February 12, 2017

The Republic of Catan has a Dutch connection

Filed under: History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 8:20 pm


There I was talking to a British guy about the snow we’re having in Amsterdam and he told me a story about having to call up the Republic of Catan for work and how nice they were. I thought he said ‘Qatar’, but no, he meant Catan.

Nope, nothing to do with most of your Google searches that will tell you about a board game. According to my digging, the Kingdom of Catan is the smallest nation in the world to claim full sovereign independence.

The Republic of Catan is a micronation, founded on March 10, 1999 by James Klaassen-White who is also King James Klaassen-White I who speaks English, French, Dutch and Spanish. I’m thinking one of his parents is Dutch. My British guy told me their first ever King a woman and that they always have a King regardless of gender, which I can’t confirm, but that’s pretty cool. Their ‘Patron Saint’ is King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, the area claimed is 3 square kilometres with a population of 14 in the UK close to Leeds.

And besides finding very little information and constantly reading ‘its’ as ‘it’s’ in at least three websites about Catan, I’m done searching. Oh, and Foreign & Kingdom Minister Booner announced that the Catan Government will put aside €48,000 to assist the new Dutch Government fund for International Groups who support abortions, so they have some money apparently.

(Links: micronations, kocatan.eu, Flag of Catan)


January 20, 2017

Sisters give birth twice on the same day

Filed under: Health,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:07 pm

Two sisters from the region of Twente, Overijssel have recently given birth on the same day. In fact, this is the second time the sisters have given birth on the same day. And that’s not all: Jennie and Gerita have actually been pregnant three times at the same time. Sadly, the first time they both were pregnant Jannie had a miscarriage and Gerita had an ectopic pregnancy.

A year later, Gerita told Jennie she was pregnant again and Jennie’s mouth fell open: she was pregnant as well and as a precaution hadn’t told anybody yet. And they had their babies on the same day.

Both sisters ended up giving birth on the same day the third time around as well. However, due to complications with Gerita’s pregnancy, her baby was to be born one week earlier than planned, which was one day before Jannie’s baby was to be delivered. Both children were eventually born on the same day.

They both joked that it’s going to be very complicated with birthday parties for quite some time.

(Link: telegraaf.nl, Photo of Crying baby by Chalky Lives, some rights reserved)

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December 13, 2016

Cheesiest business slogans of the year 2016

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

Utrecht hair salon Local Heroes has won ‘the worst business slogan of 2016’ with ‘Zit je haircut’, a Dunglish joke that needs some unpacking. Pronounce ‘hair’ in English and ‘cut’ (‘kut’) in Dutch, the latter being the word for what the Brits call the ‘c-bomb’, but in this case means ‘shitty’. And so if your hair is looking shitty, come to their place, they’ll apparently fix it for you.

The second place went to a plumber in The Hague for ‘Your shit is my food’, as in ‘Your pooh is my daily bread’, but in a shitty, Dunglish, roundabout way, and third place was for a lingerie shop in Epe, Gelderland with ‘Tiet voor een goede bh’, which is trying to say ‘Time for a new bra’, but the word ‘tiet’ means ‘tit’ and is a play on the pronunciation of ‘time’ in Dutch. Women came up with that one, by the way.

Read about the worst business slogans 2015 with less pooh but more sexism.

And there’s always Dutch universities making a mess of it as well.

(Link: nu.nl)

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November 15, 2016

Fish stall stuck in traffic opens on the motorway

Filed under: Automobiles,Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:58 am


This summer a guy stuck in traffic for ages due to a major accident decided to pull out his drum kit and jam, and a few days ago, a fish stall owner decided to pop open his stall right in the middle of a motorway that was also jammed up due to a major accident.

Being stuck in traffic that isn’t moving instead of having a hot dinner on a cold, rainy, supermoon day of a Monday has to suck, but then grabbing a bite of fish helped quite a few hungry commuters keep their wits about them.

Fish stall owner Terence van de Mheen was on his way home when he got stuck in traffic. “I had two choices: stay sat in the car or pop open the stall”. I guess he made the right call and some money as well, good on him.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl)

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October 3, 2016

Help! My mammoth takes up too much space

Filed under: Animals,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:04 am

Online auction site Catawiki has all kinds of stuff up for grabs, and as of last weekend, there’s a Dutch person selling off a complete mammoth skeleton.

According to the auction site, there are seven complete mammoth skeletons in the Netherlands, and this was the only one not owned by a museum. Originally found in the North Sea, the bones are not from the same mammoth, and were carefully collected over time. The skeleton is 3.2 metres high and 5.5 metres long, with 270 bones and two tusks that are three metres long.

