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March 24, 2014

Drunk Segway operator loses driving license

Filed under: Bicycles,Food & Drink,Weird by Branko Collin @ 8:00 am

segway-facemeplsA 45-year-old man from Ootmarsum in the province of Twente lost his driving license yesterday after getting caught Segwaying under the influence.

According to the local police a breathalyser test showed that the man had a blood alcohol level of 995 µg/l, which is far above the legal limit. Segways are considered a special type of moped in the Netherlands. They aren’t allowed to go faster than 25 kilometres per hour and driving them doesn’t require a driving license, but the law says that if you get caught operating any type of motor vehicle while under the influence of a certain amount of alcohol, the police may still take your car driving license.

If the man had been caught while riding a bicycle, the police would simply have sent him walking with his driving license still firmly in his wallet. It will be at least 13 days before his license is returned to him, unless the public prosecutor decides the drunk Segway driver is such a menace to society that he must be brought before a judge. In that case, the public prosecutor gets to hold on to the license a little longer.

(Photo by FaceMePls, some rights reserved)

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March 20, 2014

The Hague launches ‘Bitcoin boulevard’ just in time for spring

Filed under: Art,Food & Drink,Online by Orangemaster @ 9:29 am

Today, 20 March at exactly 17:57, when spring will officially start here, the city of The Hague will open ‘Bitcoin boulevard’ along a canal, framed by the Dunne Bierkade / Groenewegje / Wagenstraat / Uilebomen streets, also known to locals as Avenue Culinaire for its selection of international cuisine. An art gallery is also said to be joining in.

Software entrepreneurs Hendrik Jan Hilbolling and two bitcoin fans were able to convince restaurant owners, including a one Michelin star joint, of their project, which probably wasn’t easy considering some of them had no idea what a Bitcoin was. The boulevard project will run for two months with a possible extension. The initiators themselves won’t profit from it financially, Bitcoin or otherwise.

On a smaller scale, shops in other Dutch cities accept Bitcoins.

(Links: www.coindesk.com, www.denhaag.nl, www.emerce.nl)

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March 10, 2014

Giant Red Saunders photo made into picnic bags

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink,Photography by Branko Collin @ 8:22 am

treaty-of-utrecht-red-saunders

As part of the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, the local centre of the arts (UCK) commissioned British photographer Red Saunders to create a large piece depicting the signing of the treaty.

The 200 square metre photo was displayed in front of the city hall, but when it had to come down there was no place large enough to continue to exhibit it. The photo banner was given or sold to Jongkruit, a company whose sole business seems to be to turn festival banners into bags. According to Oranje Flamingo, you can buy one of these for a picnic at the festival on Liberation Day later this year. (It would appear that only some buyers will get a Red Saunders bag.)

The Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succession in 1713 in which a great number of major European powers were involved.

(Photo: Metro Imaging / Red Saunders)

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February 26, 2014

Play beekeeper at home, inside your house

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:00 am

Just as spring began in 2012 we told you about how European bees are disappearing from the urban landscape, although many things are being done to counter this. As an unknowing consumer, I’ve noticed that the honey I buy has a lot of ‘non-EU’ honey in it, which means it’s probably from North America or the Middle East.

You could imagine that although keeping bees at home to gawk at (I like to try and spot the queen bee) and take their honey sounds really cool (pics), it has a hipster vibe to it. Back in 2011 Philips designed a beehive that you can place indoors, while the bees enter the hive from a sort of flower pot outdoors, so no bees flying around the house.

According to Philips, their urban beehive is a sustainable, environmentally friendly product concept that has direct educational effects. The city benefits from the pollination, while humans benefit from the honey and therapeutic value of observing the bees. As global bee colonies are in decline, this design contributes to the preservation of the species and encourages the return of the urban bee.

This sounds great if you’re up to smoking out the bees when you want the honey because you’ll need to do so eventually and you’ll need to have your own house to make those kinds of holes in your walls.

