November 19, 2015

Arnhem picks up concrete award for train station

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 1:25 pm


After ages of construction work and trying to find one’s way through and around during the construction, Arnhem’ Central Station is being officially opened to the public this afternoon. It was designed by Amsterdam’s UNStudio who spent almost two decades working on this modern train and bus station with a heavy use of really big metal pillars and seriously twisted concrete. In fact, architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio wanted to use even more concrete, but the city considered it too risky.

The concrete itself won the station the ‘Betonprijs 2015’ (‘Concrete Award 2015’), so it’s safe to say enough concrete was used to make a splash.

(Links and photo:,

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November 17, 2015

American series go Dutch, and hit and miss

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 4:25 pm

Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 6.45.28 PM

There is no lack of examples of American series and films trying to make something Dutch only to have it looking and sounding German. The bad remake of ‘Kidnapping Mr. Heineken’ had the wrong colour bottles and actor Mike Myers had a terrible Dutch accent in his 1990s Austin Powers movies, but at least he was joking.

As some of you know, the current season of the American series ‘Homeland’ was entirely filmed in Germany, and lot of it in Berlin. However, the latest installment, episode 7 of season 5 has some scenes set in Amsterdam, in the Zeeburg district, which had issues that most viewers probably wouldn’t get and don’t really have to because the story flows well.

First, the screenshot above. The Zeeburg district has been part of East Amsterdam since 2010. Houseboats and a canal were a good idea, but the architecture isn’t Dutch, and if that’s not a problem, the German yellow construction sign should be, as it reads ‘bau’ (‘construction’ in German) instead of ‘bouw’ in Dutch (hard to see here). You could have told me this was Denmark and I would have bought it without the sign. The reference to Flevopark in the east was spot on, but the street called Tolstraat is in another district. No separate bike paths could be seen, and streets and houses were way too big to be in Amsterdam. Oh, and the yellow license plates had too many letters on them to be Dutch ones, but points for the blue one on the taxi.

This fall another American series, ‘The Vampire Diairies’, took a trip to Amsterdam in their first episode of season 7 and got a lot of things wrong, but were not trying too hard. Two main characters are seen drinking beer with a windmill on it, which is fake but funny and then they order whisky which comes in glasses I’ve never seen here. The Dutch license plate on the car was fine, but the cars didn’t look very European, there were no separate bike paths and the street was too large. The cafe looked slightly European though.

And since I like trilogies, I caught an old episode of NCIS, season 8 episode 9 that was set in Amsterdam. It had an actual pan of an Amsterdam canal and a tight shot of a cafe that looked vaguely European. The joint one of the characters was smoking was not realistic because you just don’t light one up at an ordinary cafe terrace despite the rumours, and the weather was way too nice. Again, suspension of disbelief came in handy and the story was fine.

Bonus: find out what a Berlin blog thinks about what Homeland gets right and wrong.

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November 8, 2015

Life’s a beach and then you rename it

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 7:56 pm


In 2013 marketing geniuses in Amsterdam decided to call the coastal cities of IJmuiden, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort ‘Amsterdam Beach’, and nobody calls it that because it doesn’t make any sense, geographically or otherwise.

Another bunch of marketing geniuses are contemplating calling the historical beach of Scheveningen ‘The Hague Beach’ to attract more tourists, a change already implemented on the district’s English Wikipedia page. They argue that The Hague has 11 kilometres of beach that ‘nobody knows about’, as if pronouncing ‘Scheveningen’, admittedly not easy, was the problem. The Hague is really called ‘s-Gravenhage’ and was simplified in Dutch to Den Haag, but that hasn’t stopped anybody ever.

Not far from The Hague, but way closer to Rotterdam is Rotterdam The Hague Airport, which was historical called Zestienhoven because that’s where the airport actually is. It was later renamed Rotterdam Airport and finally Rotterdam The Hague Airport to give it more international appeal. Nobody cares.

According to, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ronal Plasterk, born and raised in Scheveningen said in a tweet: “Slippery slope: I was born in Scheveningen, not at The Hague Beach”, to which the city marketing spinners retorted that The Hague Beach is just what we’ll tell tourists, which is as condescending as sounds. Foreign nationals, historians and locals hate the idea. The city’s website still calls it The beach of Scheveningen, which almost sounds like painting by Adriaen van de Velde.

(Link:, Twitter @ShakeAtOrion)

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October 29, 2015

Almost all Vespas in capital stolen within five years

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 1:31 pm

According to insurance data gathered by newspaper Het Parool, some 95% of all Vespa scooters are stolen off the streets of Amsterdam within five years. Throughout the rest of the country only about 4% of Vespas are stolen in the same period of time.

I once had that Roman Holiday vibe and seriously considered buying a Vespa. British comedian Eddie Izzard made owning a Vespa (video excerpt) even more appealing to me during one hot Dutch summer and after a memorable trip to southern Italy.

The NLTimes and other sources claim that “Piaggio brand scooters are also a hot target, with 12% of them being stolen within five years”, but then Vespa scooters are made by Piaggio, so that sounds off. Het Parool does explain that Vespas and Piaggios (not Piaggo dear Parool) are registered separately by Stichting Aanpak Voertuigcriminaliteit (SVAC) who handles stolen vehicles.

