A health insurance company active in the east of the country has recently made a video (see below) that is really only made to watch an elderly lady treat Pokémons to the business end of a flyswatter.
Then there’s other Dutch business that have carved out a piece of the action using Pokémons. A Dutch sex toy shop asks on Twitter ‘What Pokémon is this?’, showing a dratini that’s more of the vibrating kind. Then there’s someone who claims Dutch Rail has a train running late because of a Snorlax on the rails. And then there’s more serious stuff like the World Wide Fund using a meme of a rhinoceros saying in English ‘Don’t catch ’em’.
The video is for fans and haters alike, so check it out.
Before Pokémon Go was officially launched in the Netherlands there were already 1.3 million players. Now that it’s been officially released for about a week, that figure is approaching 2 million players, one eight of the population.
Some people have been creating accounts, catching a shit ton of ideally rare Pokémons and then selling their account to people with a lot of money and not too much time or patience. The Dutch tax office is trying to get in on the action by looking into taxing people who are selling these accounts. They’ve already dug their claws into people renting their flats out as Airbnb locations, so why not hit Pokémon Go account sellers?
Selling accounts falls under additional earnings, which means expenses could be deducted as well such as phone costs and travel costs. Sellers could even show how many kilometres they’ve had to travel for their catches by using apps for it. Some level 20 Pokémon Go accounts are going for €500 on online auction sites, according to fhm.nl.
Businesses that are designated Pokéstops, a place where players can obtain free items to use in the game, are apparently earning money by buying ‘lure modules’, which can only be set up at Pokéstops. The idea is that the business turns on a lure module, which lasts 30 minutes, luring all kind of Pokémon for anyone to catch. And this is only the beginning.
A few days ago when Pokémon Go launched, some Dutch fans took to a police station in Amsterdam North to try and catch some Pokémons where the cops were not amused in the slightest. Apparently in Australia and the United States, police stations have been ‘overrun’ by gamers trying to catch whatever it is that is hiding at the cop shops. A possible reason why it’s not that bad here yet is because the game is only available to people with an American Apple ID and not yet officially in the Netherlands, which should be in a few days.
If that wasn’t inconvenient enough for the police, the AMC hospital in Amsterdam is said to have a sick Pokémon in their basement, where groups of people have been spotted even though they have no authorisation to be there. The situation is bad enough that security has been alerted in case gamers show up in sick people’s rooms. The hospital said, “if we find the sick Pokémon, we’ll take good care of it”, which is doctor speak for ‘please piss off and let us do our job’ on behalf of the hospital.
The battle to outlaw poker has been raging in the Netherlands for at least a decade, and the main issue was that the courts considered poker a game of skill and not a game of chance.
A court in Amsterdam recently ruled that regardless of the skill of the players, there is still an element of luck, therefore it is now considered a game of chance, which means anyone who wants to organise poker games needs a permit.
In 1998 the Attorney General had ruled that poker was a game of chance, giving as an example that playing several tables at once online, ‘multi-tabling’, is much more about strategy and relies a lot less on chance. This means that the lower court rulings of 2010 and 2014 that had taken the ‘game of skill’ side of things have now been overturned.
The case that went before the Amsterdam court was about Texas Hold’em poker games going on in a café in Bussum, North Holland where a permit wasn’t necessary because they didn’t need one for a game of skill. Now that the court has decided after 10 years that poker is a game of chance, both tournament organisers have been given a suspended fine of 1250 euro each and the bar owner 500 euro. The court went for suspended fines because the case took a long time to sort out.
The court found a way to choose the version of poker that profits the state monopoly of Holland Casino. I disagree that poker is a game of chance because without skill you’re just a donkey throwing your money away.
On 16 January, the Arcade hotel in Amsterdam will open its doors, the country’s first gaming hotel, where the Aalborg hotel in the De Pijp district used to be. The idea of a gaming hotel came from Montréal, Québec (where I’m from), and the owners promised to serve poutine, although I wonder how they will get the cheese curds for it because nobody makes that kind of cheese here.*
The rooms offer a lot of retro games, some that gamers can’t find as easily from Nintendo, Sega and Microsoft and they’ll be at least 10 kinds per room. And if that’s not enough, the lobby will also feature comic books as reading material, another favourite of new manager Daniel Salmanovich.
