Brenno de Winter is an investigative reporter who was declared Journalist of the Year 2011 and that accolade seems to have the entire Dutch government quaking in its boots.
Crazy chain mails about the danger he poses are doing the rounds at all levels of Dutch government. De Winter wrote last Monday:
The army has been alerted, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism has been brought in and all the departments have been warned. Letters are circulating among thousands of civil servants containing my home address and photos of me. We are at threat level one because Brenno is in the country and whoever spots him should raise the alarm immediately.
The alarming mails started because somebody believed De Winter was working on an article about government security.
De Winter found out that there was a campaign being staged against him when he went to the Finance Ministry for a meeting and a lunch. “A woman said: ‘We have to call security because we have a protocol about you.’” Four security agents came to bark at De Winter for a while before letting him go to his appointment, but not without one of them accompagnying De Winter: “The man watched everything. What I ate, how I ate it, whom I talked to, how I spoke and what I talked about.”
Both the police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have distributed correction letters clearing De Winter’s name, although it remains to be seen how effective these rectifications are. The police seems to have an effective system for distributing libel, but not for retracting it. The police’s correction points out how damaging the chain mails are: “These actions paint an incorrect picture of Mr De Winter and hinder him without reason in his profession as an investigative reporter. Certain data about Mr De Winter have been distributed illegally and without sufficient regard for professional standards.”
De Winter’s main qualm with the campaign against him is that it does nothing to intercept real bad actors.
In 2000 reporter Willem Oltmans was awarded 8 million guilders in damages following a conspiracy by the Dutch government to silence him after he had interviewed president Sukarno of former Dutch colony Indonesia.
See also: No fees for freedom of information requests says Dutch Supreme Court
Tags: Brenno de Winter, control, government, police state, Willem Oltmans
In the village of Lent near Nijmegen a man has been reported flashing schoolchildren goods and all, and making sexual comments when they walk by on their way to school. In Dutch a flasher is a ‘potloodventer’, which literally means ‘pencil salesman’, hence my choice of photo.
Open and shut case you say? Nope. Dutch law apparently says the man needs to be caught in the act if the police are to arrest him and keep him in custody. In the meantime, he gets to keep doing his sick shit to children because the cops can’t do their job and the parents are too lame to be proactive.
So basically one messed up man who needs help is disrupting other people’s lives and nobody is really doing anything about it but complaining. Maybe one of those stay at home moms with free time on their hands could stalk him with a video camera? I mean, it just takes some proof. Why can’t a squad car pick a busy day and catch the man in the act? How tough can it be to catch him, seriously? He’s obviously not dangerous. I would totally do it if I lived nearby.
Tags: children, flasher, Lent, Nijmegen
Five years ago around this time a man dressed only in shoes and a hat entered Bob’s Adventure Store in Weert, Limburg.
Robert van Dooren, the sales clerk, was busy helping another customer who was trying out shoes, but nevertheless proceeded to make small talk. “I had noticed he was unconventionally dressed, especially considering the time of year. He had a raw trout in his hand from which he took bites now and then. I asked him if he wasn’t cold, but that wasn’t the case.”
Two municipal police officers (stadswacht) entered the store, after which the naked shopper became violent. He started pulling on a display and Van Dooren together with the other customer had to force him down, Limburger wrote at the time. Van Dooren: “I used climbing rope to choke him, but he did manage to bite me in the arm hard enough to draw blood.”
Last week store owner Bob Frantzen talked to nu.nl about the incident: “It turned out the man did what he did in a fit of insanity. There was no intent. The man later told us he was terribly sorry about what happened, which is good enough for us. We harbour no bad feelings.”
(Photo: Google Street View)
Tags: Ad Melkert, enforcement, fishing, forgiveness, forgiving, hiking, insanity, stadswacht, trout, Weert
Back in 2012 we told you about how a Dutchman was planning to film a reality show on Mars.
And now that they’ve started selecting people for the Mars One mission — 1058 people to be exact — the two Dutch candidates, Wim Dijkshoorn and Merlijn Vuurop, are telling us what’s going through their minds.
Merlijn explains that he’s drawn to the pioneering aspect of going to Mars and says it’s a huge step for humanity that he wants to be a part of. He’s also been at sea for three years with just his parents and is used to being alone. As for Wim, he feels it will be very a lonely existence for a long time, although more and more people will join the colony. He compares it to a monk’s life. And if he gets a girlfriend in the coming years, he’s ready to just break it off. He also thinks it’s better not to keep in contact with Earth and cut all ties with his family.
Never mind how scary this still seems to me every time I think about it, the Mars One people are currently saying that they don’t want the colonists to reproduce. I shudder to think how that could be enforced on people so far away. Besides the fact that the babies could have serious defects and that reproduction may not even work for all kinds of reasons, it could even go the other way around: that women will be baby-making machines to ensure the survival of the colony, but that’s just me freaking out.
(Links: www.nieuws.nl, www.space.com)
Tags: Mars, space
Theo, 32, from Eindhoven has been peeing against buildings for half his life, but does it creatively by making eagles. The art is of course ephemeral and apparently peeing the claws is tough.
Theo says the eagle is a strong symbol, something that reminds him of Germany, while it reminds me and probably others of the United States or Russia. He usually aims (ha pun) to make the German 2 euro coin (the 1 euro has the same eagle), but he says that he is usually drunk and it looks like a peacock or a seagull.
Peeing on walls is illegal in the Netherlands, and Theo got caught once in Tiel. The cop did let him finish because he appreciated the artistic value. Follow Theo’s pee eagles on Instagram.
