October 12, 2016

Trump and Clinton duet parody goes viral

Filed under: Film,General by Orangemaster @ 7:16 am

Screen shot 2016-10-12 at 7.05.12 AM

LuckyTV.nl, which produces funny segments for Dutch television show ‘De Wereld Draait Door’, has had their mash up of the latest American presidential candidate debate go viral. Sander van de Pavert is the brains behind the operation and until now, mostly known within the Netherlands.

I avoided watching the actual debate and read the fallout, but having a laugh at the idea of Trump and Clinton singing a duet is a nice change from the violence of the entire entreprise. Van de Pavert doesn’t just put an entire new sound on top of a video, he lets any sounds that match what he’s going for permeate, which makes his work recognisable. He wasn’t thrilled with this one, but at least his point is well made, which is more than we can say for either candidate.

(Link: dutchnews, Screenshot: LuckyTV.nl)

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September 22, 2016

A regional Dutch accent means a smaller paycheck

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:22 pm

Women make less than men – check, white people make more than others – check, and in the same vein, Dutch people who speak with a regional accent get paid less, according to economy professor Jan van Ours of Tilburg University. Van Ours noticed that age, level of education or coming from a village or a city didn’t make a difference, but accents did.

Van Ours, who grew up with the dialect of Goeree-Overflakkee, South Holland, says nobody had ever done research into the economic impact of speaking with a regional accent before. While 40% of the Dutch have grown up with an accent, it is possible and plausible that people are discriminated against because of the way they speak. He also says that someone with a heavy Limburg accent working at a call centre could be more difficult to understand than someone who speaks standard Dutch (‘Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands’). I admit I called Dutch Rail once and hung up on someone who had an accent I couldn’t place that was so thick, I had no clue what they were saying. And sometimes when co-blogger Branko is tired and speaks to me with his Limburg accent, I have no clue, either.

There’s enough prejudice going around that if someone speaks with a heavy regional accent they are perceived as being dumber – I get this as a foreigner and it’s normal. Confirming this prejudice, foreigners and migrants also take lessons to get rid of their accent and sound more like standard Dutch speakers, including born and bred Amsterdam residents who speak with the city’s dialectal accent. Some people from areas like Het Gooi, North Holland have a specific accent, but because it’s a rich part of the country people don’t point out their accent as quickly as they do others.

24oranges HQ is run by two people with regional accents, but I don’t see us doing anything about it anytime soon.

(Link: www.ad.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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September 5, 2016

Italian twins will make you want to learn Dutch

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:10 pm

Identical twins Ermano and Roberto who live in Sulmona, Italy and have never set foot in the Netherlands were interviewed by linguist Marc van Oostendorp of website Onzetaal.nl. They have recognisable Italian accents when they speak Dutch, but their syntax (word order) sounds pretty good, and they even correct themselves as they speak. They are motivated as well, which is more than I can say for many people here who can’t be arsed to learn Dutch.

These Ermano and Roberto are the antidote to that apathy. They are fans of Dutch television presenter Hans van der Togt, associated with the show ‘Raad van Fortuin’, (Dutch version of ‘Wheel of Fortune’,) and when asked what city they would like to visit if they could, they choose Maastricht first because they also watch television show ‘Flikken’ (‘Cops’), which is filmed there. Oh, and they watch satellite television because that’s the only way to get RTL4, their favourite station.

For all of you who can’t be arsed, the brothers’ enthusiasm is contagious, as is the charming way they finish each other’s sentences. And you’ll want to see them one day make that bucket list trip to the Netherlands, but since they have demanding jobs as cleaners, it won’t be easy, although it would be very cool.

Watch this Dutch video with English subtitles and some Italian countryside:

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August 26, 2016

Alcohol served in children’s shop causes outrage

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 10:55 am


Earlier this year, having a drink at certain types of shops started as an experiment in January and February in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, after which some 40 odd smaller cities joined in. The idea is that you’re not supposed to drink somewhere that doesn’t have the proper license, but in the spirit of getting people to the shops, the rules were temporarily relaxed as a pilot project.

