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August 20, 2016

The gruesome murder of the De Witt brothers was 344 years ago today

Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 10:58 pm

de-wit-brothers-jan-de-baenThe year was 1672. The 80-year war of independence of the United Provinces against Spain had been hard fought, but had also ushered in a golden age in which trade, science and arts blossomed. Now that progress was halting. The Treaty of Münster in 1648 had seen the recognition of the young Dutch republic as an independent nation, but 24 years later fresh enemies were at the door. England had declared war, followed by France and a bunch of German bishops.

An Anglo-French attack over sea had been thwarted with ease by the mighty Dutch fleet, but the weakened Dutch army could not stop the French from invading over land. The Dutch tried to retreat to the redoubt formed by the Dutch Water Line; a huge lake formed by flooding parts of Utrecht and Brabant. The flooding went slower than expected and it also made the people outside the redoubt feel they were being left to their own devices. People started panicking and started looking for scapegoats.

These scapegoats were found in the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt. The former was the grand pensionary of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland, which made him the de facto leader of a federation of provinces that preferred not to have leaders. It also brought him in direct competition with the line of Orange-Nassau which had assumed the stadtholdership and had turned it into a hereditary position. The Oranges were the favourites of many people who saw in the latest heir, William III, a new leader for the new war.

Cornelis had been framed for the crime of conspiracy and had been banished from the country. On 20 August 1672 his brother Johan came to pick him up from prison in The Hague, but outside a mad crowd awaited them. The rabble lynched the brothers, mutilated their bodies and cut parts off. The heart of Johan was cut out of his body and thrown in his face.

The painting shown here was created by Jan de Baen. On the back is written: “These are the corpses of Jan and Cornelis de Witt, painted from life by an important painter, as they were hanging from the gallows at 11 o’clock in the evening. Cornelis is the one without a wig, Jan de Witt has his own hair. This is the only painting painted from life on 20 August 1672 and therefore worth a lot of money.”

According to vandaagindegeschiedenis.nl, “some of their body parts were even traded, taken as souvenirs and eaten. The Haags Historisch Museum owns a tongue and a toe of one or both of the brothers. These became the property of supporters of the brothers who kept them as relics.”

(Illustration: Jan de Baen / Wikimedia Commons)

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August 7, 2016

Why America doesn’t know its Dutch history

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 12:04 pm

new_amsterdam

Here’s our online version of reading a book on the beach: let’s all learn about the Dutch origins of New York City and more by American author and historian Russell Shorto who sounds like he could talk about it all day.

The first part is a quick introduction called ‘Why don’t Americans know about their own Dutch history?’, which starts by naming all the British things Americans usually know about their country and exposing the blind spot in people’s knowledge about anything Dutch.

Check out the rest, all short videos. Part 2 starts off with an explanation of the Castello Plan that we’ve used as an image.

Part 2. What’s left of New Amsterdam in Lower Manhattan?
Part 3. Meet a forgotten American visionary
Part 4. How New Amsterdam influenced America

Notice the Heineken truck going by as the video starts in Part 1.

(Image: Castello Plan of the tip of Manhattan)

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July 23, 2016

King’s palace open to public for the first time

Filed under: Dutch first,History by Orangemaster @ 3:09 pm

Screen shot 2016-07-23 at 3.08.07 PM

On Saturday 23 July and the next two Saturdays after that, the palace of Noordeinde where the King and his family live, will open its doors to the public for the very first time. The public will be able to see a number of areas, such as the Grand Ballroom, with its gold chandeliers and marble walls. The rooms also feature the royal family’s impressive art collection and antiques.

As of 26 July and for four days in the week, the royal stables will also be included in the tour, where visitors will be able to see the family’s horse-drawn carriages. The visit will costs 6 euro because if they didn’t charge anything people wouldn’t come, according to the reasoning of the Netherlands Government Information Service (AIVD).

Although the palace being open is very special, its Princess’ Garden is accessible daily for free.

(Links: www.omroepwest.nl, us.hellomagazine.com, Photo: Twitter screenshot)

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July 22, 2016

Unicode accepts rainbow emoji flag petition

Filed under: General,History,Online by Orangemaster @ 1:51 pm

Thanks to lots of people including Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars who asked for a rainbow emoji flag, Unicode has approved the request for the flag. It won’t be ready for a while or in time for Amsterdam’s Gay Pride, but then people can use hashtags #EuroPride, #AmsterdamPride and #Joinourfreedom for Gay Pride from Saturday 23 July through 7 August.

According to Emojipedia, the gay pride flag features in the top 30 emoji requests collected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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July 6, 2016

Opening the racist door: Monsieur Cannibale part deux

Filed under: General,History,Music by Orangemaster @ 9:02 am

The ball of this story got rolling back in 2014 when an American journalist was ‘shocked’ at an amusement park ride from De Efteling called ‘Monsieur Cannibale’ (French – new and improved explanation coming up) that features a black cannibal-like character with a bone through his nose cooking up unsuspecting children.

The racist door has now opened up as the Stop Oppressive Stereotypes (SOS) group published an open letter to the amusement park accusing it of featuring racist rides, one of which is Monsieur Cannibale and the other Carnaval Festival that features Asian stereotypes. However, Efteling asked SOS for a sit down and SOS haven’t responded yet – to be continued.

One side is telling the other to get a life and ideally a job and the other is having a ‘hey’ we never really saw things that way and it makes us feel uncomfortable moment, akin to the debate about Zwarte Piet. The Efteling says it mostly gets complaints about serving unhealthy food, but not about racist stereotypes.