(Link: www.vice.com, Photo: supertheo6000# (Theo) on Instagram)
Tags: eagle, Eindhoven, pee, urine
About 9,000 citizens of Amsterdam received an unexpected Christmas bonus yesterday, Parool reports.
The municipal tax office accidentally floated a comma the wrong way and instead of paying out a housing benefit of 155 euro it transferred 15,500 euro and sometimes even 30,000 euro into its clients’ bank accounts.
The annual benefit is paid on top of a similar federal subsidy that is intended to help the poorest Dutch people make ends meet. The tax office is frantically trying to retrieve the money. Parool says the office fears “most recipients will be unwilling to see a mistake in this”. In total the city has paid out 188 million euro.
“We want to deal with this in a nice way”, a spokesperson told Telegraaf. But one of the accidental recipients who called the tax office was told that if he touched the money, he’d be in trouble, AT5 reports.
Although it is funny to think of the poorest of society being ‘rich’ for a few days, I fear that for some this mistake may only mean more problems in the end.
(Photo of unrelated costume jewellery by GlitzUK, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, benefits, housing benefit, money, rent control, social security
In 2005 a man called Ben Schattenberg organised a poll for the most beautiful town name in the Netherlands.
After a round of nominations voters could send an e-mail to say which one of four names was their favourite:
- Doodstil (literally deathly silent, but in fact Doede’s bridge).
- Muggenbeet (mosquito bite).
- Waterlandkerkje (water land church).
- ‘s-Hertogenbosch (the duke’s forest).
I am not sure how many people participated in the poll (half-way the voting period 5,447 votes had been counted) or how often the poll was held, but it did end up in this sign proclaiming the town’s pride (“de mooiste plaatsnaam van Nederland” means ‘the most beautiful town name of the Netherlands’). According to Doodstil.net the town with 100 inhabitants celebrated the election at the time with a barbecue in the garden of the Knol family.
(Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gouwenaar who dedicated it to the public domain; link: Eamelje.net)
Tags: Doodstil, elections, Groningen, names, polls, toponyms
Dutch railways (NS) plans to put on display the oddest items of the past couple of years from its lost and found collection in an exhibit entitled – you guessed it – Lost and Found, starting this Thursday, 12 December until Saturday 14 December on platform No. 2 at Amsterdam Central Station. 24oranges plans on being there when it starts and will report back to you with pictures. Some of the items featured in the exhibit include a prosthetic leg, a 1950s dress, a suitcase full of fake cash and the key to a Porsche.
On average 80,000 items are left in trains and at train stations, and 45% of the time, they are returned to their rightful owner. The Dutch railways lost and found collection piles up in Utrecht, the country’s biggest train station.
They’ll also be a pop-up store where you can actually buy lost and found items that have been restyled by art students from Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The money will go to the nature and environment foundation, Natuur & Milieu.
(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo by Jason Rogers, some rights reserved)
Tags: Dutch railways, NS, train
The Germans refer to it as ‘Wanderlust’, and the technical term is dromomania, “an uncontrollable psychological urge to wander”. Dutch tax law student Valentijn Kuperus is not only constantly on the go, but tries to do it as cheaply as possible. I can imagine that if you’re on a student budget and have the urge to travel that saving money as well as planning is something you excel at very quickly. And what a lawyer he is going to make, but he’ll never be in his office.
Kuperus knows all about saving air miles, bonus programs and travel sites. He has learned all about online travel booking by spending three to four hours a day looking for deals. Last month Kuperus flew to in Abu Dhabi, UAE and Cape Town, South Africa. However, he spent all of 90 minutes in Abu Dhabi, but was very happy to accumulate thousands of frequent flyer miles by stopping there.
Simply put, Kuperus is clearly addicted to travel and needs it like a fix, a lot like a record collector needs to constantly dig crates to score a great record for next to no money.
Contrary to most of us who like to fly as directly as possible to our destination, Kuperus would rather pile up as many layovers as possible because that’s how he can score the most points to then be able to travel some more. He has even taken flights that earn him more air miles than they cost. He once landed a deal flying from Paris to Sri Lanka for 7,50 euro, a mistake on the part of the airline and a great find for him.
Kuperus has already visited 57 countries, with about 11 more coming up soon. His passport is so full of stamps that he needs to get a new one every two years. This year’s Christmas trip reads as follows: Brussels-Ljubljana-Istanbul-Cairo-Abu Dhabi-Bangkok-Singapore-Beijing-Seoul-Taipei-Ho Chi Minh City-Taipei-Hong Kong-Amsterdam.
He plans to do some studying while flying as well. He has good travel tips on his frequent flyer blog.
Tags: dromomania, flying, travel
A few years back, we had going to church naked and naked fitness, and now it’s time for a naked game show on television, with words and balls.
The Dutch game show Lingo, based on an American game show, has been a household viewing staple for decades. It features guessing words of a certain length and unscrambling longer words. Winning a round entitles you to pick balls with numbers to be checked off a bingo card, hence the name.
Lingo is auditioning nudists for a special naked version of the television program. First thing the producers make clear is that participants won’t be chosen based on what they look like, which in TV land has to be partially untrue. And the popular game show host Lucille Werner says she will join in by taking it all off. The show is scheduled to air on May 2014.
Back in 2011 this episode of Lingo went viral, as a smart guy used the word ‘cumshot’ and everyone had a good laugh.
(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of the first Philips colour TV from 1964 by Philips, used with permission)
Tags: game show, Lingo, nudist, television