On 27 April the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo, Gelderland will be celebrating 40 years of free-to-use white bikes for visitors, originally suggested by members of the mid-1960s Provos, a Dutch anti-establishment cultural movement whose co-founder passed away in 2009.
The Hoge Veluwe, a three Michelin star tourist attraction and the biggest nature reserve of the country, features 5,400 hectares of green and forest. When cycling through it on your white bike, you may catch a glimpse of animals like deers to rabbits. Also on the grounds of the park is the world-famous Kröller-Müller museum, featuring works by Van Gogh and Picasso indoors and with sculptures and paintings outdoors – a great place to spend the day. There’s also a nature discovery museum for kids and of course, white bikes for kids and even for parents with small children.
At the celebration, five of the white bikes will be painted by artists and auctioned off, and there will also be a photo competition, the winners of which will have their pictures enlarged and placed around the park.
(Link: , Photo of White bikes, Hoge Veluwe by 123_456, some rights reserved)
Tags: Gelderland, hippies, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Provo, Veluwe
Just as spring began in 2012 we told you about how European bees are disappearing from the urban landscape, although many things are being done to counter this. As an unknowing consumer, I’ve noticed that the honey I buy has a lot of ‘non-EU’ honey in it, which means it’s probably from North America or the Middle East.
You could imagine that although keeping bees at home to gawk at (I like to try and spot the queen bee) and take their honey sounds really cool (pics), it has a hipster vibe to it. Back in 2011 Philips designed a beehive that you can place indoors, while the bees enter the hive from a sort of flower pot outdoors, so no bees flying around the house.
According to Philips, their urban beehive is a sustainable, environmentally friendly product concept that has direct educational effects. The city benefits from the pollination, while humans benefit from the honey and therapeutic value of observing the bees. As global bee colonies are in decline, this design contributes to the preservation of the species and encourages the return of the urban bee.
This sounds great if you’re up to smoking out the bees when you want the honey because you’ll need to do so eventually and you’ll need to have your own house to make those kinds of holes in your walls.
(Link: www.design.philips.com, Photo of Bee swarm by quisnovus, some rights reserved)
Tags: beehive, bees, honey, Philips
Considering how much land the Dutch have reclaimed over the years, giving an island back to nature is definitely newsworthy.
Back in 2012 we told you about how two lucky people could apply as a tandem to watch birds on the island of Rottumeroog as a summer job. Unfortunately, last December, a storm apparently weakened the dunes around the house, which has now been destroyed, leaving the island uninhabited.
Only last month the only trail on Rottumeroog was officially named ‘Jan Brandspad’. The island’s municipality, Eemsmond, had to give the trail a name as required by law. There were even plans to put up a street sign.”
(Link: www.iamexpat.nl, Photo of Texel island by Searocket, some rights reserved)
Tags: island, Rottum
The Dutch state can no longer fine motorists automatically for lacking insurance, Volkskrant reported on Saturday.
An enterprising judge in Leeuwarden wanted to know the name of prolific civil servant number 404040 who had booked 280,000 motorists in 2013. It turned out that number 404040 was a computer which in the eyes of the court was problematic. There is this pesky thing, you know, called the law, that says only humans can hand out fines.
RDW, the independent governmental service that collects the fines, is already studying how to avoid paying back the nice chunk of cash that it has stolen from the public. Last year alone the service collected 109 million euro illegally. In the future RDW will simply perjure themselves and put the ID of the civil servant who happens to be in the same building as computer number 404040 is on the fines.
Last year the public prosecutor tried to imprison a woman for not insuring her non-existent car.
Last week RTL Nieuws revealed that the government hardly ever prosecutes crimes committed by civil servants even though civil servants are required by law—there’s that pesky law again–to report crimes. It took RTL Nieuws a couple of years to collect the figures—they needed to use freedom of information requests to get at the information. (As you may know, the Dutch government is perfectly happy to be transparent about the times they do not break the law.) In total only 36 of 411 possible crimes were prosecuted.
Last December Transparency International declared the Netherlands one of the ten least corrupt countries in the world.
