In 2011 Amsterdam artist Rob Hagenouw contacted some hunters and scored geese to create his own croquette recipe. It was a big deal because by law geese cannot be killed unless they are deemed a nuisance, like the geese at Schiphol airport.
Hagenouw’s project The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal (‘Keuken van het ongewest dier’) is a food truck in Amsterdam that sells snack food made from unwanted animals like muskrat, horse, pigeon, crawfish and parakeet. Unwanted means that these animals are not indigenous to the Netherlands (crawfish), are no longer being cared for as pets (horse) or are a nuisance (geese). Instead of killing these animals and throwing them out, Hagenouw and his partner Nicolle Schatborn decided to build a whole cuisine around them that’s getting international attention.
Although rabbit was not on the list yet, they are considered a plague, although a hugely cute one.
(Link: www.npr.org, Tip: Fred, thanks!)
Tags: Amsterdam, food truck, geese, horse, muskrat, parakeet
The owl terrorising the city of Pumerend still has not been caught. However, a local supermarket thought it would be a good idea to cash in on people’s fear by selling them an ‘anti-owl hat’ that’s basically a black university-style graduation cap with owl stickers. I guess that’s one way to look smart.
And like the seagulls in Haarlem earlier this week, the owl is also a protected bird type, so they can’t just shoot it. Apparently, a falconer is now on the case.
The owl has been a problem for a year and has only recently decided to step up its game. The city blames people for not telling them about all the attacks that have happened and suggests people walk around with an umbrella until they catch it.
(Link: nieuws.nl, nos.nl, Photo of Owl by jennicatpink, some rights reserved)
Tags: falconer, owl, Pumerend
After the world found out about an owl terrorising the city of Pumerend and sending people to hospital, the city of Haarlem has decided to attack its annual seagull problem with drones, based on an American idea. Haarlem is a few kilometres from the North Sea, while Amsterdam is further away and seems more overrun by pigeons.
Forget hanging devices that make falcon noises to scare seagulls off. With a drone you can replace the camera part with the noisy device and scare the seagulls out of their nests, as long as it’s not too windy for the drones. Seagulls are a protected bird type, so scaring them away is the city’s best bet for now.
(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Drone by Karen Axelrad, some rights reserved)
Tags: birds, drones, Haarlem, seagulls
A joint Dutch-Belgian study of the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has shown that there are bacteria in the North Sea that send signals to each other, much like using a telephone, over long distances. The bacteria are able to do so by using electrical signals with alternating current. Earlier researchers discovered that micro-oganisms could talk to each other, but their calls were usually local.
“We already knew that long-winding cable bacteria were living in the seafloor of the North Sea, which are capable of establishing an electrical current across centimeter distances,” explains team leader Professor Filip Meysman. “The really exciting discovery is that these bacteria are capable of adapting their electrical current generation, which enables signal transmission in the seafloor. This way the electricity-generating cable bacteria are essentially functioning as telephone cables.”
The discovery could mean all kinds of useful future applications. “Maybe within some years, solar panels or smartphones will harbor minuscule conducting wires of bacterial origin,” adds Meysman.
(Links: nieuws.nl, www.nioz.nl, Photo by Macinate, some rights reserved)
Tags: bacteria, North Sea
Birdwatchers are thrilled to have spotted a flock of five flamingos in Amsterdam, which is a rare sight. They’re not from a zoo, as they’ve not been tagged. They’ve probably come from southern Europe and are staying as they can find food easily. The birds should stay about three years. German flamingos are often seen in the Netherlands, but are tagged and usually go back home.
Cue Miami Vice opening sequence (video).
(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl, Photo of Flamingos in a French zoo by Tambako the Jaguar, some rights reserved)
Tags: birds, flamingoes, flamingos
Researchers Claudia Vinke and Ruth van der Leij of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University have studied why cats like to get into boxes. It appears that hiding in a box significantly reduces the stress level of a cat, although many cats just like to play in them, as proven by the multitude of Internet videos.
