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March 29, 2016

Live grenade found in old folks’ home

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:27 am
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World War II grenades pop up on the beach, at flea markets and even in potatoes here in the Netherlands, but this time a grenade was in fact sitting in an old man’s cupboard with its pin out.

A resident of an old folks’ home in Amsterdam East has had a live grenade for years that everybody thought was a fake. Sadly, the man recently passed and when his belongings were collected, the people that found the grenade among his model boats and books had it checked out by the police.

The staff of the home just assumed it was a fake, but once the police checked it out, they realised it was in a fact a live grenade. The bomb squad came and picked it up and had it detonated. All we know is that it was an English grenade that finally came out of the closet, although thankfully not with a bang.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, Photo of grenade by macspite, some rights reserved)

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March 18, 2016

Anne Frank themed escape room in Valkenswaard

Filed under: General,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

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Noord-Brabant, one of the Dutch provinces that unwillingly served as a doormat for invading troops during WWII, now has its very own Anne Frank themed escape room advertised with “Hide before the Germans find you!”.

Located in an old WWII bunker, ‘Het Achterhuis’ (‘the shed’ or ‘back room’ and also the original Dutch title of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’) is the theme of this espace room, and its 19-year-old owner Thijs Verberne swears it has an educational purpose. The Valkenswaard escape room lets you ‘walk in Anne Frank’s shoes’ and fuelled by fear of being sent to the camps you need to find a way to get out of it that I bet doesn’t involve writing in your diary.

On Facebook there’s people totally into it and there’s a lot of disgusted folks as well. The espace room apparently looks like the Anne Frank’s house, the original of which is about 87 kilometres away in Amsterdam, although there are others around the country.

The city of Valkenswaard, which was always planning to do something with the bunker, will make sure the escape room is being run properly, although this sounds like something you would say to the media. The Anne Frank Foundation has not yet made any statements about the escape room.

UPDATE: The Anne Frank Foundation is not amused in the slightest.

(Link:www.ed.nl)

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March 16, 2016

Women in Amsterdam council told what to wear

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:52 am

An e-mail written by the team leader of the district council of Nieuw-West in Amsterdam has told women they cannot wear ‘skirts/dresses above the knee’ and ‘knee-high boots’ if they work at the council office counter, where citizens come and get municipal permits and documents. By extension, if this were to be applied, they might have to fear for their jobs. And a happy belated International Women’s Day to you, too.

Assuming the team leader is a man, although their identity is currently being investigated, he has no power to tell women or anyone else what to wear, which clearly goes against the regulations of the city of Amsterdam as a whole. Questions are being asked by local politicians we know personally about these ‘absurd’ rules that target women. The assumption being made is that Nieuw-West, a district with a large Muslim population, is trying to spare them the view of decadent Western women as spring approaches, but nobody asked their opinion. Assumption number three is that the team leader saw a short skirt with knee-high boots that ‘bothered’ him, to use 1920s parlance, and so he decided to attack all women and offend a lot of men in the process.

Why fill in an entire group’s opinion without asking them? Not a single letter of complaint can be found at the offices, either. Sadly, Nieuw-West is the butt of many jokes, despite having a vibrantly diverse community. If it had more bars and wasn’t so far from the city centre, it could be my kind of ‘hood. It’s cheaper that most places, has big green parks, world-class street art, and food markets that makes you feel like you’re not in Amsterdam. But it takes one absurd e-mail to give the Dutch Internet a reason to trash Nieuw-West and attack its Muslim community.

Maybe this team leader needs to take a course on how to deal with his 1950s view on women in the workplace and not try and change the world around him to suit his backwards views.

UPDATE: The team leader was actually a woman who saw a colleague wearing a skirt she found too short, but instead of communicating with her one on one like a normal person, she felt an email that would cause an unnecessary stir was the way to go.

(Link: www.nu.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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January 6, 2016

How to miss out on millions in the lottery

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:37 am

Lottery story No. 1: young man from Sittard, Limburg buys four tickets for the New Year’s Eve lottery draw and figures he’s won because the draw is done based on your exact postal code (numbers and letters).

However, he had a standing order with the bank for his tickets and it didn’t go through because he didn’t have enough money in his account. He wants to sue, but he’ll probably lose.

The jackpot was 43.9 million euro, half of which was divided among 15 winners and the other half divided among other people in the same postal code, save the letters.

Then there’s lottery story No. 2: a man from Amsterdam thought he had won 2.1 million euro, but his ex wife had something to say about it.

Married for 30 years, a couple separated, the man moved out of their home while going through the divorce, but sometime after he had moved out, the postal code of their home was the winning lottery number.

Although the couple was still married but separated and not living together, the man didn’t jointly pay for the ticket, his wife argued. He took her to court and lost.

They had played the lottery together for 30 years, but once he moved, he stopped paying his share. She proved that they had actually been living separately for four years and that he had moved in with his new, younger girlfriend.

The judge took the woman’s side purely because the man had not paid for the lottery ticket and that he had already moved out and moved on.

Moral of both stories: make sure you’ve actually paid for your lottery tickets.

(Links: www.waarmaarraar.nl, nos.nl)

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December 14, 2015

Killing mosquitoes using human foot odour traps

Filed under: Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:37 am

In 2006 Dutch scientist Bart Knols observed that malaria-carrying mosquitoes are attracted to smelly human feet, convincing fellow scientist Renate Smallegange’s to follow in his smelly footsteps devising mosquito traps using human foot odour. Knols figured out that when standing up, mosquitoes would go for people’s feet, prompting Smallegange to zoom in on this discovery. At Wageningen University she collects people’s smelly socks to carry out research on trapping mosquitoes who transmit malaria through their bite, affecting millions of people every year.

