January 26, 2016

Alternative Elfstedentocht streams live from Austria

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 1:46 pm

On 26 January as of 7:30 CET you can follow a whole bunch of Dutch and other skaters live with commentary, interviews and Dutch music (they’re live now) who have successfully cut work and shimmied down to Austria to skate the Alternative Elfstedentocht on the picturesque Weissensee in Austria.

The speed skating crown jewel tour Elfstedentocht is a brand that’s stronger than the Olympics Games in The Netherlands where speed skaters like Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst are more popular than football players. Truth be told, the Dutch kick major ass at speed skating.

You don’t mess with the Elfstedentocht, even an alternative one, as skate fever knows no geographic boundaries: just move the show to the snow.

And if you’re not convinced or don’t quite get it, read the amazing story of Tinus Udding who kept a piece of his big toe he lost in 1963 while skating during a very harsh edition of the Elfstedentocht.

It giet oan. (Frisian for ‘it’s on’).

(Photo by Paul van Eijden, some rights reserved)

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October 12, 2015

How not to interview a Dutch sports champion

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:26 am

Here’s something from the old box, as we say in Dutch: an American reporter of the NBC tries to interview Olympic gold speed skating champion Sven Kramer after his win in the 5000 metre event in Vancouver in 2010. Prefaced by a Dutch journalist saying ‘the interview started in a weird way’, Kramer tells the NBC reporter exactly what he thinks of her first question – watch the video to find out.

Part of me thinks, ‘wow, his answer was rude! And then he continues normally as if he hadn’t been rude’. The other part of me thinks, ‘wow, what an ignorant journalist asking a gold medal winner to identify themselves because if it were an American she would never have done that’.

This video fragment is like those pictures where depending how you look at them, you can see two different things, but never both at once.

(Photo of Sven Kramer by Mingo Hagen, some rights reserved)

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October 17, 2012

Emergency services in Friesland should understand Frisian

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:13 am

After a fire broke out in the village of Bozum, Friesland last week, the provincial authorities were upset to find out that the emergency services could have dealt with the situation better had the person on the line been able to understand Frisian.

The resident who called to report the blaze was not understood in their native language, which goes against agreements made with the emergency services.

“Frisian is the country’s official second language, and in case of an emergency, any Frisian should have the right to express themselves in their own language.” I would add to that, especially in their own province.

This definitely applies to the elderly and to anyone anywhere in the world in a panic, as we all revert to our first language when under duress. Many haters can easily say that any other language than Dutch in the Netherlands is second-class nonsense, and if everyone just spoke Dutch, the country would be fantastic. Wrong.

If we all spoke English, Chinese or Spanish the world would be at peace. I’m being sarcastic.

Donald Duck is way cool in Frisian, Doutzen Kroes and Sven Kramer are always hot in Frisian.

(Link: nos.nl)

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June 6, 2012

Speed skaters more popular than football players in the Netherlands

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 6:19 pm

Arjan Robben and Dirk Kuyt may be household names the world over, but this year they have to leave the strongest brand title to long track speed skater Sven Kramer.

A poll held by Hendrik Beerda Brand Consultancy confirms this. The first woman in the list of strongest brands is Ireen Wüst, also a speed skater, taking the number three spot between the two strikers.

A similar poll two years ago had football goalie Edwin van der Sar in the lead, but he has retired since then.

The Elfstedentocht and the Olympic Games switched positions as the most popular events, the latter taking over the number one spot, followed by the World Cup football and the Tour de France. The European Football Championship only came in fifth among events.

Outside the Netherlands Sven Kramer is perhaps best known for the gold medal he failed to win at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics due to a technicality. He has been ruling supreme in long distance and all-round championships since 2007, although he had to skip the 2010-2011 season due to an injury.