Studies were carried out in an animal shelter to monitor cats’ behaviour in quarantine for two weeks. Half of the cats were given a box to hide in and the other half was not. The stress level of the cats in the room with a box was significantly lower than the ones without a box. Cats with a lower stress level get used to their new environment more quickly, and a more relaxed cat also does not get sick as quickly. Boxes are good for cats.
On a related note, one of Amsterdam’s cat related attractions is the ‘Poezenboot’ (‘Cat boat’), a cat shelter on a houseboat in one of Amsterdam’s main canals founded back in the late 1960s.
(Link: www.duic.nl, Photo of Cat in a box by Hehaden, some rights reserved.
Tags: cats, Utrecht, Utrecht University
Sure, it’s been done before (I recommend ‘Metal musicians with their cats’), but once Dutch television shows started plugging Sliedrecht’s animal rescue shelter’s calendar featuring naked Dutch men with cats, the money started rolling in to the tune of 6000 euro so far. Keep up with them in Dutch on their Facebook page.
The men range from 19 to 54 and the shelter actually chose them for their looks as well as their love of animals. The money raised will go to taking care of unwanted cats, which, like in all Western countries, are still being dumped and abandoned.
Tags: animal shelter, cats, Sliedrecht
‘Mooi’, the word repeated in the video below means ‘nice’ or ‘pretty’ — you get the idea. The problem with this advert is near the end when the man says, ‘they’re all really nice pans, but where can I find (buy) them?’ His tone is irritating, as if he’s imitating a stereotyped middle-aged Dutch woman or possibly a gay-ish man. The woman, who sounds more like a Dutch man, answers ‘fonq’, a brand name pronounced a bit like ‘funk’. ‘Are you going to cook, then?’, she says in an insulting manner, implying the man doesn’t do any cooking. ‘No, I’m going to bash your brains in with them,’ a retort that is meant to be funny, but falls flat like a pancake on the floor.
A wok shown in the middle was the Boomerang Wok, designed by Dutch designer Nicolai Carels.
The pan advert was recently nominated for Most Annoying Dutch Advert 2014, the ‘Loden Leeuw’ (Lead Lion) 2014 by television consumer program Radar, but
lost to a health insurance company that features animated sloths who save so much money on their health insurance they get unnecessary cosmetic surgery, as would Dutch celebs with too much time and money on their hands.
(Photo of a cooking class kitchen by Jana Gumprecht)
Tags: advertising, cooking, pans, sloth
Dutch vegan activist Nancy Holten living in Switzerland has apparently upset the Swiss by claiming that cows wearing cowbells was akin to animal cruelty. The Swiss media was straight up in their answer and told to move back to where she came from if she didn’t like their culture. Holten has been widely labelled as a complainer since just before Christmas, she complained about church bells being rung at 6 am – too early in her opinion – in her village.
According to Wikipedia, cowbells have been around since the Iron age and have been used on cattle around the world. However, in September 2014 Swiss researchers did conclude that cowbells are often too loud and too heavy. The problem is that having foreigners complain about your traditions is not always the best way to go, something the Dutch deal with six months out of the year before Sinterklaas.
(Link: frontpage.fok.nl, Photo: Dutch cows sans cowbell)
Tags: animal welfare, bells, cowbell, cows, Switzerland
Dutch scientists have suggested an explanation for why Dutch barnacle geese have a less active immune system once they’ve migrated to Spitsbergen, Norway than when they winter in the Netherlands. “The birds on Spitsbergen appear to invest much less energy in their immune systems, particularly general resistance to disease. Researchers suspect that this might be because there are far fewer pathogens [like bird flu] in the North than here in the Netherlands.”
With their immune systems taxed less, the geese have more energy available to reproduce and change feathers, which the Dutch birds don’t. This means that the geese appear able to adjust their immune systems according to the risk of catching a disease.
(Links: www.kijkmagazine.nl, phys.org, Photo of barnacle goose by Andreas Trepte, some rights reserved)
Tags: barnacle geese, birds, geese, migration, Spitsbergen