November 27, 2015

Westland bat bridge wins architectural award

Filed under: Animals,Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am


Last October the ‘Vlotwatering bridge’ or ‘bat bridge’ was opened in a nature area called Westland in South Holland, designed by NEXT Architects of Amsterdam and picked up an ARC15 Detail Award, given to them unanimously by the jury. The bridge is in Monster (yup, a Dutch town) and it was applauded for its ‘eye for detail and attention to biodiversity’.

According to NEXT Architects, the bridge was designed to house bats in as many ways as possible. The bridge has three specific bridge components that provide roost for different bat species throughout the entire yea, intended to constitute the ideal habitat for various species of bats, so that a large colony can grow around the bridge.

(Links:,,, Photo:

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November 26, 2015

‘No more Ajax fire extinguishers in Rotterdam’

Filed under: Design,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am


Are you a serious Feyernoord football fan from Rotterdam and can’t stand another day of staring at all those Ajax brand fire extinguishers hanging all over the place, taunting you and reminding you of the rival Amsterdam football club? Two Rotterdam cousins have the solution for you: Feyernoord stickers.

Yes, the guys at Firenoord have designed a Feyernoord sticker that looks just like the Ajax one so you can stick it over that reminder of the other football club at 3 euro a pop. They are currently sold out, but they’ll surely be more for all the people that just cannot live with those distasteful Ajax fire extinguishers.

Just like the website says, ‘no more Ajax in Rotterdam’.

(Link:, Screenshot:

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November 25, 2015

Schiphol train station to be renamed in December

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 11:36 am

Dutch Rail has announced that on 14 December it will be changing the name of the train station Schiphol, the national airport station often pronounced ‘Skip-pole’, to Schiphol Airport which will help travellers identify it better as an airport, including a wee airplane pictogram to make it perfectly clear.

One wonders why Dutch Rail didn’t think of that ages ago, as Schiphol is more often than not referred to as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol just like it says on the building or Amsterdam Airport. After all the Netherlands has Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and many more with that formulation.

The history of the name Schiphol (literally ‘ship hole’ or ‘ship grave’) is interesting as it is unclear and based on theories. No ship wrecks were found when the land was reclaimed. The name could have possibly been related to the portaging of ships, dragging them from one body of water to another or having to do with a ‘hol’ that is a ‘low lying are of land’, as in ‘Holland’.

Using the name Schiphol for airplanes in Dutch is as amusing as using the word ‘shipping’ for sending parcels nowadays that doesn’t involve any ships.


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November 24, 2015

Brussels lockdown cat photos Dutchman’s idea

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

Screen shot 2015-11-24 at 10.29.14 AM

Starting last week during a high level threat against Brussels that is sadly ongoing, Belgians journalists and others tweeted pictures of cats to follow instructions from the Belgian federal police of not spreading pictures or information on Twitter that would give terrorists an edge as to what the police were doing.

On November 22 Dutch cameraman from Zwolle Hugo Janssen kicked of what was to be a huge collection of cat tweets. Carrying the hashtag #BrusselsLockDown he posted a picture of his cat Mozart, saying ”Instead of tweeting about the police’s movements in Brussels, here’s a picture of our cat Mozart”. Google ‘#BrusselsLockDown’ and you’ll get Star Wars cats, ordinary cats, wild cats, cats in boxes and the usual fare of Internet felines.

The Federal Belgian Police tweeted “For the cats that helped us yesterday, here you go!” with a picture of cat food, as seen above. The current situation is of course no laughing matter by any means and far from over.


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November 23, 2015

Girl named Isis blocked by major brand

Filed under: Fashion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:48 pm


They killed off Isis the dog on the British series Downton Abbey, named after the ancient Egyptian goddess who is getting poo-filled buckets’ worth of undeserved bad press for having the wrong name at the wrong time in recent history. And now it’s the turn of a 16-year-old girl named Isis from Enschede who definitely has no reason to change her name or be written out of anybody’s script.

Isis tried to order a pair of custom-made Nike running shoes with her name on it, but the online message was “Sorry, the ID you have entered does not meet our guidelines”. Heaven forbid fashion-forward terrorists want to advertise their crew on their shoes! The sadder part as that according to RTV Oost, Isis is being bullied at school because of her name.

Unlike representing the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, it seems that Nike is letting the terrorists win.

Isis (the bad guys) and Enschede have an odd link with each other, as this spring terrorists were using fake passports with ‘Enshede’ on them.

(Link:, Photo of Isis, Egyptian goddess by Darla Hueske, some rights reserved)

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November 22, 2015

Studio RAP uses robot to build large organic wooden ceiling

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Branko Collin @ 3:20 pm


Earlier this year Rotterdam-based ‘architectural design and fabrication studio’ RAP built an indoor office at the InnovationDock in Rotterdam using software to calculate how a single central column could help support the weight of the 120-square-metre wooden ceiling.

Wooden panels were then sawed and drilled by a robot arm. At least that is what I think it says on their project page:

The Skilledin Office is an innovative indoor-office built in the InnovationDock (Rotterdam, NL) for the Port of Rotterdam. Its organic design balances program constraints and digital load-bearing optimization and fabrication possibilities.

The roof spans 120m2 with the largest span being 8m. It was constructed from 230 unique 37mm thick Metsäwood panels, directly milled from custom fabrication software with a refurbished ABB Robot at RDM Makerspace. All 3.200 Rothoblaas screws were robotically pre-drilled based on a parametric model of the final design.

