September 21 saw the official world debut of a video assistant referee (VAR) in a competitive football game, starring Amsterdam Ajax vs Willem II of Tilburg (Ajax won 5-0). As well, Willem II midfielder Anouar Kali became the first player in the country to get a red card recommended by a VAR, after his yellow card in a Dutch Cup tie against Ajax was turned into a red one.
Staring at six video screens in a van, the VAR can review an incident when asked by the match referee as well as advise officials about incidents they may have missed. The International Football Association Board will probably decide in 2018 whether to authorise the use of video technology and incorporate it within the laws of the game.
The intervention confused fans of the Amsterdam-Tilburg game, as the change from yellow to red was not communicated to them, something that would have to be remedied. Other sports like rugby and hockey have been using VAR for a while, but football has been slow to join in. Video refereeing was tested again on September 22 with Rotterdam Feyenoord vs. FC Oss (Feyenoord won 4-1) , while I was in the pub for a quick visit.
The video referee communicates with the referee on the pitch within a few seconds of any incident. As well as advising on penalty and card decisions, they can help clear up cases of mistaken identity or infringements in the lead-up to a goal such as offside or foul play. If the on-pitch referee wants, they can also review the video footage themselves before making a final decision.
(Links: www.worldsoccer.com, phys.org, Photo of Football by Bramus, some rights reserved)
Tags: Ajax, Amsterdam, football, video refereeing
From 13 September through 17 September from 11:00 to 17:00, Amsterdam artist Pavèl van Houten will have a shop open that is actually an art project on the Mercatorplein in Amsterdam West selling worthless junk. You’ll be able to browse through and purchase stuff like bottle caps and plastic bits for ‘flutten’, fake money that derives its name from ‘flut’ meaning ‘trash’. The shop will be housed in a wooden structure not far from 24oranges HQ, so we’ll pay it a visit and report back to you.
The more useless the item, the more ‘flutten’ you’ll get for it. The fun stuff collected by the shop will be exhibited by Van Houten in the Waardeloos Museum, which will open at the public library on the Mercatorplein and two shops nearby. The shop of useless junk has already done the rounds in Breda, Leeuwarden and Vlieland. Items such as coloured plastic, expired public transport tickets, crooked nails, flattened beer caps and broken water balloons are very popular.
Challenge accepted: we’ll going to try and top that.
Tags: Amsterdam, junk, Mercatorplein
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’.
(Link: www.parool.nl, Screenshot of artwork from this video)
Tags: Amsterdam, controversy, Femke Schaap, installation
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.
Tags: Amsterdam, apple pie, public transport, television show, tram
Sometime around 2013, Amsterdam’s city marketing people decided to rebrand ‘Muiderslot’ (‘Muiden Castle’) to ‘Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot’ to attract more tourists because they believe that if you put the word ‘Amsterdam’ in front of something, cash register sounds start ringing in your head, like a pleasant form of tinnitus. Maybe the name sounds close by or more fun, who knows. Muiderslot is in the town of Muiden now under the same municipality as Naarden (their beautiful fortress doesn’t need rebranding) and Bussum, also known as ‘not Amsterdam’.
Pseudo annexation of interesting tourist venues that are not Amsterdam remains awkward. Nobody calls the coastal cities of IJmuiden, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort ‘Amsterdam Beach’ but the city marketing people who thought that nonsense up. However, bus company Connexxion’s line 80 that goes to Zandvoort is being rebranded as the ‘Amsterdam Beach Line’ possibly because Amsterdam only has fake beaches and Connexxion hooked them up with a real one.
Also having jumped on the bandwagon apparently is the lake area between Amsterdam and Utrecht called ‘Loosdrechtse Plassen’, which is now the ‘Leisure Lakes’ (nope, not a direct translation), which sounds like a floating red light district. And there’s always the ‘Bulb Region’ closer to Haarlem that magically became the ‘Amsterdam Flower Strip’ also not used by anyone except the voices in someone’s head in charge of city marketing.
Picture a map of Amsterdam with everything around called ‘not Amsterdam’. In fact, many people would agree that’s how a lot of Amsterdam residents and unfortunately millions of tourists view the rest of the country.
In the spirit of ridiculous name changes, here are some other suggestions:
Cities close to Amsterdam like Amstelveen, Badhoeverdorp and Diemen that house a lot of expats (read: rich immigrants and migrants) should be called ‘Almost Amsterdam’, Amsterdam Airport Suites’ or just ‘Amsterdam’s suburbs’ and have their official names removed to cause less confusion.
The huge-ass flats in Amsterdam Zuidoost, which is its own district, could be rebranded as ‘Amsterdam Heights’ to have an excuse to hike up the rent of lesser wanted immigrants and migrants by sounding fancier.
