, Photo by Quistnix, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

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June 12, 2016

The strongest Dutch curse word in films [NSFW]

Filed under: Film by Branko Collin @ 2:30 pm

canon-godverdommes-youtube-small“That’s how they speak”, actor and comedian Michiel Romeyn opens a ‘canon of godverdommes’. “Let him go, let him go, idiot, godverdomme!”

The video, not safe for work for more than just a barrage of swearing, shows a litany of classic Dutch films in which actors pepper their speech with the word ‘godverdomme’, literally ‘God, damn me’ but the equivalent of ‘godammit’, and generally considered the big general purpose swear word in the Dutch language.

Eric Vonk, played by Rutger Hauer, uses the word while masturbating to a photo of his dead wife Olga in the classic Dutch film ‘Turks Fruit’. Comedian Wim de Bie plays a small time conman who finds out that his partner is letting him do the heavy lifting (“godver-de-godver”) and Monique van de Ven and Danny de Munk discover that acting is perhaps best left to the professionals, as using big words doesn’t make you a star if you do it tepidly.

The cutesy editing to the tune of Doe Maar’s ‘Hero├»ne, godverdomme’ is not too distracting.

It will surprise no-one that Paul Verhoeven is represented with three movies – besides the aforementioned Turks Fruit his ‘Spetters’ (also pre-Hollywood) makes an appearance, but perhaps the clip of his recent Dutch film ‘Zwartboek’ is the funniest. A man tries to kill Carice van Houten’s character while releasing a stream of verbal abuse, including the g-word (gvd if you want to keep it clean in Dutch), and gets promptly shot dead by his Christian helper: “You’re cursing, blasphemer!”

‘Godverdomme’, a word that can be made to sound like thunder on the horizon, also makes an appearance in the following memorable dialogues: “Godverdomme what a ride and I have cancer” and “Godverdomme, what is it between you and that woman? I saw her in a dream!”.

See also: ‘Cancer’ most hurtful word of abuse among Dutch youth

(Illustration: crop from a still from the video)

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