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January 29, 2015

Dordrecht detains unrelenting serial letter writer

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:10 am

Despite a court order to minimise his letter writing, Mustafa Karasahin of Dordrecht, aka the serial letter writer, has started ‘harassing’ city hall again with a barrage of letters. The city of Dordrecht has to make its position clearer and has placed Karasahin in a detention centre. Fining the man hasn’t worked, so detaining him was the next step.

Dealing with his letters has cost the city of Dordrecht nearly half a million euro. Back in 2013, the court had limited him to 10 letters a month (although the source below says two). Either way, 16 letters as of late was over the limit.

According to the city and experts, the law governing access to information requests needs to be modified to address this kind of abuse and doing so is taking a long time. In the mean time, the serial writer has given no signs of letting up once he’s free again. Karasahin owns some 40 buildings and rents room illegally to migrant workers. He is considered a slum lord.

(Link: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl)

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January 20, 2015

Two boring Americans on mushrooms in Amsterdam

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 7:37 pm
magic mushrooms

Two American guys, Kong and Jesse, take magic mushrooms and take a ‘trip’ through busy and touristy downtown Amsterdam to attempt to pick up girls. Wearing any kind of apparel with Amsterdam printed on it is usually a warning sign to locals, and indeed girls barely talked to them — no surprise there.

The Koningsplein intersection and the busy Leidsestraat are first featured, with both guys interacting more with a trash can (dust bin) than with girls. They eventually talk about renting a bike, but it’s clear that’s not going to happen. When it gets darker, they end up at Rembrandtplein where there are currently winter stalls with arts & crafts and international food, another major tourist trap. Talking to girls is apparently nothing compared to feeling up our trash cans for some reason.

Kong and Jesse picked up nobody in the end, embodying what us locals think about of this type of tourist. Maybe it’s nice to see that two guys doing mushroom and acting stupid is nothing more than two guys doing mushrooms and acting stupid, and Amsterdam just happens to be the backdrop.

(Link: nieuws.nl)

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January 19, 2015

Belgium’s tough city of Charleroi shot for Dutch film

Filed under: Architecture,General,History by Orangemaster @ 1:48 pm

Charleroi

Anyone who has been to Charleroi, Belgium knows its particular mix of worn and torn houses, industrial greyness and general sadness that is contagious if you stay there too long. The city has a reputation for crime and violence, but has many good sides related to food, culture and even sightseeing if you give it a fair chance. However, it is a huge contrast to other nicer and possibly more economically sound Walloon cities like Namur and Liège, and surely like nothing you’ll ever find in the tidy, shiny Netherlands.

The film ‘Bienvenue à Charleroi’ (‘Welcome to Charleroi’) was shot by Dutch director Jelle Dijkstra and his good friend co-director and co-editor Derk Zijlker.

Charleroi was voted ‘ugliest city in the world’ in 2008 by readers of Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. High unemployment, crime and poverty rates, political and social scandals, abandoned factories and ghost undergrounds all contributed to this negative image.

Watch the film here and find out for yourself if it’s really that bad (English subtitles). At 5:59 there’s a sign in French that roughly reads ‘Life isn’t easy when what you see is black’ (as in being depressed).

(Link: www.vice.com, Photo of Charleroi by Gerard Stolk, some rights reserved)

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January 13, 2015

Royal military police have sex in Golden Carriage

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:19 am

golden-carriage-zoetnet

Riding in the Golden Carriage took on a whole new meaning this week as the media reports that young Royal Military Police (Marechaussee) regularly use it as a location to engage in intercourse. The Golden Carriage is to be used by the Dutch royal family once a year to bring the monarch from a palace to a ceremonial hall in order to deliver a throne speech.

The source of the story is the mother of one of the military police who claims photos and videos have been made as proof. The military police’s lawyer says the youth have extremely static and boring work, and so they get extremely bored. He’s not surprised that they act lewdly, as their moral consciousness is not fully developed.

