Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been working in Amsterdam this week, and he also decided to soak up some culture by visiting the Rijksmuseum with former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Cook’s eye fell on a painting from 1670 entitled ‘Man handing a letter to a woman in the entrance hall of a house’ by Pieter de Hooch, where the letter looks a bit like a mobile phone. Cook did think it was a Rembrandt because well, why not, and he also thought the letter looked like an iPhone, when it fact it looks more like a smaller type of mobile phone if you ask me.
Dutch biotech start-up In Ovo from Leiden has perfected a large-scale technique for determining the sex of day-old chicks, which could soon end the practice of killing millions of male chicks in the Netherlands after eggs have hatched.
According to founders Wouter Bruins and Wil Stutterheim, In Ovo is the first company to be able to determine the gender of an unhatched egg in a matter of seconds, while other techniques for doing so, such as measuring the level of estrogen in the egg, takes four hours and is very expensive.
In Ovo has identified new substances that indicate the sex of an egg as early the ninth day of incubation. These substances are fast and quite easy to detect, according to Bruins. The technique has been tested at a Dutch hatchery, where the company was able to hatch roosters and hens separately on several occasions. The method is also fast enough to separate large amounts of eggs automatically, and so the first prototype for a sorting device is currently being developed.
The company’s video explains that around the world 3.2 billion roosters are killed each year. Besides an incredible amount of animal suffering, determining the gender of chicks would mean hatching less eggs, which means lowering energy consumption and CO2 output.
In 2009 Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Swolfs set out to visit and photograph street life in every country of the world. The idea was to portray 200 countries through 200 street photos, displayed next to each other, to show a positive image of the world in which we live, very different than the harsh images we’re used to.
The exhibition Streets of the World is the result of his journey, a photography project that not only distinguishes itself in scale, but also by the positive vision of the photographer and his eye for people.
If you’re anywhere near Amsterdam, catch Swolfs’ exhibition until mid July at the Nieuwe Kerk, which coincides with the World Press Photo exhibition, at the same location.
Here’s a video of his trip through Asia with explanations:
In about four hours, the city of Leeuwarden, Friesland will be welcoming two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which will stay in the Netherlands for three weeks. The JSF is the successor to the F16 (shown here), which has been flying in the country since 1979.
The Ministry of Defense says it’s time for the residents near the airfields of Leeuwarden and Volkel, Noord-Brabant to experience what they sound like because in 2019 the first bunch of F-35 will be coming to stay. According to the Ministry, it is the first time this type of aircraft has been flown from the United States to Europe, which is why Leeuwarden expects one or two thousand plane spotters from around Europe to come and watch the show.
For all of you who can’t make it, watch it live thanks to this handy stream brought to you by the Ministry of Defense:
A bunch of students from the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam have decided to open up what they claim to be the country’s first ‘demolition space’ called Bij de Buurman (‘At the Neighbour’s). And everything you’ll read about it is for men, men and men, although I can’t imagine they would ban women, but it is ‘where men can be men’.
Besides wrecking all kinds of things with a baseball bat or a hammer, patrons can come there to have a drink and chill, presumably after they’ve trashed something. Bij de Buurman says their demolition palace is for “frustrated men between the ages of 25 and 50 who need to work out job and relationship stress”, according to two of the six students, men, who themselves don’t have any of these issues because they go out and drink instead, possibly with your money. Cashing in on your fellow ‘man’ is fine, but insulting them in the process is an added bonus.
The demolition space is in a container in Rotterdam-Noord and will be open is from 26 to 29 May and from June 2 to 5 June where a demolition sessions of 5 minutes will cost the men 20 euro. Women of Rotterdam between the ages of 25 and 50, if you have job and relationship stress and need to trash something, well too bad. Or maybe you’ll be joined by men under 25 and over 50 who feel left out, and the world will be round again
For years in Scheveningen Rocco Gasperoni of the ‘Ndrangheta’ or Calabrian mafia was happily making the best pizzas the neighbourhood had even eaten until his arrest about a week ago.
And his story reads like a movie. His criminal activities date back to 1997 where he was arrested in Spain, then sentenced to 14 years of hard time for smuggling drugs between Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. He was eventually placed in house arrest and managed to flee to the Netherlands.
