A health insurance company active in the east of the country has recently made a video (see below) that is really only made to watch an elderly lady treat Pokémons to the business end of a flyswatter.
Then there’s other Dutch business that have carved out a piece of the action using Pokémons. A Dutch sex toy shop asks on Twitter ‘What Pokémon is this?’, showing a dratini that’s more of the vibrating kind. Then there’s someone who claims Dutch Rail has a train running late because of a Snorlax on the rails. And then there’s more serious stuff like the World Wide Fund using a meme of a rhinoceros saying in English ‘Don’t catch ’em’.
The video is for fans and haters alike, so check it out.
Identical twins Ermano and Roberto who live in Sulmona, Italy and have never set foot in the Netherlands were interviewed by linguist Marc van Oostendorp of website Onzetaal.nl. They have recognisable Italian accents when they speak Dutch, but their syntax (word order) sounds pretty good, and they even correct themselves as they speak. They are motivated as well, which is more than I can say for many people here who can’t be arsed to learn Dutch.
These Ermano and Roberto are the antidote to that apathy. They are fans of Dutch television presenter Hans van der Togt, associated with the show ‘Raad van Fortuin’, (Dutch version of ‘Wheel of Fortune’,) and when asked what city they would like to visit if they could, they choose Maastricht first because they also watch television show ‘Flikken’ (‘Cops’), which is filmed there. Oh, and they watch satellite television because that’s the only way to get RTL4, their favourite station.
For all of you who can’t be arsed, the brothers’ enthusiasm is contagious, as is the charming way they finish each other’s sentences. And you’ll want to see them one day make that bucket list trip to the Netherlands, but since they have demanding jobs as cleaners, it won’t be easy, although it would be very cool.
Watch this Dutch video with English subtitles and some Italian countryside:
Since January 2014 the Dutch Data Protection Authority has observed that snack chain Febo, through its use of the Bluetrace data tracking system, was violating its patrons’ privacy by collecting information without their permission, according to the Personal Data Protection Act. And after several warnings, nothing has changed, but the agency is pissed off enough to fine Bluetrace if they don’t clean up their act within the next six months.
According to Bluetrace’s website, they claim to “respect the privacy of persons”, since “after 24 hours, all anonimized data is being erased from our systems”. However, that “anonimizing” they carry out is apparently very easy to undo, so basically nothing at all has been done to protect people’s privacy for quite some time.
Febo also has to make sure that they don’t collect personal data of people who live nearby, make sure they tell people explicitly that their data is being collected, and tell them how long their data will be stored, etc., which they don’t. Dutch law states that “the processing of any personal data requires the data subject’s unambiguous consent,” like a sign at Febo that warns people. Bluetrace has said that they place signs, but that’s not the case in the 30 or so Dutch municipalities where their system is operational.
Febo is just an example, as many other companies and towns who use Bluetrace are also violating the law, and I’d dare say, even flaunting it, since 2014. Why the authorities are only getting serious now remains a mystery.
The windmills of the Zaanse Schans near Zaandam are the backdrop to a fashion collection presentation made by Mexican brand Liverpool. If that sentence didn’t have enough cultural references in it for you, the model featured is Portuguese, the first shot of the video is of Amsterdam, not Zaandam, and there are Frisian flag clogs as well, try to spot them.
Amsterdam artist Femke Schaap, known internationally for her “life-size, spatial film-installations”, is being jerked around by Amsterdam’s Zuid district who has suddenly dropped a commissioned project of hers that’s been seven years in the making. Schaap has 200,000 euro hanging in the balance owned to her once the work is placed, and is taking the city to court to make sure it gets placed according to their binding agreement.
The video-installation WEstLAndWElls, has white blocks with video projections of fountains, which would only be turned on after sunset – that’s it, nothing vulgar or controversial. Built to be placed on the Theophile de Bockstrook, a local green patch, the artwork had already angered residents a few years back who took to writing letters. Everything they complained about was verified and deemed unfounded, like claiming children could hurt themselves, attracting graffiti and even causing epileptic seizures. It sounds like the neighbourhood was already upset about all the construction around them (houses, schools and parking) and WEstLAndWElls became the drop that made the bucket spill over.
