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August 17, 2015

Boy find bones of prehistoric cave lion

Filed under: Animals,History by Orangemaster @ 10:44 am

800px-Panthera_leo_spelaea_in_Vienna

Ten-year-old Enzo Smink from Wekerom, Gelderland has found part of the jaw of a prehistoric cave lion, according to the director of prehistoric museum De Groene Poort in Boxtel, Noord-Brabant, who said a find like this only happens about every 20 years.

The boy had found the bones back in 2012 while swimming with his father near Oosterbeek, Gelderland, but nobody had realised what he had found. The bones then ended up in a box at his grandmother’s house. It was only when he decided to bring the bones to school for show and tell earlier this year did his mother take a picture of them and send it off to experts.

“The Eurasian cave lion commonly known as the European or Eurasian cave lion, is an extinct subspecies of lion. It is known from fossils and many examples of prehistoric art.”

Today the bones will become part of the De Groene Poort’s collection. They have been restored and one would imagine they’ll be on display soon enough.

(Links: dearkitty1.wordpress.com, www.gelderlander.nl-1www.gelderlander.nl-2, Photo of Panthera leo spelaea in Vienna by FunkMonk, some rights reserved)

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August 14, 2015

Tram stop honouring football player spelt wrong

Filed under: History,Sports by Orangemaster @ 12:09 pm

Haamslaan

Dutch professional football player and coach Bob ‘Bobby’ Haarms is being honoured with a tram stop in the district of IJburg in Amsterdam. However, Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB couldn’t be arsed to check the spelling of his name, as an ‘r’ is missing.

The GVB has six more days to modify the sign before the Haarms family officially drives through a banner on a tram to unveil the tram stop. Haarmslaan is spelt properly online so far. Amusingly enough, the tweet is from a police officer and it’s not clear if she noticed the mistake.

(Link: www.at5)

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August 2, 2015

Dutch city buses enjoy second life in Cuba

Filed under: Automobiles,History by Branko Collin @ 10:39 pm

cuba-bus-paul-arps

This is what the buses from my childhood look like and yet I’ve never even been to Cuba.

It appears Cuba buys up old buses from all over the world and doesn’t bother to change the signs denoting the line number and destination. This one says: “Geen dienst”, i.e. no service. RTVNH spotted the old line 14 bus to Uitgeest (a town north of Amsterdam). Checking the Flickr group Dutch Buses in Cuba is like looking at a small history of Dutch public transport.

Yellow is just the livery of this company, it doesn’t denote any specific type of service. The curtain with the sassy fringe seems to be a recent addition though.

See also: NZH timetables using European comics.

(Photo by Paul Arps, some rights reserved)

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May 23, 2015

Very rare copy of Mein Kampf on display in Amsterdam

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 5:28 pm

mein-kampf-adam-jones

After having been prosecuted for selling ‘Mein Kampf’ and getting a slap on the wrist for it, the Totalitarian Art Gallery in Amsterdam is back in the news with a ‘very rare’ signed copy of Hitler’s controversial book.

The local Anti-Facist League is demanding the book be confiscated and that the gallery be closed down, but the police told them they cannot legally do either of those things. ‘Mein Kampf’ (‘My Struggle’) can easily be found on the Internet since about 1998, but the book version is still banned. As well, the copyright on the book will run out in 2016, making it even more difficult to control any distribution of the work.

Gallery owner Michiel van Eyck is currently displaying the book in his shop, not selling it, and there’s nothing illegal about that. There’s an appeal currently ongoing on the original verdict against Van Eyck. However, banning a physical book that can be found easily and for free is ‘mopping the floor with the faucet running’, as the Dutch would say.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo by Adam Jones, some rights reserved)

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May 18, 2015

ISIS terrorists use fake passports from ‘Enshede’

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 4:01 pm

isis-passport-forgery-al-aan-tv

When rebels raided an ISIS safe house in northern Syria, they secured dozens of passports stolen from Westerners, Al Aan TV reports.

Among the many real passports was also this forged Dutch passport signed by the mayor of ‘Enshede’. Since there is no place called Enshede (but Enschede exists), border controls should have no problems stopping the holders of other copies.

Using the sch-sound to separate the good guys from the bad has long been practice in the Netherlands and Flanders, especially since foreigners don’t seem to be able to pronounce it correctly. The Flemish are said to have used the war cry ‘schild ende vriend‘ (shield and friend) during the Battle of the Golden Spurs to differentiate themselves from the French, and fishermen returning to the main land after the Nazi attack on 10 May 1940 were told to use the password Scheveningen to tell them apart from German agents.

I am guessing the forger wrote the name Enschede the way he heard it.

(Link: RTL Nieuws, Photo: Al Aan TV / RTL Nieuws)

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May 16, 2015

Windmills that generate twice the power of traditional windmills

Filed under: History,Technology by Branko Collin @ 9:27 pm

windmill-leiden-branko-collinAlthough windmills are an iconic representation of the Netherlands, they haven’t actually been used much for the past two centuries.

The ‘invention’ of the practical steam engine by James Watt in the 18th century made short work of the Dutch reliance on windmills. The use of wind power for pumping water out of polders saw a sharp decline in the 19th century.

Ironically, the abandonment of windmills did not stop the development of these devices in the Netherlands. According to Low Tech Magazine:

In the 1920s and 1930s, however, when windmills had stopped working almost everywhere in Europe, the Dutch started a research program that led to the final development of the classical windmill. In 1923, the “Dutch Windmill Society” was founded, with the mission to improve the performance of windmills generating mechanical energy. Among the members were famous millwright builders like the Dekker Brothers. The results were spectacular.

