May 24, 2020

Dutch marbles make it to the big leagues

Filed under: Automobiles,Gaming,General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 2:20 pm

Dutch brothers Jelle and Dion Bakker build and present elaborate marble races on their hugely popular YouTube channel Jelle’s Marble Runs.

Recently having lost their main sponsor, they tweeted out for help and fortunately for them it was John Oliver of American television show Last Week Tonight that answered their call. In the video below Olivier talks about them in a show on the current lack of sports. As Oliver said, remotely watching marbles duking it out is definitely something the world needs right now.

Not only has John Oliver given the brothers a huge boost, but will also donate 5000 US dollars to food banks and another 20,000 US dollars to an international help organisation ‘International rescue committee’ on behalf of winning teams. After having reached 1 million subscribers a few days ago, the brothers have announced that they are working on presenting a brand new tournament before the start of the Marble League 2020 on June 21.

The brothers are very close to joining the big leagues themselves as far as money goes. They’re able to pay the folks who work for them properly, making them a serious outfit. The voice of the marble races is American sports fan Greg Woods. You’ll notice that Marble Runs also use play on words of Formula 1 such as Marbula and F1 sounds with permission from F1 who are huge fans of the marbles as well.

Back in 2016 we told about what a ‘marble tsunami’ sounded like and I guess anything you watch on their channel will keep the entire family entertained these days.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Marbles by Meghana Kulkarni, some rights reserved)

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May 18, 2020

Dutch switch from ecstasy to meth with Mexican help

Filed under: General,Health by Orangemaster @ 11:57 am

According to the Telegraaf newspaper, The Netherlands is producing a whole lot more crystal meth these days. The news reads like a Netflix series: Dutch drug traffickers are working with Mexican cartels to replace ecstasy labs with crystal meth ones because it’s more of a moneymaker and easier for the Dutch. The article goes on to say that the Dutch have the hardware, and the Mexicans, the recipes.

Funny, that’s exactly how I feel about Mexican restaurants in Amsterdam.

“The Netherlands is an attractive location given its good infrastructure, production facilities, and relatively mild prison sentences.” The country does have a reputation for being soft on drugs. However, crystal meth labs are being discovered and shut down, with busts worth up to 10 million euro. Last year a floating meth lab in Moerdijk was shut down.

(Links: nltimes.nl, Photo: DEA)

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May 10, 2020

City council meeting plague by porn

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

The Dutch town of West Betuwe, Gelderland recently held online meetings of its city council using the popular meeting software Zoom. In the spirit of wanting to show its residents what they were up to, folks could follow the meeting by clicking on a link. Problem is, the wrong link was made public and city council was bombarded with racist slurs, fascist symbols and pornography.

It’s simple: city council supplied the wrong link to the public, but the Dutch media had fun blaming Zoom, hackers and everybody else but the officials who apparently didn’t know what they were doing. Of course, they had to cut their meetings short and need to figure out how Zoom works – Have they? They are considering going to the police as well since they had to deal with very nasty stuff.

Meeting in person like they used to is currently not possible due to the coronavirus. And it was also the first time citizens could watch. Now West Betuwe has a reason to figure out how online meetings work. However, I can imagine that it was a terrible experience for city council. It was so shocking that meeting again in person following Covid-19 measures is back on the table.

(Link: binnenlandsbestuur.nl, Photo of Paris Louvre facepalm by Phelan Riessen, some rights reserved)

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February 27, 2020

Dutch government loses track of 2.3 million workers

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:39 pm

Since 2014 the Dutch government has lost track of some 2.3 million seasonal workers, all foreigners who don’t have to register where they live if it they come over for less than four months, making them difficult to track down. However, that also means nobody can check whether they are being exploited or mistreated. They do have an identification number (in Dutch, ‘BSN’) to be able to receive their salaries in their bank accounts, but that’s it.

Have they stayed in the Netherlands, have they gone? No idea.

As explained by Dutchnews.nl, people planning to live in the Netherlands for more than four months are required to officially register with their local authority using a formal address. As explained by my personal experience of 20 years in this country, people make up addresses or use ones that have 20 people registered in it, which is illegal, but often goes unchecked.

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

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January 7, 2020

Father spots his kids damaging property with fireworks

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:04 pm

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After all the property damage, injuries, fires and even deaths related to people using fireworks in the Netherlands on New Year’s Eve, the issue of anybody using fireworks is finally being hotly debated at the national level.

