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February 9, 2016

Demolition company scores Delft blue tiles

Filed under: Design,History by Orangemaster @ 12:54 pm

delftware-morgaine

Last year in Southbourne, England, a wall of valuable Delft blue tiles (not the ones shown here) worth up to £50,000 (roughly 64,350 euro) was uncovered during the demolition of a Victorian house. The wall had 256 tiles in all, bricked in behind a fireplace. It was uncovered by a demolition expert who had also found tons of valuable letters and such during the demolition of JRR Tolkien’s former Poole home in 2008, many of which were located around the fireplace, the place to check.

“The remarkably well-preserved collection of hand-painted tiles includes some decorated with patterns, biblical scenes, rural settings, animals and colourful birds.”

(Link: www.bournemouthecho.co.uk, Photo by Morgaine, some rights reserved)

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February 1, 2016

Do you know your seven sins? Test yourself with Hieronymus Bosch

Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 11:32 pm

7-deadly-sins-screenshot

There was never a better time to get your Bosch on.

The Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch, the town that one of the Netherlands most famous mediaeval painters was named after, has a major exhibit of most of Hieronymus Bosch’ works coming up in less than two weeks.

The Guardian calls it “the impossible”, an exhibition of 20 of Bosch’s 25 surviving panels in a small, local museum. The exhibit will run from 13 February to 8 May 2016.

If you are unable to make it to the museum, the Bosch fever sweeping the country ensures you can engage with the great painter in several other ways. The local newspaper, Brabants Dagblad, has an online quiz that will let you spin the wheel to find out how much you really know about the seven deadly sins. The questions are in Dutch and cover topics as varied as Doutzen Kroes, Roy Donders, frikandels, Mike Tyson, Snow White, civil servants, Louis van Gaal, FIFA, the biggest hamburger in the world, plastic surgery and David Beckham.

The paper has five other games for you, each one based on a different painting by Bosch, which can be reached through the quiz’s main menu.

If Dutch isn’t your forte, broadcaster NTR lets you explore the triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. There are spoken versions of the interactive tour in Dutch, Dutch for children and English. If you just want to admire the painting, Wikimedia Commons has a huge photo of 30,000 × 17,000 pixels (223 megabytes). Should you print that file, you would need a wall of five metres wide and almost three metres high to display it.

(Illustration: screenshot of the Brabants Dagblad game, edited to convey the impression of spinning motion)

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January 28, 2016

Unsellable theme park becomes regular park

Filed under: History,Nature by Branko Collin @ 8:34 am

land-van-ooit-videocrop-ralph-denessenLast May the grounds of the Land van Ooit theme park (‘Land of Someday’) in Heusden, Brabant, that has been for sale since 2008, were turned into a temporary regular park by the municipality.

Before opening the grounds to the public again, drones had already taken the opportunity to shoot a couple of videos.


Video: YouTube / Ralph Denessen.


Video: YouTube / WOUW! Luchtopnames.

The theme park’s attractions were auctioned off in 2008, a year after the park went bankrupt. In 2015, after opening the park to the public again, the municipality of Heusden destroyed all the buildings in the park except the 13th century Castle d’Oultremont. It seems the pond with Napoleon’s drowning army also still exists. The municipality is still hoping to sell the grounds.

In 1989 former Efteling CEO Marc Taminiau founded Land van Ooit. He was trying to escape the fierce competition between ride-based amusement parks by creating a theme park based on theatre. The central deceit of the park was that it was its own fairytale country with its own anthem, salute and border crossings. Visitors were called Anderlanders, Otherlanders. Its motto was children are in charge. In its heyday Land van Ooit managed to attract up to 375,000 visitors a year.

(Photo: crop of the Ralph Denessen video)

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December 30, 2015

Borders to change between Belgium and The Netherlands

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 7:10 pm

eijsden-openstreetmap

In February 2014 we told you about a border correction that was to take place between Belgium and The Netherlands two years down the road. Apparently, it should happen in 2016: the Presqu’ile de l’Islal, a small Belgian peninsula stranded on the Dutch bank of the river Meuse (Maas), will become Dutch territory much to the delight of the law on both sides.

At present, the uninhabited Belgian peninsula is off limits to the Dutch police and because it’s only linked to Dutch land, Belgian police can’t go there without a hassle. The story goes that it’s a lawless sex, drugs and rock n’ roll place, especially in the summer. The Belgian cops didn’t like having to go there by boat, either.

Belgium and The Netherlands also have the joint legal weirdness of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog to deal with, which is so complicated even Google Streetview had its work cut out for it back in 2010. And then there’s that murder case that gave the place an extra layer of headache.

It’s nice to see a border swap rather than a border dispute in this day and age. Bring on 2016!

(Link: www.theguardian.com, Map by OpenStreetMap contributors, some rights reserved; the big purple line is the border)

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December 21, 2015

Julius Caesar massacred two tribes on Dutch soil

Filed under: Dutch first,History by Orangemaster @ 11:30 am

Valkhof

Based on a combination of historical, archaeological and geochemical data, the Allard Pierson Museum of the VU University Amsterdam has announced that they have uncovered evidence that Julius Caesar actually fought a battle on Dutch soil. Confirmed by skeletal remains, swords and spearheads that were found in Kessel, Noord-Brabant, Caesar and his men wiped out two entire local tribes, which was normal back then and wrote about it in Book IV of his De Bello Gallico. According to archaeologists, Caesar fought the battle in 55 A.D.