[...]

[While] a traditional windmill could be worked for around 2,671 hours per year in the Netherlands, the new streamlined design could be operated for 4,442 hours per year – more or less doubling the annual energy output.

(Link: Making Light; photo: regular windmill De Put in Leiden by me)

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April 1, 2015

Anne Frank died earlier than recorded

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 3:23 pm
kastanjeboom

Anne Frank and her sister Margot probably died a month earlier than previously recorded at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. According to Erika Prins, a researcher at the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, her death was placed in February instead of March. Both girls died of typhus, with most typhus deaths happening some 12 days after the first symptoms.

Anyone who knows the story of Anne Frank often has the feeling that if she had held on a bit longer, she could have been liberated, which was never really the case, but now even less so.

“The new date of her death changes little about the tragic lives of Anne and her sister Margot, who went into hiding with their family in an Amsterdam canal house but were eventually betrayed, sent to Nazi concentration camps and died in the Holocaust along with millions of other Jews.”

Jews hid in many places across the country (in Dutch). You can also see Anne Frank on YouTube in a film fragment, the only time ever apparently. As well, many people think Anne Frank was Dutch, but she was German.

(Links: phys.org, www.nu.nl, Photo of famous chestnut tree: annefranktree.com)

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January 19, 2015

Belgium’s tough city of Charleroi shot for Dutch film

Filed under: Architecture,General,History by Orangemaster @ 1:48 pm

Charleroi

Anyone who has been to Charleroi, Belgium knows its particular mix of worn and torn houses, industrial greyness and general sadness that is contagious if you stay there too long. The city has a reputation for crime and violence, but has many good sides related to food, culture and even sightseeing if you give it a fair chance. However, it is a huge contrast to other nicer and possibly more economically sound Walloon cities like Namur and Liège, and surely like nothing you’ll ever find in the tidy, shiny Netherlands.

The film ‘Bienvenue à Charleroi’ (‘Welcome to Charleroi’) was shot by Dutch director Jelle Dijkstra and his good friend co-director and co-editor Derk Zijlker.

Charleroi was voted ‘ugliest city in the world’ in 2008 by readers of Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. High unemployment, crime and poverty rates, political and social scandals, abandoned factories and ghost undergrounds all contributed to this negative image.

Watch the film here and find out for yourself if it’s really that bad (English subtitles). At 5:59 there’s a sign in French that roughly reads ‘Life isn’t easy when what you see is black’ (as in being depressed).

(Link: www.vice.com, Photo of Charleroi by Gerard Stolk, some rights reserved)

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January 14, 2015

World’s biggest ship named after Nazi arrived in Rotterdam

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 2:01 pm

1024px-Pieter_Schelte_(ship)_(15617682463)

On 8 January a crowd watched world’s biggest and most expensive vessel ever built, the Pieter Schelte, float into the Port of Rotterdam. The ship was named after Pieter Schelte Heerema, founder of the Swiss-based Allseas group and a maritime engineer, but also a member of the Nazi Waffen SS, convicted and sent to prison for three years for his crimes against humanity in WWII.

The ship is owned by Schelte’s son, Dutch businessman Edward Heerema who has received much flack and petitions from Jewish groups and others to change its name. The Dutch government had given Allseas’ Netherlands subsidiary a $1 million tax break for its part in designing the ship, adding to the ship’s controversial nature. “While Mr Heerema’s father had been recognised by the courts as providing “very important” services to the resistance, he was earlier a “prominent” figure among Dutch collaborators with the Nazis,” according to the Netherlands Governmental Institute for War Documentation.

Edward Heerema distances himself from his father’s past, stating that the ship was named after “the offshore pioneer that he was”. Read more about this huge vessel and see more pictures.

(Links: www.ad.nl, www.jpost.com, Photo of Pieter Schelte ship by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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January 8, 2015

Old school waterboarding, Dutch colonial style

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 12:42 pm

waterboarding dutch

British geography professor and author Miles Ogborn’s book ‘Indian Ink: Script and Print in the Making of the English East India Company’ has an image of a Dutchman performing waterboarding on an English pamphlet of 1624. The image depicts an English merchant being restrained while a Dutchman pours a jug of water over his cloth-wrapped face.

Wikipedia explains the Dutch-style waterboarding in more detail:

“It consisted of wrapping cloth around the victim’s head, after which the torturers “poured the water softly upon his head until the cloth was full, up to the mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher, so that he could not draw breath but he must suck in all the water”. In one case, the torturer applied water three or four times successively until the victim’s “body was swollen twice or thrice as big as before, his cheeks like great bladders, and his eyes staring and strutting out beyond his forehead”.

In colonial times Dutch and English merchants fought over spices in the East, giving rise to acts of torture, with both sides publishing pamphlets to try and discredit the other, like a 17th century flame war. In 1623 on the island of Amboyna In the Molucca Islands, the Dutch East India Company led by Dutch Governor Herman van Speult was said to have tortured and executed English, Japanese and Portuguese prisoners. English pamphlets featuring ‘gory frontispieces’ were refuted in turn by Dutch publications, but the affair was never settled. Van Speult thought that English merchants together with Japanese samurai mercenaries and possibly some Portuguese planned to kill him and overwhelm the Dutch garrison once an English ship arrived for support, justifying his actions.

(Link and image: resobscura.blogspot.nl, thanks Greg!)

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