The Italian government tried to have Gasperoni extradited, but apparently messed up the paperwork and he was free again. Then he opened up a few shops, but the pizza shop is the one that made him popular, although neighbours claimed that shady characters would visit the joint and sit in dark corners. And then the Italians tried to extradite Gasperoni again, but since he had been in the Netherlands for so long, it didn’t stick and more pizzas were made.
As of a week ago Gasperoni will be doing 12 years of a 14-year sentence in a Dutch prison. Dutch authorities blame the differences between Italian and Dutch laws for why it took so much time to put him away.
The theme of this year’s well-known Valtifest festival in Amsterdam is ‘On Fire’, and they are planning to let in some 500 people for free as long as they have natural red hair, which occurs in a small percentage of the Western European population.
Besides upsetting a lot of people who don’t fit the bill, it discriminates against a whole of people whose genes do not lean towards presenting with red hair, like a lot of non white people.
The joke on the festival’s website “don’t shave your pubic hair because we may look in your pants” isn’t going over well either, apparently. An appointed hairdresser downtown needs to check your hair first as well on specific dates, as you can’t just show up at the festival.
For the real red heads who just want to hang out with other red heads, the city of Breda still holds the Red Head Day in the fall, and this year it will be on 3 September 2016.
Right outside Rotterdam Central Station, architectural firm MVRDV has built a giant staircase that goes from the station’s plaza all the way to the top of Rotterdam’s ‘Wholesale trade building’ (‘Groothandelsgebouw’), a monumental building right next to the station.
The structure pays tribute to Rotterdam’s rebuilding efforts during WWII and will remain open to the public until June 12, 2016 between 10am and 10pm. Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV explains that “this installation shows what this city could look like if we do that in many places, engaging a series of our existing buildings and giving access to their roofs, to create a new, much more interactive, three dimensional and denser urban topography for the next city generation.”
The staircase has 180 stairs and is 29 metres in height once you’re on the roof where there’s a temporary observation deck overlooking Rotterdam, a city that actually has skyscrapers. There’s also a rooftop cinema open especially for the event that offers a wide variety of films, debates and performances.
The Dutch are already involved in getting to Mars, but researchers at Wageningen University feel people need to be able to grow their own food if they ever plan on living there.
Wageningen University wants to grow vegetables in soils similar to those found on the Moon and Mars, but getting those soils is a tall order. However, NASA actually makes ground similar to that on the Moon from sand found in an Arizona desert, while Mars’ crimson ‘soil’ is scooped from a volcano in Hawaii. The first experiments started in 2013 after the university received an order of 100 kilos of NASA’s imitation ‘space soil’, which cost 2,000 euro.
Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen University decided to grow tomatoes, peas, cress and other plants in pots containing the simulated soil. The imitation ground wasn’t big on being watered at first, but soon turned out to be good potting soil. “In the Martian soil, plants were growing fast and well. They even started to flower, something that we never anticipated,” Wamelink said. The 50-day experiment was written up in the science journal PLOS One in August 2014.
The vegetables however are not necessarily safe to eat. Wamelink suggested growing other plant species such as violets to absorb the poisons. Water should be no problem as it is found as ice on both the Moon and Mars, said Wamelink. Other questions which need answers include the presence of friendly bacteria to help plant growth and what happens to plants that grow in low gravity. It’s still all very theoretical and cannot be tested in actual Martian and lunar conditions.
Part of me wonder if earthlings so fond of all kinds of foods, wouldn’t go bonkers from a steady diet of boring, never mind a lack of meat for some, alcohol and chocolate. The first person to open up a snack bar is going to rule the planet.
Dutchman Marcel Heijnen, originally from The Hague, lives in Hong Kong, China and likes to take pictures of shop owner’s cats. You can follow him at @ChineseWhiskers on instagram.
Surprised at how successful his cat pics are, he is planning on publishing a book, called ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ this September, with a book on Hong Kong market cats to follow by the beginning of next year. Both books will feature a haiku by Singaporean poet Ian Row, as well as an essay by Hong Kong-based British writer Catharine Nicol.
Shop owners have told Heijnen that they keep cats to repel rodents, but then they do that in The Netherlands as well. Heijnen, who previously lived in Singapore, said he is always careful not to identify the specific location of the businesses he visits so they are not bombarded with visitors.