A court in Breda has found that Tilburg priest Harm Schilder is allowed to harass his neighbours by ringing his church bells far too loud at early hours. Although the court (LJN: BB8689) recognized that the city had the authority to impose fines and make rules limiting the noise levels its citizens are allowed to reach, it also pointed out that there is state law that overrules city law in this case. Specifically, the “Besluit woon- en verblijfsgebouwen milieubeheer” (Decision Housing and Living Buildings Environmental Management) states that churches are allowed to make as much noise as they want when calling the flock (“1.1.2. Excluded from determining the noise levels are […] the sound required to call one to practice their religion or life philosophy”).
Call me a cynic, but I’ve got a funny feeling that this ruling won’t stand long once the first mosque starts making use of this privilege, and the usual demagogue crowd will start howling “terrorism”.
Women in and around the city of Tilburg, Noord-Brabant will soon be able to travel in special women’s taxis, it was announced today. The new company, which will operate on the same fare structure as regular cabs, has been founded by local businesswoman Tanja Schollen, who heads the cental station taxi company in Tilburg. The company employs only female drivers and caters exclusively to female clients. The taxi company, called the ‘Pink Lady Cab’, will initially operate with two cars, each of which will have pink roofs. They will work during the day and on weekend nights. “Female customers often indicate they feel safer with a female driver,” Schollen told reporters, “we also expect a lot of clients who for religious reasons prefer not to sit in a car with a strange man.” Female taxi companies have proven to be successful in several major cities in Europe and the Middle East, including London and Dubai.
So I guess after two years in London, trying it out in the Netherlands is a safe bet. Too bad no one has the brains or guts to do this in Amsterdam.
Yesterday, a 35-year-old homeless man in Tilburg freaked people out by climbing up a high voltage tower, up to 25 metres. According to the article, the man was confused (what does that mean, no one knows). Two police negotiators and a family member talked him down after a three hour sit up there. He got some crisis help after that. Understandable.
Artist Sander van Bussel of Tilburg Cowboys came up with the Human Rights Tattoo in 2012 after the death of friend and human rights activist Steven ‘Nyash’ Nyagah from Kenya.
Being the largest, most profound living work of art to date, Human Rights Tattoo aims to give the Declaration a universal voice on a human level and daily basis.
The Human Rights Tattoo features the Universal Declaration of Human Rights letter for letter on 6773 people worldwide. Every individual gets one letter, and there’s currently some 2500 letters to go. There’s also a website that functions as a place where all the tattooed folks can talk to each other and share information.
I first heard about a dog tax in a French comic book as a child. A family was playing a record on a turntable of the Skater’s Waltz by Frenchman Émile Waldteufel, sung by dogs, according to the drawings, of course. The family had earlier claimed they did not have a dog and at some point, the dog tax collector came back and gave them a fine for having a lot of dogs after hearing the record through the front door.
Like many things in the Netherlands that make little sense, municipalities often charge very different fees for things that shouldn’t be that different from one place to the next. A quick look at Noord-Brabant has Tilburg (107,86 euro) and Breda (104,55 euro) as the most expensive, followed by Veldhoven (84,18 euro), Den Bosch (83,64 euro) and Eindhoven (77,00 euro).
Municipalities that charge over 100 euro include The Hague and a few other places close to it that border the coast, Groningen way up north, Nijmegen next to Germany. Dog owners in 57 per cent of all municipalities still pay dog tax. One reason for a large amount of municipalities not to charge dog tax is that they need to have collectors and that’s expensive and not always very efficient.
Not only is dog tax apparently the oldest type of tax in the Netherlands, it’s also rarely used for cleaning up dog poop.
For anybody who cares about the situation in Noord-Brabant, feel free to sign a petition in order to get rid of dog tax.
Relatively unknown artist Duncan Laurence will represent The Netherlands at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel with the song ‘Arcade’.
