February 4, 2018

Groningen Rhapsody, protest song about earthquakes by Maartje & Kine

Filed under: Music,Nature,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 4:37 pm

The ninth largest gas field in the world is located under the Dutch province of Groningen and extensive exploitation has led to an instability of the ground. In 2015 local comedy duo Maartje & Kine wrote this parody of a famous rhapsody in which they lament the troubles the region has seen.

groningen-rhapsody-maartje-kineThe lyrics are in Dutch, but you could try your luck with YouTube’s automated translation. Here are some quotes to get you going.

“Open your eyes, look at your barn and see… [a crack].”
“Our cows only produce milkshake these days.”
“He is the minister, evil and sinister.”

Last month, Groningen was hit by a gas exploitation induced earthquake that registered 3.4 on the Richter scale. It was the strongest quake in Groningen since 2012 and the fifth quake that month. As a result, 3,000 citizens filed insurance claims, on top of the 100,000 claims made earlier.

(Illustration: partial screenshot of the video, YouTube / Maartje & Kine)

Tags: , ,

December 13, 2017

Cat narrates nature film about Amsterdam

Filed under: Animals,Film,Nature by Orangemaster @ 1:40 pm

From the makers of ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’ (‘The New Wilderness’), a documentary about wildlife in the Oostvaardersplassen (‘the lakes of those who sailed to the East’) that got 400,000 people to the cinema in just a month, comes ‘De Wilde Stad’ (‘The Wild City’), with all the amazing wildlife you can find in Amsterdam.

The film is ‘narrated’ by a cat called Abatutu that runs into many animals, including those crayfish we keep telling you about.

From seagulls that steal your fries to the grey mice found everywhere in Amsterdam, the movie’s trailer was released this week and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come on 1st March 2018, a later release date than originally planned, when Dutch cinemas will be showing the film. Music in the trailer by Dutch band The Kik, with ‘Ik zie je in stad’.

(Link: parool.nl, Photo of Brown rat by Jean-Jacques Boujot, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , , , ,

August 18, 2017

Dutch artist gets trees to make music

Filed under: Music,Nature by Orangemaster @ 8:23 pm


Earlier this year we posted about a tree that tweeted about the weather and life, but now vibrations can be measured on trees that can be turned into music.

Dutch artist Ben Barten has discovered that by placing sensors on trees and connecting an instrument to them, in this case a synthesizer, some sort of tree music can be made and it does sound quite melodic.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Elm tree by Sludge G, some rights reserved)


July 12, 2017

Rare bee makes comeback in Limburg

Filed under: Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am


Nature lovers, rejoice: the little flower bee (pics) (Anthophora bimaculata) has been spotted in the North of Maastricht for the first time in 44 years. It was last seen in the Netherlands in the run up to the oil crisis of 1973.

On 18 June Kees Goudsmits spotted a female of the species (shown here) and a few days later on 23 June someone spotted a male in places where mines used to be, and they seem to be making their way North to places like Eindhoven.

This bee is so special, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page in English (hint). Until the end of the 20th century, it was normal enough to see the little flower bee in the Eastern and Southern provinces. After WWII, the bee eventually disappeared, with the last one spotted in 1973 in the town of Tienray, Limburg.

(Link: naturetoday.com, Photo of Anthophora bimaculata by Ivar Leidus, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

July 7, 2017

Vertical forest to pop up in Utrecht

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first,Nature by Orangemaster @ 4:13 pm


In Utrecht near Central Station, in the new district of the Jaarbeursboulevard, Milanese firm Stefano Boeri Architetti will erect the ‘Hawthrone Tower’, a Dutch vertical forest after having won an international competition.

“The 90-metre-tall tower will be covered by 10,000 plants of many different species, aimed at creating ‘an innovative experience of cohabitation between city and nature.’ The green façade will allow Hawthorne Tower to absorb more than 5.4 tons of CO2, scrubbing the air for healthier living conditions for both residents of the tower and the wider city.

Construction will start in 2019 and should be finished in 2022. As well, on the ground floor it will also house a ‘vertical forest hub’, a research centre for the implementation and education of urban forestation worldwide, open to the public.

(Links and photo: dearchitect.nl, archdaily.com)

Tags: , ,

May 25, 2017

Tree to tweet about the weather and its life

Filed under: Dutch first,Nature,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:54 am


As of tomorrow there will be a 30-year-old elm tree at Wageningen University that is going to tweet about the weather and its health – a Dutch first. It will have all kinds of devices stuck it to do so, but that’s par for the course.

