Excited nature lovers were recently able to observe the pygmy damselfly (Nehalennia speciosa) in the East of the country, an ultra rare species in all of Western Europe, which is currently losing its habitat. The last time the pygmy damselfly was spotted in the Netherlands was in 1912 and 1955 – no wonder this made the news.
The next few years will tell us how big the population is. The damselfly flies from mid May to the end of August with a peak period of mid June to the end of July. And nobody wants to give up the whereabouts of the damselfly in the East because it is that much of a deal.
(Link and photo: www.naturetoday.com)
Tags: damselfly, insects
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.
Tags: books, libraries, Nijmegen, recycling, trees
Last 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)
Tags: amusement parks, bankruptcy, drones, efteling, Land van Ooit, theme parks
On 31 December the battle of the Christmas bonfires in South Holland was heatedly contested between Duindorp in the North and Scheveningen in the South, both on the beach. Current world record holder Duindorp ignited its fiery rivalry against Scheveningen to win by 50 metres in height, with a fire that was 4,000 cubic metres.
Duindorp took the win with a stack measuring 33.80 metres in height as compared to Scheveningen’s stack of 33.30 metres, which made all the difference, setting a new world record, confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records who I guess kept warm and took notes.
On January 3 in Amsterdam families and friends got together on the Museumplein with the Rijksmuseum as a backdrop to burn Christmas trees, a tradition that kicked off in 2009 and is now an annual event. Back then the pile of trees slowly being added to the bonfire caught fire and the fire brigade had to intervene. Nowadays there’s a fence around the bonfire and the police are there as well for crowd control.
Tags: Amsterdam, bonfire, Christmas tree, Scheveningen, The Hague, world record
A new type of gold wasp, the rainbow wasp, was spotted for the first time this summer in the woods of Limburg. It took a while to identify it, but with the help of an Estonian expert, the colourful critter was found to be a Chrysis equestris, part of a family of wasps called ‘cuckoo wasps’.
Besides their beautiful colours, these incandescent wasps are ‘kleptoparasitic’, laying eggs in others insects’ nests, hence the cuckoo reference. The baby wasps then eat the eggs or larva in the nest, a bit like crashing a banquet.
The Netherlands has 57 types of wasps flying around.
(Links: www.naturetoday.com, www.nltimes.nl, Photo: sploid.gizmodo.com)
Tags: bees, insects, Limburg, wasp
After years of having disappeared, the Hericium erinaceus also known as Lion’s mane (in Dutch ‘pruikzwam’, literally ‘wig mushroom’) has made a much appreciated comeback for mycologists and mushroom fans alike on a beech in the woods of de Velhorst in the province of Gelderland.
Lion’s mane is apparently edible and taste like seafood, has several medicinal properties, grows on many continents and is a rare treat to find. According to Wikipedia it is also known in English under other names such as Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, pom pom mushroom, or Bearded Tooth Fungus, none of which have to do with wigs.
(Links: natuurbericht.nl, mushroom-appreciation.com, Photo of Lion’s mane mushroom by Jason Hollinger, some rights reserved)
Tags: Gelderland, mushroom, mycology
On September 28, the association that has time to watch butterflies announced that the southern small white (Pieris mannii) of the Pieridae family has been spotted and photographed at Fort Sint Pieter near Maastricht, Limburg. Hardcore butterfly enthusiasts knew this day was coming, as this species was slowly making its way north.
The big question was whether it would show up in Belgium or the Netherlands first. The cosmos amusingly forced a compromise by having a Belgian man discovering the southern small white in the Netherlands.
According to Wikipedia, the southern small white is usually found in South Europe, Asia Minor, Morocco and Syria.
(Link and photo: natuurbericht.nl)
Tags: butterflies, Limburg, Maastricht
Arnhem-based fashion designer Pauline van Dongen has created a parka for workers of the Wadden Sea World Heritage site, an association that has campaigned to protect the coastal area known for its sea walks.
The ‘solar parka’, an oversized jacket with a hood, was created for typical Dutch weather conditions and features detachable solar panels on the pockets for charging your electronics.
A thin waterproof and flexible solar panel created by specialist company AltaDevices is attached to one of the front pockets using buttons, and can generate enough energy to fully charge a smartphone after two hours of exposure to sunlight.
The coat’s fabric was created using yarn made from recycled denim that was unravelled and rewoven to make it more dense.
Van Dongen has also designed the phototrope shirt for running at night and a cardigan that helps with patient rehabilitation.
(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)
Tags: parka, Pauline van Dongen, Wadden Sea
Last June a new type of orchid was discovered in the Netherlands on the island of Schiermonnikoog by orchid expert Hans Dekker who spotted it just in time to add it to his book on orchids in the Northern Netherlands published recently.
The orchid in question is the Dactylorhiza purpurella that usually grows in European coastal regions in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. It’s surprising to the experts why nobody saw this orchid before, maybe it simply hadn’t been noticed according to some.
(Link: natuurbericht.nl, Photo: Hans Dekker)
Tags: flowers, orchids
The Amsterdam chapter of the Awesome Foundation that awards people money every month to realize ‘awesome initiatives that solve problems or bring joy to the world’ has given art collective Indebt Studios 1000 euro to plant marijuana seeds around town.
The group bought some 40 kilos of cannabis seeds and planted them in all kinds of green spaces in Amsterdam, from flower pots to community gardens, including the ones at the Rijksmuseum.
Why plant 40 kilos of weed? It’s an artistic statement against the increased stamping up of Amsterdam’s wild side, like trying to shut down prostitutes, coffee shops and all the things that make Amsterdam what it is in the first place. “Yoghurt bars are not going to make up for the loss, and that’s sad,” one of the guys said. Big cities like New York and London are losing or have lost their edge, and yes it would be sad if Amsterdam lost its grit, too.
Tags: Amsterdam, cannabis, plants, Rijksmuseum, weed