February 22, 2017

Dutchman houses Bible museum at home

Filed under: Literature,Religion by Orangemaster @ 9:32 am

Erik de Kuijper from Breukelen has collected some 600 bibles of all kinds and has decided to start a museum. However, his idea of a starting a museum is just come on over and check them out, although you’ll have to find out where he lives.

De Kuijper apparently has bibles that are very tiny, written in Braille and really old ones. He explained that his wife bought a stack of bibles from the charity shop one day and that’s how he started his collection.

The photo above is my Metal Bible, handed out at the entrance of the Into The Grave metal festival in a few years’ back.

(Link: rtvutrecht)

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February 20, 2017

Fun stories about Dutch street names

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 1:35 pm
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From the old box, as the Dutch say, a photo of the Amsterdam street name that nobody checked, which should have read Groenburgwal.

Then again, the country has that neighbourhood named after Lord of the Rings characters and Fart street, and many more stories and fun facts that author René Dings is compiling for a book about street names in the Netherlands.

The longest street name is Ir. Mr. Dr. van Waterschoot van der Grachtstraat in Heerlen, which deserves an English explanation. The Dutch have a title for engineers, ‘Ir.’, Mr. is for ‘Mister’ and ‘Dr.’ is for Doctor and yes, you can compound them. ‘Ir.’ is fading because having taking over the Bachelor’s-Master’s system from the English-speaking world in recent history means dropping titles that are not used in English.

And then there’s more modern day funny names like Mickey Mousestraat in Almere or Eendekotsweg (‘Duck Vomit Street’), Poepershoek (‘Shitters’ Corner’) and Windgat (‘Wind Hole’) in other places, to name a few.

Dings tells the story of a street in Schiedam named after a mayor who got caught doing something wrong, and then you’re stuck with a controversial street name that you have to wait 10 years to change. He also tells about how older cities like Delft deserve more classic names than a relatively new city like Almere. The book is called ‘Over straatnamen met name’ for the Dutch fans.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of a misspelled street name in Amsterdam by Herenlunch)

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February 14, 2017

Bookshop owner wins in court over Hitler’s memoirs

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 8:27 pm

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Michiel van Eyck, owner of the Totalitarian Art Gallery in Amsterdam has won his case against the Dutch Jewish Federation about selling a signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s memoirs, ‘Mein Kampf’.

According to the Supreme Court, Van Eyck was selling the book as a historical item and not to spread hate. While the sale of Mein Kampf is banned in the Netherlands under anti-discrimination laws, it can easily be found online and in libraries, making the ban absurd and outdated.

(Photo by Adam Jones, some rights reserved)

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September 29, 2016

New letters and photos of Mata Hari published

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 10:17 pm

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The Frisian History and Literature Centre Tresoar in Leeuwarden, Friesland have made public a gift of 48 letters and 14 photos never been seen before they received from the family of the ex-husband of famous Frisian exotic dancer, Mata Hari. The only thing Tresoar had to do in return was turn it all into a book, so that everyone could enjoy the discoveries. The book ‘Don’t think that I’m that bad’ (‘Denk niet dat ik slecht ben’) by Marita Mathijsen-Verkooijen should be out at least in Dutch any day now.

One of the letters written during Mata Hari’s life in Paris in 1904-1905 talked about her one day become a mother and how difficult her life was in general, while in another she talks about living in Nijmegen and having to sell her bike to be able to survive. Mata Hari’s life story is a great read in itself, and these letters will certainly help historians and fans find out even more about her turbulent life. Next year in 2017, the legal documents of 1917 about her execution by a firing squad just outside Paris for being a German spy on 15 October 1917 will be made public, so stay tuned for more.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Mata Hari in the public domain)

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May 30, 2016

Dutch dictionary wins top British design prize

Filed under: Design,Literature by Orangemaster @ 9:18 am

British advertising agency D&AD have recently announced this year’s winners of their D&AD Pencil Awards for creative excellence in design and advertising, and the Netherlands nabbed seven awards this year, three less than last year. Studio Joost Grootens picked up a coveted Pencil award for the design of the new Dikke Van Dale, the “oldest and most extensive dictionary of the Dutch language”.

The pearly white cover presents a major break with the familiar dark hues [dark blue, maroon, etc.] traditionally used by the publisher. This signals the current association between the pursuit of knowledge and our use of white and silver digital devices as the portals to information.

With Almost 5000 pages of knowledge and in its fifteenth edition, this year the Van Dale was also fitted with navigational elements such as colours, symbols and illustrations.

