Like countless others, twentysomethings Amsterdam residents Max and James really miss going to the cafe (pub/bar) and having a beer. So much so that they built their own Amsterdam-style cafe in their flat on the third floor. It’s in a corner with the washing machine, and it’s 2.5 x 2.5 metres.
The DIY brown café includes Amstel beer (brewed by Heineken), brown laminate planks, heavy curtains and ‘prullaria’ (knick-knacks). Cafe Van Dissel, named after Jaap van Dissel, Director of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (aka RIVM), also has rules: not too much messing with your phone, you have to hang up your jacket even if it’s in half in the way when you sit down, for the real experience. They only serve Dutch bar food and beer, so no cocktails or other ‘fancy’ things. However, for Dutch jenever and Berenburg they’ll gladly look the other way.
The first visit is free, and you’re expected to bring a gift for the second. They even have a hard boiled egg holder (like those cupcake holders but for eggs) and are hoping for traditional Dutch table carpet (yes, carpet, not cloth).
Photographed at the entrance of the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam by Twitter user @vankarine, this advert from Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn featuring Dutch Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bars seems to be attempting to cash in on people’s covid-infused sleepless nights.
The sign says ‘These won’t make it to the holidays’, which is what is being said about covid patients in hospitals. It has caused some outrage, and rumour has it the signs are being pulled because they are in poor taste – shocker. I hope the person who thought this up has a few sleepless nights themselves, to be honest.
A cheese farm in Lievelde, Gelderland was recently robbed of 300 cheeses in the middle of the night. Soon after, the cheeses were being sold on Dutch auction site Marktplaats. In connection with the robbery, the police caught a man and a woman (insert Bonnie and Clyde cheese joke) who were probably not the masterminds behind the operation, and have been let go.
The robbers caused between 30,000 and 40,000 euro worth of damages to the shop that thankfully is insured. Back in 2016 there was a wave of robberies in the same area, with at least six cheese farms robbed of 10,000 euro worth of cheese, including the one in Lievelde.
For those who don’t game, Call of Duty is a first-person shooter video game franchise from American company Activision.
Everything I saw and heard in the trailer below featuring Amsterdam is very realistic: the Dutch radio talk in the background at the very beginning, dog sounds (with the right reverberation) and police sounds.
That is some spacious apartment they start shooting in though, but it does fit that part of town. And there are actual police chases (not shoot-outs!) on rooftops in Amsterdam, I know a witness to one personally.
Set in part in the Red Light District, there’s also some joking around about ‘bitterballen’ (Dutch ragout filled balls, usually served when having beers) all in Dutch, with a joke about ‘balls’, as you do.
Have a look at Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War – we don’t own any shares (my co-blogger is more of a cavalry-and-musket type):
It is not real news, but we still really like the story.
On November 11 Dutch children usually celebrate Sint-Maarten by going around town door to door at night, carrying hand-made lanterns and singing songs for sweets.
The city of Amsterdam would rather this not happen at all due to the health crisis and has made a suggestion that sounds more like an April Fool’s joke: replace the sweets with Brussels sprouts to promote healthy eating.
The idea is to stay home and celebrate with the healthy yet questionable-smelling miniature cabbages. The city is bold enough to suggest parents also use ‘tomatoes, carrot and radishes’ as well.
Maybe spend a evening doing something fun with your kids that doesn’t involve you checking your mobile phone, but that’s just me.
Good news is I won’t have to hide in my own house on 11 November. A Canadian like me considers 11 November as Remembrance Day, the day we commemorate the millions of fallen during the First World War, which the Dutch don’t celebrate.
I posted a picture of Dutch white asparagus because it’s really tasty.
(Link: www.at5.nl, Photo by Wikipedia user Janericloebe who released it into the public domain)
In southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, Dutchman and owner of Château Canet Floris Lemstra is currently welcoming schoolchildren to teach them about winemaking, albeit without actually tasting any alcohol – they use soft drinks, sugar, salt and water to get the idea.
Wine museum Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, France is promoting wine education at smaller French wineries with free passes through the end of August to children under 18, and Lemstra thought it would be great for schoolchildren to learn all about viticulture.
Lemstra takes several groups of kids on an educational tour, teaching them about vineyard maintenance, harvesting and bottling, with plenty of time set aside to poke around in the vines and check out cool stuff like the stainless steel vats in the cellar.
