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
Plant-e , founded by David Strik and Marjolein Helder in 2009, is a spin-off company of the Environmental Technology of Wageningen University. After obtaining her PhD in November 2012 Helder became the CEO of Plant-e, while Strik works as an assistant professor at the university, supporting Plant-e’s research and development one day a week.
On March 12, coinciding with Dutch Arbour Day (‘Nationale Boomfeestdag’), Plant-e signed a deal with the Dutch government to build a plant-driven power plant. The plants will be grown on the Hembrug military terrain in Zaandam, North Holland and will be used for outdoor lighting and charging mobile phones.
Thanks to photosynthesis, a bioenergetic process used by plants to convert light into energy, plants create organic material. The roots of these plants contain bacteria that breaks down organic material, giving off electrons. Plant-e has created technology that captures these electrons as carbon electrons, which can be used directly as electricity.
Just this month we told you about a table that uses plant energy to charge mobile phones.
Watch the promo video (in English):
(Link: www.plant-e.com, Photo of Charging station by Katja Linders, some rights reserved)
Tags: electricity, plants, Wageningen, Wageningen University, Zaandam
Considering how much land the Dutch have reclaimed over the years, giving an island back to nature is definitely newsworthy.
Back in 2012 we told you about how two lucky people could apply as a tandem to watch birds on the island of Rottumeroog as a summer job. Unfortunately, last December, a storm apparently weakened the dunes around the house, which has now been destroyed, leaving the island uninhabited.
Only last month the only trail on Rottumeroog was officially named ‘Jan Brandspad’. The island’s municipality, Eemsmond, had to give the trail a name as required by law. There were even plans to put up a street sign.”
(Link: www.iamexpat.nl, Photo of Texel island by Searocket, some rights reserved)
Tags: island, Rottum
Amsterdam-based artist Lotte Geeven has recorded the sound the Earth makes from the ‘deepest hole in the world’, which is apparently nine kilometres deep, near the Czech border. Seismologists, geophysicists and engineers helped her with this project, resulting in a series of sound installations.
It reminds me of some classic industrial music, probably Lustmord or a loop of 1980s Zoviet France. It’s soothing but eerie at the same time.
(Link: www.designboom.com, Photo of Seismograph by Hitchster, some rights reserved)
Tags: Lotte Geeven