February 27, 2016

Monks eye move to Schiermonnikoog after 400 years

Filed under: History,Religion by Orangemaster @ 7:23 pm


Schiermonnikoog, one of the Wadden Islands in Friesland, originally named after Cistercian monks in grey robes who lived there centuries ago, will be home to monks once again after some 400 years.

With a population of about 830 people, Schiermonnikoog (‘Grey Monk Island’), will get a small Cistercian monastery for seven brothers who plan to leave their abbey in Diepenveen near Deventer, Overijssel and ‘retreat in simplicity’ on the island. Their current abbey in Deventer can house 100 monks, and they feel staying there doesn’t make much sense any more. Four of the seven brothers are already on Schiermonnikoog, while three of them are in Belgium waiting to join the rest.

(Links: www.nu.nl, www.frieschdagblad.nl, Photo of Coat of arms of Schiermonnikoog by Arch, some rights reserved)

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January 29, 2016

Flying Spaghetti Monster recognised by Dutch chamber of commerce

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 8:51 am

fsm-dennis-van-zuijlekomThe Dutch branch of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has scored a small victory. On Tuesday the chamber of commerce of Utrecht has allowed the church to be entered in the company register, NOS op 3 writes.

The chamber of commerce had initially refused to register the church, but replied after an appeal that “there is not a sufficiently solid (legal) basis for a continuation of [our] refusal.”

Legal recognition of a church can lead to many tax breaks, according to an article in Trouw in 2004. Another battle, the right for pastafarians to wear their religious hat (a sieve) in passport photos, has yet to be won.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was founded in 2005 by American Bobby Henderson after the state of Kansas had decided that the Christian dogma of creationism should be given equal weight in the classroom to the scientific theory of evolution. Henderson felt it was important that the children of Kansas should be taught the real origins of life: “I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel.”

In 1998 about 32% of the Dutch identified as Catholic, with Ietsism coming in as the second biggest religion at 18%. I estimate the percentage of self-identified pastafarians to be less than a tenth of a percent.

(Photo of a pastafarian worshipper in full regalia by Dennis van Zuijlekom, some rights reserved)

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September 11, 2015

Christian party argues against paid parking

Filed under: Automobiles,Religion by Orangemaster @ 12:08 pm

Fundamentalist Christian political party SGP in the city council of Ede have decided to complain about paying for parking on Sunday at a local hospital, claiming that it’s not Christian. The hospital introduced paid parking on Sunday only recently, and it’s safe to assume nobody likes to pay for parking especially on Sunday, which is often free in many parts of the country at least on the street.

The SGP argue that more people will park on the street near the hospital most probably for free and hinder the locals. This implies that Christians like them would gladly annoy the locals for free parking and that’s their possible argument for making parking free on Sunday at the hospital.

What if SGP people visited the hospital on another day than Sunday, say Saturday? Problem solved. What if city council makes no exceptions for the SGP who also pay to use electricity, water and their car on Sundays? Problem solved. What if they went to the hospital by bike or walked? Problem solved.

SGP, you’re the problem. Run along now.

(Link: www.gelderlander.nl)

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July 12, 2015

Anti-gay loophole closed in Dutch anti-discrimination law

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 7:10 pm

A bizarre loophole that allowed religious schools to ban gay teachers was closed in the Netherlands on 1 July.

The law on equal treatment already forbade firing or refusing to hire teachers strictly because they are gay. An exception however existed for added circumstances, leading to the strange situation that a teacher could not be fired just for being gay, but could be fired for being gay and kissing somebody of their own gender.

In Dutch this exception was called the ‘enkelefeitconstructie’ (the ‘single fact construct’). The strange exception had remained in the 1994 law in order to keep Christian party CDA happy, but in 2014 almost all CDA MPs voted to remove it. According to the government, the exception has always been a dead letter, as no judge has ever allowed it to stand in a court of law.

