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July 25, 2015

Frisian TV station employees fail written language test

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 2:34 pm

Two-thirds of the employees at Frisian TV station ‘Omrop Fryslân’, who claim to be the ‘guardians of the Frisian language’, have failed their own written Frisian test. Not only are most employees incapable of writing proper Frisian, but the station also receives millions of euro annually to be able to promote the Frisian language.

The many haters who think Frisian is a relic – and there are a lot of them – now have more ammunition to continue to shoot down Frisian culture. On the other hand, spoken Frisian has many differences depending where someone is from, which could account for a small percentage of failures: people who can speak it, but not write it. Then again, maybe they shouldn’t be working in the Frisian media.

(Link: www.waldnet.nl, Photo by Rupert Ganzer, some rights reserved)

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July 23, 2015

Drugstore caught selling baby formula out the back

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 12:06 pm

The manager of a drugstore in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant was caught selling a pallet of baby formula out the back of the shop before the product hit the shelves. However, this apparently happens often around the country, as managers receive their bonuses based on their turnover rather than their margins. If they are always able to sell their pallets of formula in one go, it’s no surprise some of them will move product this way. Almost everyone in the Netherlands has noticed that baby formula can only be bought one or two tins at a time due to a constant shortage.

The media tends to blame the Chinese who buy up baby formula, but that’s only half the picture. The shortage is not caused by individual Chinese buying up units or even a pallet out the back, but mainly by Dutch producers of formula who can sell it at three times the Dutch price on Chinese websites where only a select handful of foreign companies are allowed to do business. According to the Telegraaf in 2013, Chinese resellers can make millions selling Dutch baby formula to the Chinese whether it comes directly from Dutch companies or Chinese selling it themselves. I’ve read that ambitious traders who buy pallets get the product into China through Hong Kong, even a few tins at a time if need be.

Sure, the Chinese can buy domestic formula, but since the scandals of 2008, expecting parents would rather buy quality foreign products, and big European companies know this all too well.

(Link: nieuws.nl, Photo of a poster protesting Nutricia by Martijn van Exel, some rights reserved)

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July 20, 2015

Shock blog tries to stop Ukraine from joining EU

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:46 pm

vote-counting-rnwA new law allows Dutch citizens to call for a non-binding referendum in the Netherlands, the Dutch Pirate Party writes.

Shock blog Geen Stijl is trying to become the first organisation to scale the considerable thresholds the Dutch state imposes on such a referendum by getting the country to veto Ukraine’s entry to the European Union. The blog has four weeks to collect 10,000 signatures from people who support the collection of further signatures. If it succeeds, it has another six weeks to collect 300,000 signatures. Currently, signatures can only be collected in writing.

Once those two hurdles have been passed, the Yes and No campaigns may receive up to two million euro in subsidies for their campaigns. Geen Stijl claims it is unwise to let a country that is currently at war join the European Union.

The Pirate Party stresses that it doesn’t have an opinion either for or against the issue of Ukraine joining the EU, but applauds the addition of the referendum to the “rickety and unsatisfactory democratic toolkit we have now”.

The party for rich pensioners, 50Plus, was hoping to sabotage a new pension law from entering effect through a referendum last January, but the law that makes referendums legal only came into effect on 1 July. Observers believe that even though referendums under the new law are non-binding, parliament will respect them.

In 2005 the Netherlands used a special one-off referendum to let citizens rubber stamp something the European Union claimed to be a constitution. Dutch voters from both the pro- and anti-EU camps used the opportunity to vote against the document.

(Photo by Photo RNW.org, some rights reserved)

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July 17, 2015

Dutch kids report Mexican drug lord to police – but it’s not him!

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 5:01 pm

el-chapo-us-state-departmentThree children reported a man to the police that they believed might be the escaped Mexican criminal Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.

The three had spotted a man with a moustache sitting in a van on a parking lot on the Paul Kruger road in Ermelo, the Netherlands, last Tuesday. Drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, nicknamed El Chapo (Spanish for Shorty), escaped a Mexican maximum security prison earlier this month.

One of the children, 10-year-old Peter, had seen a photo of Guzmán in the newspaper and thought he recognised the trademark moustache the criminal sported at some point in his life.

After they had written down the license plate number of the van, the children biked to Peter’s house to call the police. Peter’s mother told Omroep Gelderland: “They were convinced it was him, he had the exact same moustache. They even knew he had smoked weed and that that is a drug. [...] They hadn’t even realised the price on his head”

The police called back later to say they had looked into the matter, but hadn’t located El Chapo. They don’t believe it was him. Mexico has offered a reward of about 3.5 million euro for information leading to the capture of Mr. Guzmán. The US State Departement would also like a word with Mr. Guzmán and have offered a reward of up to 5 million USD for information leading to his arrest.