In July 2014 some members of the military police were fired for stealing from a sweets vending machine. Older members of the corps have demonstrated bad behaviour as well when the man who stole a piece of royal carriage admitted to it 50 years later.

(Link: nieuws.nl, Photo by Zoetnet, some rights reserved)

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December 30, 2014

24 Oranges 2014 year in review

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:15 am

Fireworks-beach

The year 2014 was a year of coming to grips with progress and uncovering the past.

Voting booths all over the country were the backdrop for ‘stemfies’, selfies that voters took in spite of voting secrecy. Opponents feared that people would be forced to prove they had voted for the right party and although a court shared their concern, it saw no legal reason to outlaw stemfies.

Rail operators were not allowed to block porn on the publicly funded Wi-Fi on their trains and a hospital had to give a man his amputated leg so he could turn it into a lamp.

Doctors finally figured out how to euthanise psychiatric patients. Euthanasia was legalised in 2002, but the rules of due care made it difficult to decide if psychiatric patients declared their death wish while sound of mind.

Design provides a constant source of puff pieces in newspapers and on aggregator websites, but 24 Oranges took the hard road and reported not only on cool designs, but also on the inevitable failures when design meets reality. Daan Roosegaarde’s glow-in-the-dark roads stopped glowing after the first day when they got wet and a solar-powered bike path cracked at the first sign of frost.

The game show Lingo put TV producer Harry de Winter on the map 25 years ago, and this year was the quiz show’s final season.

The past came alive when somebody recorded Hieronymus Bosch’ buttock music and Shan Kuang, a paintings conservation student at the University of Cambridge, discovered a whale in a 1641 Golden Age painting. In Amsterdam history student Charlotte van den Berg discovered that when a few surviving Jews returned from the Nazi death camps after WWII, the city of Amsterdam presented them with bills and fines for back taxes. The city has promised to at least pay back the fines.

Remember the euro note bridges we wrote about in 2011? This year 24 Oranges went to Spijkenisse and looked at what the bridges look like today.

Happy New Year! We’re going to take a few days off again.

(Photo of Fireworks in Scheveningen by Haags Uitburo, some rights reserved)

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December 24, 2014

Christmas break at 24oranges HQ

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:05 pm

24o-xmas2014

24oranges is going to take a breather for a few days to enjoy the bizarre spring weather we’re having, try out some new Christmas food recipes and visit friends and family.

Branko will have a Top 10 list of this year’s favourite stories before the end of the year and we should have some more pictures up on Flickr as well.

Happy Holidays!

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December 10, 2014

Dutch actress reaches South Pole by tractor

Filed under: Automobiles,General,Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:29 am

‘Tractor girl’ Manon Ossevoort, a 38-year-old Dutch actress and adventurer, has arrived at the South Pole at 10:30 p.m. EST on 8 December 2014 after a 17-day, 2,500-kilometre journey across Antarctica in a red Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor.

Ossevoort had already driven a tractor 38,000 km from her home in the Netherlands across Europe and Africa in 2005, when she had missed the boat due to transport her to Antarctica. At the time Ossevoort returned home, wrote a book, and waited for the opportunity to finish the final leg of her journey.

The journey was achieved with the help of a mother and daughter team from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Matty McNair and Sarah McNair-Landry as well as a mechanic, two truck drivers and a creative director. The first mechanised trip to the pole was done in 1958 by Sir Edmund Hilary using Ferguson TE20 tractors.

In 2008 Bernice Notenboom reached the South Pole on skis, becoming the first Dutch woman to do so.

(Links: www.independent.co.uk, www.cbc.ca)

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November 27, 2014

Supermarket gets local language wrong in advert

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:13 am

AH-bag

Supermarket Albert Heijn has advertised its delivery service throughout the province of Groningen on many billboards in Frisian (see pic), the language of the province next door, which irritated the locals. In Groningen the dialect is Grunnegs, which looks and sounds quite different, and in the case of the adverts implies that proud Groningen has been lumped in with the province of Friesland. Picture the Italian Captain Bertorelli of ‘Allo ‘Allo! saying “What-a-mistaka-to-maka!”.

