Last October the ‘Vlotwatering bridge’ or ‘bat bridge’ was opened in a nature area called Westland in South Holland, designed by NEXT Architects of Amsterdam and picked up an ARC15 Detail Award, given to them unanimously by the jury. The bridge is in Monster (yup, a Dutch town) and it was applauded for its ‘eye for detail and attention to biodiversity’.
According to NEXT Architects, the bridge was designed to house bats in as many ways as possible. The bridge has three specific bridge components that provide roost for different bat species throughout the entire yea, intended to constitute the ideal habitat for various species of bats, so that a large colony can grow around the bridge.
Starting last week during a high level threat against Brussels that is sadly ongoing, Belgians journalists and others tweeted pictures of cats to follow instructions from the Belgian federal police of not spreading pictures or information on Twitter that would give terrorists an edge as to what the police were doing.
On November 22 Dutch cameraman from Zwolle Hugo Janssen kicked of what was to be a huge collection of cat tweets. Carrying the hashtag #BrusselsLockDown he posted a picture of his cat Mozart, saying ”Instead of tweeting about the police’s movements in Brussels, here’s a picture of our cat Mozart”. Google ‘#BrusselsLockDown’ and you’ll get Star Wars cats, ordinary cats, wild cats, cats in boxes and the usual fare of Internet felines.
The Federal Belgian Police tweeted “For the cats that helped us yesterday, here you go!” with a picture of cat food, as seen above. The current situation is of course no laughing matter by any means and far from over.
This fake bank note is what Dutch customs officers use to train their sniffer dogs for detecting large quantities of cash.
According to the customs’ Facebook page, where we found this photo, “we’ve been using special training bank notes since 2014. The ink and paper are the same as those of real bank notes, so that the dogs are still able to make a positive match.”
The customs department uses fake money because some of the training sessions are performed in the wild. Using large amounts of real money would be risky in those cases.
Ten-year-old Enzo Smink from Wekerom, Gelderland has found part of the jaw of a prehistoric cave lion, according to the director of prehistoric museum De Groene Poort in Boxtel, Noord-Brabant, who said a find like this only happens about every 20 years.
The boy had found the bones back in 2012 while swimming with his father near Oosterbeek, Gelderland, but nobody had realised what he had found. The bones then ended up in a box at his grandmother’s house. It was only when he decided to bring the bones to school for show and tell earlier this year did his mother take a picture of them and send it off to experts.
“The Eurasian cave lion commonly known as the European or Eurasian cave lion, is an extinct subspecies of lion. It is known from fossils and many examples of prehistoric art.”
Today the bones will become part of the De Groene Poort’s collection. They have been restored and one would imagine they’ll be on display soon enough.
In the very religious town of Staphorst a three-colour calf (link to picture) has been born, which is said to be very rare. The Dutch called it a ‘lapjeskoe’, or ‘quilt cow’. The mother and father of the calf were white and black, but the calf also has reddish brown in its coat.
The Netherlands has about 10 ‘quilt cows’. In Noord-Brabant there is also a three-colour calf that people come and visit from far away just to take pictures, called Toos55:
Bird photographers are apparently causing problems for birds by using a phone app with bird song to lure the feathered creatures. Sounds harmless, but according to a Dutch nature website, the app used by the photographers stresses birds, making them want to defend their territory against an invisible enemy instead of using their energy for the breeding season, building nests and the likes.
The app can be played loudly on mobile devices, but should in fact be used to recognise bird song, not lure birds. By law, animals in nature that are protected species cannot be upset on purpose, but some photographers are probably going to continue to do so, as the chances of being caught are probably next to nothing.
This week there was a woman in Bloemendaal, North Holland who went grocery shopping with her bike and was about to load her saddle bags only to discover that an entire swarm of bees had moved in. The queen bee apparently decided to park it there and her entire buzzing entourage followed suit. They called in a beekeeper and he got them to move to a box.
Recently there was a woman in Oirschot, Noord-Brabant who noticed twigs in her saddle bags and kept forgetting to remove them every time she got on her bike until one day she decided to clear them out and noticed a bird’s nest with five robin eggs in it. She left her bike alone until last week when five baby robins emerged from the eggs.
The first webcam I ever watched back in the mid nineties was that of a litterbox were viewers waited to spot the cat using it. Over the litterbox there would be different messages everyday like ‘send tuna’. If you caught the cat going to the box you were asked to take a screenshot of it (nobody had digital cameras or mobile phones with digital cameras back then), you could send it to the owner and he would send you something cool, I don’t remember.
The Archie software company in Purmerend has set up a webcam on a roundabout to test its software. Funny thing is some 250,000 Dutch people have checked it out and it’s getting traction. A journalist on Twitter who wrote about it said he witnessed a car that wouldn’t yield to a scooter, which they should do, making his viewing ‘eventful’. For anyone who wants to see how a typical Dutch town deals with bike paths and cars, this is for you. The stream is in 1080HD and looks good.
It makes me want to go and skate around it for a while. For all we know a happening is being planned. A marching band going around in circles, could be fun. Stay tuned.
Last Monday a Dutch Rail train driver discovered a wounded cat on the rail road between Utrecht and The Hague near Gouda.
The driver of the ‘intercity’ train stopped his vehicle so that the conductor could take the cat on board. An animal ambulance took the cat from The Hague Central Station to a vet. According to AD, tweeting passengers praised Dutch Rail staff for their quick action.
Although it is unclear what how the cat had become injured, its front left paw had to be amputated, as had part of its tail. The bridge of its nose is also damaged and it has a concussion. The animal hospital reported on Facebook that all things considered the cat is doing well and is adapting quickly to its new situation. Although many people have shown interest in acquiring Juna, as the ambulance staff have called her, the hospital will wait two weeks for the original owner to report.
In 2013, a train driver in Limburg stopped to pick up a cat lying on the tracks. In 2014, a rail road employee caught a pregnant cat that had walked off the train in Enschede and brought it to a shelter.
Using a modified cargo bike named the Poopymobile, inspired by the Popemobile, pet shop entrepreneur Thomas Vles cycled to London with his two cats Mushi and Cheesy last month. Owner of pet design company Poopy Cat in Amsterdam, he knows that cats hate to be locked up in small cages or fly and decided to cycle with a typical Dutch ‘bakfiets’. Mushi and Cheesy are apparently used to going everywhere by bike since they were kittens.
On YouTube Vles said that, “the cats were priority number one during the trip. Should we even remotely think that they were not comfortable, we would stop. There was driving an accompanying car with in which they could always go. Our trip was supported by two veterinarians and we kept an eye on everything 24/7. We have noticed that Mushi and Cheesy were really enjoying their time in the ‘kitty mobile’ – they wanted to stay in there even when we had to get out to sleep!”