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
This week there was a woman in Bloemendaal, North Holland who went grocery shopping with her bike and was about to load her saddle bags only to discover that an entire swarm of bees had moved in. The queen bee apparently decided to park it there and her entire buzzing entourage followed suit. They called in a beekeeper and he got them to move to a box.
Recently there was a woman in Oirschot, Noord-Brabant who noticed twigs in her saddle bags and kept forgetting to remove them every time she got on her bike until one day she decided to clear them out and noticed a bird’s nest with five robin eggs in it. She left her bike alone until last week when five baby robins emerged from the eggs.
(Link: www.omroepbrabant.nl, Photo of swarming bees by quisnovus, some rights reserved)
Tags: bees, birds, Bloemendaal, Oirschot
Sightings of the vimba bream (in Dutch, ‘blauwneus’) in the Netherlands are rare, especially really young ones. In early April some 50 volunteers started monitoring and listing fish caught in frame nets in the New Waterway near Maassluis, and the vimba bream stood out. They jump upstream like salmon do.
The vimba bream was originally a Central European species that expanded into Germany to the Rhine Valley when the Main-Danube Canal was being dug. “The first observations of the vimba bream in the Netherlands date back to 1989, when a three-year-old fish was caught in the Lower Rhine.”
(Link: dearkitty1, via natuurbericht.nl, Photo of Vimba bream by zigurdzakis, some rights reserved)
Tags: fish, Maassluis, South Holland
The Dutch are among the tallest people in the world. According to the Guardian, Dutch men average a height of 1.84 metres and women a height of 1.71 metres.
Although no-one knows exactly why this is, it has long been held that health and well-being may have something to do with it.
Cue Gert Stulp, a 2-metre-tall Dutchman working at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who says the impressive rise of 20 centimetres in the past 150 years may have to do with natural selection. Writes Science:
[Stulp] and his colleagues turned to a database tracking key life data for almost 100,000 people in the country’s three northern provinces. The researchers included only people over 45 who were born in the Netherlands to Dutch-born parents. This way, they had a relatively accurate number of total children per subject (most people stop having children after 45) and they also avoided the effects of immigration.
In the remaining sample of 42,616 people, taller men had more children on average, despite the fact that they had their first child at a higher age. The effect was small—an extra 0.24 children at most for taller men—but highly significant. (Taller men also had a smaller chance of remaining childless, and a higher chance of having a partner). The same effect wasn’t seen in women, who had the highest reproductive success when they were of average height. The study suggests this may be because taller women had a smaller chance of finding a mate, while shorter women were at higher risk of losing a child.
The result is that if tall-making genes exist, they get passed onto the children of tall men.
See also: Why are the Dutch so tall?
(Photo by Metro Centric, some rights reserved)
‘Volg de Das’ (‘Follow the badger’) is a webcam that was set up by forest rangers Aaldrik and Pauline who are logging their adventures in Dutch watching a family of badgers. The badgers can be seen in the evenings and at night, and if you spot them you can send in your film clips.
In other badger news, our reality badger family is branching out and getting a second webcam soon, so more people can watch them. Who knows, maybe Dutch artist Bart Jansen who makes gadgets out of dead animals will have a eye on them too if they happen to die for his badger submarine.
(Link: www.volgdedas.nl, Photo of Badger by Tatterdemalion, some rights reserved)
Tags: badger, webcam
University of Twente writes:
In the future, due to climate change and corresponding extremely high water levels, rivers in the Netherlands will be more likely to break their banks. This was the conclusion reached by Dutch researcher Suleyman Naqshband [...]. River dunes in the major rivers of the Netherlands tend to persist and not flatten out, thereby increasing the risk of flooding.
River dunes in this case is the somewhat unfortunate name for sand structures at the bottom of the river. Apparently they are quite common in Dutch rivers. The university adds:
These river dunes can reach large sizes, growing to as much as one third of the total water depth. This restricts the flow of water, causing water levels in the area of river dunes to be much higher than in sections of the river in which they are absent. River dunes are also dynamic, growing rapidly in just a few days then flattening out or even disappearing completely at extremely high flow rates.
(Photo of the river Meuse overflowing in 1980: Martin Collin)
Tags: Maas, Meuse, rivers, University of Twente, water, water management
‘Tractor girl’ Manon Ossevoort, a 38-year-old Dutch actress and adventurer, has arrived at the South Pole at 10:30 p.m. EST on 8 December 2014 after a 17-day, 2,500-kilometre journey across Antarctica in a red Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor.
Ossevoort had already driven a tractor 38,000 km from her home in the Netherlands across Europe and Africa in 2005, when she had missed the boat due to transport her to Antarctica. At the time Ossevoort returned home, wrote a book, and waited for the opportunity to finish the final leg of her journey.
The journey was achieved with the help of a mother and daughter team from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Matty McNair and Sarah McNair-Landry as well as a mechanic, two truck drivers and a creative director. The first mechanised trip to the pole was done in 1958 by Sir Edmund Hilary using Ferguson TE20 tractors.
In 2008 Bernice Notenboom reached the South Pole on skis, becoming the first Dutch woman to do so.
(Links: www.independent.co.uk, www.cbc.ca)
Tags: Antartica, South Pole, tractor
The A15 motorway south of Rotterdam is not a nice road to cross if you are a pedestrian or cyclist. Eight lanes of terrifying motorized menace are bordered by a double railway on one side and another road on the other.
To help you escape the city without having to play a game of humanFrogger, this bridge, which appears to have come straight from the set of a science fiction film, was built earlier this month. All 190 metres of it connect the city of Rotterdam to the nature preserve of Rhoon.
The bridge, called ‘De Groene Verbinding’ (‘The Green Connection’) was designed by Marc Verheijen, an architect employed by the public works department of Rotterdam. If you want more photos and information, Mark Wagenbuur has an extensive write-up including pictures and videos.
The photo above comes from the Province of South Holland who have also dedicated a page to the bridge.
Tags: bridges, cities, nature preserves, Rhoon, Rotterdam
Back in 2010 the world famous Anne Frank chestnut tree had blown over and broke. In an effort to save something of this tree mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary, branches were take in order to try and grow saplings.
Today, one of the saplings is big enough to be planted, and its prestigious destination will be the Capitol in Washington, DC, the seat of the United States Congress. This is not the first time the United States has planted saplings from the Anne Frank tree; in fact 11 have already been planted throughout the country.
The sapling will be planted on the Capitol’s west front lawn on April 30.
(Link: www.miamiherald.com, Photo: annefranktree.com)
Tags: Amsterdam, Anne Frank, chestnut