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June 23, 2016

Amsterdam abolishes discriminatory youth minimum wage

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 3:23 pm

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)

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June 20, 2016

Swiss company gives 19th century Amsterdam colour

Filed under: History,Photography by Orangemaster @ 4:58 pm

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Thanks to the magic of photochromy, the art of reproducing colours by photography, the company Photoglob from Zurich, Switzerland lets us enjoy colour pictures of Amsterdam taken between 1890 and 1900, which were originally black and white.

Thanks to RTVNH having a slow news moment, you can enjoy more pictures of Amsterdam including the Amstel river, Central Station, the Rijksmuseum, and a few more by following the link below.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Dam Square, Amsterdam by Unknown, some rights reserved)

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May 26, 2016

Dutch master has mobile phone in it

Filed under: Art,Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been working in Amsterdam this week, and he also decided to soak up some culture by visiting the Rijksmuseum with former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Cook’s eye fell on a painting from 1670 entitled ‘Man handing a letter to a woman in the entrance hall of a house’ by Pieter de Hooch, where the letter looks a bit like a mobile phone. Cook did think it was a Rembrandt because well, why not, and he also thought the letter looked like an iPhone, when it fact it looks more like a smaller type of mobile phone if you ask me.

Until January this year the Mauritshuis in The Hague had an exhibition entitled ‘Dutch Self-Portraits – Selfies of the Golden Age, which definitely has a mobile phone quality to it.

(Link: www.at5, Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved)

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May 24, 2016

Streets of the World photography exhibition in Amsterdam

Filed under: Photography by Orangemaster @ 11:57 pm

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In 2009 Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Swolfs set out to visit and photograph street life in every country of the world. The idea was to portray 200 countries through 200 street photos, displayed next to each other, to show a positive image of the world in which we live, very different than the harsh images we’re used to.

The exhibition Streets of the World is the result of his journey, a photography project that not only distinguishes itself in scale, but also by the positive vision of the photographer and his eye for people.

If you’re anywhere near Amsterdam, catch Swolfs’ exhibition until mid July at the Nieuwe Kerk, which coincides with the World Press Photo exhibition, at the same location.

Here’s a video of his trip through Asia with explanations:

(Link: www.streetsoftheworld.com, Photo: unrelated picture of Waterloo Square, Amsterdam by Branko Collin)

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May 10, 2016

Dutch Eurovision rehearsal video leaked by Russia

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 1:29 pm

We told you about the Dutch Eurovision entry from 23-year-old Douwe Bob from Amsterdam and we thought this year there wouldn’t be any fuss about wardrobe malfunctions or plagiarism, but oh no, there’s a scandal.

Apparently the Russian jury members leaked a video of them rating Douwe Bob’s entire performance at the general rehearsal, which was not supposed to happen. Большое спасибо, Russia!

Some people are pissed that the video was leaked, others like the bookies get some inside information about Douwe Bob’s chances. As we said recently, ‘Slow Down’ is nice, but not an earworm.

UPDATE: Douwe Bob has made it to the final.

Here’s the leaked video:

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(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

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May 1, 2016

Inventor of bike sharing explains why his plan never caught on in Amsterdam

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 4:59 pm

white-bikes-hoge-veluwe-ellywaAlthough bike share systems are increasingly popular all over the world, they have failed to catch on in Amsterdam, the city where bike sharing was invented.

British newspaper The Guardian asked the inventor of bike sharing, Luud Schimmelpennink, about the reason behind this lack of popularity.

In the mid-1960s members of the Provo movement were asking all kinds of questions of the Dutch establishment (the name Provo stands for provocation) and they were not liking the answers they were getting. Young engineer Luud Schimmelpennink was tackling the question of personal transport. In 1965 he proposed and implemented an alternative to the “gaudy and filthy motor car”, the white bicycle.

Schimmelpennink envisioned bikes that weren’t locked and that would be left wherever their riders needed to be. Provo painted 20 bicycles white and left them in the city, but these bikes were promptly impounded by the police.

“The first Witte Fietsenplan was just a symbolic thing,” Schimmelpennink told the Guardian last week. “We painted a few bikes white, that was all. Things got more serious when I became a member of the Amsterdam city council two years later.”

“My idea was that the municipality of Amsterdam would distribute 10,000 white bikes over the city, for everyone to use. I made serious calculations. It turned out that a white bicycle – per person, per kilometre – would cost the municipality only 10% of what it contributed to public transport per person per kilometre.”

The council soundly rejected his plan and told him that they saw a great future for the private motor car. This inspired Schimmelpennink to work on his White Car Plan instead – still using clean(ish) energy.

There is a phrase in Dutch – de wet van de remmende voorsprong, meaning ‘the law of the handicap of a head start’. The fact that Amsterdam was the first to experiment with bike sharing perhaps helps explain why it is late in its implementation. Or perhaps Amsterdam doesn’t need a bike share scheme, because everybody either owns a bike or can readily rent one from OV Fiets or the many bike shops in the city.

