Students at a school in Spijkenisse, South Holland got sick after their teacher gave them a lecture on street children sniffing glue in Brazil. It’s one thing to try and explain this to kids to get them to empathise, it’s another to have them sniff hazardous glue to get the point across.
After sniffing glue used to remove graffiti, which contains the same toxic substances as the glue used in Brazil, two students were sick: one had to be treated in hospital and one at a clinic, while another six were treated at the school.
The parents were informed of the incident. Why on earth did this even happen, the media doesn’t say, but it seems the teacher didn’t realise that the graffiti remover was toxic. I think the teacher was stupid and irresponsible to say the least.
In a few days Professor Renske Keizer of the University of Amsterdam, 32, will become the world’s first and only ‘Professor of Fatherhood’. Mother of three children herself, she researches the effect fathers have on children in different family configurations and opposes the ‘glorification’ of motherhood in the Netherlands, which constantly downplays the role of fathers in Dutch families regardless of their contribution.
Keizer explains that fathers of low income families play a lesser role than those of high income families and that a lack of affordable childcare, lack of paid and unpaid paternity leave and many other 1950s relics skew the balance between mothers and fathers, with fathers getting the short end of the stick. While Dutch fathers have voiced a desire to want to work part-time like most mothers do but cannot because they are expected to work full time and Dutch working mothers making less than working fathers, it’s tough to foster any change without taking a hard financial hit.
Dutch women entered the job market in the 1970s, decades later than their western counterparts, and the obstacles facing them today stem from the ingrained idea that women don’t need to work to support their families or develop themselves. “Men work to take care of their family, that’s their role. Many women see work as something that conflicts with what they do at home, clean and take care of the children. That’s Dutch culture. You’re a bad mother if you bring your children to daycare more than three times a week, but not a bad father. Society needs to make a change.”
Keize is attempting to see if being a father contributes to raising children in a unique way, but warns that maybe it does not. She explains that generally fathers speak to their children more like adults, while mothers tend to speak to their children more on their level in part because mothers tend to know their children’s capabilities better. However, fathers play a major role in increasing children’s vocabulary. The same goes with reading bedtime stories, something Keizer admits high income families do way more than low income ones: a mother reads a story as it is in the book, while dad makes stuff up as he goes along, triggering children’s creative thinking.
Keizer is also researching LBGTI parents and is very aware of the differences between white Dutch folks and other ethnic groups, hoping that she can attract more diversity to her study.
Watch Dutch kids give their uncensored and blunt little opinions on breakfast foods from around the world. Some of the kids here have bad table manners meant to be cute, a friendly warning to anyone on the misophonia spectrum. And the amount of gel in the little boys hair is also a Dutch thing that nobody understands.
One boy thinks many types of breakfast come from the Philippines. One of the girls calls Vegemite on toast ‘a shit sandwich’ and seems to not have learnt to eat with utensils or have any kind of table manners. A few points go to the girl who enjoys Costa Rican rice and beans for breakfast.
Dutch children in this video eat chocolate sprinkles on toast for breakfast, which is junk food, so I hope their parents feed them real food otherwise, not just hair gel.
For two weeks now Amsterdam Central Station has has a beach with sand left over from the World Cup Beach Volleyball that took place on Dam Square in front of the Palace down the street.
The beach features activities for children, and today it’s about beer pong or as the Dutch put it #kiddybeerpong. The activity has elicited responses that include WTF, kids shouldn’t be encouraged to drink beer and it looks like it’s being promoted by a beer company although it’s not.
The organisers assure us that they will use 0% beer, which is still very questionable and that we should get over the beer part and see it as a game and an excuse to discuss drinking alcohol, the latter sounding like someone who doesn’t have young children.
I wouldn’t want a child chugging any kind of soft drink, juice or fake beer in the sun for a game that is meant to get practice for drinking alcohol in college. If you take away the drinking, I could be OK with it, but I feel this is in bad taste.
Three children reported a man to the police that they believed might be the escaped Mexican criminal Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The three had spotted a man with a moustache sitting in a van on a parking lot on the Paul Kruger road in Ermelo, the Netherlands, last Tuesday. Drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, nicknamed El Chapo (Spanish for Shorty), escaped a Mexican maximum security prison earlier this month.
One of the children, 10-year-old Peter, had seen a photo of Guzmán in the newspaper and thought he recognised the trademark moustache the criminal sported at some point in his life.
After they had written down the license plate number of the van, the children biked to Peter’s house to call the police. Peter’s mother told Omroep Gelderland: “They were convinced it was him, he had the exact same moustache. They even knew he had smoked weed and that that is a drug. […] They hadn’t even realised the price on his head”
The police called back later to say they had looked into the matter, but hadn’t located El Chapo. They don’t believe it was him. Mexico has offered a reward of about 3.5 million euro for information leading to the capture of Mr. Guzmán. The US State Departement would also like a word with Mr. Guzmán and have offered a reward of up to 5 million USD for information leading to his arrest.
