Since we’ll probably have to explain this at Christmas parties, shock blog ‘Geenstijl’, who brought us the crowdsourcing of Dutch European Parliament vote count and blocking the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement being ignored by the Dutch government for 238 days so far, has decided to found a political party.
GeenPeil – it rhymes with Geenstijl and refers to polling – promises to set up an Internet app to hold ‘microreferendums” for all bills that pass through parliament. “All rank-and-file members of the party will be able to influence how its MPs vote on law proposals, always voting the way of the outcome of the microreferendums.
Like them or not, the fact that Prime Minister Mark Rutte has ignored the results of the democratic referendum prompted by this lot on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and possibly passing on the problem to the next government after the 15 March 2017 elections, is really embarrassing and proves that democracy isn’t being respected at all.
GeenPeil, has its own issues. Last month, Dutch media reported that the European Parliament has demanded they pay back €14,500 in subsidies. GeenPeil had used the money, which came from the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe, a body created by Ukip, a British eurosceptic party, to pay for a newspaper advertisement calling on readers to support the Ukrainian referendum initiative for a referendum although the grant was not allowed to be used for national campaigning.
Although the referendum was legally non-binding, senior politicians had promised they would take the result into consideration and it’s such a thorny subject that the issue is on the agenda of this month’s EU summit in Brussels.
(Link: euobserver.com, Photo by Photo RNW.org, some rights reserved)
Tags: EU, government, politics, Ukraine, voting
Composer and pianist Jeroen van Veen of Culemborg, Gelderland built a life-size working piano using almost 30,000 pieces of Lego. As a huge Lego fan and composer, he wrote the ‘Minimal Prelude 18’ with the nickname ‘Lego music’, which features minimalistic sounds with many repetitions.
Building the instrument started as a bit of fun, something Van Veen did with his two adult sons. The piano is easy to put together and take apart, although they are careful when transporting it. Not only is it mechanically functional, but it is also a hybrid piano, with digital and analogue elements, possibly a world first.
People in the United States and in other countries want to have the piano over their way, so the Lego piano will probably be going on tour. The ‘brand name’ is Van Veen & Sons, a nod not only to how it was built, but also to the grand piano brand Steinway & Sons.
(Link: waarmaarraar, Photo by Sunny Ripert, some rights reserved)
Tags: Culemborg, Gelderland, Lego, piano
While Amsterdam is busy closing down coffeeshops – the ones that sell marijuana and hash – the district of Amsterdam Zuidoost is going to get its very first coffeeshop, and I bet many people didn’t know that they didn’t have any in the first place. I didn’t know and I’ve lived there.
The coffeeshop will be close to the Bijlmer Arena station and will probably be called ‘Roots’. The city gave the green light for a coffeeshop there in 2000, but the rules regulating its eventual location were still an issue and it took a long time for it all to get sorted. The new business is not in a residential area or close to schools, so it should be fine.
Tags: Amsterdam Zuidoost, coffeeshop, marijuana
At the two-day Offshore Energy 2016 Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam this week, the Dutch Envinity Group from Den Helder, North Holland unveiled what they called “the world’s first giant outside air vacuum cleaner”, a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic fine particles from the atmosphere around the machine.
The system is said to be able to suck in air from a 300-metre radius and from up to seven kilometres upwards. It can treat about 800,000 cubic metres of air an hour, filtering out 100 percent of fine particles and 95 percent percent of ultra-fine particles, the company said, referring to tests carried out by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) on its prototype.
Fine particles are caused by burning wood and other fuels as well as industrial combustion, adversely affecting our health, according to the European Environment Agency. As well, about 90 percent of EU residents are exposed to levels of such particles, which can cause cancer.
On a much smaller scale, there’s also the smaller air-purifying system called the ‘Smog Free Tower’ that was installed in Beijing last month by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.
(Link: phys.org, Photo of a particulate polluted Shanghai sky by Wikimedia Commons user Saperaud, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, clean air, Den Helder, invention
All the big European cities have them, but for some reason the Netherlands has been very late to get with the program on this one, as the country’ first vegan supermarket opens today.
The honour goes to Groningen, that ‘way up North’ city full of bike paths and students, who are most probably the target market of the store located on Nieuwe Ebbingestraat in what used to be a former post office.
In fact, it’s mostly female students who are setting the trend in vegan food shopping according to employee Benny Lobo of the Vegan Super.
