A Dutch chain of cafeteria-type restaurants has been sold off, and one of the things the new owners have done is get rid of their ‘volunteer’ toilet attendants.
Dutch toilet attendants are more often than not female pensioners of modest background who ‘beg’ for change in exchange for keeping an establishment’s toilets clean, the toilet paper stocked, and so on. I say ‘beg’ because they usually don’t ask for money directly, as Dutch social etiquette dictates we should pay them the amount suggested usually indicated next to a collection dish. A lot of people have issues with this, as they find it exploitative and because going to the toilet shoud be free and part of the service.
These women are apparently not appreciated enough to be hired as employees although they work for companies like fast food chains and what not that are swimming in money. In the case of the cafeteria-type restaurants, they’ve decided to actually hire employees to clean toilets like in train stations and elsewhere, and also believe toilets should be used for free.
While it is sad that a toilet attendant is being ‘dismissed’, it’s still sadder that rich companies feel it is perfectly OK to exploit these vulnerable people, a non-job that’s traditionally female and as devalued as a non-job can be with begging, buying their own cleaning supplies (!) and ‘working’ long hours. The fact that a company would rather pay people to properly clean toilets means they are cleaning up their act, not taking away someone’s government-subsidised non-livelihood.
Letting someone perform work for small change is the definition of modern-day slavery and should be abolished.
To celebrate an exhibition entitled Van Gogh’s Bedrooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, a bedroom that draws inspiration from three versions of Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, has been recreated. It centers around the artist’s chamber in Arles, France.
Visitors to the famed bedroom are in for an immersive experience—it’s as if they’re traveling back in time to the Yellow House. This contemporary reimagining is located outside of the museum’s campus in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, and it’s part of a larger apartment. If you’re interested in staying, follow the Art Institute of Chicago’s Facebook page for updates on booking. Van Gogh’s Bedrooms is on view through May 10 of this year.
Last year in Southbourne, England, a wall of valuable Delft blue tiles (not the ones shown here) worth up to £50,000 (roughly 64,350 euro) was uncovered during the demolition of a Victorian house. The wall had 256 tiles in all, bricked in behind a fireplace. It was uncovered by a demolition expert who had also found tons of valuable letters and such during the demolition of JRR Tolkien’s former Poole home in 2008, many of which were located around the fireplace, the place to check.
“The remarkably well-preserved collection of hand-painted tiles includes some decorated with patterns, biblical scenes, rural settings, animals and colourful birds.”
Although carnival is winding down, the plethora of hits used to prop it up over the past few days never made it onto the Dutch music charts. The song ‘Feestmuts’ (‘Party Hat’) from the Snollebollekes was the exception at No. 86 in the GfK Single Top 100 (video below). It’s apparently fine that tons of businesses make good money off carnival music, but it’s shameful to publicly recognise that it does because radio stations would, what, rather push the Dunglish they pass off as third-rate American music?
Carnival music executive Van de Berk of Berk Music is outraged and blames the rigid rules of radio stations for ignoring them, while some 5 million people celebrate carnival in The Netherlands and hundreds of thousands watch all kinds of carnival YouTube videos. “We understand that radio stations don’t want to play carnival music all day, but one number here and there should be possible. Maybe the broadcast tower should move from Hilversum to Eindhoven! (The Dutch media is concentrated in Hilversum, North Holland as opposed to carnival-savvy Noord-Brabant where Eindhoven is located).
Berk Music has recently awarded the Lawineboys a gold record for 15,000 sold copies of their hit ‘Sex Met Die Kale’ (‘Sex with that bald one’), an adapted cover of ‘Sex on Fire’ by Kings of Leon.
If you like videos shot in mini-vans, watch Snollebollekes do their thing. Beer helps.
A multimedia Van Gogh exhibition in Moscow is letting women with high heels in for free and giving 50% off to men named ‘Sergey’ inspired by a music video of the band Leningrad and their song ‘Exponat’, a fact most sources have failed to mentioned altogether. Shame on you all because the video is funny, although yes funnier if you understand Russian like I do. And it’s been viewed 34 million times and counting.
In an attempt to pick the right outfit for a date to a Van Gogh exhibition with an eligible older man, a woman realises what she really needs is a pair of Louboutin high heels. And that goes horribly wrong.
The video features modern Russian humour and has jokes about a very pretty yet insecure woman worried about everything, including her butt. Luckily her mom is there to help her fit into her skinny jeans. And that goes horribly wrong, too.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who isn’t known for his command of English, has made sure everyone in the galaxy knows his written English isn’t out of this world either.
While visiting California, Rutte was invited by a satellite manufacturer to send a message into space with his signature on it. He wrote down “Peace and prosparity”, instead of ‘prosperity’. In his defense, in Dutch the ‘e’ and ‘a’ of English sounds the same to many Dutch people. But he’s the PM and someone in his entourage (does he have one?) could have said something.
Of course, this small mistake is a vast improvement on his predecessor Jan Peter Balkenende who apparently addressed George Bush as ‘your presidency’. Then again Bush apparently also thought JP was from Belgium because a lot of European countries look the same.
Hate crooked sign posts? A Tumblr page has the remedy for you: pictures of sign posts at an angle that make them look straight again. Because everyone should have a hobby, including graphic designer Onno Blase from Rotterdam.
People are sending him stuff from other places than The Netherlands, as Blase’s collection grows up to 540 pictures and counting. Blase says it’s a nice metaphor for being able to see things the way you want to see them, depending on how you look at them.
The trick is to have the sign post or pole in question in the middle of the picture for the best effect.
Instead of scaring off seagulls with eagle noises like in Haarlem in 2015, the Dutch police have stepped up their game and are now training eagles to knock out ‘enemy’ drones out of the air. The idea was to find a way to get rid of drones that are not allowed to fly in certain spaces, such as protected airspaces. The video below tells of a trauma helicopter not being able to land because some moron was flying a drone and blocking the way or another moron flying their drone next to busy Schiphol Airport.
Finding the drone pilot can be very difficult and take a long time, a policeman explains. The eagle in the video grabs the drone with its talons, which are designed to carry things as opposed to just having claws like many other animals. There’s also less impressive tools they plan to use such as casting a net over the drone somehow. “The eagle sees the drone as prey and wants to bring it to a safe location and protect it from outsiders”. The trainers are not worried about the propellers hurting the animal, although opinions might differ on that point. The eagle may even get special gear for protection.
It’s in Dutch, but it’s all about watching the eagle catch the drone.
If you are unable to make it to the museum, the Bosch fever sweeping the country ensures you can engage with the great painter in several other ways. The local newspaper, Brabants Dagblad, has an online quiz that will let you spin the wheel to find out how much you really know about the seven deadly sins. The questions are in Dutch and cover topics as varied as Doutzen Kroes, Roy Donders, frikandels, Mike Tyson, Snow White, civil servants, Louis van Gaal, FIFA, the biggest hamburger in the world, plastic surgery and David Beckham.
The paper has five other games for you, each one based on a different painting by Bosch, which can be reached through the quiz’s main menu.