The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority recently paid a visit to a few locations in the city centre of Amsterdam and made some interesting finds. They confiscated some ivory artworks, 19 stuffed animals and four bottles of cobra vodka, the latter of which is highly illegal and a bit scary if you ask me.
According to the author of the cobra vodka in this picture, which is surely similar to the one that was confiscated:
“It’s Laotian rice whisky in a bottle with a very dead cobra in it. I’ve seen pictures of such snake wine in Vietnam and was surprised to notice that the concept exists in Laos as well. The belief is that the spirit of the snake inside will make you as strong as a cobra and give you more manly virility. I’d probably reluctantly drink a shot if given to me in a shot glass without the snake, but looking at this bottle with the snake inside does make this super creepy.”
(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of cobra vodka by shankaronline, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, cobra, vodka
Rotterdam-based Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, known for his giant yellow rubber ducks and huge plush toys around the world, has had his big bunny rabbit in Taiwan burnt by mistake.
Firefighters claim that the fire which torched the 24-metre-tall rabbit, created for the annual Taoyuan Land Art Festival, was ignited by welding sparks from workers disassembling festival structures nearby. Local authorities might seek compensation from contractors for the blaze.
Commissioned by the Taiwanese government, Hofman’s latest installation project had been hugely popular, with more than two million visitors to the festival paying a visit to the giant rubber mammal. The ‘moon rabbit’ is a symbol of altruism and love in the legend of the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, which took place on September 8.
Other fun creations by Hofman include big slow slugs and a festive aardvark (picture above).
(Link: www.scmp.com, Photo: www.florentijnhofman.nl)
Tags: aardvark, duck, Florentijn Hofman, rabbit, Rotterdam, slugs
As young as eight years old, a report says Dutch children have taken a particular liking to swearing at each other using words like ‘homo’ (‘faggot’), ‘hoer’ (‘whore’), ‘marokkaan’ (‘Moroccan’) and ‘Jood’ (‘Jew’). Kids call each other names based on sexuality, ethnicity and religion instead of things like appearance or ‘bad’ clothing.
Teachers from around the country feel that the news has a very big effect on children, especially when they use the word ‘Jew’. Long story short, the Netherlands doesn’t have many Jews and has many more Muslims, hence the use of that word. I wonder if children of all backgrounds use ‘Moroccan’ or just white kids, and I wonder what extra meaning it has when they use it because it seems a lot of people are clueless as to why it would be a swear word, unless you put a nasty adjective in front of it.
As for ‘Jew’, the fact that Ajax football players are called that by supporters of opposing teams (‘Jews’ as a social-historical swear word for residents of Amsterdam, back when there were more Jews) reinforces it as a easy to reach insult.
Back in July the parents of a nine-year-old boy heard their son yell ‘homo’ ‘faggot’ at someone and made him literally pay for it.
(Links: www.dutchnews.nl, www.telegraaf.nl)
Tags: homo, Jew, swear words, swearing
Dom Pérignon has collaborated with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen to produce a limited-edition champagne box and 3D-printed sculpture, as part of its Power of Creation project (not the bottles in the picture, the ones in the video)
Iris van Herpen’s gift packs were created specifically for the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, drawing inspiration from concepts of metamorphosis and the length of time involved in making Dom Pérignon. Each box is signed by the designer and bears a sprawling, crystal-like green graphic set on a black backdrop.
There’s a video by German-born fashion photographer Daniel Sannwald to accompany the product, which I had to sign into to prove my age. The video also features some of Van Herpen’s creations and a nice dark green tone that just works for me.
(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo of Dom Pérignon bottles by cherrylet, some rights reserved)
Tags: champagne, Iris van Herpen
In 1955 fireman Cor Priele and two colleagues had to guard the Gold Coach which was on display in Rotterdam at the time.
Guard duty must have been boring. The firemen, Poot, Smaal and Priele, started using the royal carriage as a room to sit in and even to play tag around. That’s where things went south. Priele’s boot got caught behind the royal bench and a golden string broke off.
The three guards decided not to tell anyone because it would mean they would get fired on the spot. “I was very, very scared”, the former fireman from Sleeuwijk, Noord-Brabant told Omroep Brabant. He took the string home and kept it in an empty jam jar.
But this year, 50 years after the heinous deed and with both of his colleagues deceased, 83-year-old Priele decided to make amends. He wrote King Willem-Alexander a letter explaining what happened and offered both his apologies and the return of the royal, golden string.
The Gold Coach was built in 1898 by the Spyker brothers (even before they started making motor cars) as a gift from the citizens of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina on the occasion of her ascension to the Dutch throne. Citizens of Amsterdam chipped in 25 cents each.
It is as yet unknown whether the King has taken Priele up on his offer or not.
(Photo by Zoetnet, some rights reserved)
Tags: fire brigade, gold, Golden Carriage, guards, King Willem Alexander, Spyker
In 2013 graphic designer Zilla van den Born graduated from HKU University of the Arts Utrecht with a project in which she fooled family and friends into believing she was on a 42-day-long journey through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
Fakebooking is so old hat that even British comedian Miranda Hart dedicated an episode, aptly called Holiday, to a fake vacation in Thailand.
