An enormous cliff wall on the planet Mercury has been given a Dutch name. NASA named the cliff after the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship Duyfken, the first European ship to reach Australia in 1606. The Duyfken cliff is 500 kilometres long and lies in the southern hemisphere of Mercury.
For the big fans, you can look at hundreds of pictures of Mercury and I bet you one of them could contain the Duyfken.
(Links: www.dutchnews.nl, www.nasa.gov)
Tags: Duyfken, Mercury, VOC
Jip Moors and his father Holly went to the volunteer-run botanical garden in Haren and asked each volunteer what their favourite spot was. This led to an album of 16 photos by Jip Moors. Father Holly interviewed the volunteers and wrote the accompanying text.
The hortus botanica features amongst others a Chinese garden, a rock garden, an apple orchard and a bamboo forest.
The Hortus Haren was founded in 1626 in Groningen by pharmacist Henry Munting out of necessity—colleagues sent him plants from all over Europe and he needed a place to put them. Munting’s knowledge of plants grew enormously and at 1654 at age 71 he even became the first botany professor of the republic. Later, the Muntings had to sell the garden to the state because they couldn’t afford the upkeep, but they were hired for generations to tend the garden.
In 1917 the garden was moved to the nearby town of Haren because it was getting too big. The owners wanted to add new greenhouses for which there was no room at the inner city location. Currently the garden occupies 200,000 square metres.
(Photo: Jip Moors)
Tags: gardens, Groningen, Haren, Holly Moors, Jip Moors, pharmacy
This gold Canta microcar has been driving all over Amsterdam the past few days; I myself spotted it on Olympiaplein in Amsterdam just when Orangemaster and I returned home from the Queen’s Day vrijmarkt.
This microcar has been made to look like the the Gold Coach, a carriage owned by the royal family. I don’t know who made this ‘copy’. It could be some kind of publicity stunt, but Cantas are notoriously difficult to acquire unless you are disabled—the manufacturer only sells to the disabled.
The Canta microcar is by law one of only two brands of cars that are allowed to drive on bicycle paths and pavements..
The Gold Coach was given by the citizens of Amsterdam as a present to Queen Wilhelmina in 1898 for her inauguration. It is still in use today for transporting members of the royal family to formal events. Today Willem-Alexander of the house of Orange-Nassau became king of the Netherlands after his mother Beatrix abdicated, but he did not use the Gold Coach.
See also: Queen’s Day 2012
Tags: Canta, Gold Coach, Queen's Day
Remembrance of the Dead on 4 May is respected to commemorate all kinds of civilians and soldiers who died in WWII, Dutch or foreign, but since the 1960s it has also included other wars and major conflicts. And like last year, the controversies are starting up again.
The town of Bronckhorst, Gelderland, near the German border wanted to commemorate German soldiers buried in nearby Vorden last year, but the courts shot them down at the very last minute. However, the town has won its appeal and can celebrate as they see fit, providing it is done ‘with care’. They plan on having an alderman walk along the German graves to commemorate, well, Nazis.
I still believe that paying tribute to Nazis is blurring the lines between the good guys and the bad guys of WWII solely to provoke and get media attention. Younger generations, including myself, are not old enough to grasp the intensity and damage of war in Europe at that time, and to act like everybody was a victim today is extremely distasteful at the very least.
As well, much like the run of comments we had about good things the Nazis did and a neighbourhood built for Nazis in Heerlen, Limburg, sure it’s allowed to talk about anything in a free country including Hitler and Nazis, but we don’t have to approve of what Bronckhorst is doing.
Tags: Germans, Nazism, Vorden, WWII
A letter written by Napoleon Bonaparte 200 years ago has been found in an antique shop in the small town of Ermelo, Gelderland. It was written to General Auguste De Marmont, Napoleon’s adjutant, praising him for the building of the Pyramid of Austerlitz in Woudenberg, a tribute to Napoleon.
Apparently, it is the only letter in which Napoleon mentions the Dutch monument. The letter will be put up for auction eventually. Last December, another letter written by Napoleon in 1812 fetched 150.000 euro.
(Link: www.omroepgelderland.nl, Photo of Pyramid of Austerlitz by evil nickname, some rights reserved)
Tags: Austerlitz, Ermelo, Gelderland, Napoleon
After almost 21 years, someone is finally going to film a fictional story about Amsterdam’s world famous ‘Bijlmer disaster’ (‘Bijlmerramp’), where an Israeli cargo plane taking off from Schiphol Airport crashed into two blocks of flats and killed some 40 odd people, wounding many more. The ‘Bijlmer disaster’ is known as the worst aviation disaster in the history of the country.
The plot of the film entitled “Into Thin Air” by Dutch executive producer Maarten van der Ven will be a 50 minute film about a 50-year-old man living in one of the flats whose wife has died. One day a 13-year-old (we don’t know if it is a girl or boy) comes to live with him from Ghana, and just when his life gets better, the plane crashes into their flat.
On 13 April 1999 I came to live in the Netherlands in the flat right in front of this monument, unaware of the entire story. The next day on April 14 while I was unpacking my things with major jetlag, a local camera crew came to the door and asked me in Dutch what I thought of the report on the Bijlmer disaster, which had taken seven years to investigate. I didn’t speak Dutch back then so I just nodded and shooed them away. When my Dutch roommate got home, I told him about the camera crew and he took me to see this tree, the ‘tree that saw it all’, and explained to me what had happened.
