The Fool’s Gold episode of this quarter’s Zone 5300 pointed me to the work of Leo Jordaan, Dutch film critic and political cartoonist.
His Nachtmerrie over Nederland (‘nightmare over the Netherlands’) collects the cartoons he drew during the war (underground, one assumes). They have a stylized, haunting quality that makes one wonder—if for a moment—how real the war was to Jordaan. Fool’s Gold calls the collection an “infernal after image” of the war and recommends that if you want to own this book (which was published in 1945), you should be able to find copies at second hand book stores “for the price of a crate of pilsner”.
The cartoon of the robot with the hand grenade hands shown above depicts the blitzkrieg attack on the Netherlands in May 1940 by Hitler’s armoured and motorized troops against a Dutch defence that consisted of little more than guys with guns.
If you find the price too steep, or Dutch second hand book stores too inaccessible, Geheugen van Nederland scanned the entire book for your on-line perusal
Tags: Leo Jordaan, World War II
Groningen, a city in the North of the Netherlands whose slogan is ‘Er gaat niets boven Groningen’ (‘Nothing tops Groningen’) has some 196,000 residents, a quarter of which are students and where half of the population, if not more, gets around by bicycle. The film by Clarence Eckerson Jr., an American who was inspired by what he saw, tells the story of how cycling took over Groningen.
Travel times by car are longer (see screenshot) and cycling is faster because cars need to go around the city center to get from one part of town to another, while bikes can go anywhere. At about 9:00 into the film, you can see that even IKEA, apparently a very big one, has serious accommodations for cyclists. The one downside of this film is that it’s not bright and sunny like that very often, but again, when it is, you have a great excuse to get out on your bike.
Watch the whole film and get a feel for Groningen, always a lovely place to visit and a city we like, too:
Lou Reed’s Perfect Day rings out in Groningen
University of Groningen gaining popularity with Brits
Groningen students build world’s largest touch screen
Watch the film, it’s in English (and some Dunglish):
Groningen: The World’s Cycling City from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
If you want more, there’s always Bicycle anecdotes from Amsterdam, which has a friend of 24oranges nicely waiting for a tram to go by.
(Image: Screenshot of Groningen: The World’s Cycling City)
Tags: cycling, Groningen
The Rotterdam-based comics zine Zone 5300 has dedicated its last issue of the year to comics from Finland.
Pretty much all of the larger comics in the issue are by Finnish authors. Tiitu Takalo (illustration) wrote and drew It’s a Wonderful Life, a feel good tale about an aspiring writer who is down in the dumps and who gets her spirits lifted by a friend.
Other comics are Microkosmos by Jenni Janatuinen and Petteri Tikkanen (illustration), Tea and Beer by Jarno Latva-Nikkola, Post Mortem by Emmi Valve and Toivo by Tommi Musturi. Terhi Ekebom produced a beautiful story called What If, in which every panel takes up an entire page.
Interestingly, it felt like I knew these artists. I have the feeling that Finnish and Dutch comics artists perhaps use a similar visual language or have a similar sense of humour, it’s hard to determine exactly what the likenesses are.
There are also interviews with painter Elina Merenmies and regular Zone 5300 contributor Maria Björklund.
Ville Pirinen tells the story of high school gym teacher (illustration) who seems to suffer from short circuits that lead to regular injuries for himself and the occasional injury of others.
Fool’s Gold tells the story of black Amsterdam-based singer Big John Russell and his 1960′s band The Clan, which featured instrumentalists in Ku Klux Klan outfits.
Tags: Finland, Maria Björklund, Petteri Tikkanen, Tiitu Takalo, Ville Pirinen, Zone 5300
By not informing its users about what data it collects and by not asking for permission, Google is breaking the Dutch data protection act, privacy watchdog CBP said in a press release last Thursday.
The investigation shows that Google combines personal data relating to Internet users that the company obtains from different services. Google does this, amongst others, for the purposes of displaying personalised ads and to personalise services such as YouTube and Search. Some of these data are of a sensitive nature, such as payment information, location data and information on surfing behaviour across multiple websites. Data about search queries, location data and video’s watched can be combined, while the different services serve entirely different purposes from the point of view of users.
Internet lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet points to a peculiarity of Dutch privacy law that says you have to ask users for informed consent. It’s not enough to say ‘this is how we deal with your privacy’, users should be able to understand what is going to happen and say ‘no’ before it happens. Also, Google shouldn’t say what they could do with your data, they are obliged to say what they will do with your data.
Apparently Google tried to defend themselves by claiming they do not collect personal data, they merely create profiles. CBP quotes Google’s own CEO Eric Schmidt back at them who once stated: “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” Google’s chief Internet evangelist (and Internet co-inventor) Vint Cerf said two weeks ago at a privacy and security workshop of (of all people) the US Trade Commission (40 minutes into the video): “I would not go as far as to simply, baldy assert that privacy is dead. [...] But let me tell you that it would be increasingly difficult for us to achieve privacy. I want you to think for just a minute about the fact that privacy may actually be an anomaly.”
Engelfriet concludes: “Google of course believes the criticism is invalid and uses a barrage of marketing language [...] to keep dancing around the issue. And that is all that will happen. I don’t see what kind of effective measures CBP can take to make Google fundamentally change its ways—which is a pity, because this is one of the most substantial reports CBP has issued in a long time.”