Around 47 A.D, the border of the Roman Empire ran through the Netherlands where Germanic and Celtic tribes lived. Several Dutch villages and cities along the Rhine descend from the Roman time, revealed by regular archeological excavations. The most important Roman settlement was Noviomagus, or as it is know today, Nijmegen. The Valkhof shown here is one of the many Roman ruins still standing there.

(Links: european-heritage.org, phys.org, Photo of the Moon over the Valkhof by Eelco, some rights reserved)

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December 9, 2015

Rijksmuseum to remove slurs from art descriptions

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 12:59 pm
foto-surinamem-rp-f-br-2009-1-00

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has kicked off a project to remove hurtful ethnic designations in the descriptions of hundreds of thousands of objects and replace them with neutral terms. Why now? Because with the digitisation of the collection, more and more people aren’t too fond of the Rijksmuseum’s “traditional Eurocentric view” of the world, as the museum calls it. The Rijksmuseum also says that their staff is very positive about the changes, which has not led to any discussions, contrary to what often plays out in the Dutch media.

A Dutch word like ‘neger’, which ranges in meaning depending on context (‘negro’, ‘nigger’, ‘black man’, etc.), can be seen in thousands of artwork descriptions as ‘bosneger’, which isn’t too far from ‘jungle bunny’, but literally means ‘jungle/forest negro’. For example, a ‘black negro girl’ (why the tautology?) on a early 20th century photograph by Hendrik Doyer is now called ‘Surinamese girl’. The goal is to remove the emphasis on colour as the defining factor and it sounds good so far. Next to disappear will be all the slurs for tribes from around the world.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo: rijksmuseum.nl)

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October 7, 2015

National holocaust monument becomes glass house

Filed under: Architecture,History by Orangemaster @ 6:38 pm

westerbork

The green and white wooden house is one of the last remaining buildings at Kamp Westerbork, a WWII Nazi transit camp in Hooghalen, Drenthe where Dutch Jews, Sinti and Romani stayed and were readied for transport to Nazi concentration camps elsewhere. German Jewess Anne Frank passed through there as well in her final months before being transported back to Germany. The house was declared a national monument in 1994.

Intended as a memorial to WWII, the large glass box creates a vitrine-like enclosure around the clapboard residence of SS commander Albert Konrad Gemmeker. According to Oving Architecten from Groningen, it will both preserve the structure and be used to host educational events.

(Link: www.dezeen.com, photo ovingarchitecten.nl)

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September 30, 2015

Dutch centuries-old bond keeps paying interest

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 3:43 pm

bond-lekdijk-bovendams

Two weeks ago Timothy Young, a librarian from Yale University in the USA, travelled to the Netherlands to collect 136 euro and 20 cents in interest from the water board De Stichtse Rijnlanden.

The interest was paid on a bond issued for 1,000 guilders in 1648 by the predecessor of the current board to fund the building of a groyne. At the time, the Netherlands was going through its Golden Age and the navigability of important trade routes like the main rivers was a priority (German link).

Interest on the bond must be collected at least once every generation, Yale News reports. The bond (issued by the water board of Lekdijk Bovendams) remains one of the oldest known living financial instruments in the world as long as interest is collected—the reason that Yale, which paid 24,000 euro for it in 2003 according to Bloomberg, is keen to collect those payments.

The document is a bearer bond, meaning the issuer needs to see it before paying out interest. The issuer will then write the payment date on the document. This would have provided a bit of a problem for Yale, because carting around a 367-year-old sheep skin across the airways might be detrimental to its health. Luckily, space on the bond proper already ran out in 1944 and in the same year an allonge was attached to it for keeping track of the payment dates. The water board allows the bearer to simply show the allonge.

The water board has records of five other bonds that still generate interest payments. The oldest of these was issued in 1624 for 1,200 guilders, also by the water board Lekdijk Bovendams. The same water board issued bonds for a total of 300,000 guilders in the first half of the 17th century after the 32-kilometre-long eponymous dike burst numerous times, the water board writes.

Water boards are a type of parallel local government that have been around since the Middle Ages. They take care of dikes and dams, among others, in a country of which 55% of the surface area is susceptible to flooding from either the sea or from rivers. Some of these boards belong to the oldest continuous governments in the Netherlands. The water board of Lekdijk Bovendams was founded in 1323 by the bishop of Utrecht and was later managed by the king, until 1971 when it was merged with a number of other water boards into the water board Kromme Rijn, which itself was later merged into the current water board De Stichtse Rijnlanden.

lekdijk-bovendams-e-dronkert

(Photo of groynes at the Bovendamse Lekdijk by E. Dronkert, some rights reserved; photo of the bond by Yale University)

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September 10, 2015

Dutch fishing boat scoops up a Lenin

Filed under: History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:52 pm

A Dutch fishing vessel from the island of Texel has caught a bust of Lenin in its net.

It’s made from bronze and nobody knows why it ended up in the sea, but we can guess and make jokes.

One of the fisherman took it home to Den Oever, North Holland, a town adjacent to the 32-kilometre-long ‘Afsluitdijk’, a dike road that connects the province of North Holland to the province of Friesland.

Back in 2013 we told you about a 10-metre statue of Lenin hovering over downtown Assen, and here are some pictures of it.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Lenin in Ukraine by covilha, some rights reserved)

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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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