(Photo: US Department of State)

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July 1, 2015

Church unlawfully fires woman for being transgender

Filed under: General,Religion by Orangemaster @ 1:19 pm

Transgender woman Rhianna Gralike, 56, has been wrongfully dismissed from her job as treasurer of a Catholic parish in Flevoland for nothing else than being a transgender woman. A few months ago she was called into the pastor’s office and was told that “being transgender goes against the Church”, a ‘message’ he was asked to pass on from the archbishop. Gralike plans to fight her dismissal even if she has to go to Rome to do so, which I hope is not necessary, considering there are laws in the Netherlands that supersedes any religion-based gut-feeling of an excuse to fire someone for their gender.

The Parish council is on Gralike’s side, saying the dismissal doesn’t match changes in society (an odd way of putting it), and her lawyer says the Church has no grounds to fire her whatsoever. The archbishop refuses to discuss the matter with Gralike, and so we’ll keep you posted.

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl, Photo by Johan Wieland, some rights reserved)

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June 29, 2015

Sisters swap exams, get caught and fail

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:01 pm

In Utrecht a girl wanted to help out her sister pass her French exam by switching places with her during the exam and signing her name on the test. Since the older sister had been held back once before, both sisters were able to take the exam at the same time. However, the teacher noticed that the names on the test didn’t match the handwriting on the exam and eventually failed both pupils.

The mother of the two tried to appeal the decision, but the decision stands, and so far there’s no indication of either pupil being able to take the test again now. The youngest daughter had been selected to study medicine, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon. C’est la vie.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl)

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June 22, 2015

Dutchman best looking model of 2015

Filed under: Event,General by Orangemaster @ 6:48 pm

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The 2015 winner of the 8th edition of the Men Universe Model Pageant is Rogier Warnawa, 24, from Eindhoven, crowned best looking model at a ceremony yesterday in the Dominican Republic. Warnawa was up against some 40 men from all around the world. He currently studies International Business & Management in Eindhoven and should soon be graduating. He also into mixed martial arts and has talked about getting into the film industry.

“Say hello to the new Mr Universe!” he told everyone on social media. In May, when he had been chosen to represent the Netherlands, he had told Telegraaf newspaper that, “he was still just a ‘cheese head’ from Eindhoven”, in true level-headed Dutch style.

(Links: www.nieuwsblad.be, www.telegraaf.nl, Photo: www.fontys.nl)

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June 21, 2015

Henry the sign painter (video)

Filed under: Design,General by Branko Collin @ 11:43 pm

henry-sign-painterHenry van der Horst from Zeewolde hand letters signs for outdoor markets all over the Netherlands.

Two graphic designers met him while he was out working and partnered up with him last year. They built a website to sell his signs (his “5 Euro Super Deal” costs 39 euro) and created the video above (subtitled in English). Check also another video of Van der Horst creating a magazine cover.

(Link: Trendbeheer; photo: crop of a screenshot of the video)

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June 18, 2015

Government subsidies for psychics training under fire

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:25 am

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Back in 2011 the Dutch government already fought over subsidizing astrologers for job seekers, and now companies offering to train ‘psychics’ are under scrutiny.

The contested training is geared towards ‘spiritual consultants’ and ‘hypnotists’, and has been approved for years, a training that particularly attracts the jobless aged 50 and over. Considering the discrimination faced by that age group as being expensive to hire, I’m not too surprised. A dozen people have taken the almost 1000 euro course. They learn about tarot cards, angel cards and reincarnations, the latter could be why the religious political SGP party was the one to complain about these courses recently.

After successfully completing the course, people can start up their own call line and make 0,29 euro a minute predicting the future, helping with relationship and financial problems.

(Link: nieuws.tpo.nl)

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June 14, 2015

Waterloo Square in Amsterdam turns 130

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:07 pm

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On of my first visits to Amsterdam as a child we went to Waterloo Square, and what an impression it left on me.

You could buy everything at the daily flea market. Pins and suits and sabres and boat lamps, it was like walking around in a Tintin story. It was bigger then, before the city of Amsterdam decided to ban the market in 1977 for 11 years so that it could build its monstrously ugly city hall there.

Waterloo Square (Dutch: Waterlooplein) was where the merchants from the nearby Jewish quarter were told to ply their trade from 1885 onwards. Last Saturday I visited the festivities surrounding the 130th anniversary. A lot of the stalls these days offer the same knickknacks you can get from every generic tourist shop in Amsterdam, from wooden tulips to gable shaped fridge magnets, from T-shirts with marijuana leaf print to colourful chullos. You can still find something special there if you know where to look, but politics and the likes of Lonely Planet seem to have done a number on the flea market I remember.

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Update 15-6: I added 9 more photos to our Flickr page.

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