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November 11, 2014

Fined 60 euro for trying to park anonymously

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 10:36 am

This morning Privacy First, a foundation committed to preserving and promoting the right to privacy, is in court in Amsterdam over having to enter one’s license plate number when parking on the city’s streets.

Bas Filippini, who when parking in Amsterdam enters the license plate number ‘NOWAY’ (see film linked to the source), says the problem is two-fold: 1) a person in Amsterdam now has no choice but to enter their license plate number and 2) people cannot pay with cash, which both breach the right to privacy and anonymity, never mind being a pain for tourists or other visitors who don’t have the right bank card or mobile phone.

Filippini is in court because of a 60 euro fine he got for not entering his license plate number. According to Privacy First, every free citizen has the right to privacy in the sense of anonymity in public spaces, including parking one’s car, a right stated by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (PDF).

We’ve been parking cars on the streets in Amsterdam for decades without the city knowing anything about our cars, and continue to gleefully do so across the country. Article 8 says unless matters such as, “national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” come into play, which I cannot possible imagine they do.

We’ll update you once we know more.

(Link: www.telegraaf.nl)

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October 22, 2014

Simple and soothing time lapse film of Dutch cities

Filed under: Architecture,Film by Orangemaster @ 12:39 pm

“In ,’7685 Frames of Netherlands’, filmmaker Pengcheng He documents the beauty of the old cities of the Netherlands in a charming series of tilt-shift time-lapses. He shot the video in Delft, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.”

Many people don’t see Rotterdam as one of the old cities, mainly because few old buildings were left in the city after the WWII. Delft and Amsterdam join cities like Haarlem and Nijmegen as old cities.

Amsterdam’s IJ river ferries kick it off, then the Stopera, but I’ll let you play guess the city on your own because I could possibly describe the entire video location by location (yes, that is a bit scary) having lived extensively in all three cities. Sometimes, the film even has a miniatures feel to it.

(Link: laughingsquid.com, Photo of Rotterdam, KPN building by Roel Wijnants, some rights reserved)

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October 14, 2014

Stones adorning hotel could fall down at any time

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 3:03 pm

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Loose stones on the façade of the DoubleTree hotel in Amsterdam next to Central Station has been called a ‘life-threatening situation’ in a report obtained by newspaper Telegraaf this week. In fact the hotel director is suing project developer MAB who built the hotel three years ago for 140 million euro. The long story short is that the stones aren’t set properly and could very well fall and injure people – or worse.

For all of you in Amsterdam, I suggest not walking the busy route from the hotel to the city library (OBA). Sure, probably nothing will happen, but you don’t want to be the one who gets hit by a falling stone. At the time of writing this, the English-language press was still quiet about the news.

(Link: www.dichtbij.nl, Photo of DoubleTree Hotel Amsterdam by ptc24, some rights reserved.

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October 2, 2014

Dutch Rail sings to shafted train travellers

Filed under: Music,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:18 pm

Why say sorry if you can sing it, make people smile and rip them off even more? That is exactly what Dutch Rail decided to do when they apparently hired jazz singer songwriter Baer Traa to pose (!) as fictitious train conductor Job van Gils.

Dutch Rail has been making a veritable fortune by not paying back any money owed to people who forgot to check out with their public transport chip card. Now subscriptions holders who forget their pass card and have had to pay a fine cannot ask for their money back either. Even the Dutch Rail employees are appalled and somehow somewhere Baer Traa dressed up as a train conductor got a gig telling people ‘sorry’, or in less polite and more accurate terms, how Dutch Rail is screwing them over easy.

Traa gives ‘peddling excuses’ a whole new meaning at Amsterdam Central Station in this video. He starts singing again at 1:08, as the beginning of the video was the end of one song. He actually tries to explain that Dutch Rail has a new policy that shafts more people than even before.

(Link: brekend.nl, Photo by Flickr user UggBoy hearts UggGirl, some rights reserved)

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September 24, 2014

Cartoon bombing French-style in Amsterdam

Filed under: Art,Comics by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

David Troquier

French freelance art director and illustrator David Troquier working in Amsterdam draws cartoons on small notepads which he then props up in amusing places in Amsterdam to build stories, something he calls “cartoon bombing”. He also recently started a cartoon blog called RandomDam, with bits and bobs about Amsterdam. His cartoons are funny and have a refreshing take on simple things.

Troquier came to Amsterdam after having worked in Paris for eight years. He wanted a change of scenery and chose for Amsterdam because of its creative reputation. When asked whether his expectations were met he says: “Yes, definitely, Amsterdam is a city alive, with really cool and inspiring people.”