(Link: www.design.philips.com, Photo of Bee swarm by quisnovus, some rights reserved)

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February 19, 2014

North Korean hostesses cover traditional Dutch song

Filed under: Food & Drink,History,Music by Orangemaster @ 5:29 pm

Two years ago, a North Korean restaurant (now closed) in the West of Amsterdam had caused quite the commotion having been accused of spreading propaganda and all that jazz. But at least there was after dinner singing.

Now in the East part of town restaurant Haedanghwa features North Korean food with traditional after dinner songs sung by North Korean girls in traditional garb. The fun part is, they sing their rendition of the Dutch standard ‘Aan de Amsterdamse Grachten’ (roughly, At the Canals of Amsterdam) that they apparently worked very hard not only to sing, but to understand. They practiced for a few weeks and now you can enjoy the video.

(Link: www.vice.com, Photo of Pyongyang restaurant by Comicbase, some rights reserved)

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February 5, 2014

Tourist film about the Dutch keeps it white and cheesy

Filed under: Art,Film,Food & Drink,History by Orangemaster @ 2:49 pm

The tourist video ‘Going Dutch’ premiered in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam last November and yes, it is well shot. I very much like the voiceover with its impeccable pronunciation, as it has the right tone for that in-flight video feel. In fact, if you wanted to convince some friends and family abroad to visit the country this video wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The film does focus heavily on Amsterdam, which is often the first place people visit and then unfortunately associate with the entire country. Although you may learn something, I mostly saw stereotypes being reinforced like a dam with a leak in it.

Some 5 minutes into the film when basking in the past glory of Dutch football accomplishments, they actually mention that ‘women’s football has been given a boost in recent years’ although let’s face it, nobody here gives a rat’s ass about it. At about 7 minutes in we get into Dutch art, which again relies on the classics, but that is to be expected.

We continue on to 10 minutes in and ‘Dutch craftsmanship’ pushes top Dutch brands Philips and Bols — music and booze if you will. About two minutes later at 12 odd minutes, the ‘Dutch water’ bit focuses on in and around Rotterdam, with dams and shipping containers. At around 15 minutes, it’s about Dutch food and it shows herring and haute cuisine side by side, which doesn’t reflect reality at all. However, the cheese tour makes up for it and the white blonde Dutch narrator dares call himself a ‘cheese head’.

The testosterone-induced business atmosphere of the Zuidas, where a few wannabee skyscrapers are clustered, doesn’t work for me at all, but then it is often forced into every business film to make it look like we have a proper financial district. Speaking of getting down to business, Dutch music gets its bit at 20 odd minutes in after having used a picture of internationally famous singer Caro Emerald but completely ignoring her and skipping to classical music on the one hand and Dutch dance DJs (all men) on the other. By then I’ve seen three visual references to Tiësto, then finally a female DJ is on screen, but oh no, she starts praising the success of her male colleagues abroad.

In the end, the narrator is in what I think – and I am guessing here — Monnickendam, giving two blonde women passing by a badly acted once-over, as he says “come see for yourself what the Netherlands has to offer.” [Insert facepalm here].

Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be writing this blog if we didn’t think the Netherlands (the entire country, not just Amsterdam) had tons to offer, but giving the impression to foreigners that everything is mostly done by white men in 2013 is scary and unrealistic. The only time ethnic minorities are shown on screen is when they plug the tolerance cliché and the muliticulti one (filmed in Amsterdam) because ethnic minorities don’t seem to be of any use otherwise, not even in the food part.

It’s safe to say that history is basically repeating itself.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl)

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January 27, 2014

Lipton tea without sugar contains sugar

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 1:59 pm

lipton-tea-evan-amosIrony is alive! Lipton is currently running an ad campaign on TV with Dutch beauty Nicolette van Dam telling her fake mother how ‘regular’ their regular tea is and therefore still tasty. Their regular tea however is anything but regular, Keuringsdienst van Waarde discovered.

Presumably when Lipton says ‘regular’ it means ‘tastes just like the competition’s', but consumer watchdog Keuringsdienst van Waarde seemed to suspect something more devious going on. They found little clumps of something that tasted like chewing gum (the flavour expert they consulted narrowed it down to Bazooka—man, that word is a time machine!) hidden among the tea.