Catawiki expects the skeleton to fetch between 200,000 and 260,000 euro. As of last weekend the highest bid was 35,000 euro.

UPDATE: A German museum that wishes to remain anonymous has bought the skeleton for 120,000 euro.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo: Wolfgang Staudt, some rights reserved)

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August 28, 2016

Utrecht building’s warped design scares locals

Filed under: Architecture,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:03 pm

A new building in Utrecht, adjacent to the Hoog Catharijne shopping mall, is getting strange reactions from locals. Passers-by recently called the police claiming the building looked like it was about to crumble, and the police apparently cordoned off the area.

The cops then checked with the builders and found out the bulging front is part of the design, as shown in this slideshow or in this picture.

Residents were only able to see the cement parts of the building recently as some scaffolding was removed. Utrecht has one extra story to tell about their city centre now.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Hoog Catharijne by Jeroen Bosman, some rights reserved)

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July 16, 2016

Man has travel chip implanted in his hand

Filed under: Technology,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:37 am

Tom van Oudenaaarden from Utrecht has has a public transport chip implanted in his right hand. The photos of it are nasty because the work has just been done, but the chip works fine, as this very short video proves. So far he has only used his implant to check in and out of ports, and has yet to encounter train staff who would need to check what would normally be a chip card in a handheld device to be sure he’s paid his fare.

And Van Oudenaaarden is no stranger to implants, piercings or tattoos either. He’s had a LED-lamp implanted in his arm and has implanted chips that will start his motorbike and car, open his laptop and his shop. The idea was to get rid of his wallet and a big bunch of keys and show what technology can do.

If you’re wondering, his chip is good to go until 2021. Listen to more about it in Dutch.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo by Franklin Heijnen, some rights reserved)

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July 9, 2016

Christmas music terrorises Arnhem shopping mall

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


There’s this weird tradition at camp sites where I’m from in Québec called ‘Le Noël des campeurs’ (‘Campers’ Christmas’), which is basically celebrating Christmas in July at the camp site, where some of us spent our entire summers because that was the family vacation. I especially remember Santa Claus on the back of a pick-up driving slowly through the camp site throwing candies at us kids, not unlike the Pieten do at Sinterklaas.

The Netherlands doesn’t do Christmas at the camping, but shopping mall Rijkerswoerd in Arnhem has been forced to listen to Christmas music for three weeks now, which is horribly annoying to customers and shopkeepers alike. Thanks to the incompetence of a manager in solving the problem and a florist seeking media attention to get it fixed, the entire system was replaced and there’s normal hits coming out of the music system as of today.

After three weeks of chanting ‘we’re looking into it’, the manager in question had announced that the problem had been solved on Thursday, but on Friday, Jingle Bells and Last Christmas were back in full swing. On Friday afternoon, cables were yanked out of the system to be repaired to make sure Driving Home for Christmas hit a brick wall of silence before the florist got too creative.

Mood Media, the company who supplies the tunes, has apologised for the music terror and placated the shopkeepers with actual Christmas-themed gifts, which went over well.

(Link: www.gelderlander.nl)

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June 21, 2016

Fire truck again too big for station

Filed under: Automobiles,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:03 pm

In Flevoland in 2013 a fire brigade bought 14 new trucks, five of which didn’t fit in their fire stations.

It has happened again, this time in Almen, Gelderland, but with a tanker, which is five centimeters too high and one metre too long for the fire station, a 40-year-old station that is due to be either replaced or renovated. It’s odd that fire brigades don’t talk to each other about a problem I am sure has happened before more often than the press has reported.

I guess it’s one way to get a new fire house or renovate the current one. Maybe that’s the idea.

(Link: www.blikopnieuws.nl)

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June 16, 2016

Kids get sick on glue thanks to their teacher

Filed under: Health,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:00 am

Students at a school in Spijkenisse, South Holland got sick after their teacher gave them a lecture on street children sniffing glue in Brazil. It’s one thing to try and explain this to kids to get them to empathise, it’s another to have them sniff hazardous glue to get the point across.

After sniffing glue used to remove graffiti, which contains the same toxic substances as the glue used in Brazil, two students were sick: one had to be treated in hospital and one at a clinic, while another six were treated at the school.

The parents were informed of the incident. Why on earth did this even happen, the media doesn’t say, but it seems the teacher didn’t realise that the graffiti remover was toxic. I think the teacher was stupid and irresponsible to say the least.

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

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