January 24, 2021

Film about ‘homesick’ stone brought back to Finland

Filed under: Art,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:42 pm

I recently asked a friend who is big on documentaries if they had any viewing suggestions, and I was told I should watch the 2019 Dutch documentary ‘Bart en de steen die terug naar huis ging’ (‘Bart and the stone that went back home’). It’s the story of artist Bart Eysink Smeets who took a dolmen stone from Borger, Drenthe back to its original home on the Åland Islands, a unique part of Finland where Swedish is the main language.

Filmed by Bart’s brother Tom, we get to watch Bart’s process in finding the right stone in Borger, Drenthe, the Dutch city with the most dolmens. The film is a combination of bureaucracy, up and downs, weirdness, and humour. The way to Åland is a fun road trip as well and you might get attached to the stone while you watch.

As I want to keep this spoiler-free, watch it if you can understand enough Dutch and/or with Dutch subtitles. There’s some English, Drents (dialect) and Swedish as well.

(Link: nrc.nl, image: still from the film)

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January 16, 2021

Sailing from Rotterdam to Amsterdam (time-lapse video)

Filed under: Architecture,Film,History,Nature,Photography by Branko Collin @ 4:22 pm

In 2013 Shell had to transport an eight-story metal building from Rotterdam to Amsterdam.

They hired a company called The Timewriters to create a time-lapse video of the transport, which has now been released in glorious 4K format on YouTube, accompanied by a beautiful, if somewhat ill-fitting Dvořák piece.

The day-long journey begins on the Nieuwe Maas river near the Feijenoord neighbourhood in Rotterdam, then goes past Gouda, Alphen aan de Rijn and Schiphol Airport to end in Amsterdam. If it hadn’t been dark by then, you might even have been able to see my house at 9:14.

This is worth watching for the bridges alone.

And then you come back a second time for the places you know and a third time to figure out how and why the Dutch created their environment the way they did.

Also check out the comments on YouTube, lots of insights from people who recognise certain types of trains, planes and places.

(Source: YouTube / The Timewriters)

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November 30, 2020

Why do old windmills turn left and new ones turn right?

Filed under: Architecture,General,History,Nature by Orangemaster @ 2:37 pm

Every once in a while it’s good to ask ourselves some deep questions, and this one popped up as news recently. Why do old Dutch windmills turn left and newer ones turn right? It has nothing to do with the wind or with most millers being right-handed – let’s get that out of the way now.

The material that older blades are made from provide a more precise explanation. The two rods that form a cross to which the blades are attached are made from a tree trunk. As it was growing and needed sun to do so, the trunk would rotate to the right because the sun rises in the East, then moves to the South and sets in the West, and the tree would follow.

By turning the blades to the left, counter-clockwise, it would turn avoid splintering the wood. The wood needs to be super solid and ideally be of high quality, which could sometimes come from trees that grow very straight in forests, but not all the time.

Taking physics into account, there is no reason why modern-day windmills should have a preferred rotation direction. For example, wind turbines are manufactured in factories that use the same type and angle of blades, making them standardised and so they turn the same way – to the right. They could all be made to turn left if for some reason the world decided to do so.

Old Dutch windmills were not standardised and unique, which makes them nice to visit.

(Link: nu.nl)

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September 7, 2020

Dutch efforts are retrieving the downed RAF BK716 bomber

Filed under: Aviation,History by Orangemaster @ 2:14 pm

After about 12 years of wondering what happened to the missing British Short Stirling Bomber BK716, it was finally found at the bottom of the Markermeer lake, near Amsterdam. In 2020 we’ve also learned that the remains of the seven airmen who went missing aboard this aircraft during World War II are still on board.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary in the United Kingdom said the Bomber Command Museum of Canada had asked it for help tracking down living relatives of Sergeant Charles Armstrong Bell of Langley Park, County Durham, one of the seven airmen. The relatives of the six other crew members have also been found, although their names have not been revealed.

The BK716 was lost when returning from a bombing raid in Germany in 1943, and first discovered in 2008 when a piece of its landing gear latched onto the anchor of a stranded boat. Experts had long believed that the aircraft was another Short Stirling, the BK710, after examining an aluminium panel. Later, however, a cigarette case and a wooden mascot brought on a new investigation that made the BK716 a more likely candidate.

The defence ministry and a private contractor started retrieving the wreckage of the BK716 on 31 August, with an engine part confirming that it is the BK716. After six weeks, the dredging will have been completed and hopefully we’ll hear all the historical details. For context, the Markermeer is a 700 km² lake that is in fact shallow at 3 to 5 m in depth, while the area the plane parts are being found cover 75 m².