After half an hour of fruitless phone calls and visiting experts—the tea expert explained that tea is made of leaves, not of clumps—the solution to the mystery was presented. Lipton apparently adds sugar to its tea to mask its mediocre (perhaps we should say ‘regular’) flavour. So that is how you can drink tea, no sugar, with sugar after all.

(I wrote down the adjectives in the Lipton commercial by the way, here they are: regular, regular, regular, good, lekker, lekker, regular, lovely, rich, smooth.)

(Photo by Evan Amos who released it into the public domain)

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January 21, 2014

HEMA caught plagiarising French wine label

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 1:58 pm

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 1.02.41 PM

It looked to many as if La Tulipe wine was available at the HEMA chain stores, but no, it was just a bottle of South African wine that had a very similar logo.

Coincidence or done on purpose who knows, but Dutch winemaker Ilya Gort cried sour grapes and wanted to take HEMA to court over it. In the meantime, HEMA has agreed to change the labels on the cheap South African wine which Gort gladly spits out on television right outside HEMA being the showman that his is (see Telegraaf link below).

If you want some cheap red wine with a very silly pun from the HEMA there’s always Chat-en-Oeuf .

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 12.58.00 PM

And some tips again on wine tasting for cheap bottles, Dutch-style by Ilya Gort himself:

- Look at the wine.
Take a few seconds to actually look at the colour of what you’re drinking. Someone worked very hard to get it that way.

- Smell the wine.
You smell your food before you eat it, give your wine the same courtesy.

- Respect the wine and use a proper glass.
I almost can’t drink from my tumbler glasses anymore, it doesn’t taste the same.

(Links and screenshot: www.telegraaf.nl, wijnbloggers.nl)

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January 20, 2014

Dutch have best food in the world, Oxfam says

Filed under: Food & Drink,Health by Branko Collin @ 9:34 am

bitterballen-wikipedia-user-takeaway-pdIf you want to taste the best food in the world, look no further than the Netherlands, a new report claims.

There is a snag (isn’t there always?). The report was written by international aid organisation and poverty fighters Oxfam and they did not look at how good our restaurants are, nor did they look at what our dishes taste. As an organisation that tries to combat hunger among other things, their goal was to determine in which country (from a list of 125) citizens had the best access to “plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable” food.

The core questions Oxfam looked at were whether people had enough to eat, food was affordable, diets were diverse, people had access to both clean and safe water and how unhealthy people ate.

Dutchnews writes: “European countries occupy the entire top 20 bar one – Australia ties in 8th place—while the US, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Canada all fall outside. African countries occupy all the bottom 30 places in the table except for four—Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.”

Der Spiegel thinks the top ranking for the Netherlands is hilarious: “specialities like bitterballen, fried breadcrumbed balls containing a ragout, will excite neither gourmets nor advocates of healthy living.” (Bitterballen are small, round krokets that are served as bar snacks, usually with mustard.)

See also:

(Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway, some rights reserved)

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January 17, 2014

A chip linked to your ID to drink in Eindhoven

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:52 pm

There’s this street in Eindhoven called Stratumseind or ‘Stratum’ full of cafés that mostly cater to students. The cafés are so close to each other that people walk around like it’s one big café, at least that was my memory of it a few years back.

As of mid March, the cafés owners have decided that patrons are to wear bracelets with a chip in them linked to some ID, like pigeons in the park. People will be tagged so that the cafés don’t have to constantly check if they are old enough to drink, something apparently the city has come up with. Making sure people are old enough to drink means the cafés lower the risk of selling alcohol to minors.

As of 1 Jan 2014, the drinking age went up from 16 to 18, although 16 and 17-year-olds could not buy or be served hard liquor. The cafés that refuse to go along with this scheme will be monitored à la Big Brother more closely — surprise, surprise.

You can’t possibly force anybody to wear anything to drink in a café, but you can ask them to produce ID. As well, this totally ignores anybody from out of town like tourists or visitors, how very forward-thinking. Guilty until proven innocent, someone please challenge this in court, it’s ridiculous.

(Link: www.ed.nl)

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