After getting the local press to write about him, Ton van Wingerden, 74, managed to cause a run on coffee grinders at the local Blokker (household goods shop) in Goeree-Overflakkee. An employee told Hart van Nederland they’re “selling six coffee grinders a week, which is a lot for such a device.”
Van Wingerden’s miracle cure is the powder of ground oyster shells. It’s not quite clear from the original article what the powder is supposed to heal, as with all alternative medicine it appears to heal everything the sufferer believes it will heal. Also unclear is why the national press is picking up on this now considering the original story ran last spring. Other methods for crushing oyster shells as reported to Van Wingerden were walking over them in clogs, squashing them between the jaws of a vise or wrapping them in a tea cloth and then hitting them with a hammer.
Goerree-Overflakee is one of the staunchest Christian bulwarks in the Dutch bible belt and is the southernmost part of the province of South Holland. It also borders on Lake Grevelingen where oysters are cultivated.
(Photo by Suzette Pauwels, some rights reserved)
Tags: Goeree-Overflakkee, oysters
In 2011 Amsterdam challenged and eventually won in high court the right to designate certain areas as as non-pot smoking zones. Rotterdam recently challenged the law as well and has also won its case. If smoking pot in these areas is deemed unsafe, then it becomes a matter of public order and can be legally enforced, as long as the cities take this up in their local public ordinance.
The reason why this wasn’t cut and dry was that the Opium Law governing soft drugs basically states that marijuana is illegal, again something many people still don’t know because the law is willfully ignored. And since marijuana is illegal you can’t forbid it again, as that would be crazy talk.
However, due to the oddness of the Dutch situation both cities now have a workaround. Stopping people from smoking altogether is often enough, but in many places people are allowed to smoke outside, regardless of how funny their cigarette smells.
(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of No-blow (and no drinking) sign by Erik Joling, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, law, marijuana, pot, Rotterdam, smoking
If you want to taste the best food in the world, look no further than the Netherlands, a new report claims.
There is a snag (isn’t there always?). The report was written by international aid organisation and poverty fighters Oxfam and they did not look at how good our restaurants are, nor did they look at what our dishes taste. As an organisation that tries to combat hunger among other things, their goal was to determine in which country (from a list of 125) citizens had the best access to “plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable” food.
The core questions Oxfam looked at were whether people had enough to eat, food was affordable, diets were diverse, people had access to both clean and safe water and how unhealthy people ate.
Dutchnews writes: “European countries occupy the entire top 20 bar one – Australia ties in 8th place—while the US, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Canada all fall outside. African countries occupy all the bottom 30 places in the table except for four—Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.”
Der Spiegel thinks the top ranking for the Netherlands is hilarious: “specialities like bitterballen, fried breadcrumbed balls containing a ragout, will excite neither gourmets nor advocates of healthy living.” (Bitterballen are small, round krokets that are served as bar snacks, usually with mustard.)
(Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway, some rights reserved)
Tags: bitterballen, diets, hunger, krokets, obesity, Oxfam, poverty
A tattoo artist from Amsterdam is offering a service of preserving your tattoos after you die, Mirror reports:
Tattoo shop owner Peter van der Helm says around 30 clients have already agreed to donate their skin to his company, the “Walls and Skin” tattoo parlour, after they die and have each paid a few hundred euro to have their inked designs made immortal.
After their deaths, a pathologist will remove the tattoo to freeze or package in it formaldehyde – ideally within 48 hours – before it is sent to a lab for a procedure to extract water and replace it with silicone.
Van der Helm told Parool that he got the idea because of Johnny Depp who is supposed to have said that his body should go to a museum after his death. The tattoo artist says “I am so going to get into trouble with this. I’ve practically talked to everybody these past months, the Netherlands Forensic Institute, lawyers, the health department, but nobody gave me a straight answer [about the legality of preserving tattoos].”
To take your order the Walls and Skin parlour requires a hand written letter in which you state you want your tattoo to be preserved by them and displayed in future expositions.
(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)
Tags: body art, death, tattoos
In 2011, we were still wondering whether the Dutch population was happy or not. On the list of world’s happiest countries in 2012 and 2013 (PDF) the Netherlands was fourth. However, researchers at University of Queensland in Australia have recently mapped the rates of depression around the world, and some results are surprising:
“The burden is highest in Afghanistan and in Middle Eastern and North African countries, as well as in Eritrea, Rwanda, Botswana, Gabon, Croatia, the Netherlands (!) and Honduras.”
I didn’t add the exclamation mark. Apparently, there are no obvious reasons why the Dutch population is depressed, only guesses: the weather (what about Belgium, the UK, etc.), going through a crisis (stress), not admitting you’re actually depressed (shame) and my personal favourite, readily available antidepressants to anybody feeling a bit blue. If 16% of the Dutch population is depressed and possibly on drugs to ‘feel’ happy, then yes, that’s depression, not happiness.
And actually since all of this is opinion and the research was not a survey of how people feel, the exclamation mark seems warranted.
(Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)
Tags: Australia, depression, happiness
Dr. Corrie is a fictional character who talks on public TV to 10- and 11-year-olds about topics such as how to French kiss, what it’s like to be in love, what to do when you’ve got an unwanted erection, and so on.
She uses a lot of humour and I think this is why a group of ‘concerned parents’ has started a website called Stop Dokter Corrie!—the show normalizes sexuality and there are people who don’t want that. The action committee believes it’s not the government’s task to raise children. The group claims it is not tied to any religion, so it must be especially painful for them that only Christian media seem to be spreading their message.
All episodes have a famous Dutch person talking about some early experience with love or sex. Dokter Corrie is played by comedian Martine Sandifort.