American broadcaster PBS visited the Netherlands to take a look at Spring Fever, a week of sex education classes for children aged 4 to 12.
Eight-year-olds learn about self-image and gender stereotypes. Eleven-year-olds discuss sexual orientation and contraceptive options. But in the Netherlands, the approach, known as ‘comprehensive sex education,’ starts as early as age 4. You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class. In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexuality education rather than sex education. That’s because the goal is bigger than that.
Younger children get taught about the differences between boys and girls, where babies come from, love, and boundaries. This year was the 10th anniversary of Spring Fever Week.
The disturbingly casual Dutch terms ‘black schools’ and ‘white schools’ in the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam refer to schools with ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ and ‘kids that look Dutch’ because Dutch is code for Caucasian and everything else gets lumped into ‘black’.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, ‘black schools’ don’t do as well as ‘white schools’, and smart parents of both groups try to get their kids into ‘white schools’. Many parents will claim to want their kids to go to a ‘mixed school’, but they are only considered good schools when there’s more ‘white’ kids than ‘black’ kids.
Two schools in one neighbourhood decided to challenge this segregation by getting the ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ to wear T-shirts that say ‘Is this white enough for you?’, so that two ‘mixed schools’ don’t close because more parents are sending their kids to ‘white schools’ in other neighbourhoods. It’s sad that small children are being taught that their skin colour is putting people off, to put it mildly.
Amsterdam is a city that proudly keeps counting how many different nationalities live together in harmony, but when it comes to schools, segregation is commonplace.
The VARA television station has a show called ‘Kinderen voor Kinderen’ (‘Children for Children’) that has been around since 1980 and lets children ask for songs to be written on topics that interest them, ranging from a girl getting her breasts to a boy with Attention Deficit Disorder and everything in between.
According to Wikipedia, the 1984 song ‘Bruin’ (‘Brown’) falls under the category ‘taunting and mobbing’, avoiding using adult words like ‘discrimination’ or even ‘racism’. Would a song like this that claims it’s trying to discourage ‘taunting and mobbing’ of a non-white Dutch boy actually be socially acceptable today? When I first watched it, my jaw dropped probably because there’s no politically correct wording that you’d be strongly encouraged to use today. In the end, the ‘brown’ boy actually sings that maybe white people aren’t so mean after all, implying that stereotypes are a two-way street. The music and choreography are fun to watch.
Here is a taste of the more straight up lyrics:
I would rather be paler
Then I wouldn’t be so insecure
Then I wouldn’t be so sad
And not as mad when they called me names
(White chorus sings) ‘He’s so brown’
In the village of Lent near Nijmegen a man has been reported flashing schoolchildren goods and all, and making sexual comments when they walk by on their way to school. In Dutch a flasher is a ‘potloodventer’, which literally means ‘pencil salesman’, hence my choice of photo.
Open and shut case you say? Nope. Dutch law apparently says the man needs to be caught in the act if the police are to arrest him and keep him in custody. In the meantime, he gets to keep doing his sick shit to children because the cops can’t do their job and the parents are too lame to be proactive.
So basically one messed up man who needs help is disrupting other people’s lives and nobody is really doing anything about it but complaining. Maybe one of those stay at home moms with free time on their hands could stalk him with a video camera? I mean, it just takes some proof. Why can’t a squad car pick a busy day and catch the man in the act? How tough can it be to catch him, seriously? He’s obviously not dangerous. I would totally do it if I lived nearby.
1. Starting October 2012 transportation infrastructure operators in the Netherlands were allowed to use new traffic signs that have been optimised for colour blind people.
The new signs were given white lines to increase contrast between red and blue elements and to increase contrast of signs with a red border when viewed against a green background, the Dutch government said. Infrastructure operators (‘wegbeheerders’ in Dutch) are free to determine if and when they will replace the old signs. The Netherlands isn’t the first country to introduce road signs for people with deficient vision, I found examples on Flickr of similarly adapted signs in Italy and France.
2. Orangemaster and I attended the opening of the Dutch Rail Lost&Found pop-up store we wrote about earlier. We kind of rushed through it, so I did not get many photos (there is one below), but The Post Online’s photographer spent some more time there.
3. In the 1970s, the Netherlands were rapidly on their way to becoming a car sick country. Mark Wagenbuur has created several videos about how protesters managed to turn this development around. His most recent video explores how school children helped raise awareness for their particular plight in the densely populated Pijp neighbourhood in Amsterdam.