(Link: www.amsterdamadblog.com)

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September 19, 2014

Authorities score cobra vodka during search

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:23 pm

cobra-vodka

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority recently paid a visit to a few locations in the city centre of Amsterdam and made some interesting finds. They confiscated some ivory artworks, 19 stuffed animals and four bottles of cobra vodka, the latter of which is highly illegal and a bit scary if you ask me.

According to the author of the cobra vodka in this picture, which is surely similar to the one that was confiscated:

“It’s Laotian rice whisky in a bottle with a very dead cobra in it. I’ve seen pictures of such snake wine in Vietnam and was surprised to notice that the concept exists in Laos as well. The belief is that the spirit of the snake inside will make you as strong as a cobra and give you more manly virility. I’d probably reluctantly drink a shot if given to me in a shot glass without the snake, but looking at this bottle with the snake inside does make this super creepy.”

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of cobra vodka by shankaronline, some rights reserved)

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September 9, 2014

British novel ‘The Miniaturist’ set in old Amsterdam

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 12:27 pm

Amsterdam in the Golden Age: the 17th century was a time when the city rapidly became an economic and cultural force to be reckoned with, and now apparently also the setting of British author Jessie Burton’s first novel entitled ‘The Miniaturist’. I haven’t read it and if anyone has, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Set in 1686 Petronella ‘Nella’ Oortman, a Dutchwoman from the countryside marries rich Amsterdam merchant Johannes Brandt. Nella lives with her stern sister-in-law Marin and an intriguing dark-skinned manservant Otto. Nella almost never sees her busy husband who is either away or locked in his office at home and passes the time with a doll house gift from her husband that looks just like the house they live in. The doll house is slowly being filled with miniatures sent to Nella by an anonymous person who seems to know a lot about the people living in her house.

The doll house in question is on display at the Rijksmuseum, a small, nine-room house of porcelain, oak, marble and glass, which was the inspiration for Burton’s novel.

There’s more to tell, but then I think we’ll just have to read the novel to find out. I’m wondering how plausible the setting of 17th century Amsterdam is, I wonder about the female name ‘Marin’ and I know that if a Dutch person were to write a novel set in, oh, 18th century London, that it would also be culturally scrutinised by the media with good reason.

(Links: blog.chron.com, www.theguardian.com, 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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September 3, 2014

Drone film of Amsterdam’s metro goes viral

Filed under: Architecture,Film by Orangemaster @ 1:08 pm

We might as well be able to fly through the North-South line in 2014 because we can’t use the metro yet, although it was originally scheduled to be ready in 2011, then again in the summer of 2014, which also didn’t happen. Construction started in 2002 and the new current completion date is 2017.

Studio MAD made a promotional film for Thales Group Netherlands, which supplies access ports and ICT for public transport. It features a drone going the entire length of the North-South tunnel that runs under Amsterdam Central Station, which was one of the major hiccups of the project.

“The images were partially filmed with a camera under the drone, while the other part was filmed with a camera mounted on our ‘Skyglide’ rig. Our cameraman sat at the front of a bicycle to shoot, but the drone was controlled by a company with the license to fly one.”

(Link: www.dutchnews.nl, Image: Benthem Crouwel Archtitects)

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August 20, 2014

Dutch film so bad Amsterdam won’t show it

Filed under: Film by Orangemaster @ 4:08 pm

Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent Dutch films out there, some of which even helped me learn the language before I immigrated here many moons ago. However, if Dutch distribution companies and cinemas think a film is so bad they call it ‘a low point in Dutch film history’, then it must be some 50 shades of shitty. Surprise, it’s a total ’50 shades of grey’ rip-off if we believe the media because I already planned to ignore the original for as long as I live.

The film is called ‘De Overgave’ (roughly ‘The Surrender’) and here’s the trailer if you must). Major cinemas in Amsterdam have snubbed it, arthouse cinemas who are known to appreciate an underappreciated film have turned it down and the film’s Amsterdam distribution company only made 5 or 6 copies instead of the planned 50 or 60 because it’s, well, shite.

The directeur Paul Ruven is apparently well known for writing books about how to copy Hollywood film successes. Gosh.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of film cans by tallfoot, some rights reserved)

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August 11, 2014

A sunken kitchen and letting all the sunlight in

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

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An 85-year-old apartment in Amsterdam was recently redesigned by MAMM Design of Japan to provide maximum sunlight for an apparently non-Dutch family of four, which explains the very bright white walls.

The sunken kitchen is quite nifty, creating more space vertically, and by taking away stairs, walls and a part of the upper floor, the designers managed to get sunlight to spread all over the house. Although it looks a lot like an office space in the pictures (see link), I’m still impressed by what this Japanese firm did to a Dutch flat, considering how well they deal with small spaces themselves.

(Link and Photo: www.dezeen.com)

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