November 19, 2016

Meeting the Mayor of Amsterdam: what that’s like

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:43 pm

VanderLaan2

A local elementary school filled with local residents of all kinds had a friendly, tea-drinking, homemade baklava-eating hour to ask Eberhard van der Laan, the Mayor of Amsterdam, their pressing questions. Right before, the mayor walked around the recently renovated playground across the street to talk to all ages of youngsters and take part in a mannequin challenge that I joined in on if anybody finds it online.

The questions that were raised, were classics: dust particles emanating from the motorway nearby, promises of building new houses that never materialise, cheaper sports hall for getting unhealthy youngsters to move and a few others that hit home with everyone.

Van der Laan used to be a lawyer as well as the minister for housing and immigration, so his answers mostly pleased the crowd. Some things he had an aide write down as matters he could do something about like not getting any answers from city bureaucrats, other things he explained had so many parties involved that he couldn’t exert much influence on as one person, which is a good thing he said because that would be dictatorial.

I found out he’s well-versed in the art of pull-out quotes. Asked about what will happen to people with polluting vintage cars being banned from the city centre Van der Laan said “old things don’t have a future”. He admitted that lack of housing is one of the biggest problem in our country, as well as in Amsterdam. He also believed that it was good policy to build the nice schools in the poorer neighbourhoods, as we were standing in a newly renovated school, and admitted to those complaining about lack of funding for many things that “when money is taken away, good things are always lost”, which he said is often a national decision he can’t do much about.

In true Dutch straight talk fashion he did tell the crowd that “Amsterdam wasn’t an ATM”, and explained to a nine-year-old girl that, “yes there’s graffiti you want removed near your house, but let me teach you a big word first: ‘nannyism’. That means we can’t tell people what not do to all the time, but give me an email address and I will look into it”.

My only complaint is that he was talking about schools and mentioned “white and dark parents”, alluding to what is still referred to as ‘white schools’, (Dutch, with some money and assumed to have more of a future) and ‘black schools’ (anything that looks foreign although Dutch, is usually poorer and assumed to have less of a future). I hope we stop using those terms very soon because “old things don’t have a future”.

All in all Ebehard van der Laan is a great communicator who made all the attendees, especially the children, feel like they had been heard. He’s the father of five children himself and his interest in what they had to say was genuine. He’s also going to be around for quite a few more years, so it’s good to have met him in person.

VandeLaan1

Tags: ,

November 11, 2016

Artists upset about ‘foreign’ art on their wall

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 9:46 am

Screen shot 2016-11-11 at 9.38.30 AM

HW10 artists’ workshop in Nieuw-West, Amsterdam has had one of their walls painted without having been consulted by an American artist who lives abroad in what looks like a guerrilla action.

The 30-odd artists of HW10 want the rogue art removed, but the neighbours, who you think would complain about something they were also not consulted on, want the art to stay because they like it. It features a contemplative woman who appeared a month ago painted overnight by well-known artist Nils Westergard, a stunt set up by one of the neighbours. Westergard does a lot of spontaneous things in a lot of different places, many of which seem to feature pensive people.

The neighbour claimed that even though it was a bold move, he arranged it because there’s nothing in his area, no coffee places, no art and only the workshop that they never see the inside of, and that the art spruced up the place. It feels as if the artists should have done something with the wall first, but then again I wonder if either side of the story had the right to paint on it.

The majority of the 30 artists of the workshop have voted to have the wall scrubbed, but the neighbour wants the artwork to stay, and the city council of Nieuw-West is busy listening to both sides to resolve the situation.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Screenshot from Nils Westergard’s Facebook page)

Tags: , ,

November 6, 2016

Ajax FC send 27 crates of beer to Scots

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sports by Orangemaster @ 11:55 am

Amsterdam’s football club Ajax has sent 27 crates of beer to Scottish club East Kilbride FC of South Lanarkshire to congratulate them for breaking Ajax’s world record of most games won in a row last Saturday by winning against BSC Glasgow FC.

Former goalkeeper and now Ajax’s general manager Edwin van der Sar recorded a video message to congratulate the Scots telling them to ‘have some beer on us’.

A truck full of beer, Belgian Jupiler beer, basically Stella’s big brother, was driven right onto a dark and cold pitch with patches of snow.

Enjoy this classy football moment in English:

(Link: www.at5.nl, Photo by Wikimedia user Carolus Ludovicus, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , , ,

October 26, 2016

Dutch firm unveils new clear air filter

Filed under: Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 6:30 am

At the two-day Offshore Energy 2016 Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam this week, the Dutch Envinity Group from Den Helder, North Holland unveiled what they called “the world’s first giant outside air vacuum cleaner”, a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic fine particles from the atmosphere around the machine.

The system is said to be able to suck in air from a 300-metre radius and from up to seven kilometres upwards. It can treat about 800,000 cubic metres of air an hour, filtering out 100 percent of fine particles and 95 percent percent of ultra-fine particles, the company said, referring to tests carried out by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) on its prototype.

Fine particles are caused by burning wood and other fuels as well as industrial combustion, adversely affecting our health, according to the European Environment Agency. As well, about 90 percent of EU residents are exposed to levels of such particles, which can cause cancer.

On a much smaller scale, there’s also the smaller air-purifying system called the ‘Smog Free Tower’ that was installed in Beijing last month by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of a particulate polluted Shanghai sky by Wikimedia Commons user Saperaud, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , ,

September 27, 2016

World’s first official video refereeing, a Dutch affair

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:24 pm

2548206259_8eebaff3da_m

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: , , ,

September 12, 2016

Worthless shop trades worthless items for valueless money

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 9:47 pm

giro_trash

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.

(Link: www.parool.nl)

Tags: , ,

September 1, 2016

Artist takes Amsterdam to court for pulling artwork

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 10:44 pm

FemkeSchaap

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: , , ,

August 30, 2016

Baking show puts apple pie smell on tram

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:35 am

Tram1-baked

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.

(Link: www.at5.nl)

Tags: , , , ,

August 3, 2016

Buses renamed to sound more ‘Amsterdammy’

Filed under: Automobiles,General by Orangemaster @ 11:26 am

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: , , , ,

August 2, 2016

Rich neighbourhood upset about wheeled suitcases

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:30 am

dutch-cycling-marken-wagenbuur

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: , , , ,

Older posts »