“Teaching children about wine and alcohol is a little abstract at their age. However, we believe that demystifying wine and its consumption is important,” Lemstra said. He further added that although wine can be pleasant, it’s also an alcoholic beverage with its drawbacks.
Floris built up his wine career back in the early 1990s working for Boisset, one of the biggest wine companies in France. Buying Château Canet was quite difficult, as local government would have rather it was owned by card-carrying French people. Lemstra and his New Zealand wife Victoria whom he met in the Bourgogne region now run the place. Having read about it myself, I want to visit it as well.
Bart Cuypers’ beer shop Bierparadijs (‘Beer Paradise’) is technically in Belgium, but only accessible from exit A16, leading to an industrial area that borders the Netherlands. Due to Covid-19, Belgium, like many other European countries, is policing its border, in this case some 100 metres from the beer shop.
Cuypers doesn’t currently have any customers, and like many other businesses he’s getting some government support to keep up the place and its employees until he’s able to operate more normally. Right now everybody wants beer but there’s no decent way to get to it.
The Dutch could get to his shop as long as they take another exit just before the border check, which is meant for people entering Belgium. However, the Dutch cannot go to Belgium without a valid reason, and jokes aside, stocking up on beer is not a valid reason. The Dutch are 98% of Cuypers’ clients, as many beers are 25% cheaper in Belgium than in the Dutch supermarkets.
In The Netherlands many snacks bars have shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although a lot of places do offer take away, but that means there are now a lot of leftover potatoes – not couch potatoes! – hanging around all day, doing nothing.
I say make some vodka, but that takes the right people to sort that out. It’s probably illegal and dangerous as well, so I’m just riffing here.
Since The Netherlands is one of the main producers of potatoes for making fries, some 1.5 million tons of potatoes, two thirds of which cannot be sold, are going to waste, awaiting a compensation package for the agricultural sector.
“Corona is impacting all sectors. Brussels is not going to regard this as a priority.” The stagnating market is having a knock on effect on potato processing firms, such as Aviko, which produces some 15 million potato products in a normal week. Deep fried chips are being made until the company runs out of space to store them.
Getting rid of a billion kilos of potatoes is not easy to do and only some of the potatoes are going to food banks, probably because they don’t boil very well. Other possibilities to process the potatoes include bio fermentation and use in the animal fodder and potato starch industries.
We’ve been busy this year to the point of having a tough time posting this fall, but we should be back on top of things for 2020. It is Christmas day as I write this, and the plan is to eat Italian food, drink, listen to Christmas music and play with the little houses above, courtesy of a supermarket chain that has been handing them out.
Although many people complained about the plastic, after work on December 24 I was handed an entire box of these houses (the special offer was over) and could not resist taking as many home as I could. I decided to make a traditional Dutch winter scene for you, complete with an ‘oliebollen’ stand, a food usually eaten on New Year’s Eve, and ‘koek en zopie’, cake and a hot beverage with alcohol usually enjoyed after ice skating. It’s not winter at all here in Amsterdam, it’s 9 degrees!
As always, co-blogger Branko is working on his list of favourite stories of 2019, which should be online before the year is out.
Thanks to everyone for reading us and sharing the weird and fun news of 24oranges, and Happy Holidays!
It started off as an fun opportunity for employees of Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn in Nijmegen, Gelderland to be the first to sport new uniforms, but quickly turn sour and went viral. Albert Heijn employees, which includes minors, were asked to send in pictures of themselves using an app either in their underwear or ‘tight fitting swimwear’ to be able to get their clothing size right. The idea behind the inappropriate photos was that an algorithm could decide what size the person needed – why they couldn’t just tell their boss what size they were like normal people is beyond most folks.
Albert Heijn quickly stopped it was doing although after the media caught wind of it. Not only is this morally wrong and illegal, it also goes against a bunch of privacy laws like the GDPR. The chain is calling this ‘a misunderstanding’, with, if I read correctly, the shop manager blaming head office and head office blaming the shop manager and their communication. The shop manager apparently told employees sending in the pictures was “essential and obligatory”, while Albert Heijn’s head office said it was “voluntary”. The thing is, when a boss who has power over you tells you something is essential and obligatory you do it, and if they say it’s voluntary, you also do it because it’s your boss asking.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority called this “bizarre”, saying Albert Heijn had no grounds to ask or oblige their employees to provide such pictures, since employees are never in a position to give consent without being under pressure, which goes against the GDPR for starters.