If a Dutchman grows up in a hockey country and has hockey father Hannie Sprong encouraging him, he’ll play hockey instead of football (soccer). Born in Amsterdam, this is Daniel Sprong’s story, an 18-year-old with star quality who has been living in Quebec, Canada since he was seven and played his first NHL game with the Pittsburgh Penguins on 8 October 2015 against the Dallas Stars, in a game that saw the Penguins lose 3-0.
The Dutch media is not into hockey otherwise, but since Sprong is still a Dutchman with no dual citizenship (he’s apparently still waiting on his Canadian one), he qualifies for our ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’) tag. Sprong has also said that he does not want to play with the Dutch national hockey team in the hopes of playing for the Canadian one, which means he probably enjoys winning.
The first Dutch Canadian to play NHL hockey was Ed Kea, born in Weesp, who played among others with the Calgary Flames in the early 1970s. His career came to an abrupt end when he hit his head on the ice (no helmets back then), a severe injury that left him physically and mentally disabled. As well, because his injury happened when he was in a minor league at that point in his career, he was not financially covered and his family struggled to make ends meet. Sadly, Kea died accidentally in his family’s swimming pool at age 51.
For anyone who hates 3D movies, look away now: a new virtual reality pop-up movie theatre will open in Amsterdam on October 31, organised by Samhoud media. The idea is to watch short 30-minute films, with many showings to choose from through the evening.
You’d be watching video through a Gear VR headset from Samsung and Oculus, an experience that will run you 10 euro. For 30 euro you can live large and enjoy a loveseat and VIP experience. Oh, and there will be popcorn. Owner Jip Samhoud said that it’s the first time in the Netherlands that they are going to apply such large-scale virtual reality, and it could very well be the first time in Europe.
The films are a surprise: no idea if they are Halloween related.
Inspired by European ice hotels, two pop-up hotels (‘zandhotels’) made out of very 1000 tons of compact sand have opened in Oss, Noord-Brabant and Sneek, Friesland, which are already fully booked for this year. However, you can visit the one in Oss until 28 September and the one in Sneek until 4 October during nearby sand sculpture festivals.
The hotel’s basic structure is made of thin walls, covered inside and out with reinforced sand for sturdiness, while basics such as the shower, bathroom and bed are made out of normal materials.
Some media are calling it a world first, we’ll stay in our sandbox and call it a Dutch first.
In July a vegetarian Palestinian restaurant opened its doors on the Weimarstraat in the Hague called Love & Peas.
The pun refers to the fact that the two men running the place hail from opposite sides in a war. The manager, Muawi Shehadeh, is Palestinian and the chef, Yuval Gal, is Israeli.
“When we met three years ago we immediately started cracking politically incorrect jokes about our backgrounds”, Gal told AD, “and that created a bond.”
The paper notes that this isn’t the first joint Palestinian-Israeli restaurant in Europe — London has its Ottolenghi chain.
Ynet quotes the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, Haim Divon: “My wife Linda discovered the place on a social network site. The idea of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation got around and became the talk of the day here because everyone likes this new venture. [...] It’s truly hard to believe we’re sitting in a restaurant in The Hague. The hummus is really tasty.”
Last June a new type of orchid was discovered in the Netherlands on the island of Schiermonnikoog by orchid expert Hans Dekker who spotted it just in time to add it to his book on orchids in the Northern Netherlands published recently.
The orchid in question is the Dactylorhiza purpurella that usually grows in European coastal regions in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. It’s surprising to the experts why nobody saw this orchid before, maybe it simply hadn’t been noticed according to some.
This week Amsterdam’s Luna Zegers, 40, has graduated as the first ever non Spanish flamenco singer from the ESMUC conservatory in Barcelona, a top Catalonian music institution.
A few years ago Luna move to Spain, where people call her Luna instead of her real first name Lonneke, after graduating from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam as a jazz singer. At the ESMUC only one student a year is admitted, but in the year Zegers applied, the institution let two singers in, and she was one of them.
Zegers had to work hard as a Dutchwoman entering a foreign space as well as study half of her courses in Spanish and the other in Catalan. She says she found what she looking for in the expression of flamenco after losing her father, mother and sister in a very short time span. “Jazz is very polished – that started to bother me. I was looking for something rawer. Flamenco is a mix of lamentation about things like death and unbridled joy. For the level-headed Dutch this is quite an intense form of expression.”
Here’s Luna Zeger with ‘El Amor Dolido’ from the ballet ‘El Amor Brujo’ by Manuel de Falla:
The Chinese cosmetics company Perfect has recently sponsored 4,500 of its employees to vacation in the Netherlands, making it the biggest group visit to the country ever, according to Dutch media.
Their entire visit has brought in close to 8 million euro. The Chinese visited places such as the Hoge Veluwe National Park, Roermond outlet centre, the congress centre in Utrecht, and the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, while having to stay in different cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.
Many of them were spotted enjoying Chinese food the most, which could be the typical Chinese-Indonesian food the Dutch usually serve. The group will most probably help attract even more Chinese visitors to the Netherlands with their word of mouth advertising.
Dutch racing driver Jan Lammers recently had the honours of racing the Delft University of Technology’s Forze VI, a student built hydrogen powered racing car on the world-famous Nürburgring racetrack in Germany. Lammers completed the 21 kilometre-long endeavour under 11 minutes, a world first for a hydrogen fuel cell powered car.
Although the Forze VI reached top speeds of 170 km/h around the track, the 50 students who have made this car a reality believe it can do so much more. Besides getting the car to reach the theoritically possible speed of 220 km/h, the Formula Zero Team Delft plan to race against combustion engine powered cars in various races, with the ultimate goal being the 24 hour Le Mans.
On May 1st Rotterdam Central Station proudly announced that only travellers who check in with their public transport chip cards are allowed in the hall of the train station, which until then had been open to nearby employees out to grab some lunch and the likes. Safety was the main reason given, since crimes against train staff have been on the rise for a while and this was supposed to help. Watch the video below though if you want to see train station staff attacking the press.
Due to the low height of the gates, anyone who excels at gate jumping can get by without paying a fare very easily, as no attempt is made at stopping them in the video below. Yes, it does look like jumping hurdles. Problem is the limber people jumping the gates in the evening and taking trains are the baddies who attack train staff. Other major stations have much higher gates, but then the trick is pushing through them at the same time as someone else who has checked in, which doesn’t seem to make things any safer.
Anyone who properly pays their fare might feel screwed over for following the rules while others cheat the system and can move about the station as they please. A good point made in the video is that you can only use your public transport chip card at a train station if you have a balance of 20 euro or more on your card, which is not a requirement with other public transportation. Maybe if that amount were lowered less people would feel inclined to jump over, but it could also be, as they say in Dutch, ‘mopping up with a running faucet’.
The idea of a cat café started in Taiwan in 1998 and got big in Japan, New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, and Copenhagen. This month it’s Amsterdam’s turn to have a cat café that will open on 22 April.
Amsterdam already has quite a few cats in their establishments to catch mice, but following international trends, it was a matter of time before the capital got an official hangout overrun with furry friends, which amusingly enough is not too far from 24oranges HQ.
The entire idea was crowdfunded with 975 cat lovers contributing 33,000 euro to the project.