I love Sacha Distel, the French singer and guitarist who sang this 1966 racist and sexist song that the Efteling chose to subject to children: it matches the ride perfectly in its bad taste. Distel’s song is about a white man captured in Africa by black cannibals who thought he was a spy, trying to politely plead the head cannibal (hence addressing him as Monsieur) not to eat him, but negotiates his way out of it by offering him porno magazines. The head cannibal laughs, brings the guy back to his harem for a week after which the guy lose 20 kilos and refuses to leave. The man basically shagged all the presumably black ladies who were all “hungry for it”.

Here’s a version of the song with a decent Dutch translation:

And since the French playback performance I posted in the original post was removed, here’s the same offensive performance sung in Spanish. He still pulls his eyes sideways to indicate the Chinese language at the beginning, so the Asian stereotypes are conveniently addressed by Distel as well.

(Photo: Photo of an Efteling dragon by Jeroen Kransen, some rights reserved)

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June 28, 2016

Dutchman petitions Unicode for rainbow emoji flag

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 6:00 am

Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars had first petitioned Twitter and then Unicode for a rainbow emoji flag, which would add a nice touch to any LGBTI-related news, instead of just using an ordinary rainbow.

Beljaars explains that the rainbow flag has been the international symbol of the gay community since the late 1970s. Unicode has already felt it was important to add recent emojis such as the croissant, cowboy and selfie, so why not the rainbow flag? Google employees have also recently made requests for emojis that better represent women in actual jobs rather than in superficial beauty situations and not too long ago many emojis with people in them became available in different skin tones.

(Link: www.nu.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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June 20, 2016

Swiss company gives 19th century Amsterdam colour

Filed under: History,Photography by Orangemaster @ 4:58 pm

800px-Amsterdam_photochrom

Thanks to the magic of photochromy, the art of reproducing colours by photography, the company Photoglob from Zurich, Switzerland lets us enjoy colour pictures of Amsterdam taken between 1890 and 1900, which were originally black and white.

Thanks to RTVNH having a slow news moment, you can enjoy more pictures of Amsterdam including the Amstel river, Central Station, the Rijksmuseum, and a few more by following the link below.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Dam Square, Amsterdam by Unknown, some rights reserved)

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April 26, 2016

Tourists still missing King’s Day due to date change

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

Kdag2010-3

Three years into the switch from Queen Beatrix to King Willem-Alexander and from 30 April to 27 April (26 April if it’s a Sunday), tourists are apparently still booking holidays for King’s Day three days too late based on crappy intel, and booking agencies aren’t exactly warning them. Why would tourists have any reason to think a national holiday has moved back three days?

I was talking to my best friend in Québec on the phone recently, telling her about how royally excited I get about the flea market that is the Netherlands on King’s Day. I explained the tourists mishaps that keep happening and she said “what kind of country changes the day of a national holiday?” A country that celebrates it on the birthday of their King or Queen, rather than a set date. Canada Day is celebrated on July 1 for the signing of the British North American act in 1867, so the only moving going on on that date is the Province of Québec (follow the link to get the joke, you’ll thank me).

As luck will have it, Wim-Lex just happens to have his birthday close to 30 April, on 27 April, so that was an easy move. However, the date did not move for Queen Beatrix because her birthday is in January, so we’re inconsistently consistent. According to Wikipedia, on Princess Wilhelmina’s accession to the throne in November 1890 the holiday became ‘Koninginnedag’ (‘Queen’s Day’), first celebrated on 31 August 1891. In September 1948, Wilhelmina’s daughter Juliana ascended to the throne and the holiday was moved to Queen Juliana’s birthday, 30 April. The holiday was celebrated on this date from 1949 until 2013.

Moving the holiday wasn’t new, but it hadn’t been moved in a while and moves when it’s easier, a bit like in the Province of Québec.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl)

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April 2, 2016

Amsterdam celebrates 15 years of same-sex marriages

Filed under: Dutch first,History by Branko Collin @ 9:56 pm

amsterdam-same-sex-marriageThe city of Amsterdam released a video yesterday titled 15 Years of Equal Marriage.

The video shows the city celebrating and looking back on the four same-sex weddings that were held at city hall on 1 April 2001. The weddings were officiated by Job Cohen, the former mayor of Amsterdam, at midnight.

(Video: Vimeo / Amsterdam; image: crop of a still from the video)

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March 18, 2016

Anne Frank themed escape room in Valkenswaard

Filed under: General,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

annefrankstatue1.jpg

Noord-Brabant, one of the Dutch provinces that unwillingly served as a doormat for invading troops during WWII, now has its very own Anne Frank themed escape room advertised with “Hide before the Germans find you!”.

Located in an old WWII bunker, ‘Het Achterhuis’ (‘the shed’ or ‘back room’ and also the original Dutch title of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’) is the theme of this espace room, and its 19-year-old owner Thijs Verberne swears it has an educational purpose. The Valkenswaard escape room lets you ‘walk in Anne Frank’s shoes’ and fuelled by fear of being sent to the camps you need to find a way to get out of it that I bet doesn’t involve writing in your diary.

On Facebook there’s people totally into it and there’s a lot of disgusted folks as well. The espace room apparently looks like the Anne Frank’s house, the original of which is about 87 kilometres away in Amsterdam, although there are others around the country.

The city of Valkenswaard, which was always planning to do something with the bunker, will make sure the escape room is being run properly, although this sounds like something you would say to the media. The Anne Frank Foundation has not yet made any statements about the escape room.

UPDATE: The Anne Frank Foundation is not amused in the slightest.

(Link:www.ed.nl)

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