During the Paris Fashion Week 2015, Viktor & Rolf presented dresses with ‘floral patterns and appliquéd petals’ , inspired by the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. Models also adorned lots of straw and wheat, evoking the luscious French fields he loved to paint.
The fabrics were wax-dyed and block-printed using a batik technique by Dutch fabric company Vlisco, better known in Africa than in Europe for its very colourful fabrics.
Art collector Han Nefkens has acquired three of the pieces for the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)
Tags: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Viktor & Rolf, Vincent van Gogh
Despite a court order to minimise his letter writing, Mustafa Karasahin of Dordrecht, aka the serial letter writer, has started ‘harassing’ city hall again with a barrage of letters. The city of Dordrecht has to make its position clearer and has placed Karasahin in a detention centre. Fining the man hasn’t worked, so detaining him was the next step.
Dealing with his letters has cost the city of Dordrecht nearly half a million euro. Back in 2013, the court had limited him to 10 letters a month (although the source below says two). Either way, 16 letters as of late was over the limit.
According to the city and experts, the law governing access to information requests needs to be modified to address this kind of abuse and doing so is taking a long time. In the mean time, the serial writer has given no signs of letting up once he’s free again. Karasahin owns some 40 buildings and rents room illegally to migrant workers. He is considered a slum lord.
Tags: Dordrecht, letter writing, letters, politics, slum lord
During a valuation day in Beverwijk, North Holland recently, an authentic painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Jan Steen was discovered, with an estimated worth of 20,000 euro. Experts will soon have a good look at the painting to make sure it’s the real deal.
The painting is said to be very rare and is probably the smallest Steen ever made. It depicts a festive man, having a drink. Jan Steen was known for many lively situational paintings and gave birth to the Dutch expression ‘a Jan Steen household’, which means to have a messy and chaotic.
A young couple owns the painting, which they bought for 5 euro in Alkmaar on the King’s Day free market.
(Link and photo: www.rtvnh.nl)
Tags: Beverwijk, Jan Steen
After going national and beyond with Joppiesaus (‘Joppie sauce’), a sauce containing onion and curry powder named after Joppie, a snack bar owner in Glanerbrug near Enschede, food company Elite of Neede, Gelderland is introducing ‘Jamballa sauce’, although few people seem to know what it. Yes, it sounds like ‘Jambalaya’ to me too. The container features garlic and peppers on it, if that helps.
“Sweet and spicy” is the only available description, and it’s something Elite says the Dutch have never had before, but that’s very vague. The recipe comes from the South (Limburg?) and was introduced yesterday at food fair Horecava in Amsterdam. If we try some, we’ll tell you about it, and if you do, we want to know.
(Links: www.gelderlander.nl, sportclubneede.nl, Photo of fries in Brussels with Andalouse sauce)
Tags: Enschede, Gelderland, Jamballa sauce, Joppie sauce
The VARA television station has a show called ‘Kinderen voor Kinderen’ (‘Children for Children’) that has been around since 1980 and lets children ask for songs to be written on topics that interest them, ranging from a girl getting her breasts to a boy with Attention Deficit Disorder and everything in between.
According to Wikipedia, the 1984 song ‘Bruin’ (‘Brown’) falls under the category ‘taunting and mobbing’, avoiding using adult words like ‘discrimination’ or even ‘racism’. Would a song like this that claims it’s trying to discourage ‘taunting and mobbing’ of a non-white Dutch boy actually be socially acceptable today? When I first watched it, my jaw dropped probably because there’s no politically correct wording that you’d be strongly encouraged to use today. In the end, the ‘brown’ boy actually sings that maybe white people aren’t so mean after all, implying that stereotypes are a two-way street. The music and choreography are fun to watch.
Here is a taste of the more straight up lyrics:
I would rather be paler
Then I wouldn’t be so insecure
Then I wouldn’t be so sad
And not as mad when they called me names
(White chorus sings) ‘He’s so brown’
(Photo of random children: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Tags: children, Kinderen voor Kinderen, television, VARA
Rotterdam architectural firm MVRDV has won a contest to design a new skyscraper in Vienna by proposing a 110-metre tower with an “elegant, hourglass figure” that will reduce the impact of its shadow. The contorted form is said to prevent any of the surrounding blocks being in shadow for longer than two hours a day.
The initial comments on this building is ‘maybe it is possible to use too much glass’. The heat that will generate in summer would required specially treated glass, and ‘the bit about being concerned about shadow is creating a problem where there isn’t one’, although in some Asian countries like Japan it’s a huge deal.
MVRDV are well-known for other much talked about projects, including Rotterdam’s horseshoe-shaped market hall that will be getting a Jamie Olivier Italian restaurant soon, even though there are already two pasta places.
(Link and image: www.dezeen.com)
Tags: MVRDV, Rotterdam, Vienna
At first glance new Dutch app Chattable looks like a smart combination of many other apps. The idea of who is eating where seems interesting if ever you’re somewhere and you don’t want to dine alone. You can also see where someone is from because not being able to communicate would make for some pretty awkward dining. This app does set people up for awkward dining though, so brace yourselves.