Any other interesting towns like Zaandam, Haarlem and Abcoude better watch out before they get ‘Amsterdamized’ as well.
(Link: at5.nl, Photo of Muiderslot Castle by Coanri/Rita, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, bus, city marketing, Utrecht, Zandvoort
A few years ago, wheeled suitcases (‘rolkoffers’) became synonymous with ‘tourists’ or ‘damn, there’s an Airbnb next to my house’ for a lot of residents. The problem is the sound the wheels make on Amsterdam’s cobblestone streets and sidewalks, which apparently bothers folks in one fancy part of town.
Amsterdam’s current population is about 820,000, in a city that gets – wait for it – 15 million visitors a year. Quiz your friends about how many tourists they think Amsterdam gets every year and they’ll say a few million. By the way, the number keeps going up every year.
Residents in and around the Bickersgracht, a canal very close to Amsterdam Central Station where tourists stay have made two makeshifts signs ‘forbidding’ wheeled suitcases. We get it, you don’t like the sound of all those suitcases early in the morning heading out, but that’s not going to do shit about it.
One local man feels music should come out of the wheels to mask the sound of what actually is the fault of the cobblestone street area of town they live in rather than the suitcases. A rational suggestion from a local woman would be to indicate which hours in the day the locals don’t want to hear the rolling wheels and put that on the sign, but then this would mean you would need to enforce and then it all sounds futile again.
You’ll notice the picture taken here of what is probably a Dutch person going somewhere is on a smooth bike path that sounds way better than on cobblestone. How do other parts of the world tackle this problem? A quick Google search says that in 2014 Venice, a city that gets 22 million tourists a year, tried to ban wheeled suitcase with a fine of 500 euro (mamma mia!) but ended up not going through with it.
(Links: www.rtvnh.nl, www.amsterdam.info, edition.cnn.com, Photo: crop of a frame of a video called ‘What defines Dutch cycling?’ by Mark Wagenbuur)
Tags: Amsterdam, noise pollution, suitcases, tourism, tourists
Thanks to lots of people including Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars who asked for a rainbow emoji flag, Unicode has approved the request for the flag. It won’t be ready for a while or in time for Amsterdam’s Gay Pride, but then people can use hashtags #EuroPride, #AmsterdamPride and #Joinourfreedom for Gay Pride from Saturday 23 July through 7 August.
According to Emojipedia, the gay pride flag features in the top 30 emoji requests collected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, emoji, flag, gay pride, lesbians, social media
Getting divorced? Now you can split your house in half instead of inconveniencing all your friends and family with the gamble you took on a major life decision in the first place. Amsterdam’s Studio OBA’s ‘Prenuptial Housing’ offers a solution for marriages that end up in divorce.
The design consists of two prefabricated units that look like one – a bit like your marriage at some point. The building is made from lightweight carbon fibre elements and a semi-transparent wooden layer that enhances the unity – a bit like your marriage at some point. When couples feel they are drifting apart, the house initiates a ‘break up’ by detaching the two units which then go solo on the water – a bit like your divorce.
Remember, in the Netherlands, prenuptial agreements were being discussed in 2010, as community property (joint ownership) is still the norm. In fact, the term ‘prenup’ is something most people know from watching American televisions programs.
(Link and photo: www.studio)
Tags: Amsterdam, divorce, housing, marriage, water
Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars had first petitioned Twitter and then Unicode for a rainbow emoji flag, which would add a nice touch to any LGBTI-related news, instead of just using an ordinary rainbow.
Beljaars explains that the rainbow flag has been the international symbol of the gay community since the late 1970s. Unicode has already felt it was important to add recent emojis such as the croissant, cowboy and selfie, so why not the rainbow flag? Google employees have also recently made requests for emojis that better represent women in actual jobs rather than in superficial beauty situations and not too long ago many emojis with people in them became available in different skin tones.
(Link: www.nu.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, emoji, flag, gays, lesbians, social media
Amsterdam is the first Dutch city to finally put an end to the discriminatory practice of paying employees between the ages of 18 and 23 only 45% of the adult minimum wage.
The Netherlands is one of the few European countries where this practice was commonplace, something that is illegal in many Western countries. The city will start by adjusting the salaries of younger people who work for the city. Although the city of Zwolle, Overijssel started doing this before Amsterdam, Amsterdam is making more serious adjustments according to the youth workers’ union who has been pushing hard for change.
In April of this year the Dutch government decided to lower the youth minimum wage from 23 to 21, but yeah, that’s still discrimination. I have yet to hear a good argument besides exploiting young people for this wage discrepancy.
(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of the VOC HQ (East India Company) by Josh, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)
Tags: Amsterdam, discrimination, wages, work, youth