December 12, 2020

Tasteless supermarket advert to be pulled

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,Health,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:09 am

Photographed at the entrance of the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam by Twitter user @vankarine, this advert from Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn featuring Dutch Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bars seems to be attempting to cash in on people’s covid-infused sleepless nights.

The sign says ‘These won’t make it to the holidays’, which is what is being said about covid patients in hospitals. It has caused some outrage, and rumour has it the signs are being pulled because they are in poor taste – shocker. I hope the person who thought this up has a few sleepless nights themselves, to be honest.

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November 9, 2020

‘Replace sweets with sprouts’ on Dutch Halloween-like holiday

Filed under: Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:31 am

It is not real news, but we still really like the story.

On November 11 Dutch children usually celebrate Sint-Maarten by going around town door to door at night, carrying hand-made lanterns and singing songs for sweets.

The city of Amsterdam would rather this not happen at all due to the health crisis and has made a suggestion that sounds more like an April Fool’s joke: replace the sweets with Brussels sprouts to promote healthy eating.

The idea is to stay home and celebrate with the healthy yet questionable-smelling miniature cabbages. The city is bold enough to suggest parents also use ‘tomatoes, carrot and radishes’ as well.

Maybe spend a evening doing something fun with your kids that doesn’t involve you checking your mobile phone, but that’s just me.

Good news is I won’t have to hide in my own house on 11 November. A Canadian like me considers 11 November as Remembrance Day, the day we commemorate the millions of fallen during the First World War, which the Dutch don’t celebrate.

I posted a picture of Dutch white asparagus because it’s really tasty.

(Link: www.at5.nl, Photo by Wikipedia user Janericloebe who released it into the public domain)

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September 2, 2020

Zaandam street reverts back to ‘gay sounding name’

Filed under: Architecture,Music,Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:47 pm

In 2018 the city of Zaandam, North Holland was dealing with a tempest in a teacup: a street called ‘Hobo’ (‘Oboe’) was turned into ‘Piccolo’ because folks said it sounded too much like ‘homo’, which is a homophobic slur, the equivalent of ‘faggot’. ‘Folks said’ is not very clear, but city hall picked up on the discontent of some and decided to change instruments.

However, in 2019 the city went back on its decision, saying that it was hard to claim to be a ‘rainbow city’ (LGBTQIA-friendly) if they cater to the whims of a few people who didn’t like a street named after a musical instrument. Other Dutch cities have Hobo streets and that was never a problem. And just having a rainbow crosswalk is not enough these days to be truly LGBTQIA-friendly.

I went to Zaandam recently to see what the fuss had been all about. One very nice typical blue Zaandam-style house had a sign on the door that said “Hobo 14, former Piccolo 14”, which seemed to be for any kind of deliveries. Hobo street is barely a few hundred metres long. And why would I use another slur, ‘faggot’, to make my point? That’s because parallel to Hobo, there’s ‘Fagot’ street, which means ‘Bassoon’ in Dutch and nobody had a problem with that.

(Link: hartvannederland.nl)

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August 21, 2020

Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium removes misinterpreted statue

Filed under: Art,History,Religion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

Much in the same way that the swastika went from being a religious symbol to being a Nazi one, the official olympic salute with extended arm stopped being used after WWII because it resembled the ‘Hitler greeting’.

That being said, the statue by The Hague sculptor Gra Hueb at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium was inaugurated in 1928 for the Olympic Games in Amsterdam and had nothing to do with the Nazis. It was placed in honour of Baron Van Tuyll van Serooskerken, the first chairman of the Dutch Olympic Committee who successfully brought the Games to the Netherlands. The stadium is not too far from 24 Oranges HQ and is still in use.

As a sign of the times – for better or worse – historians and the Olympic Stadium folks decided to remove it and place it somewhere else in the stadium instead of prominently at the entrance.

(Link and photo: parool.nl)

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May 28, 2020

Shop on Belgian-Dutch border off limits to both countries

Filed under: Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:24 pm

Bart Cuypers’ beer shop Bierparadijs (‘Beer Paradise’) is technically in Belgium, but only accessible from exit A16, leading to an industrial area that borders the Netherlands. Due to Covid-19, Belgium, like many other European countries, is policing its border, in this case some 100 metres from the beer shop.

Cuypers doesn’t currently have any customers, and like many other businesses he’s getting some government support to keep up the place and its employees until he’s able to operate more normally. Right now everybody wants beer but there’s no decent way to get to it.

The Dutch could get to his shop as long as they take another exit just before the border check, which is meant for people entering Belgium. However, the Dutch cannot go to Belgium without a valid reason, and jokes aside, stocking up on beer is not a valid reason. The Dutch are 98% of Cuypers’ clients, as many beers are 25% cheaper in Belgium than in the Dutch supermarkets.

Back in 2008 we told you about a murder on the border and sorting that out was quite complicated.