The first Semi-Final will be held May 14, the second Semi-Final on May 16 and the Grand Final on Saturday, May 18. At this point, we don’t know what day Duncan will be performing in the semi-finals. However, a quick look at the Internet says Duncan has a good chance of scoring, as long as he sings with a lot of emotion, which he is prone to doing.
According to Wikipedia, Duncan Laurence (aka Duncan de Moor) started his musical career at the Rock Academy in Tilburg, Noord-Brabant playing in a number of school bands. He graduated from the school in 2017 and participated in the fifth season of The Voice of Holland, under the coaching of Ilse DeLange.
You may know DeLange as one half of The Common Linnets (Waylon was the other singer) who in sang ‘Calm After the Storm’ in 2014 and picked up second place. A downside to this song is that there’s no ‘boom’ or anything at the end, it ends quietly after a mild build up and that usual makes the room quiet.
Listen to the song here yourself and we’ll see how that goes in May.
Our story of an overturned piano at Amsterdam Central Station is perhaps not the most riveting tale of last year, but having popular author J.K. Rowling talk about it on Twitter will skew our visitor statistics for months. In a single day, she brought in as many visitors as we normally get in a month.
And finally, unlikely police deputies played a major part in this year’s stories. As in Rome 2400 years ago, when geese alerted the guards of the temple of Juno to Gallic invaders, this year honking geese alerted the citizens of Sint Willebrord to a nearby XTC lab, and a toddler ratted out her father when she told the other kids at day care, while talking about hobbies, that her dad had a lot of green plants in the attic. Paul N. was convicted to 80 hours of community service and had to let go of his other hobby, shooting guns.
Ten years ago (where does the time go?), we told about the Rotating House (‘Draaiend Huis’) on a roundabout in Tilburg, North Brabant, made by John Körmelings. For quite some time now, the house hasn’t been turning anymore, as it’s broken, and fixing it would cost about 45,000 euro. The artwork cost 400,000 to build, and according to article on Vice.com (see link below), it broke down three times already. This would mean it has been fixed at least twice.
Sadly but not surprisingly at the moment, the Netherlands has a government that doesn’t like high art too much and feels that much of it is overrated. Since Dutch cultural institutions are dependent on government grants as opposed to endowments, sometimes people who don’t like art get to decide what lives or dies art-wise.
There’s currently a discussion about whether the rotating house should be fixed or destroyed. The city of Tilburg wants to fix it, but local youth politicians say the money can be better spent elsewhere like in healthcare. If the house is destroyed, then a lot of money would have been spent for nothing, whereas fixing it up means keeping a world-famous artwork turning for others to drive past and talk about.
Here’s a timelapse video of the ‘Draaiend Huis’ (‘Rotating House’)
First, the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas, then after that’s done and dusted on December 6th, you can put up your Christmas decorations, but not before that, at least not in a fake letter from the city of Tilburg, North Brabant doing the rounds.
People who decorated the outside of their house were fake fined 132 euro for doing so before Sinterklaas. For anyone from North America, it would be like being fined for wearing white after Labour Day, an old school urban myth possibly drummed up by the fashion police.
Speaking of fake things for the holidays, let us remind you that today is Saint Pancake, a tradition that started from a Dutch comic strip.
During an economics lesson, secondary school children in Tilburg, Noord-Brabant discovered a calculation error in the Dutch tax office’s plan for 2019.
While learning about the plan, which apparently can be found online and lets people know what’s coming tax-wise, a girl noticed a mistake. After discussing it and checking with the rest of the class, they sent an e-mail to the Dutch government, telling them about it, but didn’t immediately get a response. The next day, the error had not been corrected.
The economics class did some recalculations the next day and to them it still was wrong, as well as still being wrong online. They sent another message, and at some point, a cake was delivered to the school during their class. The cake had a QR code on it, which made them all laugh, with a personal message from Secretary of State Menno Snel thanking them for having found the mistake.