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January 7, 2015

Annoying Dutch adverts: pretty pans and superfluous sloths

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:42 am

‘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)

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January 3, 2015

Dutch activist demands less cowbell in Switzerland

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 7:36 pm

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)

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December 20, 2014

Netherlands taxes barnacle geese’s immune system

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 12:19 pm

Barnacle-Goose

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)

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December 9, 2014

Police ‘arrest’ sheep on the run

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:40 am

Screen shot 2014-12-09 at 11.31.45 AM

In Drachten, Friesland the police stopped a wandering sheep that was causing problems on a local motorway. After a few calls, the police came and grabbed the animal and put it in the back of their vehicle.

The cops thought it a good idea to tweet a picture of the sheep, “as many people had requested them to do”. I’m sure cops don’t ‘arrest’ sheep every day.

The sheep was returned to its owner.

(Link: www.deondernemer.nl)

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November 28, 2014

Edible insects now available at the supermarket

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:28 am

Grasshopers

As of today Jumbo supermarkets in the cities of Groningen and Haren will start selling edible insects products. ‘Buggy balls’, ‘buggy burgers’ and even ‘buggy crisps’ (great, more junk food) will be available. Many parts of the world apparently eat insects either as a delicacy or because they’re poor. The Western world hasn’t joined in yet except for special events.

I can’t listen to the health arguments for selling these protein-rich products because supermarkets sell us tons of junk food and have forfeited their say in people’s health ages ago. I can’t listen to the lame argument of eating bugs as an alternative to eating meat because there are vegetarians and vegans out there doing just fine without it.

Eating bugs is expensive (one portion of ‘buggy balls’ costs between 5,95 and 6,79 euro), which doesn’t make them an alternative to anything. The price won’t go down if more people buy because if that were true, the price of veggie burgers would have gone down. And if you eat peanut coated chocolates that contain red E120 colouring, you’re already eating bugs.

Bonus argument: Belgium is one of Europe’s top suppliers of insects, but its production is illegal yet tolerated. Sound familiar?

(Links: www.z24.nl, nos.nl, Photo of Grasshoppers by ad454, some rights reserved)

October 18, 2014

Ms ‘Hen the Rooster’ new chicken boss of the Netherlands

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Branko Collin @ 1:20 pm

chicken-branko-collinStarting next year Ms Hennie de Haan will become the new chairperson of the Poultry Farmers’ Union of the Netherlands, Telegraaf reports.

In itself this is not interesting news, but if you understand Dutch you’ll realise her name means ‘Hen the Rooster’. Never was there a poultry farmers’ union’s chairperson with a more fitting name, I imagine.

Ms De Haan told AD that she hadn’t even noticed the funny pairing at first: “Well, I’ve had this name for 45 years now. You don’t often stop to contemplate your own name. My partner had to point out [how remarkable this is]. [...] Usually chicken farming is discussed in terms of the environment and the treatment of animals. If my name causes a smile [...] I consider that a bonus.”

A popular go-to person for the Dutch press whenever a plane threatens to fall out of the sky is the former chairperson of the Association of Dutch Commercial Pilots, Benno Baksteen, whose last name means ‘brick’.

Every year popular radio DJs Coen & Sander collect the funniest names they can find and crown one of them the ‘shame name’ of the year. Two weeks ago that award went to Wil Helmes, which sounds like the title of the Dutch anthem, ‘Wilhelmus’. Number 2 was Ben Bouten, which means ‘off to poo’. Third place went to Leen Kleingeld means ‘borrow small change’.

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October 1, 2014

World’s first microbe zoo opens in Amsterdam

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 11:38 am

microbes

Next to Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo in the East of the city where you can sometimes spot the heads of giraffes moving slowly in the distance you’ll find Micropia, billed as “the world’s first interactive microbe zoo”, opened yesterday by Queen Máxima.

And instead of looking at sizable animals like giraffes, the goal of Micropia is to display “micro-nature,” says director Haig Balian, who believes microbes have been underestimated ever since Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, known as ‘the father of microbiology’ observed these microscopic creatures in the 17th century.

“Much of the museum looks like a laboratory, complete with rows of microscopes connected to giant television screens. Visitors can look through a window at a real-life laboratory where different kinds of microbes are being reproduced in Petri dishes and test tubes.”

To get you started – or off your lunch – here’s an A to Z of lots of microbes.

(Link and photo: www.news24)

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September 19, 2014

Authorities score cobra vodka during search

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:23 pm

cobra-vodka

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)

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August 6, 2014

Lab meat inspires futuristic cookbook

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink,Science by Orangemaster @ 4:07 pm

Back in early 2012 we told you about lab produced meat being made, and in late 2013 about the meat finally hitting the grill. Now it’s time to level up with a test-tube cookbook called ‘The In Vitro Meat Cookbook” written by Dutch-based scientists, chefs and artists and recently presented in Amsterdam.

“While some dishes are innovative and delicious, others are uncanny and macabre,” such as roast raptor, dodo nuggets and oysters grown from meat stem cells.

The idea was not to get people cooking so much as letting people imagine future possibilities.

(Link: phys.org)

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June 16, 2014

Eccentric farmers can kiss privacy goodbye

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 9:29 am

calves-orangemasterIn a fascinating article by anthropologist Lizzy van Leeuwen in De Groene Amsterdammer last month, she describes how farmers’ association LTO, together with the Dutch government, has set up a system for detecting and dealing with early warning signs of the mistreatment of farm animals.

A database kept by Vetrouwensloket Welzijn Landbouwhuisdieren (the confidential office for the well-being of farm animals) tracks symptoms such as excess deaths and diseases, hurt and crippled animals, parasites, poor development of young animals, and so on.

Nobody could object to such a system, but the database also registers information about the farmers themselves based on the idea that unhappy farmers make unhappy farm animals. This information includes attendance at meetings and the number of friendships a farmer maintains. Do farmers stop answering their phones and do their relationships fail? It is all registered.

If the signals reach a certain danger level, a team is sent to the farmers in question to try and help them get back on track. Magazine Veeteelt ran a headline in 2010 that aptly describes the duality of this approach: “Animal neglect can happen to anyone. [This system] prevents a negative image of the industry.”

The result is that some farmers—the loners, the ‘known’ problem cases—are pushed into extreme transparency through a finely mazed network of ‘reporters’ or ‘snitches’, depending on who you talk to. These are often the ‘erfbetreders’, a Dutch word I did not know until yesterday meaning ‘those who walk onto the farmyard’—the people who have to be on the farm for business and who rat out the farmer on the side.

Van Leeuwen’s four page article goes into incredible detail on how farmers are viewed by the general public. She hypothesizes that the Dutch have lost contact with farming world. Between 1947 and 1990 the percentage of people working in agriculture dropped from 20% to 4%. The general public are now in the habit of seeing farmers through isolated incidents, such as the 2011 tragedy in which a farmer from Brummen, Gelderland killed about 100 cows with a tractor and then killed himself. Van Leeuwen speaks of “a trend of viewing farmers as professional animal abusers”.

The result is that farmers have not just become an out-group, but in order to close the ranks they have decided to nip rare and extreme cases of animal abuse in the bud by creating their own out-group of lonely and eccentric farmers. Ironically, this does not seem to apply to factory farming, a practice to which pretty much everybody turns a blind eye.

Van Leeuwen’s article, “De weg van alle vlees—dierverwaarlozing op de boerderij“, is available on the web (in Dutch), but unfortunately behind a pay wall.

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