One father in Enschede, Overijssel who I bet thought his children were good kids, found out through social media that his kids are destructive little shits. Football club Sparta Enschede put out a film of the destructive little shits trashing the club’s stands on social media and the father recognised his destructive little shits. He contacted the club to tell them that and agreed to pay the 10,000 euro worth of damages caused by his destructive little shits.

“Luckily there are still honest people who accept responsibility,” one of the club’s Board members said. Hopefully dad will set a good example for these destructive little shits and punish them accorgdingly. It has not been mentioned whether the destructive little shits are also members of the club. I can’t imagine they would be welcome any time soon even as spectators.

(Link: waarmaarraar.nl, Photo of Football by Bramus, some rights reserved)

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December 31, 2019

24 Oranges Rewind 2019

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:29 am

The year 2019 in review for 24 Oranges starts with one of the coolest stories I have read in a while: microscope pioneer Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s original specimens were photographed by Wim van Egmond through one of the former’s original microscopes. Among the specimens were the optic nerve of a cow, a slice of cork, and ‘heavenly paper’, a matter that people in the seventeenth century described as paper fallen from heaven but that Van Leeuwenhoek brusquely identified as some sort of dried-out pond scum.

The cutest story must have been that of a kitten stowed away on a fishing boat that sailed from Harlingen, Friesland. The fishers took pity on the animal and let it gorge itself on fresh herring. They could swear little Katrien put on some weight during the trip.

Have you given up on the idea of a Huxleyan hell scape of soma and surveillance? Then we had some good news for you, yes you! In Helmond—because what is in a name?—you could get free housing for a year. The catch? Companies would get to record your every move using sensors, and harvest the resulting data. “Own your data”, they called it, because the scheme turned your complete lack of privacy into a handful of pennies.

You may have heard of a verbal agreement being legally binding, but Dutch law doesn’t have much to say about how you agree on anything, as an unnamed amateur football club from Rotterdam found out to its own detriment. A contract written on a coaster was enough to force the club to pay one of its players 11.000 euro in back pay.

In 1991 Manja Blok became the first female operational F-16 pilot in the world, and in 1993 she became the first Dutch Air Force pilot since WWII to engage in armed combat. We probably should write an article about her some day. Blok has left the Air Force long since and this is not that story. The days of a progressive Dutch Air Force and competent pilots seem behind us, now that Dutch fighter pilots actually shoot their own planes during exercises. In January an F-16 managed to catch up with the bullets from its own MA61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun at a military range on the island of Vlieland.

While Dutch universities closed their Dutch language studies, the Dutch tried their hand at seagull scream impressions. The Netherlands also experienced its warmest summer day in history.

Finally, for us at 24 Oranges HQ personally 2019 stood out mostly because of a short but sweet experiment in a different medium. We had our own radio show! From May to October we had a weekly programme on Broadcast Amsterdam called Happy Hour in which Orangemaster and I discussed the local news. Sadly, we had to give it up (doing the show took up Orangemaster’s only free night), but we had a great little run!

Related: last year’s review.

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December 25, 2019

Christmas break at 24oranges HQ

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,History by Orangemaster @ 1:21 pm

We’ve been busy this year to the point of having a tough time posting this fall, but we should be back on top of things for 2020. It is Christmas day as I write this, and the plan is to eat Italian food, drink, listen to Christmas music and play with the little houses above, courtesy of a supermarket chain that has been handing them out.

Although many people complained about the plastic, after work on December 24 I was handed an entire box of these houses (the special offer was over) and could not resist taking as many home as I could. I decided to make a traditional Dutch winter scene for you, complete with an ‘oliebollen’ stand, a food usually eaten on New Year’s Eve, and ‘koek en zopie’, cake and a hot beverage with alcohol usually enjoyed after ice skating. It’s not winter at all here in Amsterdam, it’s 9 degrees!

As always, co-blogger Branko is working on his list of favourite stories of 2019, which should be online before the year is out.

Thanks to everyone for reading us and sharing the weird and fun news of 24oranges, and Happy Holidays!

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December 24, 2019

Frisian villages have first ever Frisian supermarkets

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 10:47 am


As of 20 December, the villages of Eastermar and Damwoude both have the ‘Dutch’ premiere of opening the first ever Frisian-language supermarkets. The Alles onder één dak (Everything under one roof, in Dutch) in Eastermar and the Albert Heijn in Damwoude have their advertising and signs all in Frisian, thanks to the support of the Afûk foundation that helps promote Frisian language and culture.

