To all the unilingual English speakers who keep saying they can’t learn Dutch after years of being here, maybe you should take a page from these American kids: fake it until it sounds vaguely Dutch. Top tip: don’t be afraid of sounding or looking stupid, either. Half way through the video the guys get asked questions about the song, a bit like a Dutch exam, but with more adult content.
‘Drank & Drugs’ (‘Booze and Drugs’) by Lil Kleine & Ronnie Flex is going viral, and we’re joining in. The first guy can at least says something remotely Dutch on the beat, while the second guy can’t seem to get it right. OK, the ‘spaghetti’ bit is funny.
It’s not ‘impossible to translate’ as the link suggests, considering many words are Dutchified English words anyway, but booze, drugs and bitches (“if they are bitches,” says the first guy) is common fare, pardon the pun.
A group of students at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam is currently working on making leather out of fruit and possibly vegetables for their graduation. The ‘Fruitleather’ project claims to deal with ‘one of Rotterdam’s biggest social issues, food waste’.
The group claims that market sellers in and around Rotterdam throw away approximately 3500 kilos of rotten or other unsellable fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. The goal of the project is to repurpose all that food that isn’t trash in their view by producing large-scale amounts of fruit leather and turning them into different products.
Do the products smell of fruit? Won’t they be eaten by bugs or animals? How sturdy are they? What about actual vegetables? It would be nice to know more.
Two-thirds of the employees at Frisian TV station ‘Omrop Fryslân’, who claim to be the ‘guardians of the Frisian language’, have failed their own written Frisian test. Not only are most employees incapable of writing proper Frisian, but the station also receives millions of euro annually to be able to promote the Frisian language.
The many haters who think Frisian is a relic – and there are a lot of them – now have more ammunition to continue to shoot down Frisian culture. On the other hand, spoken Frisian has many differences depending where someone is from, which could account for a small percentage of failures: people who can speak it, but not write it. Then again, maybe they shouldn’t be working in the Frisian media.
A metro line that’s eight years overdue and counting, ugly late twentieth century buildings already being demolished and questionable clothing brands: downtown Amsterdam is too crowded with tourists and the prices are going up, pushing the locals out.
Urban and architectural geographer Mark Minkjan compares Haussmann’s clean up of Paris’ in the nineteenth to what is happening in Amsterdam today:
The city wants to get rid of its famous Red Light District, which lies just a few metres behind the Red Carpet [Damrak, as you step out of Central Station]; the number of coffee and tourist shops is being confined. In virtually all urban situations, temporary creative projects are parachuted-in to imperfect places to attract new audiences and new investments. It signifies the direction in which Amsterdam is going: it’s on its way to becoming an incredibly liveable, comfortable, clean and pretty city; but of course, the cost is its soul.
The manager of a drugstore in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant was caught selling a pallet of baby formula out the back of the shop before the product hit the shelves. However, this apparently happens often around the country, as managers receive their bonuses based on their turnover rather than their margins. If they are always able to sell their pallets of formula in one go, it’s no surprise some of them will move product this way. Almost everyone in the Netherlands has noticed that baby formula can only be bought one or two tins at a time due to a constant shortage.
The media tends to blame the Chinese who buy up baby formula, but that’s only half the picture. The shortage is not caused by individual Chinese buying up units or even a pallet out the back, but mainly by Dutch producers of formula who can sell it at three times the Dutch price on Chinese websites where only a select handful of foreign companies are allowed to do business. According to the Telegraaf in 2013, Chinese resellers can make millions selling Dutch baby formula to the Chinese whether it comes directly from Dutch companies or Chinese selling it themselves. I’ve read that ambitious traders who buy pallets get the product into China through Hong Kong, even a few tins at a time if need be.
Sure, the Chinese can buy domestic formula, but since the scandals of 2008, expecting parents would rather buy quality foreign products, and big European companies know this all too well.
A survey conducted by women’s magazine ‘Opzij’ showed that single women are refused IVF treatment at 19 out of the 39 Dutch hospitals they researched, indicating discrimination. They are often told to go somewhere else with better facilities like a sperm bank or with counselling to avoid telling them flat out they won’t treat single women. The hospitals’ moral view is often that ‘a child should have two parents’, but it is illegal to refuse someone based on their single ‘lifestyle’. On the other hand, a history of abuse or addiction is a good reason to refuse treatment to someone.