However, in the small city of Doetinchem, Gelderland the ‘blurring’ of the laws on alcohol has led to a questionable situation where booze is being served in a children’s clothing shop, which according to STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy, claims is crossing the line.

STAP is very much against this ‘blurring’ (the actual word used by the Dutch in English), even more so in a shop meant for kids. I do get the serving a drink at the hair salon and more adult clothing stores, but yeah, I don’t see any real good in serving booze to parents in a children’s clothing store other than getting them to buy more.

Then again, the local government claims that children do not go into the shop in question when alcohol is being served, as it is about evenings for special clients when nobody under 18 years of age can get it, which starts to make more sense.

Regardless, STAP is going to start writing ‘letters on legs’ to borrow a fantastic Dutch expression that means writing serious letters with threats to sue in them.

(Link: www.deondernemer.nl)

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August 14, 2016

Four Days Marches lottery inconsistency proven by maths

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 6:06 pm


Using probability theory, four students at the Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris penned a paper entitled ‘Failure is Also an Option’ to prove that the best chance of being allowed to participate in the 100th edition of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen (aka ‘Nijmegen Vierdaagse’), which was held from 19-22 July 2016, was if one failed that year’s event.

The world’s most famous walking event attended by some 40,000 participants from around the world and featuring international armies and hardcore walkers alike, has a drop-out rate of about 10%.

Initially, the rules governing participation were the following: A walker who succeeds the n-th walk is admitted to walk at year (n + 1). Walkers who fail a walk enter a lottery. If they win the lottery, they get tickets to the walk. Walkers who fail two successive draws are admitted to the walk following the second lottery failure. In 2013, while computing our chances to be admitted to the centennial walk, we noticed a rather counterintuitive fact: By purposely failing the 97-th walk, walkers can actually increase their chances to attend the centennial walk.

We notified this inconsistency to the organisers and never got an answer, but the rules were subsequently changed.

(Link: www.improbable.com, image: www.ens-paris.fr)

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August 3, 2016

Buses renamed to sound more ‘Amsterdammy’

Filed under: Automobiles,General by Orangemaster @ 11:26 am

Sometime around 2013, Amsterdam’s city marketing people decided to rebrand ‘Muiderslot’ (‘Muiden Castle’) to ‘Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot’ to attract more tourists because they believe that if you put the word ‘Amsterdam’ in front of something, cash register sounds start ringing in your head, like a pleasant form of tinnitus. Maybe the name sounds close by or more fun, who knows. Muiderslot is in the town of Muiden now under the same municipality as Naarden (their beautiful fortress doesn’t need rebranding) and Bussum, also known as ‘not Amsterdam’.

Pseudo annexation of interesting tourist venues that are not Amsterdam remains awkward. Nobody calls the coastal cities of IJmuiden, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort ‘Amsterdam Beach’ but the city marketing people who thought that nonsense up. However, bus company Connexxion’s line 80 that goes to Zandvoort is being rebranded as the ‘Amsterdam Beach Line’ possibly because Amsterdam only has fake beaches and Connexxion hooked them up with a real one.

Also having jumped on the bandwagon apparently is the lake area between Amsterdam and Utrecht called ‘Loosdrechtse Plassen’, which is now the ‘Leisure Lakes’ (nope, not a direct translation), which sounds like a floating red light district. And there’s always the ‘Bulb Region’ closer to Haarlem that magically became the ‘Amsterdam Flower Strip’ also not used by anyone except the voices in someone’s head in charge of city marketing.

Picture a map of Amsterdam with everything around called ‘not Amsterdam’. In fact, many people would agree that’s how a lot of Amsterdam residents and unfortunately millions of tourists view the rest of the country.

In the spirit of ridiculous name changes, here are some other suggestions:

Cities close to Amsterdam like Amstelveen, Badhoeverdorp and Diemen that house a lot of expats (read: rich immigrants and migrants) should be called ‘Almost Amsterdam’, Amsterdam Airport Suites’ or just ‘Amsterdam’s suburbs’ and have their official names removed to cause less confusion.