(Link: www.rtvnoord.nl, Photo of Chick peas by abrunvoll, some rights reserved)
Tags: Groningen, supermarket, vegan
According to Johan Schmit, owner of Olivier’s cafe in Utrecht, his venue has the world premiere of selling Belgium’s strong Duvel beer on tap. Duvel needs extremely high pressure carbon dioxide on a tap to be served properly, something a normal tap cannot handle. And to be able to do so, the Duvel Moortgat brewery developed a new tap that Olivier has had the honour of trying out.
It could work or it could also not work, which is why no marketing has been done so far. And maybe fans will still want to drink it out of the bottle, who knows.
The beer in the picture is probably ordinary Dutch beer.
Tags: beer, Utrecht
The Royal Dutch Mint has produced silver proof coins featuring Trix the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, currently exhibited at the Naturalis museum in Leiden, South Holland. And they’re not just any old dino coins either, there’s one that glows in the dark, something the mint has done for the very first time. The coins are limited editions, with only 750 minted, a set of which costs 59,95.
How did the Naturalis score a T.rex in first place?
Back in 2012 researchers went hunting for a T.rex in the US, and found one in the state of Montana. The skeleton was carefully cleaned and prepared, and arrived in August 2016 in Leiden, escorted by the police and experts. The Queen of the dinosaurs, Trix is 12 metres long and her bones, muscles, claws and teeth weigh 6,000 kilos. You can visit Trix until 5 June 2017 after which the museum will be closed for renovations until 2018.
This T.rex skeleton is one of the three most complete ones in the world and obviously a great addition to the museum.
(Links: www.knm.nl (also photo), t-rex.naturalis.nl)
Tags: dinosaur, Leiden
Dutch baking show ‘Heel Holland Bakt’ (All of Holland/The Netherlands Bakes’), the Dutch version of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, is promoting the start of their new season with a tram in Amsterdam that smells of apple pie, which is a Dutch first and possibly a world first as well. And it’s my local tram, tram 7, so I may update this post soon enough.
Many viewers have wanted to know what it smells like in the tents on the show where they bake, so here’s an answer, at least for anyone in Amsterdam because despite what certain people might think Amsterdam isn’t all of the Netherlands or Holland (two provinces) for that matter.
It’s what they are going to do about how the pie tastes that could interesting. I vaguely remember tram stops with perfume spritzing out of them, which bothered a lot of people for a lot of legitimate reasons like it’s disgusting and being allergic to perfume.
And feel free to make munchies jokes as well, that’s fair game in Amsterdam.
UPDATE: It’s tram 1, which goes from the West to Amsterdam Central Station, not tram 7 that goes from West to East. The very fake smell of apple pie comes out of a few vents near the doors.
Tags: Amsterdam, apple pie, public transport, television show, tram
Started up in Finland last year and already available in Sweden and Estonia, ResQ, a successful app that offers restaurants trying to sell cheap, leftover meals to hungry patrons is launching in Amsterdam this week. Other major Dutch cities such as The Hague and Utrecht are soon to follow this fall.
Research from Wageningen University claims the Netherlands throws out 51 million tonnes of food a year and that’s waste many groups would like to put a halt to. Available for iPhone and Android, ResQ will first aim at people who come from their work and want to eat something without too much fuss, like lasagna, sandwiches, salades, soups and baked goods, which are easy to sell fast rather than throw away.
In February a Dutch supermarket chain hired a chef to cook food that otherwise according to the law still had to be thrown out, but ResQ is sure to stop some of the waste.
(Link: ad.nl, Photo of an endive potato mash with meatless sausage by Jasja Dekker, some rights reserved)
Tags: app, food waste, Wageningen University
In November 2015 young entrepreneur Jordi Hillenga introduced the first ever pizza vending machine of the country at a supermarket in Groningen, an idea he got in France. Now it’s time for him to expand the business and place a few more vending machines in Groningen at places where there’s more night life and a need for pizza.
Hillenga is in talks with Dutch Rail to see if he can’t install some warm pizza goodness at train stations.
It took him a year to get the first pizza machine installed because he goes to school and that understandably takes up a lot of his time and needed to save a lot of money. His vending machine offers four kinds of 26 cm pizzas (margherita, salami, aloha Hawai (yes, typo) and real Italian) which takes four minutes to bake and if this video is still accurate, costs 6 euro a pie. He also gets a text message if pizzas go stale, which shuts down the vending machine and tells him to replace the pies.
The question whether it’s as tasty as at the Italian restaurant, well, most people in the video can’t tell the difference.
(Links: www.deondernemer.nl, www.rtvnoord.nl, Photo of Pizza pie by Adam Kuban, some rights reserved)
Tags: Groningen, pizza, vending machine