September 2, 2020

Zaandam street reverts back to ‘gay sounding name’

Filed under: Architecture,Music,Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:47 pm

In 2018 the city of Zaandam, North Holland was dealing with a tempest in a teacup: a street called ‘Hobo’ (‘Oboe’) was turned into ‘Piccolo’ because folks said it sounded too much like ‘homo’, which is a homophobic slur, the equivalent of ‘faggot’. ‘Folks said’ is not very clear, but city hall picked up on the discontent of some and decided to change instruments.

However, in 2019 the city went back on its decision, saying that it was hard to claim to be a ‘rainbow city’ (LGBTQIA-friendly) if they cater to the whims of a few people who didn’t like a street named after a musical instrument. Other Dutch cities have Hobo streets and that was never a problem. And just having a rainbow crosswalk is not enough these days to be truly LGBTQIA-friendly.

I went to Zaandam recently to see what the fuss had been all about. One very nice typical blue Zaandam-style house had a sign on the door that said “Hobo 14, former Piccolo 14”, which seemed to be for any kind of deliveries. Hobo street is barely a few hundred metres long. And why would I use another slur, ‘faggot’, to make my point? That’s because parallel to Hobo, there’s ‘Fagot’ street, which means ‘Bassoon’ in Dutch and nobody had a problem with that.

(Link: hartvannederland.nl)

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July 23, 2020

Dutch building biggest bike bridge in Europe

Filed under: Architecture,Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 4:45 pm

The Blauwe loper (‘Blue carpet’) is a 800-metre-long bike bridge that will connect Winschoten to Blauwestad (‘Blue City’, a new village being built on reclaimed land) Groningen, making it Europe’s longest bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. It might also end up being a whole kilometre long if they connect it to the middle of the new town, and should be completed in late 2020.

It will be painted ‘bat-friendly’ green, with LED lighting designed to help the bats commute from the nearby nature reserve to the Oldambtmeer (‘Oldambt lake’). The bridge has been designed to last for at least 80 years and is made from wood sourced from Gabon, Africa. The wood has some sort of venting system rather than being pressed together, explains project leader Reinder Lanting.

Europe’s current longest bike bridge is 756 metres long and is located in Sölvesborg, Sweden, extending across the Sölvesborg Bay. However, the Xiamen Bicycle Skyway in China, designed by the Danish design firm Dissing + Weitling, is a whopping 7.6km long.

Although there’s not always something to see, there’s a webcam link if you like to watch Dutch motorway traffic when there’s no bridge construction.

(Link: theguardian.com, Photo blauwestad.nl)

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June 25, 2020

New wharf cellars discovered in Utrecht

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first,History by Orangemaster @ 11:58 am

According to Utrecht city council, some previously unknown 60 wharf cellars have been discovered in the city’s centre. The council says that there are some 200 addresses with cellars of which the state of disrepair is unknown and that they are planning to look at more closely. An inspection should provide the best possible idea of the state of wharves in the city and what preventive and safety measures are needed.

Covid permitting (always check first), visitors can take a walking tour of canals and wharf cellars. As well, this latest discovery could make the tours even more exciting.

According to Wikipedia, Utrecht has 732 wharf cellars built around 1150. They were originally used as storage and other spaces for goods to be transported over water. One cool fact about them is that they can be found under roads.

(Link: www.rtvutrecht.n, Photo of Utrecht Nieuwegracht wharf by Japiot, some rights reserved)

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January 8, 2020

Dutch book about ‘Depressing Destinations’ out in January

Filed under: Architecture,History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 1:44 pm

Publishing his second book roughly entitled ‘Depressing Destinations’ (‘Treurtrips’), journalist and photographer Mark van Wonderen decided to show the Dutch what a good chunk of their country really looks like.

“The Netherlands is a beautiful country that is neatly divided up. Ever square metre has been carefully arranged and countless zoning plans have been drawn up. When a place risks falling into disrepair, municipalities and project jump at the chance to fix the situation.”

Van Wonderen will show you half-abandoned malls, tacky buildings and lots of concrete in the wrong place: the dark side of quaint Dutch design is ‘treurnis’ (sad, gloomy and slowly falling apart). And he thinks it’s beautiful. In 2018, he wrote ‘Chin. Ind. Spec. Rest., a disappearing Dutch phenomenon’ about the last 1097 Chinese Indonesian restaurants in the country, the first four runs of which have completely sold out.

We’ll be at the launch!

(Photo of cover by Mark van Wonderen)

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July 23, 2019

Coloured flats for students ready to rent in August

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 9:50 pm

Pointed out to us on Twitter and for rent on Funda.nl, these colourful flats in Almere are meant for students. They consist of one room of 18 square metres of living space with everything in it and rent is 398 euro a month, excluding service costs.

The flats are nicknamed ‘space boxes’, a fitting name for housing in general these days, and should be ready to rent mid August. Students can only rent a flat for a maximum of eight years and need to get out six months after you finish your studies.

In the meantime, from various sources, international students are still flatly being discriminated against because they don’t speak Dutch, are not Dutch or people renting out rooms to them are bigots. Here’s what we wrote about that back in 2018.