“Hotels always claim that they want to be a home away from home, but that’s nonsense. People want something different than what they have at home when they’re travelling. There’s enough hotels that offer pay-per-view and Netflix to their guests, and I wanted a hotel for people like me who relax with gaming.”
Salmanovich also says he’ll be offering poutine, Québec’s world-reknowned fast food dish, which newspaper Het Parool got wrong by saying it had ‘grated cheese’ (cheddar bits would have been more accurate), but called it a ‘unofficial national dish’, which means that the journalist has a better grasp of geopolitics than food.
*The Québec Delegation in Brussels, who represents the Benelux worked very hard to get a Belgian cheese maker to make 40 kg of cheese curds for the Québec national holiday parties on 24 June a few years ago.
Besides solving puzzles, Brandon also shoots time-lapse videos and made a six minute one of his solution here below. He also mentions that he has a 7.5 hour version floating around for his hardcore fans.
The Guinness World Records awarded the ‘largest order Rubik’s magic cube’ to the 17×17×17 cube made by Van Deventer in 2011. Van Deventer has all kinds of puzzles for sale, made with 3D printing technology.
In a fashion/IT edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’), it wasn’t Apple’s new Apple Watch, iPhone 6 or even the band U2 that stole the show at its latest product launch in Califormia, but Dutch IT designer Tommy Krul’s tube scarf, earning him the nickname of ‘Scarf Guy’. Dutch-born Krul is founder and CTO of Super Evil Megacorp in San Francisco and was presenting the new game Vainglory, specially developed for the iPhone 6.
Apple’s on stage presenters are reputed for being casually dressed, and Krul was no exception. For reasons that only the Internet understands his purple ‘infinity’ scarf took on a life of its own on Twitter and Facebook during the presentation. Fake Twitter accounts such as @scarfbro and @purplescarfguy have started up and comparisons to other scarf-wearing celebs such as Gavin Rossdale and Lenny Kravitz (and I would add Benedict Cumberbatch, as himself and as Sherlock) have been made. People want to know if he’s single, but Krul hasn’t provided an answer. All he has said apparently is “I often wear scarves, it’s funny.”
The City of Amsterdam subsidized a free educational game entitled ‘Road to Freedom’ that was 1.5 years in the making to teach children about Dutch slavery in Suriname. It was produced by the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy and designed by Pepergroen to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
The Afro-Surinamese community in the Netherlands wasn’t thrilled with the game, but neither were the Americans at Apple who called the content ”slanderous and insulting”. A quick Google search shows that Apple is not a fan of anything with slaves in it, like this sweatshop app.
On the one hand, anything too culturally confrontational makes many people from countries with unresolved colonial pasts uncomfortable and on the other, anything that is presented in a game format already downgrades the importance of historical relevance. If I were at school today and someone gave me a flee from a Russian labour camp game, I’d have a real problem with it and so would my parents.
I do get what the makers were trying to do, but unfortunately they have managed to trivialize something that deserves a much better platform. A Dutch friend of mine would say, ‘het idee is goed, maar de uitvoering is klote’ (‘The idea is good, but the execution is crap’).
UPDATE The video we had up yesterday introducing the game has been pulled offline.
On Tuesday April 29 crowdfunding website Kickstarter now features a page for the Netherlands. Before then, Dutch residents with good ideas had to register their project through another country like the United States. Since then, about 30 new project ideas have popped up on the Dutch page, while the rest are projects that were around when they had to circumvent the country issue. And just like in other countries, Kickstarter takes 5% off the top when and if projects achieve their financial goal.
One of them was more fun than anything else: the ‘Fish on wheels’ (on Kickstarter). Other projects include lots of board games, music, tech, film and inventions.
Tip to the lightbulbs: please let someone check your English if you want to be taken seriously.
In Enschede, Overijssel, a slot machine player has won almost 3 million euro (2,960,221,50 euro to be exact) with the ‘Mega Millions’ slot machines at the state-run Holland Casino last Saturday, making it the highest amount ever won at a Dutch casino. The player, who has chosen to remain anonymous for now but is 30 years of age, only spent 7,50 euro. The more people play these specific slot machines that only cost 0,10 euro per try, the higher the amount. According to an employee at the casino, the new millionaire was taken aback by all of this and has not yet made themselves known to the media.
In April 2013 another person from Enschede won 1,600,000 euro.