The huge-ass flats in Amsterdam Zuidoost, which is its own district, could be rebranded as ‘Amsterdam Heights’ to have an excuse to hike up the rent of lesser wanted immigrants and migrants by sounding fancier.

Any other interesting towns like Zaandam, Haarlem and Abcoude better watch out before they get ‘Amsterdamized’ as well.

(Link: at5.nl, Photo of Muiderslot Castle by Coanri/Rita, some rights reserved)

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August 2, 2016

Rich neighbourhood upset about wheeled suitcases

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:30 am


A few years ago, wheeled suitcases (‘rolkoffers’) became synonymous with ‘tourists’ or ‘damn, there’s an Airbnb next to my house’ for a lot of residents. The problem is the sound the wheels make on Amsterdam’s cobblestone streets and sidewalks, which apparently bothers folks in one fancy part of town.

Amsterdam’s current population is about 820,000, in a city that gets – wait for it – 15 million visitors a year. Quiz your friends about how many tourists they think Amsterdam gets every year and they’ll say a few million. By the way, the number keeps going up every year.

Residents in and around the Bickersgracht, a canal very close to Amsterdam Central Station where tourists stay have made two makeshifts signs ‘forbidding’ wheeled suitcases. We get it, you don’t like the sound of all those suitcases early in the morning heading out, but that’s not going to do shit about it.

One local man feels music should come out of the wheels to mask the sound of what actually is the fault of the cobblestone street area of town they live in rather than the suitcases. A rational suggestion from a local woman would be to indicate which hours in the day the locals don’t want to hear the rolling wheels and put that on the sign, but then this would mean you would need to enforce and then it all sounds futile again.

You’ll notice the picture taken here of what is probably a Dutch person going somewhere is on a smooth bike path that sounds way better than on cobblestone. How do other parts of the world tackle this problem? A quick Google search says that in 2014 Venice, a city that gets 22 million tourists a year, tried to ban wheeled suitcase with a fine of 500 euro (mamma mia!) but ended up not going through with it.

(Links: www.rtvnh.nl, www.amsterdam.info, edition.cnn.com, Photo: crop of a frame of a video called ‘What defines Dutch cycling?’ by Mark Wagenbuur)

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August 1, 2016

Student develops airbag for falling elderly

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 2:14 pm


Delft University of Technology related designer Heike Vallery together with Dutch startup WOLK have designed an airbag for falling elderly. As they fall a cushion fastened to their hips pops upon and softens the blow, reducing the chance of hip injuries.

Vallery and WOLK studied the fall algorithm that anticipates instability so that their airbag deploys on time. They claim that the airbag is comfortable to wear under most clothing and the cushions can deploy from the left, the right and the rear, as seen in this very short video. They are still at the prototype stage, but by 2017 they’ll have a working model.

(Link: www.scientias.nl, Photo by Frank Mayne, some rights reserved)

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July 22, 2016

Unicode accepts rainbow emoji flag petition

Filed under: General,History,Online by Orangemaster @ 1:51 pm

Thanks to lots of people including Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars who asked for a rainbow emoji flag, Unicode has approved the request for the flag. It won’t be ready for a while or in time for Amsterdam’s Gay Pride, but then people can use hashtags #EuroPride, #AmsterdamPride and #Joinourfreedom for Gay Pride from Saturday 23 July through 7 August.

According to Emojipedia, the gay pride flag features in the top 30 emoji requests collected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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July 18, 2016

Lambertschaag sets new pole-sitting record

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 6:39 am

On 17 July, 15 guys from Lambertschaag, North Holland came down from a pole where they had just spent the weekend sitting on, breaking the village’s pole-sitting record.

We conce wrote about a pole-sitting record in Friesland that was 60 hours, but with bathroom breaks. All 15 guys in Lambertschaag stayed sitting for 52 hours and 32 without any bathroom breaks. It had been 45 years since all participants made it until the end.

I have no clue why it’s only for men in this case, beside it being a tradition. If anybody knows, please enlighten us.

Here are some great pictures of pole-stting in the 1980s by Jaap Woets.

(Link www.rtvnh.nl)

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