See also: Speed cameras wrongly fine motorists for years
(Photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)
Tags: corruption, criminals, law, legal crime, prosecutors
After getting the local press to write about him, Ton van Wingerden, 74, managed to cause a run on coffee grinders at the local Blokker (household goods shop) in Goeree-Overflakkee. An employee told Hart van Nederland they’re “selling six coffee grinders a week, which is a lot for such a device.”
Van Wingerden’s miracle cure is the powder of ground oyster shells. It’s not quite clear from the original article what the powder is supposed to heal, as with all alternative medicine it appears to heal everything the sufferer believes it will heal. Also unclear is why the national press is picking up on this now considering the original story ran last spring. Other methods for crushing oyster shells as reported to Van Wingerden were walking over them in clogs, squashing them between the jaws of a vise or wrapping them in a tea cloth and then hitting them with a hammer.
Goerree-Overflakee is one of the staunchest Christian bulwarks in the Dutch bible belt and is the southernmost part of the province of South Holland. It also borders on Lake Grevelingen where oysters are cultivated.
(Photo by Suzette Pauwels, some rights reserved)
Tags: Goeree-Overflakkee, oysters
In the town of Vijlen in the southeasternmost part of the Netherlands, the local bank has shut down all the ATM machines. That is why resourceful villagers have started taking a local tuk-tuk service to Mechelen, 3 miles down the road, to get their cash, Nieuws.nl wrote last Tuesday.
The tuk-tuk, ran by a local volunteer organisation called Traag Heuvelland, has been operational for over two years. Originally it was used to cart tourists around, but these days it is popular with the local elderly in a quickly ageing area of the Netherlands.
The tuk-tuk operators have dubbed their service the ‘pinpendel’ due to its use as a bus service to and from an ATM machine. Viktor Terpstra told Nieuws.nl: “We can take six passengers at a time. The ride takes about half an hour both ways including the money stop. There is a café at the start of the route so that people who missed the tuk-tuk the first time around can have a cup of coffee while they wait.”
Rabobank closed ATM machines in eight villages in the South of Limburg last November because the machines weren’t used often and were difficult to secure against ‘ramkraken’ (ram-raiding).
(Photo of a tuk-tuk in China by Chris Moss , some rights reserved)
Tags: Limburg, public transport, volunteers
Two years ago, a North Korean restaurant (now closed) in the West of Amsterdam had caused quite the commotion having been accused of spreading propaganda and all that jazz. But at least there was after dinner singing.
Now in the East part of town restaurant Haedanghwa features North Korean food with traditional after dinner songs sung by North Korean girls in traditional garb. The fun part is, they sing their rendition of the Dutch standard ‘Aan de Amsterdamse Grachten’ (roughly, At the Canals of Amsterdam) that they apparently worked very hard not only to sing, but to understand. They practiced for a few weeks and now you can enjoy the video.
(Link: www.vice.com, Photo of Pyongyang restaurant by Comicbase, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, North Korean
It hit me when I motored through the Overvecht neighbourhood of Utrecht that all the street names end in ‘dreef’ (roughly, ‘avenue’ or probably ‘drive’, [click on the image for a closer look], a bit of a 1970s trend someone once told me although I don’t know if that’s true.
Since I was heading to Manitobadreef and was curious as to why the street was named after a lesser known Canadian province, I wanted to know what other streets had Canadian names. Sure, there were tons more with American states (Texasdreef, Nevadadreef, Mississippidreef) and someone should check into those, but I couldn’t possibly imagine that Manitoba was the only Canadian one.
The Overvecht wikipedia page (Dutch only) tells me that there are street names from ‘America’, which means they are probably erroneously assuming that ‘America’ also covers Canada. Then they’ll say ‘we mean North America’ and then I’d retort ‘but you’ve missed Mexico’ [still a shocker at Dutch parties, Mexico is part of North America], as Mexicodreef was bundled with the South American and Central American names’. The article has some glimmer of self-awareness by stating that Australia has been completely ignored, so it could always be worse.