An example of an episode that the group objects to is the one about kissing. The broadcaster’s description says “it is important that you only start with kissing when you are ready. Don’t do it just because somebody else wants you to.” Children seem to like the show.
(Photo: screenshot of the show from YouTube)
Tags: elementary, sex education, sexuality
Two years ago the Dutch ALS Foundation (ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in North America) started a bold advertising campaign to call attention to the disease.
The campaign consists of portraits of ALS sufferers on posters and in videos. New ads are released only after the model has died. The caption printed on the posters, “ik ben inmiddels overleden”, means “by now I have died”.
In 2010 the foundation made portraits of 9 patients which it expects to distribute in the next few years. It generally takes 3 to 5 years from the onset of the first ALS symptoms to the death of a patient. In 2011 the campaign kicked off after two patients had died, a woman called Conny Deenik and former hockey player and Olympian Theodoor Doyer (photo).
There is no cure for ALS. The disease causes nerves to die, after which the respiratory system breaks down.
(Photo and story: Adformatie / Stichting ALS Nederland)
Tags: advertisements, advertising, advertizing, ALS, hockey, posters, Theodoor Doyer
People posing as doctors and people who have set up fictitious health care institutions have been defrauding Dutch health care insurers out of millions of euros by submitting false invoices for services never rendered.
The fraud is apparently childishly easy to commit using the personal codes of practicing physicians that have been ‘lending out’ the right to use their code to crooks for a piece of the action. However, the whole practice was uncovered when a woman in Rotterdam defrauding the system got caught using the code of a doctor who just happened to be in jail at the time. Some crooks have gone so far as to use the codes of doctors who are retired and even deceased.
According to just one health insurer who claims to have hundreds of these cases, this could be the biggest form of fraud in the entire country. The company responsible for handing out the codes does not do any checking after it a code has been given, making it easy to defraud health care institutions who are in fact responsible for reporting any fraudulent use of the codes.
It’s one thing for crooks to piggyback on the personal codes of doctors, which makes us point fingers at the total lack of security related to these codes, but it makes me really uncomfortable to know that doctors are actually joining in to this fraud to make some quick cash.
Tags: doctors, fraud, physicians
City governments are pressuring single mothers to reveal the name of the fathers of their children, so that they can then force said fathers into paying some sort of alimony, Dutchnews reported last Friday.
Apparently a man from Rotterdam, Eric van Deurzen, was ordered by a court to pay either the city or the mother 486 euro a month. (If I am being vague it’s because my sources are.) Volkskrant quotes two law professors, Paul Vlaardingerbroek and André Nuytinck, as saying that only the mother can bring suit.
Professor Nuytinck told Gelderlander that this also puts certain kinds of sperm donors in a tough situation: “Sperm donors who haven’t gone through a sperm bank may have difficulty proving that they did not conceive the child. For conception [as a legal term--Branko] there needs to have been intercourse.”
Since everybody is being so incredibly vague I had to do my own homework here.
Title 17 of Book 1 of the Dutch Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek) states that “he who conceives a child that only has a mother [...] is obliged to contribute to the cost of rearing and caring for the child until it reaches the age of majority [...].” Although the law does differentiate between a father, a conceiver (verwekker) and a donor, it does not state that there is a difference between a donor and a conceiver when it comes to financial responsibility for raising a child.
Several websites and professor Nuytinck do make that distinction though, which leads me to believe that there must be a separate, more specific law detailing the rights and responsibilities of sperm donors somewhere. Not all the cost of artificial insemination are covered by basic health insurance and in 2010, a lesbian couple was refused treatment by a hospital in Leiden.
The law I quoted above seems to have especially dire consequences for gay couples. The partner who is not the parent only has rights if they’ve gone through official, sometimes homophobic channels and the donor has expressed the wish to remain pseudo-anonymous (in the Netherlands a child always has the right to know its father once it turns 16).
It is still not clear to me why a municipal government would have standing in a case where they ask for the determination of fatherhood.
(Photo by Gniliep, some rights reserved)
Tags: children, conception, fathers, gay parents, gay rights, human rights, IVF, legal standing, mothers, parenthood, parenting, single mothers, sperm, sperm donors
A study commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment revealed that accidents with mobility scooters involve tipping in 70% of cases.
Plus Online wrote yesterday that 20% of these falls was due to inclines, bumps in the road and the likes, while 14% was due to driver error and 7% because the driver took a turn.
The cause of accidents with mobility scooters has become more relevant as the use of mobility scooters in the Netherlands has increased from 150,000 in 2006 to 250,000 in 2012.
The union for the elderly, ANBO, told Telegraaf yesterday that municipalities should provide training to new users of mobility scooters. Project leader Liesbeth Boerwinkel told the paper that matters such as braking and accelerating are confusing: “You need to squeeze the handle to accelerate, but people are used to bicycles with hand brakes. That is one source of problems.”
Both ANBO and traffic safety organisation Veilig Verkeer Nederland have their doubts about making training mandatory. A spokesperson for VVN points out that enforcing training “would be a reason for many people to not to use a mobility scooter in the first place. That would limit their freedom whereas we want to keep people mobile for as long as possible.”
The city of Purmerend recently offered a mobility scooter course to 450 people, Dichtbij writes. One third of them took the city up on its offer. During a two-hour workshop participants had to drive over an obstacle course that contained bumpy surfaces and sharp turns and where they had to practice stopping on an incline and parking.
The workshop was provided by scooter seller Harting-Bank who are in favour of making training mandatory—surprise, surprise!
(Photo by Facemepls, some rights reserved)
Tags: accidents, elderly, mobility scooters, safety