December 10, 2016

Amsterdam’s oldest coffeeshop forced to close in 2017

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 10:15 pm

Amsterdam is currently on a mission to close down many of its coffeeshops in 2017, as some of them are too close to schools, following a policy called ‘Project 1012’, referring to a downtown postal code and one of their next targets is the city’s oldest coffeeshop, Mellow Yellow opened in 1972, albeit at another location.

The mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan made a deal back in 2011 with the Dutch government that if they didn’t force him to make Amsterdam coffeeshops register foreign patrons he would close down coffeeshops that were less than 250 metres from schools. However, a report from the Bonger Institute of Criminology says the remaining coffeeshops are now so overcrowded that they have twice as many patrons with people queueing outside to get in, which is disruptive.

Then there’s stories about coffeeshops allowed to stay open because schools are either closing or moving, and when a school moves then other coffeeshops may all of a sudden have a problem. And there’s the story of a coffeeshop not having to close after all because someone measured the 250 metres incorrectly. Oh, and there are newspaper articles about coffeeshops being shot at and closed temporarily, so that the actual number of coffeeshops in Amsterdam is never quite right.

Goodbye Mellow Yellow, 1972-2017, the experts think you should stay open, but not the city who doesn’t want to see the new problems caused by shutting the likes of you down.

(Link: parool.nl/, a report on Project 1012Photo by Eric Caballero, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

November 21, 2016

Dutch-born Republican to head CIA

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:33 pm

Peter-Hoekstra

In a special post-American election edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’) where the Dutch media finds remote Dutch connections for the sake of a story, Groningen-born, Republican Pete Hoekstra is being touted as the new big cheese of the CIA. Hoekstra, 63, who lives in Michigan and may or may not speak a few words of Dutch, claimed he worked hard on Trump’s campaign and knows which direction he wants to take the United States [insert all of the jokes right here].

Hoekstra is an American who emigrated when he was three, which is why ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ is always a sad attempt by the Dutch press to remain internationally relevant, the same press that treats long-time Dutch folks of other ethnicities as if they didn’t count when it suits them. Other attempts at finding ‘Dutchiness’ have included Britney Spears, Tiger Woods and Dave Benton. On the opposite end of the scale is Anne Frank who was never Dutch (she was German), but many people think she was or enjoy saying that her not being Dutch was ‘just a formality’.

(Link: nos.nl)

Tags: , , ,

November 19, 2016

Meeting the Mayor of Amsterdam: what that’s like

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:43 pm

VanderLaan2

A local elementary school filled with local residents of all kinds had a friendly, tea-drinking, homemade baklava-eating hour to ask Eberhard van der Laan, the Mayor of Amsterdam, their pressing questions. Right before, the mayor walked around the recently renovated playground across the street to talk to all ages of youngsters and take part in a mannequin challenge that I joined in on if anybody finds it online.

The questions that were raised, were classics: dust particles emanating from the motorway nearby, promises of building new houses that never materialise, cheaper sports hall for getting unhealthy youngsters to move and a few others that hit home with everyone.

Van der Laan used to be a lawyer as well as the minister for housing and immigration, so his answers mostly pleased the crowd. Some things he had an aide write down as matters he could do something about like not getting any answers from city bureaucrats, other things he explained had so many parties involved that he couldn’t exert much influence on as one person, which is a good thing he said because that would be dictatorial.

I found out he’s well-versed in the art of pull-out quotes. Asked about what will happen to people with polluting vintage cars being banned from the city centre Van der Laan said “old things don’t have a future”. He admitted that lack of housing is one of the biggest problem in our country, as well as in Amsterdam. He also believed that it was good policy to build the nice schools in the poorer neighbourhoods, as we were standing in a newly renovated school, and admitted to those complaining about lack of funding for many things that “when money is taken away, good things are always lost”, which he said is often a national decision he can’t do much about.

In true Dutch straight talk fashion he did tell the crowd that “Amsterdam wasn’t an ATM”, and explained to a nine-year-old girl that, “yes there’s graffiti you want removed near your house, but let me teach you a big word first: ‘nannyism’. That means we can’t tell people what not do to all the time, but give me an email address and I will look into it”.