(Link and photo: funda.nl)

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May 1, 2019

Dutch designed play area at Singapore airport

Filed under: Architecture,Aviation by Orangemaster @ 9:18 pm

At Jewel Changi International Airport in Singapore at Terminal 1, Canopy Park, you’ll find a play area for all ages, with four very big slides, designed by Dutch engineers and street furniture designers Carve from Amsterdam. The official opening is on 10 June, and everyone will be able to see how the first children and parents will enjoy the play area.

Carve’s Discovery slides look very much like jewellery you can play on. “The rubber patterns on the floor are designed in such a way that they create spiral-shaped dynamic reflections on the surface of the slides, which will surely end up all over instagram.” They are installed at the highest point of the airport and provide a spectacular view. There are four slides: a family wide slide, a free fall slide and two spiral-shaped tunnel slides.

For anyone in The Netherlands and not in Singapore, you can climb onto Carve installations in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen, the Ark Park pavilion in Utrecht, the Strijp S grounds in Eindhoven and the red fence square in The Hague.

(Links: bright.nl, Photo: businesstraveller)

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April 24, 2019

Utrecht’s Dom church attic open to the public

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first,History,Religion by Orangemaster @ 11:24 pm

On 5 May, the attic of the Dom Church (“Domkerk”, in Dutch) in Utrecht will be open to the public for the very first time. And as of that date, people can enjoy one-hour tours every Sunday starting at 14:30. RTV Utrecht went and took a peek:

The Dom Church is about 32 metres high, up to the highest part of the choir vault. Half way up there’s a gallery where nobody has ever been before until now. Utrecht’s well-known symbol was once the Netherlands’ largest church, but the nave collapsed in a storm in 1674 and has never been rebuilt, leaving the tower isolated from the east end.

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January 5, 2019

Sexing up Amsterdam real estate with French names

Filed under: Architecture,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:59 pm

Amsterdam real estate is in the hands of a selected few, including Prince Bernhard who owns a staggering 349 buildings in Amsterdam.

In the neighbourhood of ‘Bos en Lommer’ (aka Bolo, where 24HQ is located), a bunch of tall flat buildings are coming and will be sold to whomever can afford them: either rich Dutch folks or rich foreigners, the latter being bashed for buying houses that Dutch people in Amsterdam cannot afford, as if that was a new thing. And if rich Dutch people buy them, there’s much less bashing somehow.

And selling nice houses in a good neighbourhood needs a sexy name, n’est-ce pas? The brochure that is doing the rounds and making people laugh out loud swaps out ‘Bos en Lommer’ for a poor French translation, ’Bois & Lombre’ (‘Bois’ like ‘Bos’ means either woods, wood or forest and ‘Lombre’, meaning ‘shadow’ should be spelled ‘l’ombre’. And ‘Bos’ in Amsterdam usually refers to a park with lots of trees because we don’t have forests, a prime example of a sexed up term.

There’s a beautiful Dutch word that describes when someone uses English to make a Dutch word sounds sexier: ‘aandikengels’ (roughly, ‘thickening English’, thickening as in pouring it on thick).

We’re calling it, as a new Dutch word is born: ‘aandikfrans’ (‘thickening French’), which has no Google hits as I write this.

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December 24, 2018

Reverse tower in Hilversum has more units on top

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 12:18 pm

Dutch architect René van Zuuk of Almere, North Holland has completed an apartment building in Hilversum, North Holland called The Belvedere Tower, featuring top-heavy apartment blocks arranged in a cross.

A maximum building height of 11 storeys means that a conventional tower would have yielded only 44 units, whereas at least 55 units were required to make the project financially viable due to the high cost of land.

Hilversum is the Dutch media and broadcast centre of the country, and a lot of people want to live in this town that is not only kind of posh (they have their own special letter ‘r’ when they speak), but also close to Amsterdam.

Van Zuuk is known for having designed a property for himself in an experimental housing district in Almere featuring geometric volumes arranged less than a metre from the waterfront. Van Zuuk’s studio also created the design of a fire station in Dordrecht, South Holland featuring an industrial material palette, and a pavilion down the street in Roosendaal that houses shops and offices under a series of timber terraces.

(Link and photo: dezeen.com)

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December 11, 2018

Keep the rotating house rotating or destroy it?

Filed under: Architecture,Art,General by Orangemaster @ 11:55 am

Ten years ago (where does the time go?), we told about the Rotating House (‘Draaiend Huis’) on a roundabout in Tilburg, North Brabant, made by John Körmelings. For quite some time now, the house hasn’t been turning anymore, as it’s broken, and fixing it would cost about 45,000 euro. The artwork cost 400,000 to build, and according to article on Vice.com (see link below), it broke down three times already. This would mean it has been fixed at least twice.

Sadly but not surprisingly at the moment, the Netherlands has a government that doesn’t like high art too much and feels that much of it is overrated. Since Dutch cultural institutions are dependent on government grants as opposed to endowments, sometimes people who don’t like art get to decide what lives or dies art-wise.

There’s currently a discussion about whether the rotating house should be fixed or destroyed. The city of Tilburg wants to fix it, but local youth politicians say the money can be better spent elsewhere like in healthcare. If the house is destroyed, then a lot of money would have been spent for nothing, whereas fixing it up means keeping a world-famous artwork turning for others to drive past and talk about.

Here’s a timelapse video of the ‘Draaiend Huis’ (‘Rotating House’)

(Link: vice.com, Photo: Stinkfinger Producties)

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