(Link: volkskrant.nl)

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February 27, 2020

Dutch government loses track of 2.3 million workers

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:39 pm

Since 2014 the Dutch government has lost track of some 2.3 million seasonal workers, all foreigners who don’t have to register where they live if it they come over for less than four months, making them difficult to track down. However, that also means nobody can check whether they are being exploited or mistreated. They do have an identification number (in Dutch, ‘BSN’) to be able to receive their salaries in their bank accounts, but that’s it.

Have they stayed in the Netherlands, have they gone? No idea.

As explained by Dutchnews.nl, people planning to live in the Netherlands for more than four months are required to officially register with their local authority using a formal address. As explained by my personal experience of 20 years in this country, people make up addresses or use ones that have 20 people registered in it, which is illegal, but often goes unchecked.

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

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January 29, 2020

Dutchman fails test 10 times, needs it to graduate

Filed under: Online,Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:44 pm

For the past couple of years 22-year-old university student at the Eindhoven University of Technology keeps failing the same two exams over and over, stopping him from graduating. The exams are calculus and ‘some kind of algebra’, whatever that means. Both exams are from his first year, and he’s now in his fourth year.

He’s not too worried, but his friends think it’s amusing. On Heeft Daan calculus al gehaald (‘Has Daan finally passed calculus?’) you can check his progress. His friends helped build the site.

In the Netherlands grades go from 0 to 10, and on Daan’s last attempt at passing the calculus test, he got a two. “I felt like shit,” he said. In a way, I want to Daan to pass because he’s very much the underdog, and in another, I’m glad he’s not studying to be a doctor or a dentist.

There’s another Dutch concept that’s good to know, it’s called the ‘zesjescultuur’ (‘sixes culture’, as in 6 out of 10, a passing grade) and for many people that’s enough.

Daan’s the poster boy for it now.

(Link: www.nhnieuws.nl)

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December 23, 2019

Longest Dutch street name sign disappears

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:43 am

In Early December, not too long ago in a land not too far away – Duiven, Gelderland in the East of the country which some of you might know for its big Swedish furniture store – was able to claim they had the longest street name in the country: Laan van de landinrichtingscommissie Duiven-Westervoort (roughly, ‘The Duiven-Westervoort land use committee lane’).

However, the 2.6 meter-long sign disappeared or was removed two weeks after it was unveiled. It is unclear why the sign is gone: theft, repairs, who knows. And nobody knows if the city of Duiven is planning to make a new one. My money is on ‘stolen’ simply because the sign is so unique. The street had technically been around since 2010, but only recently got its own sign. Easy come, easy go.

Talking about signs always reminds me that an entire Dutch neighbourhood has street names based on Lord of the Rings.

(Link and sign: nos.nl)

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November 26, 2019

Dutch supermarket asked minors for pics in underwear

Filed under: Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:10 pm

AH-bag

It started off as an fun opportunity for employees of Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn in Nijmegen, Gelderland to be the first to sport new uniforms, but quickly turn sour and went viral. Albert Heijn employees, which includes minors, were asked to send in pictures of themselves using an app either in their underwear or ‘tight fitting swimwear’ to be able to get their clothing size right. The idea behind the inappropriate photos was that an algorithm could decide what size the person needed – why they couldn’t just tell their boss what size they were like normal people is beyond most folks.

Albert Heijn quickly stopped it was doing although after the media caught wind of it. Not only is this morally wrong and illegal, it also goes against a bunch of privacy laws like the GDPR. The chain is calling this ‘a misunderstanding’, with, if I read correctly, the shop manager blaming head office and head office blaming the shop manager and their communication. The shop manager apparently told employees sending in the pictures was “essential and obligatory”, while Albert Heijn’s head office said it was “voluntary”. The thing is, when a boss who has power over you tells you something is essential and obligatory you do it, and if they say it’s voluntary, you also do it because it’s your boss asking.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority called this “bizarre”, saying Albert Heijn had no grounds to ask or oblige their employees to provide such pictures, since employees are never in a position to give consent without being under pressure, which goes against the GDPR for starters.

(Link: tweakers.net, Photo of Albert Heijn bag by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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November 18, 2019

Nine-minute flight between Netherlands and Belgium

Filed under: Aviation,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:49 pm

airplane1.JPG

Definitely classified as a ‘weird flight’ in the best case and possibly ‘useless flight’ for other reasons, Qatar Airways will be scrapping a nine-minute cargo flight from Maastricht, Limburg to Liège, Belgium.

The entire flight is 38 kilometres, carried out by a Boeing 777 aircraft. It caught the eye of Belgian politicians who used this as an example to express their concerns about the environment. In the Netherlands, stopping flights of less than 100 kilometres is also being discussed, and even on Twitter, folks are saying that anything trips of less than 750 kilometres can be done by train rather than by plane when it comes to people moving around, not cargo.

The flight is a charter flight, ordered by one company who wants their cargo delivered directly to Liège rather than having to pick it up in Maastricht.

(Link: rtlz.nl)

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