My only complaint is that he was talking about schools and mentioned “white and dark parents”, alluding to what is still referred to as ‘white schools’, (Dutch, with some money and assumed to have more of a future) and ‘black schools’ (anything that looks foreign although Dutch, is usually poorer and assumed to have less of a future). I hope we stop using those terms very soon because “old things don’t have a future”.

All in all Ebehard van der Laan is a great communicator who made all the attendees, especially the children, feel like they had been heard. He’s the father of five children himself and his interest in what they had to say was genuine. He’s also going to be around for quite a few more years, so it’s good to have met him in person.

VandeLaan1

Tags: ,

November 18, 2016

Dutch company Mars One makes suits for Mars

Filed under: General,Science by Orangemaster @ 9:55 am

The Dutch are already involved in trying to get to Mars, whether it’s growing food for the trip, simply wanting to take that one-way trip or being the first at having a reality show on Mars.

Now Dutch company Mars One has unveiled its first try at a space suit to protect humans on the red planet. “Made from material similar to that used for NASA’s astronauts when exploring the Moon [like the one in the picture], the suit’s design also takes into account new challenges, such as the omnipresent red dust”. I still have strange red dust from a hike on Crete on one pair of shoes, so I can only imagine what their issues are. The suits are also to protect against killer radiation and needs to fit different people. Some 3D printers will ensure new parts can be made. WIl there be a 3D printer to repair the 3D printer, I don’t know.

Have a look at what Mars One has been planning to do:

(Link: phys.org)

Tags: ,

November 8, 2016

Amsterdam-Zuidoost to get its first coffeeshop

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 9:22 pm

While Amsterdam is busy closing down coffeeshops – the ones that sell marijuana and hash – the district of Amsterdam Zuidoost is going to get its very first coffeeshop, and I bet many people didn’t know that they didn’t have any in the first place. I didn’t know and I’ve lived there.

The coffeeshop will be close to the Bijlmer Arena station and will probably be called ‘Roots’. The city gave the green light for a coffeeshop there in 2000, but the rules regulating its eventual location were still an issue and it took a long time for it all to get sorted. The new business is not in a residential area or close to schools, so it should be fine.

(Link: at5.nl)

Tags: , ,

October 31, 2016

Phone insurance company insults local hero

Filed under: General,Technology by Orangemaster @ 1:21 pm

The Netherlands has a lot of water near roads, and cars regularly fall into the water, something that is a fact of life.

In Barendrecht three weeks ago Raymond Heijboer jumped into the water to save a woman from drowning in a sinking car, which he did, and all was well.

However, being the hero that he was, he jumped in the water with his ‘insured’ iPhone, which got ruined and the insurance company didn’t want to give him a new phone because he “willingly” jumped into the water.

With what I’m sure was a ‘screw this’ feeling he got from the insurer, his luck turned and a radio show called him up early one morning at home and decided to give him a brand new water-resistant iPhone 7 live on the air. Of course it was a stunt, but it was a good move.

Having heard about the radio folks giving Heijboer a free phone, the insurer called Heijboer up and tried to offer him something as well. The insurer offered to pay Heijboer “for the value of his iPhone on the day of the incident”, which didn’t exactly make the hero very happy, especially after receiving a new and better phone from total strangers. In a letter, the insurer tried to make it sound like they cared, but offering a new deal after the radio stunt makes them look a bit pathetic.

In fact, it would have almost been better for the insurer not to change their stance instead of doing pseudo damage control after being nailed on Dutch radio. And giving the guy a free phone in the first place would have done wonders for their reputation, but apparently they were too busy counting their money and having no heart to care.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , ,

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)

Tags: , ,

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)

Tags: , ,

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:

Tags: , , , ,

August 26, 2016

Alcohol served in children’s shop causes outrage

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

fairhills-fair-trade-wine-branko-collin

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)

Tags: , ,

Older posts »