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:, Photo: DEA)

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April 10, 2020

Oldest known Corona patient, 107-year-old Dutch woman, cured

Filed under: Dutch first,Health,History by Orangemaster @ 2:59 pm

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), The Netherlands’ ‘Tante Cor’ (‘Aunt Cor)’, real name Cornelia Ras from Goeree-Overflakkee, South Holland, is said to be the oldest Corona patient in the world to have been cured of Covid-19. Although the actual age of a number of elderly patients has not been determined, chances are that Tante Cor is the oldest, with a 104-year-old man from Oregon, Unites States coming in second place.

Tante Cor contracted the virus during a church service in her nursing home, now known hotbeds of contamination in many parts of the world. Forty other people were contaminated as well, ten of which have died, sadly not a unique occurrence.

A few other hundred-year-olds in The Netherlands have also recovered: a 101-year-old woman from Capelle aan den IJssel, South Holland as well as a 103-year-old man from Steenbergen, Noord-Brabant.

(Link:, Photo of random old people by Flickr user Freeparking, some rights reserved)

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February 10, 2020

Dutch shortage of medical devices on the horizon

Filed under: Health by Orangemaster @ 11:52 am

After a very long period in 2018 without being able to buy birth control pills due to a situation that was nothing short of a clusterfuck, there’s a looming shortage of medical devices waiting to happen in a few months and it seems many people are going to watch it happen.

Due to newer and stricter European rules that will apply as of May 26, thousands of medical devices people depend on will not be re-approved on time, causing a severe shortage of things like breast implants, artificial hips, knee prostheses, and pacemakers, putting healthcare at risk.

“Manufacturers draw their own line and do not indicate where the problems are. As well, manufacturers blame the inspection authorities. In the end, the patient may become the victim.” explains Ad Melkert of the Dutch Hospitals Association. In the Netherlands Melkert is synonymous with ‘Melkert jobs’, make-work projects that were meant to provide certain social classes with ‘busy work’.

“The products need a lot of certifications and there are too few organizations that can deliver that,” explains Erik Vollebregt of Amsterdam law firm Axon, representing medical companies struggling with the regulations. “Smaller manufacturers in particular are the victims. Large manufacturers are given priority over the small ones. It leads to preferential treatment for manufacturers who are willing to pay more for timely approval.”

I think the victims will be people, but what do I know.


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October 26, 2019

The Netherlands still a major drug hub

Filed under: Health by Orangemaster @ 11:09 am

According to a study published this week, The Netherlands makes the top of the list for the highest rate of MDMA (aka x, xtc, ecstasy and molly) use. The study is the ‘largest wastewater‐based epidemiology study ever performed in terms of cities (120) and countries (37) involved and of the monitoring duration (2011–17).’ Scientists from around the world sampled wastewater for drug residue, which is said to be an increasingly popular method to track patterns in the global illicit drug market over the past decade.

Different places have different favourites as well. Results showed that overall drug use was most prevalent cities such as Antwerp, Amsterdam, Zurich, London, and Barcelona, while cities in Greece, Portugal, Finland, Poland, and Sweden had the lowest rates of drug residue in wastewater. I bet the latter drink instead, but that’s an uneducated guess. And there’s no denying that people do come to Amsterdam to do drugs despite any city marketing spin to the contrary.

Cocaine was most popular in London, Bristol, Amsterdam, Zurich, Geneva, St Gallen, and Antwerp. While the Netherlands had the highest rates of MDMA use, the drug was also popular in Helsinki, Oslo, Brussels, Dortmund, Zagreb, Zurich, Geneva, and Barcelona.

Not only is the use of MDMA a public health issue, the amount of chemical dumping that apparently goes on in Noord-Brabant is terrible for the environment. Basically, anybody taking MDMA is also indirectly contributing to this problem. The study also states that MDMA use was big in Eindhoven, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

More background on why the Netherlands is a drug hub:

‘The Netherlands is the cocaine hub of Europe’

Dutch cities do well as drug capitals

(Link:, Photo: DEA)

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September 3, 2019

‘Wonder phone’ plays music for dementia sufferers

Filed under: Health,Music by Orangemaster @ 12:09 pm

Eighteen-year-old Dutchman Niek van Weeghel together with collaborators Herbert van Til and Peter Fidder have modified some 55 old fashioned dial telephone to play songs for the elderly suffering from dementia.

“It’s nice to see how the elderly react when they pick up the ‘wonder phone’, Van Weeghel explains. “First, they are quiet and then you see that they recognised the song. Then they sing their hearts out along to it.”

A person picks up the phone, dials a number (something, if we believe YouTube, kids don’t even understand because they’ve only seen mobile phone) and then hears a song they would recognise from their younger days.

The team is also collecting old phones to make more wonder phones, which now costs about 30 euro each to make. And since it hit the media, many homes have asked to get their hands on some.

There are about 280,000 people suffering from some type of dementia in the Netherlands. In 25 years this figure is expected to reach more than 500,000.

Maybe they can also make phones that play music from other cultures for specific people.

(Link:, Photo: Photo by Macinate, some rights reserved)

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July 30, 2019

Dutch cable installers save lives with AEDs

Filed under: Health by Orangemaster @ 11:26 am

This past year, installers of Dutch cable company Ziggo who drive around with Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in their vans and know how to use them have been able to respond to 50 emergency calls while working. With some 75 installers able to assist the emergency services, they assisted 30 times, either reanimating or keeping people away from the victims so that paramedics can do their job.