According to the artist, the fountain projection is in slow motion and ‘romantic’, there’s a budget for an anti-graffiti crew for ten years and no one is going to hurt themselves on the artwork. Problem is, the city district legally dismissed all the letters against placing the artwork, but all of a sudden has decided not to place the artwork after all, to everyone’s surprise. But they can’t just do that. Schaap’s lawyer claims the whole situation has been “stressful and damaging” for the artist and her excellent international reputation.
This isn’t over yet, or as a friend of mine would say, it went from a ‘situation’ and it’s turning into a ‘-gate’.
Dutch baking show ‘Heel Holland Bakt’ (All of Holland/The Netherlands Bakes’), the Dutch version of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, is promoting the start of their new season with a tram in Amsterdam that smells of apple pie, which is a Dutch first and possibly a world first as well. And it’s my local tram, tram 7, so I may update this post soon enough.
Many viewers have wanted to know what it smells like in the tents on the show where they bake, so here’s an answer, at least for anyone in Amsterdam because despite what certain people might think Amsterdam isn’t all of the Netherlands or Holland (two provinces) for that matter.
It’s what they are going to do about how the pie tastes that could interesting. I vaguely remember tram stops with perfume spritzing out of them, which bothered a lot of people for a lot of legitimate reasons like it’s disgusting and being allergic to perfume.
And feel free to make munchies jokes as well, that’s fair game in Amsterdam.
UPDATE: It’s tram 1, which goes from the West to Amsterdam Central Station, not tram 7 that goes from West to East. The very fake smell of apple pie comes out of a few vents near the doors.
Together with his collaborator, engineer Arjen Beltman, they are taking deceased animals to the next level by creating something they can fly in themselves, which reminds me of the flying moths from the 1990s science-fiction series, Lexx.
“If I’m going to fly, I want to fly in something weird. So we’ve been thinking about animals that are big enough to fly in. We have a cow at the moment – it’s at the tannery right now. It’s going to be like a bovine personnel carrier, but airborne,” Jansen explains.
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.
Earlier this year, having a drink at certain types of shops started as an experiment in January and February in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, after which some 40 odd smaller cities joined in. The idea is that you’re not supposed to drink somewhere that doesn’t have the proper license, but in the spirit of getting people to the shops, the rules were temporarily relaxed as a pilot project.
However, in the small city of Doetinchem, Gelderland the ‘blurring’ of the laws on alcohol has led to a questionable situation where booze is being served in a children’s clothing shop, which according to STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy, claims is crossing the line.
STAP is very much against this ‘blurring’ (the actual word used by the Dutch in English), even more so in a shop meant for kids. I do get the serving a drink at the hair salon and more adult clothing stores, but yeah, I don’t see any real good in serving booze to parents in a children’s clothing store other than getting them to buy more.
Then again, the local government claims that children do not go into the shop in question when alcohol is being served, as it is about evenings for special clients when nobody under 18 years of age can get it, which starts to make more sense.
Regardless, STAP is going to start writing ‘letters on legs’ to borrow a fantastic Dutch expression that means writing serious letters with threats to sue in them.
A Belgian man from Turnhout, Jan Starckx, bought a portrait of a young girl in a red dress for 450 euro, which has turned out to be an original Willem de Kooning (shown here), a Dutch-American painter originally from Rotterdam.
Authenticated by experts on the BBC television show ‘Fake or Fortune’, the painting has been valued at between 55,000 and 100,000 euro. Starckx intends to exhibit the work first in Turnhout and then in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels where it was painted. In April the work will be brought together with a similar work, ‘Portrait of Renée’ at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, USA.
“I thought it was a great painting and I was intrigued by the signature that misses the final ‘g’: ‘Wim Koonin’ it says”, explained Starckx.