Is it getting enough water, it is being properly taken care of, that sort of thing. The tweeting is of course for fun and to make the public aware of trees and their environment. The boffins taking measurements will also use the data they plan to collect for climate change purposes.

Belgium already has three tweeting trees: an oak, a maple and a beech tree, while in Germany there’s a whole ‘forest’ of them. Spain and Switzerland will have some trees on Twitter in the near future as well.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of Elm tree by Sludge G, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , ,

April 18, 2017

Need peace and quiet? Buy a small Dutch island

Filed under: Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:57 am


Today nature area Vinkeveense Plassen (Vinkenveen Lakes), Utrecht is auctioning off 44 small islands, more specifically land strips in peat grounds where you can moor boats, called ‘legakkers’ in Dutch. Anyone who buys them is obliged to make sure they are well kept and do not wash away.

These small islands have been around since the last century. Their upkeep is expensive and selling them off to individuals seemed to be the best solution. However, nature organisations are very much against the sale, fearing that people will build houses on them and destroy the nature. But then again buying an island and then doing nothing with it isn’t a very attractive proposal and telling people what to do with their property is indeed quite shortsighted.

I wonder if people will buy more than one.

(Link: rtvutrecht.nl, Photo by Quistnix, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

Tags: , ,

April 1, 2017

Which part of the Netherlands is furthest from any building?

Filed under: Nature,Science,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 7:26 pm

map-uninhabited-places-nl-ptityeti“I know my country is a crowded one”, starts a question on question-and-answer website Stack Exchange.

But “where in The Netherlands am I furthest away from any city or town?”

Usually these sites have lots of opinions and very little in the way of meaningful answers, but one Ptityeti decided to go the extra mile and do the research. Luckily the two datasets they needed are both open and Creative Commons licensed. Openstreetmaps provides detailed maps of the country, and the government-created BAG database contains the exact position of every building in the country.

In turns out the recent nature reserve Oostvaardersplassen (reclaimed from IJsselmeer in 1986) is the winner, beating out the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe, the Lauwersmeer and Veluwe. If you went to Oostvaardersplassen, the furthest away you could be from any building is 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles). What it basically boils down to though is that you have to hike into any of a number of former sea inlets, with Veluwe being the only place that can be considered proper land.

There were a few other conditions to the question. The place had to be on mainland Netherlands (we have a couple of uninhabited islands that would otherwise be clear winners) and couldn’t be a dike or dam, or Afsluitdijk might have won.

Ptityeti’s fascinating post details the sort of caveats one has to take into consideration if one wanted to answer a question like that. Even the question “how do I get as far away from people as I possibly can in the Netherlands?” is not answered by looking at datasets of building locations. After all, the answer to that would probably be “take the plane to Canada”. In the Netherlands, you do not get away from other people.

Illustration: Stack Exchange / Ptityeti.

Tags: , , , , , ,

October 28, 2016

Cute mushrooms from the woods near Amersfoort

Filed under: Nature,Photography by Orangemaster @ 9:18 am


Spotted during an autumn fall hike at the Treekerpunt nature area south of Amersfoort, Astrid Hinderks photographed these small mushrooms hiding inside an old tree, and they’re really cute!

Sometimes mushrooms are just mushrooms, not drugs in the Netherlands. We make ‘cheese’ out of them and there’s weird mushrooms that pop up in the woods.

(Link: www.treehugger.com, Photo of shiitake mushrooms by pjah73, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

May 19, 2016

Festival lets red heads in for free

Filed under: Nature,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:55 pm

The theme of this year’s well-known Valtifest festival in Amsterdam is ‘On Fire’, and they are planning to let in some 500 people for free as long as they have natural red hair, which occurs in a small percentage of the Western European population.

Besides upsetting a lot of people who don’t fit the bill, it discriminates against a whole of people whose genes do not lean towards presenting with red hair, like a lot of non white people.

The joke on the festival’s website “don’t shave your pubic hair because we may look in your pants” isn’t going over well either, apparently. An appointed hairdresser downtown needs to check your hair first as well on specific dates, as you can’t just show up at the festival.

For the real red heads who just want to hang out with other red heads, the city of Breda still holds the Red Head Day in the fall, and this year it will be on 3 September 2016.

(Links: trendingvandaag.eenvandaag.nl, www.entertainmentbusiness.nl, Photo of last years visitors by Eddy Van 3000, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,