In practice, paramedics are not always able to get to people in the first few moments which is crucial, while an ambulance ride is at least 10 minutes. On occasion, a cable installer can actually help, as they can be reached by WhatsApp.

Despite me not being a fan of the cable company, I have to say this is a nice initiative that very much deserves to be mentioned. Since Wi-Fi is seen more and more as a lifeline, Ziggo was smart to combine Wi-Fi with having AEDs at the ready and personnel trained to use them.

According to the Dutch heart foundation Hartstichting, about 17,000 people have heart attacks outside hospitals, the amount of citizens who can help in such situations rose by a third to 225,000, and the amount of available AEDs has increased by more than 45% to almost 18,000. Trained citizens arrive 2.5 minutes earlier to scenes than emergency services and can start reanimation right away, saving lives.

(Link:, Photo by Jacek Szymański, some rights reserved)

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June 12, 2019

Educated Dutch men drink the most

Filed under: Food & Drink,Health by Orangemaster @ 9:06 pm

Every country seems to have different guidelines as to what people should and should not drink. In the Netherlands last year, 4 out of 10 Dutch people heeded the advice of the Dutch Health Council to not have more than one glass (no idea of the quantity or the unit) of alcohol a day.

Last year some 80.4% of all Dutch adults drank alcohol, with highly educated men drinking the most. Out of the highly educated, 7 out of 10 Dutch people didn’t follow the Health Council advice, while for folks with a lower level of education, it was 5 out of 10. The older Dutch people are, the more they follow the council’s advice.

Dutch men drink more excessively on a regular basis than women: 14 glasses a week for women and 21 for men. Again, no clue how much alcohol is in a glass. Heavy drinking is seen as at least 4 glasses a day for women and 6 glasses a day for men. Four or even six glasses is a night down the pub for me, but then not every day or even every week or month.

According to this illustration, the excessive drinkers are aged 20-24 and 65-74, while the heavy drinkers are 20-24 followed by 18-19. I’m guessing the older ones are retired – good on them.

I drink less than I used to, but I have to say the cheap price of alcohol in general lets me drink more than I did in Canada. You can buy half a litre of beer for € 0,50 and a litre of wine for € 1,50. Granted, it’s not the good stuff.


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June 8, 2019

Amsterdam to get a drugs museum

Filed under: Dutch first,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 8:46 pm

Poppi is slated to be the first-ever drugs museum of The Netherlands in Amsterdam.

According to the founders, the country does not have a public institution which offers low-threshold education on drug policy and addiction. Misconceptions about drugs are widespread, and the story of drugs is not black and white.

Poppi plans to engage visitors and inform them from different perspectives. They want people to form an opinion about drugs based on knowledge and facts, and not just on emotions as is often the case.

For anyone in Amsterdam this month, you can find out more Poppi and donate all while having drinks at on June 16 where Poppi will be presenting its project.

Find out more about Poppi in this video:

(Link:, Photo: DEA)

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March 12, 2019

Dutch doctors’ assistants victims of daily violence

Filed under: General,Health by Orangemaster @ 10:51 am

According to the Dutch association for doctors’ assistants NVDA, some 62% of doctors’ assistants were faced with violence over the past two years, based on a survey among nearly a thousand members. Incidents included spitting, hitting, kicking, vandalism, being threatened with an ax, knife or firearm. and a host of verbal threats, such as ‘I’ll wait until you finish your shift’ over the phone. The NVDA says threats of all kinds are a daily occurrence from patients that are clearly frustrated about not being served as they expected to be served.

Only 11% of the doctors’ assistants involve the police in the threats. The reasons are the assistants don’t quite know if that’s something other assistants do or even how to react. Some measures being taken include making sure the support staff is behind a glass wall rather than at a reception counter. As well, it might help for patients to know what a doctors’ assistant actually does, possibly reducing the number of complaints as well since people often want to be treated fast enough as they have taken time work often and don’t want to wait.

I very much like my doctor’s office and my doctor. My only complaint is that the assistant (in my case often a receptionist with no medical training) asks me what the problem is, but then also starts giving me their opinion or asking me what I’ve done to alleviate the problem upon which I tell them that’s why I want to see a doctor. If I wanted to talk to someone unqualified I could also keep talking to myself or use Google, but of course, I don’t tell them that. As well, it’s well known that in the Netherlands, the receptionist and/or assistant are trying to dissuade people from seeing the doctor to keep waiting times down, but often this only helps create more frustration.

Any Dutch doctors, nurses, etc. in the house? Feel free to weigh in!


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February 19, 2019

Gym refuses man with service dog: he’s not blind

Filed under: Animals,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 2:15 pm

A gym in Wormeveer, North Holland has refused entry to a client with PTSD and his service dog simply because the man is not blind. The gym client is a former local neighbourhood agent that suffers from PTSD as a result of having dealt with many life-threatening situations, including trying and sadly failing to save children from a burning house.

His PTSD meant the end of his career, but going to the gym should not be a stressful situation. The dog is welcome everywhere else he goes, and yes, he has filed a complaint of discrimination. Before it went that far, the man and the gym owner discussed the situation, but the owner wouldn’t budge.

Service dogs are sometimes denied entry to businesses by mistake, simply because business owners don’t know the law. However, if someone has a service dog, it’s usually for a damn good reason, and they don’t have to be blind to get one. The dog is trained much in the same way and it taught to stay calm, so the only issue is the owner’s reluctance.

And this, folks, is how you lose clients.

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

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