Churches’ freedom to found religious, state-funded schools is considered part of the freedom of religion in the Netherlands and is enshrined in Article 23 of the constitution. Teachers can still be fired from religious schools for belonging to the wrong church, as three teachers from the Reformed Wartburg College found out last June after they were rebaptised by a different Protestant sect, AD writes.

See also: Church unlawfully fires woman for being transgender

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July 1, 2015

Church unlawfully fires woman for being transgender

Filed under: General,Religion by Orangemaster @ 1:19 pm

Transgender woman Rhianna Gralike, 56, has been wrongfully dismissed from her job as treasurer of a Catholic parish in Flevoland for nothing else than being a transgender woman. A few months ago she was called into the pastor’s office and was told that “being transgender goes against the Church”, a ‘message’ he was asked to pass on from the archbishop. Gralike plans to fight her dismissal even if she has to go to Rome to do so, which I hope is not necessary, considering there are laws in the Netherlands that supersedes any religion-based gut-feeling of an excuse to fire someone for their gender.

The Parish council is on Gralike’s side, saying the dismissal doesn’t match changes in society (an odd way of putting it), and her lawyer says the Church has no grounds to fire her whatsoever. The archbishop refuses to discuss the matter with Gralike, and so we’ll keep you posted.

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl, Photo by Johan Wieland, some rights reserved)

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September 13, 2014

Church gets new life as trampoline park in The Hague

Filed under: Religion,Sports by Branko Collin @ 1:56 pm

trampoline-park-mephis-cvbA trampoline centre in The Hague is the latest in a long list of businesses in the Netherlands to open in a former church building.

Planet Jump opened in the Martelaren van Gorcum church in The Hague earlier this month. Cheekily dubbed a ‘trampoline paradise’ by Den Haag Direct, they are open seven days a week. Have a look at the photos on their website.

Repurposing a ‘holy’ building may seem a little irreverent, but as we wrote earlier, it seems that people prefer repurposing over tearing down. These buildings have memories of baptisms, weddings and funerals attached to them, after all.

Also, in what other church could you achieve so many instant ascensions in an hour?

The name Martelaren van Gorcum means martyrs of Gorcum and refers to 19 catholic officials who were killed in 1572 by Dutch Protestant freedom fighters.

See also: The man who sells church interiors

(Photo of a trampoline park in Memphis by Memphis CVB, some rights reserved)

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July 4, 2014

Rietveld School of Art & Design graduation 2014

Filed under: Art,Design,Photography,Religion,Shows by Branko Collin @ 1:00 pm


The students graduating from Amsterdam’s Rietveld School of Art & Design (in Dutch, Gerrit Rietveld Academie) will be exhibiting their graduation projects until Sunday 6 July 2014.

24 Oranges was invited to come and take a peek.


rietveld-2014-casper-koster-2Some of the works, such as the dog above, were displayed without any explanation of what the student was trying to say—probably not necessary with a Disney-like creature anyway—or even the name of the maker. (There were sticky notes carrying the name Tim Maarse near this sculpture, but it wasn’t quire clear if the sticky notes referred to the sculpture or were a work unto themselves).

Other artists, such as photographer Casper Koster, left extensive documentation behind for visitors to peruse and take home. His series ‘Coulissen’ portrays actors as they are waiting in the wings of a stage for their next scene.

Setareh Magshoudi made a mobile mosque of paper: “From my own experience arose the need to create a space for my daily prayers, a temporary space which would provide private space and at the same time a sacred sense.”


Jessie Hoefnagel was knitting something big. Unfortunately, her seat was in a warm spot because of the sun, so by the time I got there all I found was a note saying “not here until it gets bearable”.


When I had finished walking around, three hours had passed and my feet were sore. Where did the time go?

I will post some more photos to Flickr when I get the chance (and will hopefully be able to add more names of the artists at the same time). Meanwhile, check out the exhibit in person if you have the chance or visit Trendbeheer, as Jeroen Bosch took a load of pictures.

