Professional bekeeper Leo Gensen from Wijk bij Duurstede, Utrecht recently drove a truck with an adapted trailer full of half a million bees down to the southwest region of Dordogne in France to ensure their winter survival.
“The biggest problem for bees is that there’s often not enough food for them in the Netherlands” he explains. Gensen has a friend in France who is an amateur beekeeper and a pensioner, able to take care of the bees this winter.
In mid-October another one million bees will take the same 1100-kilometre trip. Chances are this is the first time this has ever been done.
On 31 August, two people spotted an angular crab on the eastern part of the island of Ameland. The discoveries were independent from each other, but it was probably the same crab. One of them put the crab back into the sea.
The same type of angular crab had been spotted in 2003 in the North Sea elsewhere, but never on a beach. The crab has finally decided to check out dry land.
Angular crabs live in the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea in places with a clay sea floor. Apparently, due to global warming affecting the North Sea, the crab can be found in the Netherlands.
In the wake of the 1886 Eel Riots in Amsterdam, Dutch newspapers filled their columns with reports about the event, but it was French magazine l’Illustration that came out with these drawings by M. de Haenen 10 days later.
Fait sur place, these illustrations tell the story of the Palingoproer (eel riots), the bloodiest case of Dutch police brutality in the 19th century.
On Sunday 25 July 1886 a great mass of people gathered on the Lindengracht in Amsterdam to watch a cruel spectacle. Fish sellers had tied a rope between numbers 184 and 119 across what was then still a canal and a live eel had been tied to that rope. Men in small boats had to try and pull the eel from the rope—the winner would get the princely sum of 6 guilders, almost a week’s wages. This sport was called palingtrekken (eel pulling) and by that time already outlawed.
Four officers from nearby police station Noordermarkt decided to put a halt to the spectacle. They entered one of the houses to which the rope was tied and used a pocket knife to cut down the rope. Apparently the rope hit one of the spectators who started thwacking the police with his umbrella as soon as they left the building. Fast forward a couple of hours and a full blown riot was going on with police using their sabres and rioters throwing pavers.
Nightfall came and a drizzle helped to cool tempers. The next day, however, rioters stormed the police station which led to the army getting out their guns. As soon as the smoke had cleared (smokeless powder had only been invented two years earlier and was being introduced slowly to European armies), 26 rioters lay dead and observers (reporters, essayists, historians) started to explain what it was that just had happened.
Right-wing rags Algemeen Handelsblad and NRC, and the mayor of Amsterdam, tried to blame the socialists for being the instigators, but the public prosecutor thought that conclusion was preposterous—royalist inhabitants of the nearby Willemsstraat had even thrown red and black flags into the canal that the socialists had quickly brought to the scene of the riots.
Two thousands rioters were given prison sentences, police officers were treated to cigars and in 1913 the eel that involuntarily started it all showed up at an auction where it was sold for 1,75 guilders and was never seen again.
A health insurance company active in the east of the country has recently made a video (see below) that is really only made to watch an elderly lady treat Pokémons to the business end of a flyswatter.
Then there’s other Dutch business that have carved out a piece of the action using Pokémons. A Dutch sex toy shop asks on Twitter ‘What Pokémon is this?’, showing a dratini that’s more of the vibrating kind. Then there’s someone who claims Dutch Rail has a train running late because of a Snorlax on the rails. And then there’s more serious stuff like the World Wide Fund using a meme of a rhinoceros saying in English ‘Don’t catch ’em’.
The video is for fans and haters alike, so check it out.
Together with his collaborator, engineer Arjen Beltman, they are taking deceased animals to the next level by creating something they can fly in themselves, which reminds me of the flying moths from the 1990s science-fiction series, Lexx.
“If I’m going to fly, I want to fly in something weird. So we’ve been thinking about animals that are big enough to fly in. We have a cow at the moment – it’s at the tannery right now. It’s going to be like a bovine personnel carrier, but airborne,” Jansen explains.
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.
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.
Watching the cows finally go outside in the spring is a great Dutch tradition, and now that tradition was taken to the next level with some fine bovine camera work.
Entitled ‘it’s Cow or Never’, a play on words of the Elvis song ‘It’s Now or Never’ (a cover of the old Neapolitan song O Sole Mio), you can pretend you’re a dancing cow and watch yourself from above and below thanks to the power of editing and two GoPro cameras attached to a happy cow.
The cows come from a cheese far in Dronten, Flevoland. The farmer claims the cows were jealous of the cow with the new gadget, because the filming cow’s cameras ended up in the mud after 15 min due to some head butting.
Check out the sniffing, nuzzling and head butts for yourself:
Last summer we told you about a new law that allowed Dutch citizens to call for a non-binding referendum, in this case to veto Ukraine’s entry to the European Union. On 6 April, the Dutch will vote on a non-binding referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, a vote and campaign that happens to fall at the same time as the Dutch presidency of the European Union — as if they didn’t have enough on their plate already.
One things the Dutch Party for the Animals doesn’t want on their plate is chicken, so they’re encouraging people to vote ‘no’ in the video below. One of the baddies happens to be one of the world’s biggest producer of broiler chickens for starters. As well, a lot of people throw around the word ‘oligarch’ without knowing what it means, now you can learn more about it and hear how horrible it sounds in Dutch.
“According to Transparency International Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe. Ukraine is ruled by oligarchs. Take Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP): it is one of the biggest poultry producers in the world and annually slaughters 332 million chickens.”
Long story short, billionaire Yuriy Kosiuk owns it, puts his money in tax havens in Luxembourg and Cyprus, is friends with President Poroshenko and has his fingers in way too many pies. The Dutch Party for the Animals considers him and the Ukrainian government corrupt, and wouldn’t be totally wrong in saying so. MHP’s motto is “if you want something done well, do it yourself”, and that seems to include bullying the government.
Ukraine has always been the doormat doorway to Russia, stuck between maintaining old Soviet relations and sucking up to the European Union. The people of Ukraine are the real losers of any deal, chickens and all.
A mechanic peregrine falcon was named the best innovation of the year at the European Robotics Forum in Ljubljana this week, Tubantia reports.
The winning robot is called Robird and is made by Clear Flight Solutions from Enschede, a spin-off of the University of Twente. It mimics the flight of the peregrine falcon and is used to keep the air space near airports clear from birds such as geese.
In an interview in 2014 with RTV Noord Holland (see below), CEO Nico Nijenhuis said that real falcons will only hunt when hungry. They also tire quickly. “Once [a peregrine falcon] has made two flights in a row, it’s really tired. [Our robot] on the other hand keeps going. You swap out a battery and it’s good to go.”
Clear Flight Solutions received 1.6 million euro in funding from the Cottonwood Technology Fund last week and is in talks with Schiphol Airport for a pilot project [pun unavoidable]. Nijenhuis told RTL Nieuws last week: “Dutch rules are very strict, but we expect to have our paperwork in order within six weeks.”