Back to the Canadian names per province:
That’s two for Manitoba, the province and the capital. Nicely done.
Three for Ontario, the province, the nation’s capital and the province’s capital. Well done.
The capital of the province of Alberta is mentioned, but not Calgary, city of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Edmonton does have that huge mall.
The province of British Columbia was probably too long, the metropolis gets a mention, but no Victoria, the capital, which most people have to look up. But OK, everybody knows Vancouver, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The province of Quebec gets a mention, but no Montréal though, home of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The capital is Quebec City, so this is good enough.
Labrador is part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland. A very odd choice, you’d think they went for the breed of dog.
- Sint Laurensdreef
I’m guessing it’s part of the river names they use in Overvecht for cross streets, so decent choice.
It’s still really hard to beat a neighbourhood named after Lord of the Rings characters.
Tags: Canada, geography, Overvecht, street names, Utrecht
Yesterday a trio of Dutch skaters swept the podium at the 2014 Winter Olympics. They were the third trio of Dutch skaters to do so these Olympic Games.
The 17 medals won by the Dutch team, including 5 gold ones, has led to a sense of euphoria among the press. Hosts of the evening talk show by public broadcaster NOS, Studio Sportwinter, started speculating on air how many more medals ‘we’ would rake in during the rest of the games. Of the 17 medals, 16 were won in long track speed skating.
What makes these numbers even more interesting is that yesterday’s 1500 metre long track speed skating winner Jorien ter Horst comes from another discipline, short track speed skating. She said after the race that she would trade in her gold for “success in a short track event”.
Ter Horst’s statement, echoed by her coach Jeroen Otter, caused friction in the long track camp. Gerard Kemkers called the statements “incomprehensible”. Rintje Ritsma said Otter “must be a bit loopy”. Gianni Romme thought Ter Mors was being irresponsible: “how painful must her statement be for Koen Verweij?” Verweij is a skater who missed a first place by 0.003 seconds last week.
Ter Horst was asked to explain herself in Studio Sportwinter, where she said: “I’ve been competing in short track for ten years, that is the discipline I’ve put all my passion and effort into. Long track has only been part of my life for the past two years.”
The comments of former medallists Kemkers, Ritsma and Romme reflect the Dutch sense of long track speed skating owning the Olympics. Dutch competitors in other disciplines are viewed as odd-ball outsiders. When one of these outsiders participates in the only ‘real’ discipline, they should apparently do so while showing the proper deference. Perhaps the long track skaters should wonder how it is that somebody who considers their discipline somewhat of a distraction is still able to beat all the other competitors at their own game.
In the meantime Ter Mors has gone into damage control mode. She toned down her message on Twitter: “Olympic gold, a remarkable feeling. I would not trade it for anything in the world.” (She used a clever ironic pun that I don’t know how to translate into English. She said “[ik] zou hem voor geen goud willen missen”, which literally means “[I] would not trade it for gold.”)
(Photo by Emiel Ketelaar, some rights reserved)
Tags: Jorien ter Mors, long trackk speedskating, short track speedskating, speed skating
Tumblrer Chaoscontrolled123 decided to transcribe the music written across the buttocks of one of the characters in Hieronymus Bosch’ famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. You can hear the results here.
Chaoscontrolled123 appears to be unimpressed by the tune but I see promise in it. Surely techno DJs or metal band Within Temptation should be able to do something with the melody?
Hieronymus Bosch was a mediaeval painter who was born and lived his entire life in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (hence the last name Bosch). The Garden of Earthly Delights is perhaps his most famous painting consisting of three panels, the right-most of which depicts hell. Our trouserless friend is part of a scene in which the sin of lust is depicted as music—Wikipedia says lust was considered the ‘music of the flesh’ in those days.
By the way, I don’t know if any art historian ever noticed this, but there is a diptych in the right panel of the triptych. Huh-huh.
(Link: Trendbeheer; illustration Hieronymus Bosch)
Tags: buttocks, Den Bosch, diptychs, Hieronymus Bosch, paintings, triptychs, Within Temptation