(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Bijlmer disaster memorial by harry_nl, some rights reserved)
Tags: Bijlmer disaster, Schiphol Airport
A 10-meter-high statue of ‘our friend’ Lenin has been adorning downtown Assen since last November, as promotion for the exhibition The Soviet Myth currently featured at the Drents Museum.
Now that the future king Willem-Alexander will be visiting Assen in late May, the statue is in the way, as it blocks a big part of downtown used for big events like the famous TT motor race. And let’s face it, Lenin has surely killed the buzz of many a party in the past so he can surely make himself scarce again for some royals. (Someone please notice all the historical references crammed into that one sentence).
A huge statue that apparently weighs 17,000 kilos has not only become a royal eyesore, but its placement has been controversial from day one. Responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people if not more, a ‘Stalin light’ if you will, having a statue of Lenin around is seen by many as just plain gross, although I do get the fascination factor. I wonder if any Dutch museum would do the same if Stalin or even Hitler were featured.
(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of Lenin in Ukraine by covilha, some rights reserved)
Tags: Assen, Drenthe, Lenin, Stalin, statue
This video from 1953 shows an advertisement for an outdoors salt water wave pool called Bad Boekelo.
The film is called Zee op de Heide, ‘Sea on the moor’, which is ironic because Boekelo near Enschede is about as far away to the east of the North Sea as possible in the Netherlands. The video describes the wave pool from about 2 minutes in: “An ingenious construction with two mechanically moving doors creates a real surf.” The hotel was built to give the business people dealing with the nearby salt industry a place to stay, and filling the pool with the salt from nearby salterns must have been a nice gimmick.
The hotel still exists, but the wave pool (which was built around 1934) has been turned into a pond. The name of the salt company, then called Koninklijke Nederlandse Zoutindustrie, still survives in the KZ of Akzo Nobel.
Note that completely by accident this has become the third posting in a row where I describe the demise of a notable pool or resort in the Netherlands.
(Video: Youtube / Historisch Centrum Overijssel. Image: still from the video.)
Tags: advertisements, Boekelo, hotels, swimming pools, videos, wave pools
The Kurhaus Hotel in Scheveningen near The Hague is bankrupt, Omroep West writes.
The hotel is owned by seven anonymous private investors who bought it in 2004 for 46 million euro and is run by the German Steigenberger Hotel Group. At the time the purchase was supervised by Willem Endstra, who was accused of being banker to the underworld and who was murdered shortly after. Steigenberger has denied that there are financial problems and has declared that business will go on as usual, according to Misset Horeca.
Meanwhile the nearby pleasure pier, another icon of seaside resort Scheveningen, is also heading towards bankruptcy. The curator has decided to put the pier up for auction. It is currently owned by known tax evaders Van der Valk Hotels who bought it for 1 euro in 1991 of insurer Nationale Nederlanden who wanted to get rid of it because of the high maintenance costs, NRC writes.
The origin of Scheveningen is hidden in the mists of time, but towns with names ending in -inge originate from the 10th and 11th century according to Wikipedia. As the nearby The Hague turned from the hunting lodge of the counts of Holland to the seat of the government of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, the fishing community of Scheveningen grew. In 1665 the two towns were connected by a paved road and from 1800 onwards Scheveningen developed into a seaside resort with hotels and villas being built to the northeast of the harbour.
In 1884 the Kurhaus was built, a hotel which doubled as a spa. The Kurhaus was connected to the pier via a bridge. (In World War II the original pier burned down—a new pier was built a bit further up North in 1959.)
According to history blog Geschiedenismeisjes, Kurhaus was still an icon of tremendous luxury at the start of the 20th century. During World War I, in which the Netherlands managed to stay neutral, the hotel was the location of a culture clash between new and old money. A group of people who had gotten rich during the war, the so-called ‘oorlogswinstmakers’ (war profiteers) flaunted their wealth in Scheveningen. And in 1919 a labour law was passed that made leisure time for workers obligatory—the hours that a person should work per day were limited to 8 and the Sunday would be a day off. This brought spending time at the beach suddenly within the reach of the working classes.
(Photo by MichielJelijs, some rights reserved)
Tags: counts of Holland, Holland, Kurhaus, money, Pier, resorts, Scheveningen, seaside resorts, spas, The Hague, wealth
In addition to a year chocked full of serious cultural activities that feature the Russian-Dutch connection, 24oranges proudly presents some articles you might have missed that have a bit of the Russian soul in them as well:
1. ’50 years of human space flight’ out now
Dutch-Canadian writer Steve Korver has this obssession with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin that will suck you in as well.
2. Russian goes free thanks to Google translation error
It reads like a bad Russian joke and it reminds us all that a real translator beats a human being any day of the week.
3. Dutch Eurovision entry: cultural suicide
Dutch Eurovision’s entry in 2010 was a flop from the get-go and mentioned Leningrad, which was the name of the Russian city of Saint-Petersburg between 1924 and 1991.
4. Hiddink not happy with vodka named after him
We have lots of vodka-related stories, but this one was a good one. Hiddink’s spokesperson said that he never wanted to be associated with tobacco, alcohol or sex, so I guess that means vodka as well.
5. Maybe the Dutch king should have a beard
Once you get past the actual story, there’s a nice educational bit about Peter The Great taxing men with beards and his historical role in changing the Russian alphabet.
Tags: Hiddink, Moscow, Russia, Russian, Saint-Petersburg, translation, vodka