(Photo and video: Studio RAP; link: Dezeen)

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November 20, 2015

Paris peace pianist plays in Amsterdam

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 11:14 am


Germany-based pianist Davide Martello who famously played John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ outdoors in Paris recently to comfort listeners travelled to Amsterdam and played next to the National Monument and the Nieuwmarkt downtown this week.

Known as Klavierkunst, Martello wants to travel to play the piano in all the capitals of the world, sometimes suggested by fans. He can now cross Amsterdam off his list. I really like the idea of a bicycle able to cart a piano around the city and calling him the ‘peace pianist’. He also played on Dutch television, which you can watch here.

Other pianists took to the free piano in Amsterdam Central Station before and after the one minute of silence held throughout the country on 16 November, playing ‘Imagine’.

Why ‘Imagine’? The slogan ‘Pray for Paris’, which was surely well meant, bothered many French people and others, such as French cartoonist Joann Sfar (some stuff is in English) – I’ll let his points speak for him. Considering the attacks were religiously motivated, ‘Imagine’ has lyrics that suggest we imagine there’s no heaven or religion, which would imply that if religion wasn’t around we would be better off, something French secular society strongly believes in.

There was once an episode of late 1970s American television show ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ where a reverend comes to the rock radio station and tries to have a bunch of songs censored, specifically ‘Imagine’:

The reverend: This is typical of the kind of secular liberal humanist point of view that gluts our airwaves.
Station manager: Yeah. But we’re not talking obscenities here anymore, we’re talking about ideas, political, the philosophical ideas. First you censor a word and then you censor the ideas.
The reverend: But the idea is man-centered, not God-centered. The Bible tells us to put our reliance in God, not in our fellow mortals. This song says there’s no heaven.
Station manager: Ah, no, it says just imagine there’s no heaven.

(Links, www.at5)

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November 19, 2015

Arnhem picks up concrete award for train station

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 1:25 pm


After ages of construction work and trying to find one’s way through and around during the construction, Arnhem’ Central Station is being officially opened to the public this afternoon. It was designed by Amsterdam’s UNStudio who spent almost two decades working on this modern train and bus station with a heavy use of really big metal pillars and seriously twisted concrete. In fact, architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio wanted to use even more concrete, but the city considered it too risky.

The concrete itself won the station the ‘Betonprijs 2015’ (‘Concrete Award 2015’), so it’s safe to say enough concrete was used to make a splash.

(Links and photo:,

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November 18, 2015

Romantic fast food dinner in Rotterdam going viral

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:37 am

A young couple recently decided to have a romantic dinner at McDonald’s in downtown Rotterdam. The manager was very relaxed about it and let the couple use the table cloth, candles, plates and utensils they brought with them. “It looked like a fancy picnic”.

Sure people stared and yes the manager snapped a picture for social media. You just know this is going to happen again somewhere soon.

Until now my idea of a Dutch dinner for two at McDonald’s looks more like this advert from 2010 where ‘going Dutch’ kills the mood even more than having to eat junk food.

(Link:, Photo of burger by huppypie, some rights reserved)

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November 17, 2015

American series go Dutch, and hit and miss

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 4:25 pm

Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 6.45.28 PM

There is no lack of examples of American series and films trying to make something Dutch only to have it looking and sounding German. The bad remake of ‘Kidnapping Mr. Heineken’ had the wrong colour bottles and actor Mike Myers had a terrible Dutch accent in his 1990s Austin Powers movies, but at least he was joking.

As some of you know, the current season of the American series ‘Homeland’ was entirely filmed in Germany, and lot of it in Berlin. However, the latest installment, episode 7 of season 5 has some scenes set in Amsterdam, in the Zeeburg district, which had issues that most viewers probably wouldn’t get and don’t really have to because the story flows well.

First, the screenshot above. The Zeeburg district has been part of East Amsterdam since 2010. Houseboats and a canal were a good idea, but the architecture isn’t Dutch, and if that’s not a problem, the German yellow construction sign should be, as it reads ‘bau’ (‘construction’ in German) instead of ‘bouw’ in Dutch (hard to see here). You could have told me this was Denmark and I would have bought it without the sign. The reference to Flevopark in the east was spot on, but the street called Tolstraat is in another district. No separate bike paths could be seen, and streets and houses were way too big to be in Amsterdam. Oh, and the yellow license plates had too many letters on them to be Dutch ones, but points for the blue one on the taxi.

This fall another American series, ‘The Vampire Diairies’, took a trip to Amsterdam in their first episode of season 7 and got a lot of things wrong, but were not trying too hard. Two main characters are seen drinking beer with a windmill on it, which is fake but funny and then they order whisky which comes in glasses I’ve never seen here. The Dutch license plate on the car was fine, but the cars didn’t look very European, there were no separate bike paths and the street was too large. The cafe looked slightly European though.

And since I like trilogies, I caught an old episode of NCIS, season 8 episode 9 that was set in Amsterdam. It had an actual pan of an Amsterdam canal and a tight shot of a cafe that looked vaguely European. The joint one of the characters was smoking was not realistic because you just don’t light one up at an ordinary cafe terrace despite the rumours, and the weather was way too nice. Again, suspension of disbelief came in handy and the story was fine.

Bonus: find out what a Berlin blog thinks about what Homeland gets right and wrong.

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