April 9, 2014

Eindhoven to premiere innovative swimming device

Filed under: Dutch first,Sports by Orangemaster @ 2:29 pm


The 10th annual Swim Cup Eindhoven, held from 10 to 13 April, will feature the world premiere competition use of the Omega Backstroke Start Device (video in English).

Backstroke swimmers will no longer have to worry about their feet or toes slipping at the start of a race, which has been an issues for ages.

Starting platforms for swimmers are constantly being adapted so that swimmers don’t slip, so I can imagine it’s about time the backstroke crowd got their ‘starting device’ as well.

(Link:, Photo of Olympic pool by diamond geezer, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

April 2, 2014

Both lesbian mothers now recognised by the state

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 10:37 am

On Tuesday 1 April legislation kicked in that made the partner of lesbian mothers gain equal rights as the parent of their child. For the longest time, the ‘second’ mother (or co-mother) had to go through a costly adoption procedure in order to become the legal parent of their partner’s child. The procedure lasted at least 6 months, cost at least 1000 euro and was very stressful. If something happened to the child in the mean time, the co-mother had no rights whatsoever, turning the child into an orphan. Thanks to this change in the law, children of lesbian parents have rights that equal those of children born of heterosexual couples.

Before, only the birth mother was considered the mother and a second mother had no legal rights. When a heterosexual couple adopted a child or went through artificial insemination, the father just had to sign some papers and never had to go through any kind of adoption procedure like gay women did.

Once marriage is made legal for homosexuals, the next step is taking care of such parenting issues, so foreign countries, take note.

(Links:,, Photo of Crying baby by Chalky Lives, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

March 28, 2014

World’s first-ever 3D skull implant made in Utrecht

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 8:00 am

The UMC Utrecht hospital has recently implanted a 3D printed skull (pic) made of plastic into a 22-year-old woman, a world’s first according to the hospital that claims it is a revolutionary procedure that has never been done before.

The hospital says that the patient suffers from a rare affliction where the skull bone steadily thickens, placing too much pressure on the brain. The woman’s surgeon, Bon Verweij, says she has been losing the ability to make facial expressions, and that it was only a matter of time before she would lose other crucial brain functions and eventually pass away.

UMC Utrecht has performed several operations replacing sections of skull bone, but this is the first time they attempted an entire cranium. The hospital waited a few months before announcing the operation, making sure it was successful first. “The patient has regained her capacity for facial expression, is free of complaints, is back to work and it is nearly impossible to see she was ever operated on”, Verweij says.

The UMC Utrecht thinks this technique of 3D printing can also be used for patients with different bone abnormalities, repairing skulls after accidents, or with tumors.

A year ago Leiden University was developing the 3D printing of skin for medical purposes.

News item in Dutch, but the visuals tell the story:

(Link:, Photo of an Ultimaker 3D printer)

Tags: , , , ,

March 25, 2014

Record amount won at Dutch casino

Filed under: Dutch first,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 10:09 am


In Enschede, Overijssel, a slot machine player has won almost 3 million euro (2,960,221,50 euro to be exact) with the ‘Mega Millions’ slot machines at the state-run Holland Casino last Saturday, making it the highest amount ever won at a Dutch casino. The player, who has chosen to remain anonymous for now but is 30 years of age, only spent 7,50 euro. The more people play these specific slot machines that only cost 0,10 euro per try, the higher the amount. According to an employee at the casino, the new millionaire was taken aback by all of this and has not yet made themselves known to the media.

In April 2013 another person from Enschede won 1,600,000 euro.

(Linsk:,, Photo of Slot machines by rusticus80, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

March 22, 2014

Metropole Orchestra re-records Esquivel

Filed under: Dutch first,Music by Branko Collin @ 12:51 pm

Juan Garcia Esquivel was a Mexican composer of pop music who was one of the pioneers of a genre called Space Age Bachelor Pad Music.

mini-skirt-keller-filmLast year Zone 5300 called the genre “an orchestral cross of lounge pop and exotica”. In 2013 the Hilversum-based Metropole Orchestra, the largest professional pop and jazz orchestra in the world, released an album of re-recorded Esquivel tunes, Perfect Vision. Berlin-based composer Stefan Behrisch was asked to reconstruct the sheet music as the originals had been lost.

One Internet store, ReR MegaCorp, sells and describes the record as follows: “Remember stereo? Not the naturalistic, tasteful stereo but the extreme, weird, psychedelic stereo that has been all but forgotten now? Here it is. Apart from being stunning in its own right, this record makes some wake-up statements about recording and what it can do – and about how far we have moved away from that sensibility.”

Marco Kalnenek’s appraisal is not as excited, but then he isn’t trying to sell the album: “[A] loving tribute to an almost forgotten music director. The arrangements are meticulous and the recording and production are perfect—modern without diminishing the original sound.”

The video by Keller Film shown here is a perfect accompaniment for the Esquivel tune Mini Skirt. The sensibility of the animation is American and 1950s-like, but the theme is modern and Dutch. Boy meets girl, except that the girl is a high earning, Macbook wielding professional and the boy one of the army of under-earning delivery men that sprung up after the market for mail was liberalized in 2009.

See also: Wikipedia on Juan Garcia Esquivel.

