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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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November 3, 2014

Fined for Dutch flag on license plate

Filed under: Automobiles,General by Orangemaster @ 12:20 pm

dutch_flag.jpg

A man got fined 147 euro for putting the sticker of a Dutch flag over the EU logo on his license plate.

Legally you can’t hide any part of the license plate, not even something deemed non-essential by some. Apparently, in the UK someone put a UK sticker over the EU part, argued in court, and won. According to Wikipedia, the EU symbol is not compulsory in the UK.

Chances are, someone from the UK won’t leave the UK by car as often as the average Dutch car leaves its borders, and so not having the right sticker seems less important in the UK than in the Netherlands.

(Link: , Photo by Quistnix, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

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November 1, 2014

Pinterest button added

Filed under: General,Photography by Branko Collin @ 3:51 pm

You could already share our photos through Flickr, but that only worked with our own Creative Commons licensed photos. Now you can also ‘pin’ photos at Pinterest by using the appropriate share button. I recommend that, in order to do so, you first follow the link to the article and only then use the share button on that page. Doing so will maintain a link to the relevant article instead of our front page or search page.

Even better would be if you linked to the relevant page of the creator of the image, which isn’t always possible. For instance, if we wrote about something we found offline, you might not be able to find the image other than here at 24oranges.nl.

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October 25, 2014

Dutch have best VAT discipline, together with Fins

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:55 pm

Are the Dutch goody two-shoes or do they merely possess a strong sense of civic duty? I’ll leave that for our readers to decide.

According to Z24 last Thursday the Dutch and the Fins are the best at paying their value added tax (VAT).

The European Commission compared the expected VAT with the VAT that was actually collected in 26 Member States in 2012. Finland and the Netherlands had a VAT gap of 5%, closely followed by Luxembourg at 6%. Romania had the largest gap at 44%. The average VAT gap for the European Union was 16% which translates to an estimated 177 billion euro in lost tax revenue. This lost revenue is borne by the governments and by the entrepreneurs who actually do pay VAT.

The way VAT works is that it is collected for the government by the businesses at the point of sale. It is a consumer tax, so businesses get to deduct the VAT they themselves paid from the money they send to the government.

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October 20, 2014

Houses of pension fraud Krol seized

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:53 pm

Celebrity laywer Oscar Hammerstein must have been out of the spotlight for too long. Volkskrant reports that even though the foundation claims not to have money to spend on legal counsel, they have managed to get Hammerstein (400 euro per hour) to seize two of Krol’s houses for them.

The foundation Vrienden van de Gay Krant (Friends of de Gay Krant, a gay paper) is being besieged by the Dutch Ministry of Education, which wants to get subsidies back that were earmarked for an online meeting place for teenage gays, but which Krol allegedly used to fund his other enterprises during his stint as foundation chairman. In turn the foundation felt Krol should pay their debt as it was he who got them into this mess.

One of the two houses is Krol’s villa in Eindhoven which he wants to sell for 860,000 euro, which includes a bar, a sauna, a hair salon and an obscene amount of marble. Financial gossip mag Quote has photos. The ministry’s bill is apparently only for 206,833 euro.

Krol’s party 50PLUS, who run on a platform of milking the young (read: poor) to give to the elderly (read: not so poor), have accused Volkskrant and AD of ‘damaging’ Krol. Considering that the man who allegedly robbed his employees of their pension funds has not been convicted, nor even prosecuted, they may have a point. On the other hand, the return of Krol in parliament to replace a sick colleague has led to an increase of projected votes of 50% in the polls (read: 1 seat) according to Maurice de Hond.

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October 15, 2014

Grieving parties must purchase software to fill in tax form

Filed under: General,IT by Orangemaster @ 10:44 am

Roughly translated the Dutch tax office’s motto is, ‘We can’t make it more pleasant, but we can make it easier’, which is often use to preface the exact opposite, as I am about to do.

Some guy’s stepmother dies. Besides coming to terms with the situation, there’s paperwork to be done for the tax office. Many forms have been digitised over the years, but not the one form this guy needs to fill out. In fact, some 140,000 people need to fill out this form every year, but its 27 pages. Our guy says he’ll need to sit down and spend hours figuring it out.

Nope, he can’t send it in digitally. For that one form, he needs to purchase software from one of two publishers who make it for accountants and it costs 610 euro. Our guy is justifiably upset and decides to write to Parliament because sending in most tax forms is usually free. After all the two companies that make this professional software are able to send in their corporate tax forms for free. The tax office didn’t think that people doing taxes for the deceased was a priority, but you wonder why they think it’s OK to force ordinary citizens to buy expensive, almost useless software to fill in one form. Politicians have said they agree, but changing the rules won’t happen overnight.

Tax office cock-ups are a great source of entertainment:

Tax office in Friesland refuses Frisian letter. You can’t talk to the tax office in any other language than Dutch for legal reasons, something we hadn’t mentioned back then.

Tax office tells woman to divorce for benefits. Taxes before bros, thinks the government.

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl)

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September 20, 2014

The Delta Works are due for an upgrade

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 8:01 am

Delta works

Last Tuesday the Netherlands unveiled a multi-billion-euro, multi-decade plan to counter the biggest environmental threat to the nation: surging seawater caused by global climate change.

For centuries, the Dutch have battled the waters of the North Sea that have at times flooded large swathes of the country, particularly in its southwestern Zeeland province. After a disastrous flood in 1953 which left almost 2,000 people dead in Zeeland, the Dutch built a system of dams, storm surge barriers, dykes and other water-management projects, known collectively as the Delta Works, to keep the sea out.

But a growing population, growing industry and climate change have necessitated a ‘new Delta plan,’ Schultz van Haegen said as she unveiled the details in The Hague. A study by the Dutch National Environmental and Living Institute, released last week, showed one in three dykes or dams did not comply with current safety standards.

Wikipedia tells us that the Delta Works have been declared one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by American Society of Civil Engineers.

See also Dutch dike protects national archives in Washington.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of Delta Works by Coanri/Rita, some rights reserved)

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