Albert Heijn has admitted it messed up and will remove the adverts. I don’t understand how it even got that far.

(Links: www.deondernemer.nl, www.adformatie.nl, Photo of Albert Heijn bag by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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November 22, 2014

Mein Kampf vendor walks free, court keeps book

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:25 pm

“No, Michael, you are not allowed to sell Mein Kampf. No Paul, I am not going to punish Michael for selling Mein Kampf. Now run along, I’ve got important things to do.”

That paraphrased is how the court in Amsterdam ruled in the criminal hate speech case against book store owner Michiel van Eyck. As we wrote earlier, Van Eyck was charged with criminal hate speech in June this year after police detectives visited his book store in Amsterdam, the Totalitarian Art Gallery, and confiscated his copy of Mein Kampf.

The court concluded that Van Eyck’s actions differ little from those of the market vendor found guilty by the same court in 1998 for selling a copy of Mein Kampf. The times, they are a-changin’, the judges felt. They pointed out that the text of Mein Kampf is readily available on the Internet (presumably even more so than in 1998) and noted that the copyright on Mein Kampf runs out after 2015. From 2016 on the Dutch government will have even more difficulty controlling the distribution of the work.

Hate speech laws are an exception to the right to free speech. The court had to keep in mind that this exception can only be invoked in case of a ‘pressing social need’. In other words the right to free speech trumps criminal law if the goals of the law aren’t sufficiently advanced by limiting speech.

As a result the court found Van Eyck to be guilty as charged, but at the same time it held Van Eyck to be outside the reach of both prosecution and punishment.

Mein Kampf is the orginal German title of a book by Adolf Hitler. It means My Struggle. The court put Van Eyck’s copy of Mein Kampf with its own files so it doesn’t have to decide what to do with it.

Below are a number of interesting quotes from the verdict with my comments italicized:

  • “The book Mein Kampf, consisting of two parts, was confiscated by us in the store at Singel 37 in Amsterdam. It was displayed in a glass case in the store next to other memorabilia.” – (Unnamed detective.)
  • “The question is also whether a conviction of the suspect agrees with article 10 ECHR, which protects everybody’s freedom of expression.” Interestingly the Dutch constitution has a similar provision, but courts are not allowed to test the constitution. As a result, the court must ironically fall back on the laws of a body that is hostile to Dutch sovereignty, the Council of Europe.
  • “It is a known fact that Mein Kampf is clearly an insulting book to (most of all) Jews and that it incites hatred, discrimination and violence against this group.” This statement by the court seems awkward. If a book incites hatred and discrimination, it is insulting to everybody. The reason why the court uses these precise yet awkward words is simply because it is the insult (of a group) which is punishable by law.
  • “[The prosecutor wants Van Eyck's copy to be removed from circulation, but gives us no legal reason to do so.] Before this session the chair of the court has ordered the prosecutor to enter the copy as evidence. The prosecutor has complied. In doing so the copy of Mein Kampf has become part of the files of this case and is therefore no longer an object that requires this court’s attention.”

(Link: Parool)

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November 19, 2014

Police monitor people buying tools

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:32 am

screwdriver

In and around the city of Ede, Gelderland, several DIY chain stores have decided to film anyone buying tools such as big screwdrivers, chisels, crowbars or lump hammers under suspicion of being potential robbers. Once you’re on film with your new tools, the cops look at the footage to see if you’re a robber that matches their files (ha, pun).

Besides being a potential privacy breach, this is a useless strategy. Webwereld and surely other sources have listed the stores doing the filming so robbers can either take from a toolbox instead of buying new tools or just go to another store. Even better, hop over to Germany or get the missus to do the shopping for you as I bet the cops will only look at men on the film. A Dutch white female pushing a pram should do the trick.

(Link: webwereld.nl, Photo of screwdriver by Noel Hankamer, some rights reserved)

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