(Links: www.dandad.org-1, www.dandad.org-2)

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March 5, 2016

Book exchange in Nijmegen made of dead trees

Filed under: General,Literature,Nature,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 9:57 pm

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This charming little street library was spotted today by us in the Lindenholt neighbourhood of Nijmegen. It’s made of tree trunks with added plastic curtains shielding books from the elements. Patrons are supposed to swap books, which means take one out, put one of your their own back in. The tree was placed there in 2014. Two other book trees have been added to the neighbourhood since.

The idea of using real dead trees to house the proverbial ones is not new. A German project that aims to promote women in construction, Baufachfrau, has been adding similar kiosks to the streets of Berlin since 2006 as part of the international Bookcrossing project.

In our neck of the woods, Amsterdam, it’s actually a bit trendy for houses to feature ‘outdoor bookcases’ (‘buiten boekenkasten’), but then Google shows us it’s cool throughout the country.

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February 18, 2016

Learn good Dutch grammar with rock music

Filed under: General,Literature,Music by Orangemaster @ 5:12 pm

Dutch spelling is often a headache for many people from foreigners to children because it officially changes a lot. A series aimed at children called ‘Snap je?’ (‘Get it?’) deals with the dreaded conjugation of verbs where after the root of the verb there’s a ‘d’ or ‘t’ added to it, something that is tough to get right.

Dutch verbs with a stem ending in ‘d’ add a ‘t’ for the second and third person singular, but it does not change the pronunciation because ‘d’ at the end of a word is pronounced like a ‘t’, while ‘dt’ is pronounced as ‘t’, according to a quick explanation from Hear Dutch Here. In other words we often can’t hear the difference between the ‘d’ and ‘t’ at the end of any word because ‘d’ is voiced and ‘t’ is voiceless and it gets worse when you have ‘dt’ together. Getting any of this wrong is commonly referred to as a ‘d-t mistake’ in Dutch. It also makes a difference in tense in some words, so it is a big deal to get it right.

For anyone who knows French, when we get stuck with how to write the ending of a verb in the right tense we use the verb ‘vendre’ (‘to sell’) as a default and then conjugate our chosen verb accordingly. The Dutch in this video suggest the exact same with the verb ‘lopen’ (‘to walk’). And then there’s the fact that the band from Nijmegen De Staat wrote the music behind these fun grammar lessons, so give it a whirl.

(Link: www.ed.nl)

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July 25, 2015

Frisian TV station employees fail written language test

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 2:34 pm

Two-thirds of the employees at Frisian TV station ‘Omrop Fryslân’, who claim to be the ‘guardians of the Frisian language’, have failed their own written Frisian test. Not only are most employees incapable of writing proper Frisian, but the station also receives millions of euro annually to be able to promote the Frisian language.

The many haters who think Frisian is a relic – and there are a lot of them – now have more ammunition to continue to shoot down Frisian culture. On the other hand, spoken Frisian has many differences depending where someone is from, which could account for a small percentage of failures: people who can speak it, but not write it. Then again, maybe they shouldn’t be working in the Frisian media.

(Link: www.waldnet.nl, Photo by Rupert Ganzer, some rights reserved)

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June 16, 2015

Cafe in Utrecht gives away profits and thrives

Filed under: Art,Food & Drink,Literature,Music by Orangemaster @ 11:40 am

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Cafe Averechts in Utrecht has been around since the 1980s and continues to flourish amidst dwindling profits in the hospitality sector. The cafe’s ‘reverse’ approach to profit-making is the key to their brand of success: it is entirely run by volunteers.

Before anyone thinks ‘why would anyone work for free’, it is important to know that all pop venues in the country rely on volunteers. If you were to remove all pop venues that make a loss in the Netherlands, not a single one would be left standing and the country would be a cultural desert. Even the Paradiso in Amsterdam is subsidised by the city and in order to enjoy a favourable tax rebate as such, patrons pay a membership fee with their tickets. That’s right, the most famous Dutch club in the world needs government money.

During the week Averechts features a small stage with music, poetry and the likes as well as vegetarian food (vegan on demand) at a low cost. It also has lots of beers and more than 20 kinds of whiskey. All profits made go straight to charities and any tips are doubled (you put in one euro, the house matches it, we imagine) to send even more money their way.

Averechts is also a great place to celebrate King’s Day if you’re in Utrecht.

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(Photos: Cafe Averechts)

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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

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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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