October 13, 2013

Merch tip: short haired Barbie sells the least

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 10:42 pm

The Dolly Dots were a Dutch girl band from the 1980s with a string of hits. At the height of their success the six singers had their own sitcom, feature film and even their own Barbie dolls which, according to the I’m Like: ‘Oh My God!!!’ blog, were not very life-like.

The Ria doll at least included her trademark short hair. “All the dolls were hits, except the Ria one [...] because it had short hair. You cannot comb a Ken hairdo.”

In this video from Avro’s TopPop Ria still had long hair—she is the one with the purse:

Having found only one source I have no idea whether this story is actually true, but it sounded too good to have it stay at the Dutch language part of the web.

(Photo by TROS, some rights reserved)

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October 1, 2013

Scooping up toy cars to win a real one

Filed under: Automobiles,Online by Orangemaster @ 10:11 am

‘Grab a small one, win a big one’: Amsterdam advertising agency Brandbase placed 100,000 miniature cars on Rotterdam’s Binnenrotte street near the local market. One of the toy cars had a marking under it with which you win a real car. Dutch advertising agency Brandbase patiently placed all of these cars, which were scooped up in 23 minutes. Marktplaats, a Dutch auction site also sell cars. Since it has a lot of competition, this was as an attempt to position the site as the ‘quickest route’ to getting rid of your car.

It was definitely the fastest way to get rid of one real car and 100,000 small ones. My childlike brains says it’s also nice to have all those toy cars to play with even if you don’t win.

(Link:, Photo of Matchbox toy cars by sarflondondunc, some rights reserved)

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October 25, 2012

Large wind-up bug toy

Filed under: Art,Design by Branko Collin @ 1:01 pm

Wouter Sieuwerts came up with this life size toy for his graduation from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

It can be wound up, after which it can be made to move. There is a video that shows how this works at Vimeo. Sieuwerts writes: “It won’t go far and it won’t go fast, but it is very dynamic and exciting. I tried to make it look like a cross between an animal and a machine.”

The toy is called Erik, perhaps because of its bug like features? (Eric in the Land of the Insects is a classic Dutch novel by author Godfried Bomans.)

(Photo: Wouter Sieuwerts. Link: Bright.)

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October 12, 2012

Dutch whizz kid rules as WWII Lego specialist

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 10:42 am

Dutch 14-year-old Stijn Oom has taken his Lego blocks up a few levels and made some fantastic WWII creations without using pre-existing Lego kits. He started building serious models when he was just five and hasn’t stopped since.

Flickr has helped him connect with enthusiasts and surely helped boost his ever-increasing popularity. “When I discovered Flickr, I found out that there was a HUGE Lego community going on! Reactions on builds, comments, favorites! It was the perfect system for every young builder.” Flickr is used by Lego fans to share their creations and they like it because they can annotate their images.

Why doesn’t Lego make military sets like there? Because it’s part of the company’s policy to not make anything military, with the exception of the Star Wars kits.

(Links:,, Photo of Lego by tiptoe, some rights reserved)

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August 16, 2011

Museum turns into Roman Empire IKEA

Filed under: Design,History by Branko Collin @ 1:21 pm

Limburgs Museum in Venlo has an exhibit of Roman Empire household goods with a twist. All the items on display are replicas, and are for sale as part of an exhibit that tries to mimic IKEA down to the smallest detail, including the familiar blue floor map in Latin. writes:

There’s the blue and yellow logo, the shop-by-room concept, and a cheap Roman meatball lunch in the cafĂ©. Best of all are the exhibit’s housewares, all of them labelled with Latin names and all available for purchase. You can pick up a “Romulus” toy wooden sword, a “Secundus” wine goblet, or a bust of Emperor Hadrian. Furniture available for online ordering include lounges, tables, and storage cabinets modelled after items found in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum.

The furniture was built by Drias in Tilburg based on charred remains found in Pompeji and Herculaneum, on frescos from those same cities, and on an illustrated coffin from Simpelveld (Limburg).

The exhibit/store runs until 6 January, 2012. The web shop is in Dutch, but also delivers abroad.

(Photo: Limburgs Museum)

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December 4, 2010

Beyblade spinning tops are all the rage again

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:36 pm

Shopkeepers in the Netherlands claim they were caught completely by surprise by the sudden increase in demand for Beyblades. It has been 10 years since the spinning tops from Hasbro last were playground hits, the print edition of daily Parool reported on Wednesday.

Beyblades are used in ‘battles’, where tops are launched from a platform (see photo) into an arena. The top that stays up the longest wins.

A possible explanation of the revival may be that Disney channel has started to broadcast the accompanying (and eponymous) manga series again, though at ungodly early hours. Disney’s Vincent Berends thinks that ‘schoolyard talk’ may explain the success.

Earlier this year Jeugdjournaal reported that Beyblades had become the rage again in Japan. There the hype was carefully manufactured.

(Photo by Cielo de la Paz, some rights reserved)

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October 12, 2010

Dutch trucker invents hit board game

Filed under: Design,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 10:55 am

In his spare time, hidden away in his tool shed, 66-year-old trucker Ad Bruynzeel has been coming up with board games for ages. And finally, after decades, he invented a game called Wobble, which now is an international hit and means that work is soon to be his hobby.

Dutch gamemaker Identity Games signed him up just like that, and although already in Europe, you’ll be seeing Wobble in North America soon as well.

I like the catchy ‘Roll to the Hole’ as a slogan. This game looks like a grandpa with grandchildren kind of hit. “The goal of the game is to get the ball in the right hole by moving or replacing the discs on the edge of the board.”

Check it out:


September 16, 2010

Christians protest occult-related supermarket toys

Filed under: Religion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:44 am

‘Dungans’, as these toy tokens are called, should be seen as fantasy characters like, I dunno, Pogs (know as ‘Flippo’s’ in the Netherlands), but nope, some Christians got mad and got one supermarket (just one) to stop with the toys. Wow, what a victory.

“Children turn into the Dungan characters, these demons. These evil spirits fight with the children around them, it’s disgusting,” two annoyed Christians in Veenendaal claimed. “We have to protect our children”. And everybody else who lets their children collect Dungans are what, bad parents? Please.


Judge for yourself. Note: subtitles are totally whacked, but at least you know what they’re on about. After 1:26 you can stop unless you like home-made YouTube rants.

(Link: dutchnews, distrifood)

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May 14, 2010

Florentijn Hofman’s huge cuddly toys

Filed under: Animals,Art by Branko Collin @ 11:59 am

Writes Hofman:

A solo show inspired by the toys and cuddly sculptures of children, where the change of scale completely changes their function and feeling.

Hofman also took his exhibition on the (rail)road, where it works better in my opinion. A gallery is a canvas, a neutral background in front of which anything automatically becomes art. The railway station of Delfzijl (Hofman’s former home town) doesn’t have that stigma, and his plush animals look as out of place there as he intended.

See also:

(Photos: Trendbeheer / Florentijn Hofman.)

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August 31, 2009

Robots made from sturdy stackable storage boxes

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 8:39 am

Guus Oosterbaan, a Dutch designer living in Denmark, is looking for somebody to take these boxes into production for him.

The boxes can be used to store all kinds of things, and when stacked can be combined into huge toy robots. On his blog, Oosterbaan says that his “kids find it very amusing to build robots that are much taller than them and then knock them over while shouting superhero stuff.”

(Link: Photos: Guus Oosterbaan.)

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