Fokke Jagersma of Afûk explains that the products are all in Dutch with Frisian explanations, which is not as exciting as having it all in Frisian for locals and tourists alike. However, the staff speaks Frisian, a language spoken by about 400,000 people in a country of 17.5 million. And apparently, tourists want to see Frisian when they go to the province of Friesland, so who knows what the future may bring. As well, there’s talk of a visit from the Ministry of internal Affairs in February.

(Links: nos.nl, eastermar.nl, Photo by Rupert Ganzer, some rights reserved)

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December 20, 2019

‘Boomer’ is Dutch Word of the Year

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 11:20 am

Dutch dictionary Van Dale has chosen ‘Boomer’ as the Dutch word of the year. Yes, it’s an English word the Dutch have appropriated (like oh so many) and has the same meaning as in English: someone, usually a senior citizen, with old fashioned or conservative views. It’s an abbreviation of ‘baby boomer’, a person born in the years following the World War II, when there was a temporary marked increase in the birth rate.

For the record, this means people born roughly between 1946 and 1964. I say this as 24oranges HQ was created by two folks of Generation X, (aka Gen X), the group after the baby boomers and preceding the Millennials, although Gen Y and Gen Z also get thrown in the mix when referring to younger generations.

The ‘OK Boomer’ meme and expression floating around didn’t go unnoticed in the Netherlands, a hugely anglophile country, but watch where you aim it. If you aim it at anyone older than you, you’ll look the fool once you need ‘our’ help in life, and you already do, which is often the reason for the meme in the first place.

Boomer, which received almost 42% of the votes, took off when a member of parliament in New Zealand targeted it at an older colleague when addressing climate change issues. It spread like wildfire afterwards. Other words – actual Dutch ones – were fashionable words such as ‘klimaatspijbelaar’ (‘skipping school for the climate’, aka someone playing hooky [American English] or playing truant ([British English]) and ‘klimaatdrammer’, a person constantly hammering on about climate change.

Last year’s winner was all about ‘Frisians blocking the motorway’.

(Link: waarmaarraar.nl)

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November 13, 2019

Stereotypes about women and migrants persist in Dutch schoolbooks

Filed under: General,History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 4:06 pm

After analysing 16 mathematics books and 17 Dutch-language textbooks used by secondary school students in their first year, Judi Mesman, a researcher from Leiden and her team concluded that they were full of stereotypes about women and people with an ethnic background. As you might expect, men were in greater numbers, depicted in real jobs like scientist and women were not as present and if so, often doing motherly things.

Let’s get into that one first. Is anybody surprised? Probably not, and it’s an easy fix for the future. It’s also easy to understand and prove that kids are sensitive to subtle messages about sex and stereotypes, shaping their world view. However, the truth is, Dutch society has tons of women working part-time – the highest level of part-time workers in Europe and beyond – and being the main carers of children and the elderly, earning less, and not making a serious enough appearance in the boardroom, let alone in other male-dominated jobs. Is it a stereotype or actual social commentary? And will depicting more equality change a system based on men working full-time and women working part-time, even without having children? I’m not optimistic, but feel free to try. Show men doing housework and being fathers instead of babysitting their own children, and show women doing real full-time jobs, not simply standing in as diversity hires.

As for what the Dutch call ‘non-Western migrants’, implying Turkish, Moroccan and the likes (funny enough including Mexicans, but not the Japanese IIRC – that’s a whole other discussion), they are underrepresented and shown in what we used to call ‘blue collar jobs’ as opposed to ‘white collar jobs’, to use classic stereotypes. Ask someone from Suriname in a good job how many times they’ve been mistaken for the cleaner. Sad but true, this is the reality in the Netherlands, which makes these images closer to reality, and I can imagine more painful than hopeful.

Good on the Dutch for wanting to create books with less stereotypes in them, but then there’s always wonderful authors like Sanne de Bakker who wrote a children’s book on Suriname conflating discrimination with facts or even a colouring book for children featuring Hitler that was casually sold at a Dutch drugstore chain.

Please teach children how to count, so that women can make an effort to be financially independent (still 60% are not) rather than rely on a partner, often a man, who might decide to show their maths skills by paring up with someone who is able and willing to be their equal.

(Links: dutchnews.nl, nos.nl)

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