(Link: Algemeen Dagblad. Photo of Sven Kramer by Mingo Hagen, some rights reserved)

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April 18, 2012

Donald Duck a big hit in the Frisian language

Filed under: Comics,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 1:50 pm

Created in 1952, the Donald Duck weekly magazine has just been translated into Frisian, the language today’s kids would associate with speed skater Sven Kramer and supermodel Doutzen Kroes. After just three days, Donald Duck is almost sold out, with only 10,000 copies left of the original 40,000, enough to supply one tenth of the Frisian-speaking population. Donald is still speaking Dutch here, but he is doing something typically Frisian: fierljeppen (far-leaping). Frisian, as well as English, German and Dutch, are part of the same language group of West Germanic languages.

As of 27 April, they’ll print more magazines to meet the rising demand, which I would imagine also makes it a collector’s item. Just this year, we had the First ever national advert entirely in Frisian and if cutie pies like Sven and Doutzen speak Frisian, it’s bound to be increasingly trendy.

(Link: www.dehuisaanhuis.nl)

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March 17, 2009

Dissing Essent at the World Cup in Vancouver

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 9:38 am

I caught a glimpse of Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer on telly who the orange-clad audience in the stands were basically waiting for to win as expected at the World Speed Skating Championships in Vancouver, Canada last weekend. I was happy to hear that they spoke French at the event (it’s not the plague anymore), so I kept watching.

There were adverts from Dutch utility Essent that read ‘Svencouver’. If you read it in Dutch, the ‘Sven’ rhymes with ‘Van’ and it’s very cute. Essent wants to get customers to sign up with Essent under the name ‘Svencouver’ so they can get a discount depending on how many gold medals Kramer wins, which apparently is just a question of time. Problem is, they’re not an official Olympic sponsor.

In true Dutch uncle style, the Dutch Olympic committee asked Essent to lose their excellent slogan because it sounds too much like Vancouver. And that’s apparently not good because Vancouver is supposed to be synonymous with the Olympics, the five coloured rings and all, but not Essent or our man Sven.

Luckily for Essent, they also had a back up — ‘Svenergy’. In fact, Essent has no legal obligation to stop using ‘Svencouver’, but are literally being sports about it.

What bugs me is the Dutch Olympic Committee publically reprimanding a good sponsor in times of crisis.

(Link: sportwereld.nl)

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February 11, 2010

Elfstedentocht stronger brand than Olympic Games

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 11:48 am

A recent study by HBB Consultancy revealed that the Elfstedentocht, a rare and gruelling outdoor skating race, is a better known and higher valued sports brand in the Netherlands than the Olympic Games, Algemeen Dagblad reported yesterday.

Both events are about as old, but the Elfstedentocht is held on average every seven years, when conditions in Friesland are harsh enough to freeze over 200 kilometres’ worth of canals. On the list of strong sports brands, the Olympics only get a peek in at three, after the Elfstedentocht and football goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

As for the athletes, Van der Sar is better liked among men, whereas women prefer speed skater Sven ‘Svencouver’ Kramer.

Although Ajax is rated the top brand among football teams, arch rivals Feyenoord take off with the best appreciated stadium (De Kuip).

(Photo by Remko van Dokkum, some rights reserved)

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November 2, 2009

Canada looks ridiculous embarrassing the Netherlands

Filed under: Sports,Weird by Orangemaster @ 5:27 pm


The Dutch have this party tent idea they bring with them and set up at the Olympics and other major sporting events called the Heineken Holland House. It’s a bigazz orange party tent for the athletes and their fans to have a drink, watch Dutch athletes perform on TV and party. It’s been a hit for years and of course the Dutch want to bring the party over to the Vancouver winter Olympics 2010 to watch stars like Sven ‘Svencouver’ Kramer kick all the men’s asses at speed skating. For three weeks, people would get to hang out with Dutch athletes, celebrities, politicians and maybe even Dutch royalty while enjoying a Heineken and some choice Dutch junk food.

But oh no. Canadian bureaucrats in the province of British Columbia and in Ottawa at the national level are being more difficult than the Chinese were in Beijing about permits, building codes, Canadians losing potential jobs to Dutch people and an array of other undiplomatic stupidities.

I’m truly embarrassed for British Columbia and Canada right now. Sort that out!

(Link: vancouversun.com, Photo by Quistnix, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 1.0.)

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