But Van den Born went beyond the selfie with the giant poster of a palm tree-lined beach in the background. Writes Kickass Trips:
She followed an elaborate scheme of activities, all of it staged. The picture of her snorkelling in Thailand was taken in a swimming pool in Amsterdam and later photoshopped to make it look more tropical. She took photos in tropical aquariums at the Artis Zoo, went to a butterfly garden, bought exotic Asian souvenirs on the market and cooked Thai meals, in her own kitchen of course.
The book Van den Born created for her project is combined with a Layar app to recover the reality behind the manipulation. With her project Van den Born wanted to highlight the difference between our rational attitude to modern day photography (we know everything we see may have been manipulated) to our actual attitude: we still see photos as “the proof of an experience”.
Check her portfolio to see videos of her manipulations and the reactions of her friends and family to finding out it was all fake.
(Photo: Zilla van den Born)
Tags: graphic design, journalism, manipulation, reality, reporting, Zilla van den Born
A trampoline centre in The Hague is the latest in a long list of businesses in the Netherlands to open in a former church building.
Planet Jump opened in the Martelaren van Gorcum church in The Hague earlier this month. Cheekily dubbed a ‘trampoline paradise’ by Den Haag Direct, they are open seven days a week. Have a look at the photos on their website.
Repurposing a ‘holy’ building may seem a little irreverent, but as we wrote earlier, it seems that people prefer repurposing over tearing down. These buildings have memories of baptisms, weddings and funerals attached to them, after all.
Also, in what other church could you achieve so many instant ascensions in an hour?
The name Martelaren van Gorcum means martyrs of Gorcum and refers to 19 catholic officials who were killed in 1572 by Dutch Protestant freedom fighters.
See also: The man who sells church interiors
(Photo of a trampoline park in Memphis by Memphis CVB, some rights reserved)
Tags: churches, exercise, exercising, Gorcum, Gorkum, jumping, martyrs, The Hague, trampolines
There’s already Sinterklaas treats in the shops, we’ve spent the summer in controversy with ‘Zwarte Piet’ and now in Ede, Gelderland, there’s a run on toys featuring the soon to be phased out black festive helper.
Online webshop Lobbes.nl based in Ede has sold all its Fisher Price Sinterklaas sets in one day. We’re not talking millions of sets, but the run on the toys did not go unnoticed. Fisher Price has announced that it will stop producing its traditional sets following complaints related to the figure of Zwarte Piet deemed racist by the courts.
What I’m thinking is in the years to come when the Dutch will be getting used to the phasing out of Zwarte Piet, anyone who has Zwarte Piet toys or decorations will make some extra cash. For all we know, they’ll import stuff from China if they’re not already doing that. And one day, a bit like gollywogs they’ll be seen more ironically that as actual festive figures.
(Link: www.gelderlander.nl, Photo by Aloxe, some rights reserved)
Tags: Sinterklaas, toys, Zwarte Piet
For almost half a century the Dutch were pitching baseballs incorrectly due to a translation error of the rules from American English into Dutch. Adults were pitching as soft as small boys and that was not to their advantage.
A Dutch book entitled ‘Sportlegendes’ (‘Sport legends’) has a chapter on baseball player Han Urbanus from Amsterdam who travelled to play with the New York Giants in 1952, the first European to do so, although he only trained with them.
The Americans watched Urbanus throw and didn’t understand what he was doing. The strictly interpreted Dutch rules Urbanus played by said that the pitcher ‘needs to keep contact with the rubber on the mound and may not lift their support leg until the ball is thrown’. Lifting a foot while pitching comes naturally, which normal in the US, but not in the Netherlands, and meant a ball speed loss of some 40 km/h.
Back then there was no real way of knowing this besides reading the rules or seeing it live and maybe catch some TV in the US and Canada. Urbanus had to learn how to throw all over again, although he said that after two weeks, he had it figured out. The Giants gave him some rolls of films to show his team back home how the game was played.
Tomorrow the Dutch will be playing in the 2014 European Baseball Championship held in the Czech Republic and are a big favourite to win. They were last tournament’s winner as well as having won the World Cup back in 2011.
(Link: nieuws.thepostonline.nl, Photo by John Martinez Pavliga, some rights reserved)
In a fashion/IT edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’), it wasn’t Apple’s new Apple Watch, iPhone 6 or even the band U2 that stole the show at its latest product launch in Califormia, but Dutch IT designer Tommy Krul’s tube scarf, earning him the nickname of ‘Scarf Guy’. Dutch-born Krul is founder and CTO of Super Evil Megacorp in San Francisco and was presenting the new game Vainglory, specially developed for the iPhone 6.
Apple’s on stage presenters are reputed for being casually dressed, and Krul was no exception. For reasons that only the Internet understands his purple ‘infinity’ scarf took on a life of its own on Twitter and Facebook during the presentation. Fake Twitter accounts such as @scarfbro and @purplescarfguy have started up and comparisons to other scarf-wearing celebs such as Gavin Rossdale and Lenny Kravitz (and I would add Benedict Cumberbatch, as himself and as Sherlock) have been made. People want to know if he’s single, but Krul hasn’t provided an answer. All he has said apparently is “I often wear scarves, it’s funny.”
(Link: www.rtlnieuws.nl, Photo of men’s scarf by smittenkittenorig, some rights reserved)
Tags: Zoek de Nederlander