(Link: the Register; photo by Jeff Schuler, some rights reserved)
Tags: Eric Schmidt, Google, privacy, Vint Cerf
One of the authoritative hit parades of the country has accused artists such as Gordon and record companies of manipulating their positions by buying their own products, according to the chairman of the Dutch Top 40 foundation, Erik de Zwart.
Who’s Gordon? He’s the culturally insensitive talent show jury member who fired off ‘racist’ Chinese jokes on live television recently that in the end were indeed insulting to the Chinese candidate.
When determining the Top 40 airplay is also taken into account, contrary to another well established hit parade, the Single Top 100, making it susceptible to manipulation, De Zwart says. Gordon comes in at 38, 27, or not at all on major radio station lists. De Zwart believes that it doesn’t jive that Gordon is at Number 1 for weeks on the Single Top 100. Gordon’s response was that De Zwart was envious of him and trying to ruin his good name.
(Links: radio.nl-1, radio.nl-2)
Tags: hit parades, radio
If you look at the places from where the rose-ringed parakeet originates, you’ll note that these are some of the hottest spots on the planet. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that large groups of these birds thrive in much colder climes.
Certainly the gardens behind my apartment aren’t part of the tropics, at least not last time I checked, which is when I took this photo.
Wikipedia claims the four largest cities in the country—Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and especially The Hague—are home to about 10,000 of these parakeets. It is assumed the birds are the descendants of parakeets once kept as pets. The male bird sports a red ring around its neck, hence the name rose-ringed parakeet.
A statue of philosopher Baruch Spinoza unveiled in Amsterdam in 2008 contains images of roses, rose-ringed parakeets and sparrows, representing Spinoza himself, immigrants and native citizens.
Other cities north of the Mediterranean with large rose-ringed parakeet populations are Brussels and London.
Tags: immigration, parakeets
I knew that La Trappe was the only Trappist beer brewed in the Netherlands, as I used to annoyingly point this out to shopkeepers who placed the beer under Belgium simply because it had a French name. La Trappe is brewed by De Koningshoeven brewery in Berkel-Enschot near Tilburg, Noord-Brabant. There’s also my story about drinking all kinds of ‘Trippel’ (triple) beers on Queen’s Day (now King’s Day) and when it was my turn to buy a round, I showed up with La Trappe’s Quadruppel (quadruple) to kick it up a notch.
But now for the first time in 125 years there’s a new Trappist called ‘Zundert’, brewed by the Kievit brewery from the monks of the Maria Toevlucht Abbey in Zundert, Noord-Brabant. The beer will be available as of 4 pm on 30 November until 1 December at 25 participating Zundert cafes and restaurants.
In the entire world there are only eight other Trappist beers: six in Belgium, one in Austria and now two in the Netherlands.
Tags: beer, La Trappe, Noord-Brabant, Trappist
A bit in the same vein as a Dutch talent show jury not recognising an established singer-songwriter, this time a fake artist peddles copies of works by Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich in the hopes of being accepted to two possible art academies. Watch the video to find out more about why that is.
Someone actually does recognise the suprematist style of the candidate’s portfolio, with one man claiming to be ‘walking through art history’ when browsing through it. The general consensus is that the candidate’s work is ‘at the very early stages’ and not good enough to get into art school. However, these same works are worth millions of euro, some of which I believe are currently on display at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum for the Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde exhibition.
In Dutch, with English titles and subtitles, with a nice facepalm factor:
(Link: www.amsterdamadblog.com, Photo of Malevich’s works by ngEdwin, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, Malevich, Stedelijk
Saying sorry profusely and ‘distancing oneself from the incident’ is purely being done not to get sued. And suing does not happen that often, but this time the guy from Arnhem who was refused an internship for being black went straight to the police and filed a complaint.
An electronics company in Arnhem refused a candidate based on his skin colour and sadly, the internal e-mail in which this was done was sent to the candidate by mistake.
“I had a look, it’s nothing. First of all he’s dark-coloured (nigger). And he has little experience with computers etc. on his resume.”
The nigger part is in the e-mail as such, and ‘it’s nothing’ means ‘it won’t work out’. The employee that sent the mail by mistake never would have apologised had they not been caught. So basically, they really are racist and the candidate has a point.
A run of racist and discriminatory remarks have plagued the Netherlands as of late, and co-blogger Branko has been writing them up on another blog, calling it ‘The coming out of the racists’.
And after the racist remarks towards a Chinese student that hit television recently, here’s a column by a Canadian of Chinese descent married to a Dutchman of Chinese decent and their takes on it.
(www.deondernemer.nl, Image: Wiering Software’s video game Zwarte Piet)
Tags: Arnhem, Chinese, race, racism
Artworks that are considered to be of national importance will be given protected status in an effort to stop galleries from selling them to foreign or private buyers, according to rules drawn up by the Netherlands Museums Association. Dutch museums will also be given preferred buyer status for works they want to sell, and if a museum wants to sell something, they will have to wait two months to see if another domestic buyer comes forward first before selling to a party from outside the country.
Museum Gouda was criticised for selling The Schoolboys by Marlene Dumas, at Christie’s in London back in 2011 without first offering it to other Dutch museums, which highly displeased the Netherlands’ best selling contemporary artist.
Dutch museums, often at the centre of controversy, apparently own some 139 contentious artworks as well.
(Link: www.amsterdamherald.com; illustration: the Van Gogh that was ‘discovered’ in 2011)
Tags: auction, Gouda, museums