According to this radio interview, carbon dioxide is what first attracts mosquitoes to people, however since 2006, we also know that smelly feet do that as well. She explains that clean socks are not attractive at all to mosquitoes, smelly socks are very attractive, but when you add carbon dioxide, you could trap roughly 45 to 75% of all malaria-carrying mosquitoes. And the sock only needs to be worn for a day!

No, foot odour doesn’t work on ‘regular’ mosquitoes, and yes, the idea is to design traps with a specific built-in odour, not some African villager’s dirty socks or shipping socks over to Africa.

(Link: www.improbable.com, Image by A.E. Goeldi, in the public domain)

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December 7, 2015

Vote for the cheesiest business slogan of the year

Filed under: Fashion,General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:55 am
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In November we had a bad university slogan festival, now it’s back to business with voting for the worst Dutch business slogans 2015. Last year’s winner roughly translates as ‘A carpenter hammers, a dentist drills… but we’re nicely located in Velsen-Noord’, which rhymes in Dutch, but that’s all it does. The 2013 winner, Jan De Cock uses “It’s De Cock that makes the man’ for his men’s clothing shop, which has actually worked for him rather than against him.

Dunglish seems to work wonders dumbing down slogans quicker than a scooter speeding over a bike path. A bakery boasts ‘Ik cake al naar je uit’, roughly ‘I’m caking (looking) forward to seeing you’, where cake and the Dutch ‘kijk’ (‘looking’) sound similar. My current favourites sans Dunglish is ‘Iedere paal gaat er in’ from a company that builds fences, which very roughly means ‘Every pole will go in’. A few of the contenders are straight up sexist but not funny in a 1970s kind of way, while some of them highlight excremental values.

The time to learn idiomatic Dutch is now.

(Link: www.hln.be)

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November 26, 2015

‘No more Ajax fire extinguishers in Rotterdam’

Filed under: Design,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

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Are you a serious Feyernoord football fan from Rotterdam and can’t stand another day of staring at all those Ajax brand fire extinguishers hanging all over the place, taunting you and reminding you of the rival Amsterdam football club? Two Rotterdam cousins have the solution for you: Feyernoord stickers.

Yes, the guys at Firenoord have designed a Feyernoord sticker that looks just like the Ajax one so you can stick it over that reminder of the other football club at 3 euro a pop. They are currently sold out, but they’ll surely be more for all the people that just cannot live with those distasteful Ajax fire extinguishers.

Just like the website says, ‘no more Ajax in Rotterdam’.

(Link: www.rijnmond.nl, Screenshot: www.firenoord.nl)

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November 24, 2015

Brussels lockdown cat photos Dutchman’s idea

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

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Starting last week during a high level threat against Brussels that is sadly ongoing, Belgians journalists and others tweeted pictures of cats to follow instructions from the Belgian federal police of not spreading pictures or information on Twitter that would give terrorists an edge as to what the police were doing.

On November 22 Dutch cameraman from Zwolle Hugo Janssen kicked of what was to be a huge collection of cat tweets. Carrying the hashtag #BrusselsLockDown he posted a picture of his cat Mozart, saying ”Instead of tweeting about the police’s movements in Brussels, here’s a picture of our cat Mozart”. Google ‘#BrusselsLockDown’ and you’ll get Star Wars cats, ordinary cats, wild cats, cats in boxes and the usual fare of Internet felines.

The Federal Belgian Police tweeted “For the cats that helped us yesterday, here you go!” with a picture of cat food, as seen above. The current situation is of course no laughing matter by any means and far from over.

(Link: www.focusnl.nl)

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November 23, 2015

Girl named Isis blocked by major brand

Filed under: Fashion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:48 pm

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They killed off Isis the dog on the British series Downton Abbey, named after the ancient Egyptian goddess who is getting poo-filled buckets’ worth of undeserved bad press for having the wrong name at the wrong time in recent history. And now it’s the turn of a 16-year-old girl named Isis from Enschede who definitely has no reason to change her name or be written out of anybody’s script.

Isis tried to order a pair of custom-made Nike running shoes with her name on it, but the online message was “Sorry, the ID you have entered does not meet our guidelines”. Heaven forbid fashion-forward terrorists want to advertise their crew on their shoes! The sadder part as that according to RTV Oost, Isis is being bullied at school because of her name.

Unlike representing the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, it seems that Nike is letting the terrorists win.

Isis (the bad guys) and Enschede have an odd link with each other, as this spring terrorists were using fake passports with ‘Enshede’ on them.

(Link: www.bd.nl, Photo of Isis, Egyptian goddess by Darla Hueske, some rights reserved)

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November 16, 2015

Postal worker hoards three year’s worth of mail

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:47 pm

The police have found 60 mail bags containing about 13,000 undelivered letters at a Dutch postal worker’s home in Eelde, Drenthe. A local resident filed a formal accusation against PostNL after not having receiving important letters and the police who investigated discovered the mountain of mail at the postal worker’s home.

The worker claimed to be overwhelmed and let her work pile up quite literally from 2012 to August 2015. In 2013 a quick Google search tells us that in Tilburg a postal worker hoarded mail in his shed for three years as well.

Some 20,000 people (lots of women, students and seniors) work mainly part-time delivering mail in the Netherlands, as compared to the image of the full-time possibly unionised mail man. Another quick search using ‘Nederland’ (‘The Netherlands’) and ‘postbode’ (‘mail delivery person’) will regale you with postal workers hoarding mail up and down the land.

Hoarding was not exciting enough for one woman who decided to kick it up a notch and burnt everything to a crisp after just two weeks on the job.

(Link: nos.nl)

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