July 28, 2019

Swimmer Marcel Schouten wins big lake crossing

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 1:12 pm

On 27 July Dutch swimmer Marcel Schouten took first place at the 65th ‘Traversée internationale du lac Saint-Jean’ (‘International crossing of Lake St. Jean’), a big lake and area of the Province of Quebec in Canada. It’s where a lot of wild blueberries come from and a lot of classic Quebec recipes as well.

The Christopher Deegan of Australia took second place, and third place was nabbed by Matias Diaz Hernandez of Argentina. On his Twitter feed, Schouten was congratulated for ‘rocking at the 5th stage of the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim Series in Lac St. Jean’ by FINA, the Fédération internationale de natation (‘International Swimming Federation’). Last year’s winner, Edoardo Stochino of Italy, came in fourth.

My family saw this news go by and thought it would be good for us, so here it is.

(Link: ici.radio-canada.ca, Photo looking across the nearby Wolderwijd from Harderwijk to Zeewolde, Flevoland, by Sjaak Kempe, some rights reserved)

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July 6, 2018

The French Canadian soldier who freed Zwolle

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 2:40 pm

At lunch, before stepping into a plane back to the Netherlands from Canada, I was told about the story of Léo Major, a French Canadian soldier of the Royal 22nd Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces who single-handedly freed the Dutch city of Zwolle, and other places, with some unbelievable tactics.

Léo Major of Longueuil, Québec was a corporal who refused to move up in rank despite his brilliant moves. He pulled off stuff without consulting his superiors and made bluffs work that nobody else would have come up with. He pretty much freelanced and the army just let him because he was brave and smart.

During WWII, Zwolle, Overijssel was surrounded by German troops and the 22nd Regiment that was trying to recapture it were failing miserably, losing dozens of soldiers every day. Léo Major and his best friend Wilfrid Arseneault volunteered to go and find out where the Germans were positioned to try and improve their situation.

At nightfall the pair went to the farm of the Van Gerner family who tried to explain in Dutch that the forest was full of Germans. Shortly after, Arseneault was shot, his stomach full of bullet holes, as explained by Major himself in the video below. Major, determined to complete the mission left his best friend behind and pressed on.

Major entered Zwolle and attacked German patrols and ran through the streets throwing grenades to convince the enemy that Canadian troops were marching in, and it worked. He captured entire troops of 8-10 Germans who let themselves be delivered to the 22nd Regiment outside the city, believing the city was under attack. Major kept going back to Zwolle to pull the same tactic over and over. He even set fire to Gestapo headquarters.

At dawn, he realised that the last German troops had left the city and that Zwolle was free. After making sure the city knew they were liberated, Major went to pick up the corpse of his friend that he brought to the Van Gerner farm for safe keeping until the burial. Later that morning, Canadian troops marched into the city and the residents of Zwolle finally saw that they were liberated.

Léo Major was given his first medal, the Distinguished Conduct Medal of the British Army, the only Canadian and one of only three soldiers in the British Commonwealth to ever receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice in separate wars. Major went on to pull some more great moves in the Korean War. His friend Wilfrid Arseneault was given a Bronze Lion posthumously in 1970 by Queen Juliana.

This YouTube video features Léo Major himself in English on Zwolle television, with parts translated into Dutch.

(Photos: Wikipedia)

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April 26, 2016

Tourists still missing King’s Day due to date change

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

Kdag2010-3

Three years into the switch from Queen Beatrix to King Willem-Alexander and from 30 April to 27 April (26 April if it’s a Sunday), tourists are apparently still booking holidays for King’s Day three days too late based on crappy intel, and booking agencies aren’t exactly warning them. Why would tourists have any reason to think a national holiday has moved back three days?

I was talking to my best friend in Québec on the phone recently, telling her about how royally excited I get about the flea market that is the Netherlands on King’s Day. I explained the tourists mishaps that keep happening and she said “what kind of country changes the day of a national holiday?” A country that celebrates it on the birthday of their King or Queen, rather than a set date. Canada Day is celebrated on July 1 for the signing of the British North American act in 1867, so the only moving going on on that date is the Province of Québec (follow the link to get the joke, you’ll thank me).

As luck will have it, Wim-Lex just happens to have his birthday close to 30 April, on 27 April, so that was an easy move. However, the date did not move for Queen Beatrix because her birthday is in January, so we’re inconsistently consistent. According to Wikipedia, on Princess Wilhelmina’s accession to the throne in November 1890 the holiday became ‘Koninginnedag’ (‘Queen’s Day’), first celebrated on 31 August 1891. In September 1948, Wilhelmina’s daughter Juliana ascended to the throne and the holiday was moved to Queen Juliana’s birthday, 30 April. The holiday was celebrated on this date from 1949 until 2013.

Moving the holiday wasn’t new, but it hadn’t been moved in a while and moves when it’s easier, a bit like in the Province of Québec.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl)

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January 15, 2016

Country’s first gaming hotel comes with poutine

Filed under: Dutch first,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 2:11 pm
Poutine

On 16 January, the Arcade hotel in Amsterdam will open its doors, the country’s first gaming hotel, where the Aalborg hotel in the De Pijp district used to be. The idea of a gaming hotel came from Montréal, Québec (where I’m from), and the owners promised to serve poutine, although I wonder how they will get the cheese curds for it because nobody makes that kind of cheese here.*

The rooms offer a lot of retro games, some that gamers can’t find as easily from Nintendo, Sega and Microsoft and they’ll be at least 10 kinds per room. And if that’s not enough, the lobby will also feature comic books as reading material, another favourite of new manager Daniel Salmanovich.

“Hotels always claim that they want to be a home away from home, but that’s nonsense. People want something different than what they have at home when they’re travelling. There’s enough hotels that offer pay-per-view and Netflix to their guests, and I wanted a hotel for people like me who relax with gaming.”

Salmanovich also says he’ll be offering poutine, Québec’s world-reknowned fast food dish, which newspaper Het Parool got wrong by saying it had ‘grated cheese’ (cheddar bits would have been more accurate), but called it a ‘unofficial national dish’, which means that the journalist has a better grasp of geopolitics than food.

*The Québec Delegation in Brussels, who represents the Benelux worked very hard to get a Belgian cheese maker to make 40 kg of cheese curds for the Québec national holiday parties on 24 June a few years ago.

(Link: www.parool.nl)

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December 16, 2011

Lorrainville, an album that started with a game on Facebook

Filed under: Dutch first,Music,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:05 am

You had to pick a random article from Wikipedia, a random quote off the Internet and a random picture from Flickr and turn it into an album cover. Here’s the one that literally struck a chord with Dutch producer from Zwolle, Guido Aalbers. He got a whole group of musicians together to write songs and perform live, including singer Anneke van Giersbergen and guitarist Erik Neimeijer just for this one-off project. Last night they played their one and only sold out gig at the Hedon in Zwolle, which I was lucky enough to attend. The room was so full that the doors of the concert hall were left open and the audience spilled into the bar area! The whole show was streamed live on Facebook as well.

Listen to Lorrainville – You may never know what happiness is. (This link may not be up for too long, so go and listen now).

All the songs are in English and have a touch of Americana. English-language coach to the Dutch stars Buffi Duberman asked me if I could help her get some sort of letter of recognition from the wee village of Lorrainville (pop. 560) in Québec and we managed to get the Québec Delegation in Brussels to write up a formal letter in Dutch to recognize this unique album, which was given to Guido Aalbers during the show.

If you Google Lorrainville today, you’ll get the album before the actual village! Read all about Lorrainville.

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