(Links: dutchnews.nl, bbc.com, Photo of a different plane, the Short S 31 Half Scale Stirling by, most probably, the Imperial War Museum)

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August 21, 2020

Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium removes misinterpreted statue

Filed under: Art,History,Religion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

Much in the same way that the swastika went from being a religious symbol to being a Nazi one, the official olympic salute with extended arm stopped being used after WWII because it resembled the ‘Hitler greeting’.

That being said, the statue by The Hague sculptor Gra Hueb at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium was inaugurated in 1928 for the Olympic Games in Amsterdam and had nothing to do with the Nazis. It was placed in honour of Baron Van Tuyll van Serooskerken, the first chairman of the Dutch Olympic Committee who successfully brought the Games to the Netherlands. The stadium is not too far from 24 Oranges HQ and is still in use.

As a sign of the times – for better or worse – historians and the Olympic Stadium folks decided to remove it and place it somewhere else in the stadium instead of prominently at the entrance.

(Link and photo: parool.nl)

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June 25, 2020

New wharf cellars discovered in Utrecht

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first,History by Orangemaster @ 11:58 am

According to Utrecht city council, some previously unknown 60 wharf cellars have been discovered in the city’s centre. The council says that there are some 200 addresses with cellars of which the state of disrepair is unknown and that they are planning to look at more closely. An inspection should provide the best possible idea of the state of wharves in the city and what preventive and safety measures are needed.

Covid permitting (always check first), visitors can take a walking tour of canals and wharf cellars. As well, this latest discovery could make the tours even more exciting.

According to Wikipedia, Utrecht has 732 wharf cellars built around 1150. They were originally used as storage and other spaces for goods to be transported over water. One cool fact about them is that they can be found under roads.

(Link: www.rtvutrecht.n, Photo of Utrecht Nieuwegracht wharf by Japiot, some rights reserved)

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May 4, 2020

Wartime art: one hundred chairs for one hundred victims

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 5:44 pm

At the end of WWII, 140 men were shot by the German occupiers at Rozenoord in Amsterdam South district, many of which were resistance fighters. The history of Rozenoord is particularly painful since the men were shot so close the liberation.

Located in the Amstelpark in Amsterdam South district, the Rozenoord monument saw the light of day thanks to an initiative of local residents. Artist Ram Katzir designed the new monument to give all the victims a worthy memorial place. Instead of one monument for 100 people Katzir gave every person their own monument.

Anchored in cement with names on plaques, one hundred chairs are spread out over a green space as if they were barely sat in and positioned randomly. However, the chairs were actually placed according to information about the way the victims were shot. There’s also plaques for those who could not be identified.

The space between the chairs invites visitors to walk around and see who these people were. They can also be sat on, as the piece is meant to be interactive. By sitting down, one can see the other ‘victims’ around them, turning the visitors into participants.

(Link and photo: monument-rozenoord.nl)

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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: nu.nl, Photo of random old people by Flickr user Freeparking, some rights reserved)

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March 11, 2020

Van Gogh goes for 15 million euro in Maastricht

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 4:36 pm

‘Peasant woman in front of a farmhouse’ (‘Paysanne devant une chaumière’ in French), an 1885 work by Vincent van Gogh that was bought back in the 1960s in the UK for about 5 euro, just sold for 15 million euro at the world’s premier art fair TEFAF in Maastricht, Limburg.

It’s one of those stories were someone had left the painting in a cellar for years until a local antique merchant bought it at an auction for next to nothing. One year later, the painting was sold to a journalist for about 53 euro; he showed it the Tate Gallery director and it was deemed to be a Van Gogh. The journalist then auctioned it off in 1970 at Sotheby’s in New York City where it fetched USD 110.000 (97.455 euro).

In 2001 the work was sold for the last time at Sotheby’s for 1.5 million euro. Today, at 15 million euro, it’s the most expensive artwork ever sold at the TEFAF, although not all sales at the annual event are made public.

(Link: ad.nl, image artnet.com)

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February 19, 2020

Vintage Dutch tech site calls it a day

Filed under: History,Online,Technology by Orangemaster @ 5:50 pm

Webwereld, one of the oldest tech news sites of the Netherlands, is going to cease to exist. We enjoyed using them as a source for subjects such as high speed wireless internet (wimax), NL-alert (national alarm system), net neutrality and quite a few more.

The tech-savvy site had been around since 1995, and editorial staff were sent packing about a month ago. The site will go offline on 1 March, and its owner, IDG, will apparently continue on with business sites.

Way back in in the day, having a 24-hour online news service about IT was a big deal and quite new, at least in such a small country and language region as the Netherlands. One of the cool things they did was launch ‘lektober’ (‘leaktober’) in 2011, which featured company data leaks back when companies didn’t quite know how to deal with them (they still don’t, but OK).

Thanks for the good stories, Webwereld!

(Link: bright.nl)

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