(Links:, Het Parool)

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October 27, 2015

Amsterdam to open entirely staffless restaurant

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 6:27 pm

With jokes like ‘Please help yourself’ and ‘Better leave yourself a nice big tip’, chef Edwin Sander is getting ready to open up a restaurant called ‘Foodsy’ on 5 November in Amsterdam that won’t have any staff. Although English sounding, the name ‘Foodsy’ is a nod to the Dutch word ‘foetsie’, which means ‘gone, disappeared’ – like the staff.

We don’t have a clue what it means to go to a restaurant and do things yourself, but we do know what it is to stay home and do everything yourself, so why bother? Sounds like a reality TV show. The restaurant won’t take reservations, but function independently with instructions on how to cook things. It’s not making too much sense to the media, either. The main question is: will anybody be overseeing the people in the kitchen? Otherwise it’s a bit like breaking and entering, but then with food and a kitchen.

(Link:, Photo by FotoosVanRobin, some rights reserved)

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October 25, 2015

Tiny revolver found in Amsterdam flat

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:12 pm

The flat of a deceased Amsterdam resident was recently being cleaned out by a neighbour and in the process they found a revolver no bigger than 4 cm (photo). The neighbour who found the gun told the police who in turn searched the home carefully and concluded the deceased was a collector.

The wee revolver was 28 millimetres in height and 40 millimetres long, and it was loaded. The police said it could wound someone, but not kill them.

Hopefully the gun collection will end up in a museum instead of being destroyed.

(Link:, Photo by Joe Loong, some rights reserved)

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October 22, 2015

The Couch, a combined grandstand and clubhouse

Filed under: Architecture,Sports by Branko Collin @ 2:52 pm


Tennis Club IJburg in Amsterdam has 10 clay courts, a tennis school, 1,100 members and now also a clubhouse designed by MVDRV for an undisclosed amount of money.

The clubhouse cleverly doubles as a roofless grandstand that seats 200 people. One wonders if MVDRV was perhaps a little inspired by a classic football stadium in their home town of Rotterdam, Het Kasteel (The Castle), which also has stands dipping around a space with windows.

The building was officially opened in August. The clubhouse has a bar, seating areas, and, to the side, dressing rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and storage space.

IJburg is new land, which allows the Dutch a rare opportunity to experiment with lots of fresh architecture in one place..

(Link: Arch Daily, Photo: MVRDV)

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October 18, 2015

Photographer pimps cars in Amsterdam, guerrilla style

Filed under: Automobiles,Photography by Orangemaster @ 8:20 pm


A Namibian photographer in Amsterdam, Max Siedentopf, has been going around the West part of town pimping up cars and taking pictures of them. For his project Slapdash Supercars, he picks ordinary cars and makes them look suped-up using cardboard he cuts up in advance and masking tape.

Siedentopf has not yet been caught in the act and doubts anyone would have a problem with his artistic motives of showing people what their car could look like or say about their owner. It would seem that Siedentopf imagines these owners are twentysomething males like himself who may enjoy ‘Fast & Furious’ movies.

The 24 oranges headquarters is in the West, so if ever we see one of these cars, we’ll snap it for you.

(Links:,, Photo by Max Siedentopf)

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October 9, 2015

Young Dutchman makes professional hockey debut

Filed under: Dutch first,Sports by Orangemaster @ 9:21 am

If a Dutchman grows up in a hockey country and has hockey father Hannie Sprong encouraging him, he’ll play hockey instead of football (soccer). Born in Amsterdam, this is Daniel Sprong’s story, an 18-year-old with star quality who has been living in Quebec, Canada since he was seven and played his first NHL game with the Pittsburgh Penguins on 8 October 2015 against the Dallas Stars, in a game that saw the Penguins lose 3-0.

The Dutch media is not into hockey otherwise, but since Sprong is still a Dutchman with no dual citizenship (he’s apparently still waiting on his Canadian one), he qualifies for our ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’) tag. Sprong has also said that he does not want to play with the Dutch national hockey team in the hopes of playing for the Canadian one, which means he probably enjoys winning.

The first Dutch Canadian to play NHL hockey was Ed Kea, born in Weesp, who played among others with the Calgary Flames in the early 1970s. His career came to an abrupt end when he hit his head on the ice (no helmets back then), a severe injury that left him physically and mentally disabled. As well, because his injury happened when he was in a minor league at that point in his career, he was not financially covered and his family struggled to make ends meet. Sadly, Kea died accidentally in his family’s swimming pool at age 51.

In 2013 we told you about Mike Dalhuisen’s debut with the New York Islanders, a guy who likes to fight on the ice.

(Links:,,, Photo of hockey sticks by kicksave2930, some rights reserved)

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October 8, 2015

Virtual reality movie theatre to premiere in Amsterdam

Filed under: Dutch first,Event,Film by Orangemaster @ 7:10 pm

For anyone who hates 3D movies, look away now: a new virtual reality pop-up movie theatre will open in Amsterdam on October 31, organised by Samhoud media. The idea is to watch short 30-minute films, with many showings to choose from through the evening.

You’d be watching video through a Gear VR headset from Samsung and Oculus, an experience that will run you 10 euro. For 30 euro you can live large and enjoy a loveseat and VIP experience. Oh, and there will be popcorn. Owner Jip Samhoud said that it’s the first time in the Netherlands that they are going to apply such large-scale virtual reality, and it could very well be the first time in Europe.

The films are a surprise: no idea if they are Halloween related.

(Link:, photo of film cans by tallfoot, some rights reserved)

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