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.
Seasoned Arnhem stop motion filmmaker Mascha Halberstad is up for a Berlin Music Video Award 2015 thanks to a video she made for the UK band The Prodigy of their song ‘Wild Frontier’. Frontman Liam Howlett asked her personally to make the video, and according to De Gelderlander, she is a favourite to win the German award.
Featured on the album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ from February 2015, here’s ‘Wild Frontier’:
Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem decided to fly a drone over the chimpanzee enclosure as part of films they make to show the world how the animals are doing, but Tushi the chimpanzee was not having any of it. Sitting quietly in a tree, she armed itself with a stick and swatted the sucker to the ground. The whole thing was filmed and so the world can enjoy another coffee break brought to you by the crazy world of animals living in captivity.
Dutch artist Rob Voerman has set up a silver space module artwork called ‘Into the Grid’ in the oldest shopping mall of the Netherlands and Europe, Presikhaaf in Arnhem, which is 50 years old this year. Presikhaaf was once a prize-winning bit of architecture, but is now semi-vacant.
Last week saw the big opening of Into the Grid with Bas Bron, member of Dutch electro group De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig and a whole bunch of children with silver coloured cardboard boxes as robot outfits.
The interactive artwork was commissioned by curator and founder Claudia Schouten of Motel Spatie A.I.R., which holds lectures about ‘engaged autonomy’ and urbanism.
Arnhem has just launched a new city marketing campaign that revolves around its role as a fashion city, entitled ‘Arnhem krijgt jou plat’, which translates to an amusing risqué joke.
‘Getting someone flat’, if you were to translate it literally in Dutch implies ‘laying someone’, as in ‘getting them laid’, and now you can see where I’m going with this. On the one hand, shopping in Arnhem for fashion will tire you out, sort of ‘shop till you drop’ thing, but on the other, if Arnhem can ‘get you vertical’, then their city marketing has done its job well.
The idea is that you can study fashion in Arnhem at ArtEZ, there’s the fashion quarter in Klarendal featuring many shops by up and coming designers, there’s the Fashion Festival Arnhem in the summer, and more. World famous Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf both met and studied in Arnhem.
If you are an artist or somebody with artistic aspirations but lack the means to make your art a reality, a new initiative just north of Arnhem promises to make your ideas come true.
Proposal Base lets you pitch ideas for public artworks to be both built and exhibited at its location in the wooded hills near Arnhem. If a proposal generates enough funding and doesn’t break a small set of rules (it may not pollute, be racist and so on), it will get built.
There seems to be two catches. One is that the area will only be reserved for this purpose for a few more years and the other is that visitors aren’t allowed except during events.
Currently the site shows a list of sample proposals. A Street View-like Flickr page shows a map of locations where you can imagine your artwork. The folks behind the project describe themselves as a 3D printer for art projects.
Saying sorry profusely and ‘distancing oneself from the incident’ is purely being done not to get sued. And suing does not happen that often, but this time the guy from Arnhem who was refused an internship for being black went straight to the police and filed a complaint.
An electronics company in Arnhem refused a candidate based on his skin colour and sadly, the internal e-mail in which this was done was sent to the candidate by mistake.
“I had a look, it’s nothing. First of all he’s dark-coloured (nigger). And he has little experience with computers etc. on his resume.”
The nigger part is in the e-mail as such, and ‘it’s nothing’ means ‘it won’t work out’. The employee that sent the mail by mistake never would have apologised had they not been caught. So basically, they really are racist and the candidate has a point.
A run of racist and discriminatory remarks have plagued the Netherlands as of late, and co-blogger Branko has been writing them up on another blog, calling it ‘The coming out of the racists’.
Rotterdam’s Florentijn Hofman does it again in a big way, this time in a festive manner with the ‘Feestaardvarken’ (‘Party aardvark’) made mostly of metal and concrete.
The Feestaardvarken is a 30-metre-long concrete sculpture which looks like an abstract aardvark with a golden party hat. The work was made specifically for this site and commissioned by Burgers’ Zoo and is a present for the 100th year anniversary of the zoo to the city of Arnhem.
‘Party aardvark’ is a play on words of ‘feestvarken’ (‘party pig’ in Dutch), while aardvark is an Afrikaans word also used in English meaning ‘earth pig’.
In 2003 an art forger from Arnhem ran off to Thailand with the 3 million euro he illegally made forging modern art, and all he has to do is wait until the statute of limitations runs out in 2018. Of course, he’s probably under the threat of being caught if ever he came back to the Netherlands (or the EU, I suppose), but he couldn’t care less.
The forger made a fortune – imagine what kind of luxury 3 million euro gets you in Thailand – making Alberto Giacometti statues, which were sold by two German art dealers. They got caught in 2009 and have been sentenced to 7 and 9 years of prison, respectively.
The Dutchman is living the good life in Thailand, calling his predicament ‘being imprisoned in paradise’.
Grab a beverage of choice and take a few minutes to read more about famous Dutch forger Han van Meegeren who was an excellent artist in his own right, but turned to the more lucrative business of forging paintings for rich Dutchmen who wanted to fool Nazis by selling them forgeries. And yes, it does remind me and some of you of the British television series ‘Allo ‘Allo whose plot often revolves around forgeries of the paintings ‘The Cracked Vase with the Big Daisies’ by Van Gogh and ‘The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies’ by Van Klomp.
A 52-year-old female Chinese restaurant owner and four other suspects are being prosecuted on human trafficking charges for having exploited a Chinese chef forced to work in restaurants in Amsterdam and Arnhem.
“The victim was intimidated and had to work under miserable conditions. He was not allowed to visit a doctor and had to sleep in a cage in an Amsterdam restaurant under video surveillance.” He also worked for long hours for almost no pay, and his bank account was plundered.
Many human trafficking victims in the Netherlands are women brought to work in the sex industry, but a broader type of exploitation is apparently on the rise.