July 28, 2017

Visit the Netherlands’ smallest police station

Filed under: Architecture,History by Orangemaster @ 5:36 pm

Sloten-politie

The smallest police station in the Netherlands is in Sloten, a 10th century village that today remains the oldest part of Amsterdam. Sloten was eventually integrated into Amsterdam in the 20th century and is now part of Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West district.

Built in 1866 the station is apparently the source of some great stories. Until about 1965, constable Freek Raat would let the locals sleep off their hangovers in the station’s 4m2 cell. Even local youth that caused trouble were locked up for a few hours to teach them a lesson.

These days, the small station has been empty and slowly falling in disrepair since 2015. The City Restoration company and Sloten residents want to fix up, which is why they have set up some crowdfunding and as I write this, they have reached 88% of their 50,000 euro goal. Even though the deadline of 1 July has gone by according to the video, it could easily be a flexbile date.

Although the video is in Dutch, it’s about taking a virtual tour. The red fire brigade pole outside the station is said to be the only one left in the country. The goal would be to put a tourist office and shop there with local honey, slippers and what not. The flag of Sloten, which itself means ‘locks’, features golden ones and a cow or some say an ox, however not referring to neighbouring Osdorp (roughly Ox Town). In fact, Osdorp is actually derived from the name Oostdorp (East town) having to do with the fact that way back in the day Osdorp and possibly Sloten were culturally influenced by Haarlem, about 10 km further west, rather than Amsterdam.

(Links and photo: mijnstadsherstel.nl, Oud Osdorp)

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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)

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March 16, 2016

Women in Amsterdam council told what to wear

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:52 am

An e-mail written by the team leader of the district council of Nieuw-West in Amsterdam has told women they cannot wear ‘skirts/dresses above the knee’ and ‘knee-high boots’ if they work at the council office counter, where citizens come and get municipal permits and documents. By extension, if this were to be applied, they might have to fear for their jobs. And a happy belated International Women’s Day to you, too.

Assuming the team leader is a man, although their identity is currently being investigated, he has no power to tell women or anyone else what to wear, which clearly goes against the regulations of the city of Amsterdam as a whole. Questions are being asked by local politicians we know personally about these ‘absurd’ rules that target women. The assumption being made is that Nieuw-West, a district with a large Muslim population, is trying to spare them the view of decadent Western women as spring approaches, but nobody asked their opinion. Assumption number three is that the team leader saw a short skirt with knee-high boots that ‘bothered’ him, to use 1920s parlance, and so he decided to attack all women and offend a lot of men in the process.

Why fill in an entire group’s opinion without asking them? Not a single letter of complaint can be found at the offices, either. Sadly, Nieuw-West is the butt of many jokes, despite having a vibrantly diverse community. If it had more bars and wasn’t so far from the city centre, it could be my kind of ‘hood. It’s cheaper that most places, has big green parks, world-class street art, and food markets that makes you feel like you’re not in Amsterdam. But it takes one absurd e-mail to give the Dutch Internet a reason to trash Nieuw-West and attack its Muslim community.

Maybe this team leader needs to take a course on how to deal with his 1950s view on women in the workplace and not try and change the world around him to suit his backwards views.

UPDATE: The team leader was actually a woman who saw a colleague wearing a skirt she found too short, but instead of communicating with her one on one like a normal person, she felt an email that would cause an unnecessary stir was the way to go.

(Link: www.nu.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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January 10, 2014

Amsterdam district bans disposable plastic bags

Filed under: Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 2:17 pm

plastic-bag-kate-ter-haarThe vendors of the market on Plein ’40-’45 in Amsterdam (district of Nieuw-West) have stopped handing out free plastic bags in an effort to stem litter.

Shoppers are requested to bring their own bag. The district says on its website:

Thousands of bags a day were handed out at the market. Most of these bags ended up in the garbage having been used only once and many bags blew away and littered the neighbourhood.

In 2011 the market in Dordrecht started an awareness campaign with the same goal. Vendors were asked to display signs asking shoppers to bring their own bags. According to the campaign website, one vendor, a baker called Kanters, has seen the amount of plastic bags he handed out for free drop by as much as 90%. He has since started charging 10 cent a bag from the remaining die-hards among his customers.

(Photo by Kate ter Haar, some rights reserved)

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