March 31, 2021

Fish get an underwater doorbell in Utrecht

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:37 am


In Utrecht, fish and other swimming creatures have been given their own doorbell to alert humans that they are trying to get to their spawning grounds.

Each spring thousands of fish make the journey upstream in the Vecht river, but have to wait at the gates of the Weerdsluis lock because it doesn’t open often enough to their liking. The Weerdsluis lock was built in the Middle Ages around 1300 to maintain the water level in the canals and has been a national monument since 1992.

To unclog the fish traffic, Utrecht local council and local water authorities have installed a camera that live streams (ha, pun) what the fish are doing while they wait. People in Utrecht who spot a waiting fish can ring the bell which will alert the lock keeper who will then get screenshots of the fish and can open the lock doors to let them through.

The goal is not to open the doors for every single fish, but to make sure the doors open at least once a day. And who doesn’t want to see a live stream (one more!) of fish trying to get somewhere? They are travelling more than most of us at the moment.

Back in 2014 we told you about a fish that could drive its tank around the room.

(Link:dutchnews.nl, Photo: visdeurbel.nl)

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March 2, 2021

Nijmegen has dildos glued on mailboxes

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:34 pm


Nobody in Nijmegen, Gelderland seems to be fazed by someone who has been going around gluing various dildos to mailboxes, another combination of words that we never thought we’d use in our lifetime. It’s bad behaviour and funny at the same time.

Apparently, the mailboxes weren’t damaged, but the police was told about the dildos by postal workers. The Dutch call the person doing this a ‘dildo-plakker’ (‘dildo-gluer’) and nobody knows anything about them.

And why are they doing this? Nobody knows. Someone removed the black dildo in the above picture.

The ‘dildo-gluer’ is still around and has not been caught.

We will look back on this and realise the world has gone nuts, pardon the weak pun.

(Link and photo: indebuurt.nl)

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January 24, 2021

Film about ‘homesick’ stone brought back to Finland

Filed under: Art,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:42 pm

I recently asked a friend who is big on documentaries if they had any viewing suggestions, and I was told I should watch the 2019 Dutch documentary ‘Bart en de steen die terug naar huis ging’ (‘Bart and the stone that went back home’). It’s the story of artist Bart Eysink Smeets who took a dolmen stone from Borger, Drenthe back to its original home on the Åland Islands, a unique part of Finland where Swedish is the main language.

Filmed by Bart’s brother Tom, we get to watch Bart’s process in finding the right stone in Borger, Drenthe, the Dutch city with the most dolmens. The film is a combination of bureaucracy, up and downs, weirdness, and humour. The way to Åland is a fun road trip as well and you might get attached to the stone while you watch.

As I want to keep this spoiler-free, watch it if you can understand enough Dutch and/or with Dutch subtitles. There’s some English, Drents (dialect) and Swedish as well.

(Link: nrc.nl, image: still from the film)

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January 20, 2021

Delft puts artist’s work in the bin by mistake

Filed under: Art,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:19 am

Chess table

Delft artist Tijn Noordenbos produces art for public spaces, and admits he’s used to some of his artworks disappearing. However, the city of Delft trashing his socially-distanced chess table and chairs came as a bit of a surprise.

Around New Year’s Eve, the city of Delft, South Holland picked up the artwork, looking for stuff they could burn. The idea was to get rid of anything that could be set on fire before New Year’s Eve, owing to the fact that fireworks had been banned and people would set (and did set) other stuff on fire.

Noordenbos is not upset, and is already working on a giant Scrabble board, with letters that will be 60 x 60 cm. He hasn’t asked the city permission, which is why his artworks sometimes disappear. It’s part of the game.

And he’s never been fined for leaving his art lying around. His two dolls in the city centre’s Binnenwatersloot have been there for two years, illegally, and have not been removed.

You win some, you lose some.

(Link and photo: omroepwest.nl)

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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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