As of 1 March, the Opium Law, which governs the use of cannabis, has made grow shops illegal throughout the country. The idea behind it was to stop grow shops that have a hand in the illegal growing of cannabis, such as supplying lamps, plant food and other supplies. The price for breaking the law is a maximum prison penalty of three years and a fine of 81,000 euro.
In October 2014 the court of Groningen handed down a historical verdict by refusing to punish two cannabis growers who ‘safely and responsibly’ carried out their work. The court refused to punish the growers stating the hypocrisy of punishing ‘the back door’ while turning a blind eye to selling through ‘the front door’.
Now, even though the shops are not technically growing cannabis themselves, the law is trying to shut the ‘back door’, while continuing to allow the selling of cannabis through the ajar and very lucrative ‘front door’.
Tags: drugs, marijuana
The ability to receive information in one’s language is no longer a sufficient reason to hang a satellite dish from your flat when there’s access to streaming through the Internet, according to a court in Amsterdam. Satellite dishes are forbidden in many flat buildings because they are ugly yet homeowners’ associations still have problems forbidding them altogether because telling people to ‘go use the Internet’ has its own problems, one of them being it comes off as xenophobic and possibly racist. Dutch and other Europeans have quite a few channels available to them through cable television, but many other foreigners do not and so they use a dish.
The Internet is also not free, so that’s not a good argument to ban dishes and go against ‘the ability to receive information’ according to European law and human rights. The case in question is about a man who wanted to watch Portuguese-language shows. The law says that if there’s enough information in your own language available on the Internet then you don’t need a satellite dish. I’m wondering what kind of Portuguese? Angolan, European, Brazilian, what?
Who gets to decide what my language would be as a foreigner? The only television station with any Canadian French was TV5 Monde, which my cable provider axed a few years ago and it does suck. Would that mean I am allowed to set up a dish? Would the Dutch government tell me French from France is good enough even though they don’t report any Canadian news? What if I didn’t understand European French? Satellite dishes may be ugly, but they do have a purpose, especially if cable companies continue to cut down on foreign channels. Dutch provider Ziggo is about to axe France 2, which has upset the French community here.
(Link: webwereld.nl, Photo by Kai Schreiber, some rights reserved)
Tags: French, Portuguese, satellite dish
Talk show host Arjan Lubach has devised a Tinder-style voting app made for fun to help undecided voters for the upcoming States-provincial elections. The States-provincial or ‘Provinciale Staten’ in Dutch are the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each of the 12 Dutch provinces.
With ‘StemTinder’ (‘Tinder Voting’) you can swipe left or right and find the political party match for you. It’s not the national elections, so why not vote on looks? And there’s nothing wrong with candidates trying to look trustworthy to win votes.
(Links: www.ans-online.nl, nos.nl, Photo by Photo RNW.org, some rights reserved)
Tags: app, Nijmegen, Tinder, voting
Earlier this week the police in Haarlem caught two robbers by following their footprints in the snow, a bit like an old fashion television cartoon. A woman called about her shop being broken into in the middle of the night and when the police got there, they saw fresh footprints in the snow. They followed the footprints and found some of the loot the robbers made off with. They walked all the way to the suspects’ house, arrested the men and confiscated their shoes.
The men will now probably hate snow more than most people.
Tags: cops, Haarlem, police, robbers, snow, thieves
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.
Tags: Dordrecht, letter writing, letters, politics, slum lord
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.
Tags: Amsterdam, drugs, magic mushrooms, tourism
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)
Tags: Belgium, Charleroi, Jelle Dijkstra
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)
Tags: Golden Coach, marechaussee, military
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)
Tags: 2014, 24oranges, year
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.
Tags: Christmas, tree