Frank Broekmans of the Dutch association of gynaecologists and obstetrician says hospitals that refuse to perform IVF are not acting unlawfully because enough hospitals can cater to single women and it’s not necessary medical attention. He also believes a child is not well-served by having only one parent, but again, that’s discrimination even if it is a widely-held belief.
Bart Fauser of the UMC Utrecht hospital, the same hospital where Broekmans works and the most friendly towards single women looking for IVF treatment, says that there is no scientific proof that children of a single parent have a worse time of it. Once Fauser tried to screen a couple before an IVF treatment and he was heavily criticised, leading him to believe that couples always seem to have the right to decide what’s best for them, but not single women.
All I know is that Belgium has more IVF clinics, and like for many procedures including childbirth (if I can continue to believe the people around me), Dutch residents cross the border to get treated without the hassles they experience in the Netherlands.
In 2008 a three-year-old and a six-year-old were harassed by the tax office for not filing a return, and now it’s the turn of a nine-year-old, which doesn’t qualify as an improvement on their part.
The girl erroneously received a tax return to fill in last year and her mother has been fighting with the tax office to straighten things out ever since. The tax office said the girl’s estimated income was EUR 1347, and the girl’s mother called to tell them that wasn’t remotely possible. The tax office said it would take some time to change the details in the system, but that was over a year ago, and the dreaded blue envelopes of the Dutch tax office keep coming in.
The girl wrote the tax office a letter: “I’m not allowed to work and I don’t get that much pocket money, so I can’t pay you.” Since this situation has hit the media, the tax office has again promised to try and sort it out, as they finally should.
Shock blog Geen Stijl is trying to become the first organisation to scale the considerable thresholds the Dutch state imposes on such a referendum by getting the country to veto Ukraine’s entry to the European Union. The blog has four weeks to collect 10,000 signatures from people who support the collection of further signatures. If it succeeds, it has another six weeks to collect 300,000 signatures. Currently, signatures can only be collected in writing.
Once those two hurdles have been passed, the Yes and No campaigns may receive up to two million euro in subsidies for their campaigns. Geen Stijl claims it is unwise to let a country that is currently at war join the European Union.
The Pirate Party stresses that it doesn’t have an opinion either for or against the issue of Ukraine joining the EU, but applauds the addition of the referendum to the “rickety and unsatisfactory democratic toolkit we have now”.
The party for rich pensioners, 50Plus, was hoping to sabotage a new pension law from entering effect through a referendum last January, but the law that makes referendums legal only came into effect on 1 July. Observers believe that even though referendums under the new law are non-binding, parliament will respect them.
In 2005 the Netherlands used a special one-off referendum to let citizens rubber stamp something the European Union claimed to be a constitution. Dutch voters from both the pro- and anti-EU camps used the opportunity to vote against the document.
We’ve mentioned Holly Moors before as a blogger from the North, but he is also an artist.
Recently Moors has been scanning a couple of his experiments from the 1980s in which he filled old Davo booklets (aimed at postage stamp collectors) with rubber stamp prints. For the first booklet he used pre-existing stamps, for the second he carved a rubber stamp from a HEMA eraser.
This is art that doesn’t easily fit on a wall in a museum, so a gallery on a weblog is a good place to study it. After you’ve clicked a link, clicking one of the thumbnail images will open the gallery. Moors chose Davo booklets, because he felt they “invited repetitive stamping”.
Three children reported a man to the police that they believed might be the escaped Mexican criminal Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The three had spotted a man with a moustache sitting in a van on a parking lot on the Paul Kruger road in Ermelo, the Netherlands, last Tuesday. Drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, nicknamed El Chapo (Spanish for Shorty), escaped a Mexican maximum security prison earlier this month.
One of the children, 10-year-old Peter, had seen a photo of Guzmán in the newspaper and thought he recognised the trademark moustache the criminal sported at some point in his life.
After they had written down the license plate number of the van, the children biked to Peter’s house to call the police. Peter’s mother told Omroep Gelderland: “They were convinced it was him, he had the exact same moustache. They even knew he had smoked weed and that that is a drug. [...] They hadn’t even realised the price on his head”
The police called back later to say they had looked into the matter, but hadn’t located El Chapo. They don’t believe it was him. Mexico has offered a reward of about 3.5 million euro for information leading to the capture of Mr. Guzmán. The US State Departement would also like a word with Mr. Guzmán and have offered a reward of up to 5 million USD for information leading to his arrest.