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June 1, 2014

Roy Donders banned by Barneveld bible bashers

Filed under: Fashion,Religion,Sports by Branko Collin @ 11:32 am

juichpak-jumboThe king of tracksuits, media phenomenon and self-proclaimed stylist Roy Donders, has gotten himself in a spot of bother over his last name.

Donders is involved in a loyalty scheme for the Jumbo supermarket chain that lets football fans save up for a garish orange tracksuit (dubbed cheering suit) as part of the commercial frenzy leading up to this year’s World Cup and has lent his name to the slogan “We geven ze op hun donders” (‘let’s give ’em hell’, except that ‘donder’ means ‘thunder’).

This, according to Telegraaf, angered shoppers in the bible belt for an as yet unexplained reason. Citizens of Barneveld asked the local supermarket to remove all advertising for the scheme. The store manager gave into their demands.

Ma Donders was furious, Omroep Brabant wrote: “I don’t know what kind of faith these people have, but Donders is our last name. You cannot change that.” Meanwhile the issue has become moot because of a run on the hideous tracksuits—Jumbo claim to have run out. A spokesperson told Omroep Brabant that sales felt like “Christmas in May”.

See also: Tracksuit king Roy Donders quits his house parties

(Photo of Donders holding his track suit’s jacket: Jumbo.)

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March 29, 2014

The Hague refuses to swear in Muslim council member

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 10:11 am

old-city-hall-the-hague-pdHasan Kücük of the Islam-Democraten was chided as if he were a child when he wanted to take the oath in order to become a council member of the the city of The Hague. “You know the text is different”, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen said last Thursday during the swearing-in ceremony.

Kücük had said “Zo waarlijk helpe mij Allah” (“so help me Allah”). According to Parool council members may choose from only one of two phrases for the swearing in, “so help me God” and “I promise”.

Confessional paper Trouw added that the rules actually differ per municipality. In the past, the paper said, civil servants of Amsterdam sometimes used the words “as Allah the merciful is my witness”. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said in defence of practices like that of The Hague that “the name ‘God’ doesn’t have refer to the Christian god.”

It turns out the Dutch armed forces are the least bigoted of government institutions, perhaps for reasons of tradition. When Indonesia, a largely Islamic country, was still a part of the Netherlands called Dutch India, its officers were allowed to swear an oath on Allah. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said that “one’s religion should not interfere with one’s duty, but an oath doesn’t do that”.

(Photo: public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons)

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March 9, 2014

Utrecht bishopric abuses earmarked money for child abuse costs

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 10:52 am

stained-glass-catharijnekerk-michele-ahinMoney willed to the bishopric of Utrecht earmarked for the congregation of Mother Theresa has been used by the impoverished bishopric to cover the administrative costs of dealing with the church’s many child abuse victims’ claims, NRC writes.

In 1994 Cornelia Witkamp of Utrecht left 300,000 euro to the church. She wanted the Missionaries of Charity to come to the city and help “the most destitute and abandoned of society, amongst which drug addicts”. The next year, the bishopric created a foundation called Stichting Caritas Moeder Theresa which was to execute the will. Unfortunately, the congregation never came. The foundation seems to have chosen to do the next best thing, which was to spend the money on similar causes.

However in 2012 the money that was still left, 166,000 euro, was donated directly to the bishopric which promptly started using it to cover running costs, among which the costs involved with running an office for dealing with the child abuse cases the Roman Catholic church is famous for.

At this point the NRC article devolves into a minor mud slinging match in which a spokesperson for the bishopric accuses whistle-blower and former board member of the foundation Jacques Klok of using money from the will to buy gifts for the bishopric’s staff.

If you’ve been following the news lately you will probably find this small fry compared to the bishops from the USA and Germany who were discovered building palaces and spas for themselves.

(Photo by Michele Ahin, some rights reserved)

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