Schimmelpennink’s vision wasn’t wasted though, as he inspired other cities throughout the world to implement their own bike sharing schemes. And even his own plan got implemented, just not in Amsterdam. The Hoge Veluwe nature reserve has bikes that have been painted white and that are free to use. The program started in 1974 with 50 bikes and exists to this day. It currently consists of 1,800 bicycles.

(Photo of white bicycles in Hoge Veluwe by Ellywa, some rights reserved)

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April 23, 2016

Dutch Eurovision entry is nice, but will it do?

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 9:58 pm

This year’s Eurovision Song Festival entry is from 23-year-old Douwe Bob from Amsterdam who will perform his song ‘Slow Down’, which is in English and sounds a lot like country music with a touch of the 1970s. He’s popular, has won a lot of prizes, seems really positive about his chances, but his song is not an earworm. I do like his pronunciation, although his lyrics are too simplistic for my taste. Then again, that’s probably good considering the level of people’s English at Eurovision.

The comments on YouTube are very positive and we’ve been wrong before. I can’t seem to remember the song after a few listens. Problem is, ‘J’ai cherché’, the French entry by Amir is an earworm for me even though it has a television commercial quality to it, and the chorus is in English. A few others have more sticking potential like ‘You Are the Only One’ by Sergey Lazarev of Russia, a typical dramatic Eurovision techno song, with a break, a bridge, and the almost obligatory modulation near the end.

Will it blend or not? Give Douwe Bob a spin:

(Links: www.eurovision.tv, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

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April 22, 2016

Chanel in Amsterdam boasts unique glass façade

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 3:26 pm

Chanel.PCHooft

A few days ago, the fanciest shopping street of Amsterdam, the PC Hooftstraat, inaugurated a glass façade at the Chanel shop, attracting a lot of attention from passers-by. The creators, Rotterdam studio MVRDV, apparently used pioneering glass technology to replace the brick front of a former townhouse with a transparent replica.

MVRDV explains that the glass bricks are held in place with a transparent high-strength glue, and the construction is in many ways, stronger than concrete. Higher up the building, the glass elements merge with the original brickwork to create the illusion of a dissolving wall. Every change in daylight can now be seen, and the sun changes the aspect of the façade.

“Until the 1950s, the PC Hooftstraat was a residential street, and slowly turned into a shopping street with big brand names and foreign tourists. Eventually it plans to become as famous as the Champs-Élysées in Paris or the Ginza in Tokyo, but for now it is still busy transforming itself from provincial shopping street to international shopping street.

(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo: www.architectenweb.nl)

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April 21, 2016

Shop experiment serving wine turns to sour grapes

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 10:06 am

Having a glass of wine at the hair salon and at some clothing shops in Amsterdam started as an experiment in January 2016. Rotterdam started in February and called it ‘Project Blending 010’ (why in English, don’t know – 010 is the area code for Rotterdam) and other places in the country called it ‘blurring’ (why in English, still don’t know) because the law says serving alcohol without a liquor license is illegal. So yes, the whole thing was illegal but tolerated – sound familiar?

The Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) kicked off the experiment, but the Union of Liquor Store Owners (Slijtersunie) recently decided they were done being tolerant and decided to officially report the VNG to the authorities for breaking the law. The VNG is ‘surprised’ because talking it out is usually the Dutch way, but you can imagine there’s a lot more selling of alcohol at salons and shops than there is selling non-alcohol related products at the wine store. The experiment let shops serve and sell alcohol, while establishments that usually sell alcohol could sell shop products.

A lot of us were already having a drink with the lovely people who patiently cut our hair before any of this became a thing. And yes, it would probably help to make any kind of shopping more enjoyable. Maybe it’s time to change the law instead of forcing one group of Dutch businesses to have their turf invaded by another.

Or they could have a drink and talk it out till the cows come home Dutch style, who knows.

(Links: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl, www.z24.nl, www.telegraaf.nl, Photo of Hair salon by Travel Salem, some rights reserved)

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April 18, 2016

Watch the dearly departed being cremated

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 3:20 pm

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Already operational last month but recently opened by city officials, the Zorgvlied crematorium in Amsterdam features a unique teepee shaped building that has room for cremations and an audience watching the cremation – a Dutch first.

In fact, the design of the place was all about giving bereaved families and friends a chance to be with the dearly departed right until the end. The upwards swirling style of the crematorium gives the impression of going towards the heavens.

Cremation is more popular than burials in Amsterdam, for reasons of space and functionality, and its popularity continues to increase. Budget surely plays a role in this as well.

You can actually visit the crematorium on Sunday 29 May and Sunday 5 June between 12:30 and 17:00, follow the link below for more details. Last Sunday attracted 400 people curious to see what it looks like.

(Links and photo: www.uitvaartmedia.com-1, www.uitvaartmedia.com-2)

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