November 4, 2015

Curious mushroom makes a welcome comeback

Filed under: Nature by Orangemaster @ 12:29 pm


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:,, Photo of Lion’s mane mushroom by Jason Hollinger, some rights reserved)

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September 29, 2015

New type of butterfly spotted in the country

Filed under: Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:34 am


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:

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September 15, 2015

Full solar jacket for Wadden Sea walkers

Filed under: Fashion,Nature,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 9:55 pm


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:

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August 3, 2015

New type of orchid discovered on an island

Filed under: Dutch first,Nature by Orangemaster @ 5:20 pm


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:, Photo: Hans Dekker)

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July 15, 2015

Artists funded to sow pot seeds in Amsterdam

Filed under: Nature,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:28 pm

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.


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June 19, 2015

Birds and bees found in bike saddle bags

Filed under: Animals,Bicycles,Nature by Orangemaster @ 9:22 am


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:, Photo of swarming bees by quisnovus, some rights reserved)

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April 17, 2015

Rare fish spotted in South Holland

Filed under: Animals,Nature by Orangemaster @ 4:10 pm


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, Photo of Vimba bream by zigurdzakis, some rights reserved)

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April 11, 2015

Dutch people may be tall because of natural selection

Filed under: Health,Nature by Branko Collin @ 2:46 pm

dutch-doors-metro-centricThe 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)


April 2, 2015

Follow a badger family on the webcam

Filed under: Animals,Nature,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:40 am


‘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:, Photo of Badger by Tatterdemalion, some rights reserved)

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January 17, 2015

Scientist predicts more river floods in the Netherlands

Filed under: Nature,Science by Branko Collin @ 7:33 pm


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)

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