In 1962 Dutch cinema’s golden child Bert Haanstra visited the zoo of Amsterdam, Artis, during a sun-filled period and filmed the visitors as they were laughing, yawning, scratching themselves, chatting and taking naps. Then he filmed animals doing the same thing and edited the result to contrast the two groups and perhaps to say “we are not that different, you and I”.
The result seems comedic, making fun of the little people that are closer to the animals that they themselves seem to believe. The film itself is not too clear about which position its maker chooses. The editing and some of the videography is clearly done for comedic effect (ostriches’ heads popping up, the walk of the penguin), but the powerful walk of the tiger and the jazz music by Pim Jacobs do not fit the label ‘comedy’.
American broadcaster NPR seems to like the humane explanation the best:
Magically, [the film] makes the cages, the trenches, the walls disappear, and what you get is a real zoo — a mix-it-up porridge of animal life, where all the animals, the mischievous little boys, the oh-so-shy monkey, the proud baboon, the wide-eyed girl and the yawning lady trade moods, glances, worlds — our differences melt into little moments of us being like them, them being like us.
The name Artis was originally the zoo’s nickname. It came from a text written over the gates, “Natura Artis Magistra” (meaning “Nature is the teacher of art”). You can watch the video on the NPR page or by buying the complete works DVD set.
Dutch astronaut André Kuipers is taking an interesting step in his career. He has been asked to do voice-over work for the Dutch version of the Disney animated movie Planes, a spin-off/continuation of Pixar’s hit movie Cars.
Kuipers, 54, will be speaking the role of Bravo, a Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet originally being spoken by American actor Val Kilmer. He said he finds it difficult because you see the images and you really have to pretend it’s you.
Having a closer peak at the voices for the American version, Julia Louis-Dreyfus who many of you know as Elaine Benes from 1990s’ sitcom Seinfeld will be voicing Rochelle, a French Canadian racing plane originally from Québec that used to deliver mail faster than any other plane, says Louis-Dreyfus in an interview. The flag and paint job to be localized in 11 countries, which means they’ll pick other minorities. I wonder what they’ll pick in the Netherlands.
As part of the Gogbot festival 2013 that features music and technology revolving around sex in Enschede, female-friendly pornography is to be projected onto a church tower on the Oude Markt (Old Market place). Local politicians of the religious persuasion are not happy about this and have protested.
However, the church is not longer in use as a church, which rules out blasphemy according to the city’s mayor.
The Dutch link to the story (see below) originally said female-unfriendly porno by mistake which I pointed out and they promptly corrected. It’s interesting how ‘ordinary’ porno is automatically female-unfriendly, as female-friendly pornography is surely far from being male-unfriendly. We’ve mentioned some female-friendly porn made in Amsterdam back in 2009.
“Harry and his huge, oblivious son run a moving company together. When they help a girl move apartments, their dull, tiny lives are disrupted.”
‘Gracht’ (‘Canal’) was made for the Utrecht School of Arts in Hilversum as a graduation project by four students. The process took six months, and the four guys not only graduated but were also honoured with a ‘staff pick’ on Vimeo.
I like the mover’s watch and the somewhat trendy yet anachronistic use of the compact cassette with Dutch gabber music.
While big European countries like France (0.78%, population 63 million), Germany (1%, population 81 million) and the UK (7%, population 63 million over four countries) host very few porno sites, the Netherlands comes in second place of the world’s Top 10 porn hosting countries, with a whopping 26% of all pages in the world. The Netherlands is only second to the United States where 60% of all pornography is hosted, a country that produces some 66% of all porn in the world, made mostly in California.
1. The US (60%)
2. The Netherlands (26%)
3. The UK (7%)
4. Germany (1%)
5. France (0.78%)
6. and 7. Australia and Canada (0.3%)
8. Japan (0.27%)
9. and 10. British Virgins Islands and Czech Republic (0.21%)
The Netherlands is also way in front of other European countries when counting the number of adult-only domain names registrations, with nearly two million domains for porn. The AMSIX, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, is the world’s largest data transport hub in the world, accounting for some 10% of the world’s Internet traffic. That, and the proven cliché of the Dutch being all liberal with sex, probably makes for an acceptable explanation of its porn-pushing status.
If you want to feel like an investor, maybe even invest in a project or just browse to get some ideas, have a look at these Dutch projects on Kickstarter. At first glance, films, software and design/inventions seem to be major categories, but I also saw some well-funded music.
Amsterdam: The Belll (yes, extra l), got funded. A customisable, loud, Dutch-made clip-on bell for your bike.
Groningen: The Last Holdouts: ‘One couple’s journey from Antarctica to Holland: A documentary about impossibility and the creative process’.
Amersfoort was the busy city at the time of writing, with three projects vying for cash, although one stood out: Doodle 3D, a sketching tool to print your own personal drawings on a 3D printer.
After almost 21 years, someone is finally going to film a fictional story about Amsterdam’s world famous ‘Bijlmer disaster’ (‘Bijlmerramp’), where an Israeli cargo plane taking off from Schiphol Airport crashed into two blocks of flats and killed some 40 odd people, wounding many more. The ‘Bijlmer disaster’ is known as the worst aviation disaster in the history of the country.
The plot of the film entitled “Into Thin Air” by Dutch executive producer Maarten van der Ven will be a 50 minute film about a 50-year-old man living in one of the flats whose wife has died. One day a 13-year-old (we don’t know if it is a girl or boy) comes to live with him from Ghana, and just when his life gets better, the plane crashes into their flat.
On 13 April 1999 I came to live in the Netherlands in the flat right in front of this monument, unaware of the entire story. The next day on April 14 while I was unpacking my things with major jetlag, a local camera crew came to the door and asked me in Dutch what I thought of the report on the Bijlmer disaster, which had taken seven years to investigate. I didn’t speak Dutch back then so I just nodded and shooed them away. When my Dutch roommate got home, I told him about the camera crew and he took me to see this tree, the ‘tree that saw it all’, and explained to me what had happened.
On February 10, Dutch animation director Erik-Jan de Boer won a BAFTA award (British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the British version of the Oscars) for the visual effects he co-created for the film Life of Pi, directed by Taiwanese-born American film director Ang Lee.
De Boer is also co-nominated for an Oscar award for his work on Life of Pi, a film based on the novel by French Canadian author Yann Martel. The Oscars will be presented on 24 February, 2013.
Everybody has some sort of party on New Year’s Eve, but what to do on New Year’s Day when you live in the capital and the town gets too quiet? Make going to a museum with friends and family a New Year’s resolution. Or there’s also the zoo, catching a film and some other tourist attractions.
The year 2013 will be a special year for Amsterdam as the city celebrates several milestones. The refurbished Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum will reopen, the Artis Royal Zoo will celebrate its 175th anniversary and the Amsterdam Canal Ring will celebrate its 400th jubilee.