According to the video, Chattable tables at restaurants have a special stand on them, which probably makes it easier for people to find each other, but does tell the world you couldn’t find someone to dine with. Again, that’s uncomfortable, but maybe it will turn out to be cool like sitting at the Stammtisch table in a German-speaking country, where the meeting table is marked with a decorative sign.
The developer claims it’s not a dating app because Chattable doesn’t know the age and gender of your dining partners. “You only need a common language,” which is true in an ideal world, but humans don’t function that way. Straight men will try and find pretty young women and straight women will try and find decent available men. And I imagine the LBGT crowd will be weary and probably should be. All of that in principle is not Chattable’s problem, but will always be an issue.
The Internet and all kinds of apps have been used for sex and dating from the get go. Nobody saw the recent introduction of Uber as a great app for raping women, so I think developers should be way more careful telling people what they think their app should be used for.
I enjoy eating alone abroad because it’s my moment to enjoy new surroundings without having to deal with someone else taking away from the experience. When I dine with someone else, it’s the opposite: I want to enjoy my company and tune out the background. If you need an app to never eat alone again and aren’t worried about a possible creepy encounter then by all means, it could be fun and only time will tell if it’s a good idea.
Tags: app, chattable
Carnival is less than a month away, so it’s time to fire up some wacky carnival hits for 2015.
FeestChaos (‘Party Chaos’) starts us off with an English-language carnival song called ‘Who The F*** Is Alice’, a reworking of Smokie’s song ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ from 1977 and Nijmegen band Gompie’s next level 1995 version ‘Alice, Who The F*** is Alice?’. You’ll see cafe singing, drinking and dancing, a Hummer limo, children swearing and some serious devoicing of consonants, which makes every ‘s’ sound like that snake in the Jungle Book.
Vieze Jack (‘Dirty Jack’) gives us the corny pun named song, ‘Jump 4 Jack’. Dirty Jack looks more like a zombie than a pervert, but acts like a pervert channeling a blond version of Elvis imitating a zombie. You’ll see men in drag, tits, ass, balls, and a Scotsman with a kilt, bagpipes and no underwear. The song is not too bad, the lyrics are all easy sex puns and the bagpipe riff works for me. Contains 1980s style sexual harassment at the gym and, as an added bonus, some zoophilia.
Although the song is unoriginal, Alberto pokes fun at the very recently former mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes. Alberto probably refers to Hoes’ ex-husband Albert. The song is called ‘Onno (mag ik je toyboy zijn?)’ (‘Onno, can I be your toy boy’?) and relates to his recent demise. The unfaithful and not very discreet Hoes was hanging in there as the mayor until some young ‘toy boy from Almere’ told the media stories about him and Onno getting together. The mayor’s exuberant sex life led to a vote to push him out of office. He survived the vote, but eventually resigned.
You’ll see some of the Village People, carnival costumes and a disco ball effect. The idea of the song is better than the song or the video. The lyrics are a bit nasty, but points for being ‘politically relevant’.
(Link: nieuws.nl, Photo of the carnival Prince in Sittard, Limburg throwing oranges)
Tags: Carnival, Carnival songs, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Onno Hoes, Sittard
Two American guys, Kong and Jesse, take magic mushrooms and take a ‘trip’ through busy and touristy downtown Amsterdam to attempt to pick up girls. Wearing any kind of apparel with Amsterdam printed on it is usually a warning sign to locals, and indeed girls barely talked to them — no surprise there.
The Koningsplein intersection and the busy Leidsestraat are first featured, with both guys interacting more with a trash can (dust bin) than with girls. They eventually talk about renting a bike, but it’s clear that’s not going to happen. When it gets darker, they end up at Rembrandtplein where there are currently winter stalls with arts & crafts and international food, another major tourist trap. Talking to girls is apparently nothing compared to feeling up our trash cans for some reason.
Kong and Jesse picked up nobody in the end, embodying what us locals think about of this type of tourist. Maybe it’s nice to see that two guys doing mushroom and acting stupid is nothing more than two guys doing mushrooms and acting stupid, and Amsterdam just happens to be the backdrop.
Tags: Amsterdam, drugs, magic mushrooms, tourism
Anyone who has been to Charleroi, Belgium knows its particular mix of worn and torn houses, industrial greyness and general sadness that is contagious if you stay there too long. The city has a reputation for crime and violence, but has many good sides related to food, culture and even sightseeing if you give it a fair chance. However, it is a huge contrast to other nicer and possibly more economically sound Walloon cities like Namur and Liège, and surely like nothing you’ll ever find in the tidy, shiny Netherlands.
The film ‘Bienvenue à Charleroi’ (‘Welcome to Charleroi’) was shot by Dutch director Jelle Dijkstra and his good friend co-director and co-editor Derk Zijlker.
Charleroi was voted ‘ugliest city in the world’ in 2008 by readers of Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. High unemployment, crime and poverty rates, political and social scandals, abandoned factories and ghost undergrounds all contributed to this negative image.
Watch the film here and find out for yourself if it’s really that bad (English subtitles). At 5:59 there’s a sign in French that roughly reads ‘Life isn’t easy when what you see is black’ (as in being depressed).
(Link: www.vice.com, Photo of Charleroi by Gerard Stolk, some rights reserved)
Tags: Belgium, Charleroi, Jelle Dijkstra