(Illustration: screen capture of the video, cropped)

Tags: , , , ,

March 18, 2014

Men’s Dutch roller derby goes international, 24oranges hits local TV

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 11:33 am

A Dutch first that I had the pleasure of watching live and in person was the first-ever performance of Team Netherlands, the national men’s roller derby team. They played some tough teams, but caught a well-deserved win against Sweden. The video below is of their last game against Finland. The Men’s Roller Derby World Cup – the first ever world cup for the men – was held last weekend in Birmingham, England and I was lucky enough to be one of the many announcers for the event, announcing games for both Team Netherlands and Team Belgium in Dutch on the live feed. In December of this year, the women of Team Netherlands will make their debut in Dallas, Texas for the women’s second ever world cup.

Orangemaster, aka Natasha (me), was on newly founded local television show and established podcast What’s Up Amsterdam, an English-language guide to Amsterdam, presented by the witty Nathan Tytor. This was their second show and lucky for us, we had the chance to mention [shoehorn?] 24oranges in there somewhere (see video 1).

Tags: , , , , , , ,

January 7, 2014

Boffins develop first ever sports drink for horses

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:10 pm

The Healthy Horse Hydration, already a mouthful to pronounce for many, is meant to be a sports drink for horses, the first ever of its kind.

For the record, if I were asked to come up with a better product name (I do get hired for product slogans), I’d call it ‘Power Horse’ or maybe ‘Horse Power’.

After a good run, the idea is to give your horse some HHH (why does that sound like a drug?) which apparently smells of apples. According to the video found in the link, it took hundreds of thousands of euro to develop the product, a pouch full of powder that dissolves in water when stirred that does look like apple juice. One of the scientists explains that the horse drinks the juice in the bucket thinking it will also get an apple and just ends up drinking the entire bucket.

On the whole, giving your horse a good drink after a good run sounds fine. Humans more often than not gulp down sports drinks for all the wrong reasons, including the insane amount of sugar in them. As well, comparing HHH to caffeine or taurine based drinks is already a huge mistake, as they are marketed as ‘energy’ drinks and not as sports drinks, plus they actually dehydrate instead of rehydrate.

And then there’s the Dutch word ‘paardenmiddel’ (paarden = horses, middel = means), which means ‘last ditch effort’ for something, which funny enough could work against the Dutch market image and partially explain the sour apple comments about HHH so far. Then again, if people don’t know the difference between sports drinks and energy drinks, their comments are for entertainment purposes only.

(Link:, Photo of Oostvaardersplassen horses by fransdewit, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

October 15, 2013

The country’s first cannabis club challenged by government

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 7:03 pm

Utrecht has become the first Dutch city to set up a cannabis growers’ club for recreational use. The Social Cannabis Club Domstad has been officially registered so that a small group of approved growers can cultivate marijuana under the supervision of the local authority.

The municipal council has asked the Ministry of Justice to give the club an exemption from the opium law, similar to those granted to producers of medicinal cannabis, but justice minister Ivo Opstelten has said he is opposed to local councils authorising the cultivation of cannabis and threatened to take action against Utrecht if it goes ahead with the plan.

It remains odd that marijuana is still illegal, but that licensed coffeeshops are allowed to sell small quantities on their premises under strict conditions. The thing is, their supply isn’t regulated and is still criminal, but this would finally be an attempt at knowing where the pot actually comes from for a change. This don’t ask, don’t tell policy is what keeps this entire pot business a shady one.

Photo by Eric Caballero, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

September 27, 2013

Mike Dalhuisen debuts with the New York Islanders

Filed under: Dutch first,Sports by Orangemaster @ 9:36 am

In the Netherlands when anyone says ‘hockey’ they mean ‘field hockey’ and when I say ‘hockey’ I mean the burly guys on the ice like Dutch defender Mike Dalhuisen. Dalhuisen played his first professional game last week with the New York Islanders (often subtitled as ‘Highlanders’ on Dutch telly — please stop doing that) in an exhibition game against the New Jersey Devils.

Dalhuisen started his career when he emigrated to Ontario, Canada and played at junior level with the Lindsay Muskies, then with Chicago Steel and Lincoln Stars (United States Hockey League) and eventually at Quinnipiac in Connecticut for four years at the National Collegiate Athletic Association level. Now playing for the New York Islanders makes Dalhuisen the first-ever Dutchman to play for the NHL, (National Hockey League), which includes Canadian teams as well despite its name.

“For me field hockey was never an option; it’s not physical enough”, says Dalhuisen this week in a Spits newspaper interview. Here’s what he sounds like in a quick locker room interview: he sounds like a real North American.

Besides the fact that Dalhuisen is a rising star from a country that understands baseball way better than hockey, he’s gone viral for having a gloves off fist fight with the Devils’ Ryan Carter, despite a 5-3 win for the Islanders. The defender spent 11 minutes on ice and five in the penalty box.

(Links:,, Photo of hockey sticks by kicksave2930, some rights reserved)


September 17, 2013

Dutchman breaks world cycling record at 133,78 km/h

Filed under: Bicycles,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 1:36 pm

Dutchman Sebastiaan Bowier has broken the previous 2009 record of Canadian cyclist Sam Wittigham by just 0.6 km/h by reaching a speed of 133,78 km/h, making him the fastest cyclist in the world. Students from the Delft University of Technology and the VU University Amsterdam joined forces to beat this record in a high-tech recumbent whizzing through the Nevada desert in the United States. The speeds were measured over a distance of 200 metres, after accelerating on an eight kilometre straight road. It’s the special coating of the recumbent that gave it 90% less wind resistance than a normal bicycle.

Wil Baselmans, the second cyclist of the Delft/Amsterdam team also reached a world class speed of 127,43 km/h, making him the third fastest man on earth, right after Bowier and Wittingham.


Tags: ,

Older posts »