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.
On 28 and 29 March, the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht will play host to the first ever Dutch Comic Con, which promises to be a proper cheesy nerd fest full of sci-fi, cosplay and meet & greets with famous supporting actors. The big names will be Ernie Hudson who played Winston Zeddemore in the original Ghostbusters film and the Ecto 1 vehicle, as well as a bunch of supporting actors from series and movies that most of us have to look up.
Ivan Lok, owner of Comic Toys, a site that has been pulled offline and associated with theft and bad behaviour by many online, is the organiser of Dutch Comic Con, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a lot of comics. A weekend admission presale ticket costs 30 euro and if you want to have your picture taken with Ecto 1, it will cost you 40 euro, while an Ernie Hudson signature will cost you 25 euro.
‘Symmetry’, a new film by Dutch film-maker and former dancer of the Nederlands Dans Theater Ruben van Leer, transforms a particle accelerator with its scientists in hard hats into a experimental dance fest. On Saturday 14 Match the show will premiere at the Cinedans Film Festival in the EYE film institute in Amsterdam for anyone who is in town.
According to Van Leer his first challenge was writing a film script for dance, which he had never done before. The main character is called Lukas played by himself, a scientist/dancer, who, by way of a soprano voice in his head sung by Claron McFadden, begins to doubt his rational thinking.
Dutch sexy story site sexverhalen.com (‘sex stories’) has made some changes in order to appeal to the blind and visually impaired, apparently a unique concept in the Netherlands.
First major tweak is having the story read by a sultry female voice instead of the computerised voice of the user’s software. I’m guessing this specific tweak is mainly aimed at men after a quick look at the titles of the stories. If you prefer to listen to a story instead of reading it, then anyone can enjoy the audio version of the stories provided a sultry female voice works for you.
A 500,000-year-old shell found on Java in Indonesia is said to feature the oldest ever engraved geometrical pattern. The zig zag pattern, which can only be seen with oblique lighting, is said to be older than the weathering processes on the shell arising from fossilisation. As well, the study excluded the possibility that the pattern was created by animals or natural weathering processes.
The shell will be on display in the Naturalis museum in Leiden from 4 December onward.
By applying two dating methods, researchers at the VU University Amsterdam and Wageningen University have determined that the shell with the engraving is minimally 430,000 and maximally 540,000 years old.This means that the engraving is at least four times older than the previously oldest known engravings, found in Africa. An international team of researchers, led by Leiden archaeologist José Joordens, published this discovery on 3 December in the periodical ‘Nature’.
As of today Jumbo supermarkets in the cities of Groningen and Haren will start selling edible insects products. ‘Buggy balls’, ‘buggy burgers’ and even ‘buggy crisps’ (great, more junk food) will be available. Many parts of the world apparently eat insects either as a delicacy or because they’re poor. The Western world hasn’t joined in yet except for special events.
I can’t listen to the health arguments for selling these protein-rich products because supermarkets sell us tons of junk food and have forfeited their say in people’s health ages ago. I can’t listen to the lame argument of eating bugs as an alternative to eating meat because there are vegetarians and vegans out there doing just fine without it.
Eating bugs is expensive (one portion of ‘buggy balls’ costs between 5,95 and 6,79 euro), which doesn’t make them an alternative to anything. The price won’t go down if more people buy because if that were true, the price of veggie burgers would have gone down. And if you eat peanut coated chocolates that contain red E120 colouring, you’re already eating bugs.
Bonus argument: Belgium is one of Europe’s top suppliers of insects, but its production is illegal yet tolerated. Sound familiar?