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July 22, 2016

Unicode accepts rainbow emoji flag petition

Filed under: General,History,Online by Orangemaster @ 1:51 pm

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)

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July 20, 2016

A house that splits in two for the divorced

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 4:07 pm

Prenup

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)

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June 28, 2016

Dutchman petitions Unicode for rainbow emoji flag

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 6:00 am

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)

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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

800px-Amsterdam_photochrom

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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