December 30, 2014

24 Oranges 2014 year in review

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:15 am


The year 2014 was a year of coming to grips with progress and uncovering the past.

Voting booths all over the country were the backdrop for ‘stemfies’, selfies that voters took in spite of voting secrecy. Opponents feared that people would be forced to prove they had voted for the right party and although a court shared their concern, it saw no legal reason to outlaw stemfies.

Rail operators were not allowed to block porn on the publicly funded Wi-Fi on their trains and a hospital had to give a man his amputated leg so he could turn it into a lamp.

Doctors finally figured out how to euthanise psychiatric patients. Euthanasia was legalised in 2002, but the rules of due care made it difficult to decide if psychiatric patients declared their death wish while sound of mind.

Design provides a constant source of puff pieces in newspapers and on aggregator websites, but 24 Oranges took the hard road and reported not only on cool designs, but also on the inevitable failures when design meets reality. Daan Roosegaarde’s glow-in-the-dark roads stopped glowing after the first day when they got wet and a solar-powered bike path cracked at the first sign of frost.

The game show Lingo put TV producer Harry de Winter on the map 25 years ago, and this year was the quiz show’s final season.

The past came alive when somebody recorded Hieronymus Bosch’ buttock music and Shan Kuang, a paintings conservation student at the University of Cambridge, discovered a whale in a 1641 Golden Age painting. In Amsterdam history student Charlotte van den Berg discovered that when a few surviving Jews returned from the Nazi death camps after WWII, the city of Amsterdam presented them with bills and fines for back taxes. The city has promised to at least pay back the fines.

Remember the euro note bridges we wrote about in 2011? This year 24 Oranges went to Spijkenisse and looked at what the bridges look like today.

Happy New Year! We’re going to take a few days off again.

(Photo of Fireworks in Scheveningen by Haags Uitburo, some rights reserved)

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November 1, 2014

Pinterest button added

Filed under: General,Photography by Branko Collin @ 3:51 pm

You could already share our photos through Flickr, but that only worked with our own Creative Commons licensed photos. Now you can also ‘pin’ photos at Pinterest by using the appropriate share button. I recommend that, in order to do so, you first follow the link to the article and only then use the share button on that page. Doing so will maintain a link to the relevant article instead of our front page or search page.

Even better would be if you linked to the relevant page of the creator of the image, which isn’t always possible. For instance, if we wrote about something we found offline, you might not be able to find the image other than here at


January 25, 2014

Win two tickets to the Greg Shapiro & Tom Rhodes show

Filed under: Shows by Branko Collin @ 7:36 am

greg-shapiro-presents-tom-rhodesThis week American stand-up comedians Greg Shapiro and Tom Rhodes are touring the Netherlands and if you are quick, you can win tickets!

24 Oranges is giving away two tickets to one lucky winner for the show on Thursday 30 January at Schiller Theater in Utrecht.

You can enter by sending an e-mail to submissions (at) in which you tell us the title of Greg Shapiro’s latest & greatest book. Your entry needs to be in before Tuesday 28 January.

This week Shapiro & Rhodes will be performing in Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Enschede, The Hague and Utrecht. In 2002 and 2003 Tom Rhodes hosted a talk show on Dutch television called Kevin Masters, and he lived in the Netherlands for five years. Greg Shapiro has been working for the Boom Chicago comedy group in Amsterdam since 1994 and calls himself The American Netherlander.

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December 31, 2013

Looking back at 2013

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:43 am

bottle-top-cava-branko-collinAs the year draws to an end, it is time to look back on what coloured 2013 orange. Here’s a very quick look at some of the trends I spotted in the past year.

The money to buy art can be found outside the old continent it seems. Dutch people who discovered Russian or Chinese art works in their attic suddenly found themselves quite a bit richer. As well Dutch baby formula found a ready market in China.

The law against blasphemy was repealed this month. The last time somebody was prosecuted for blasphemy was in 1965, but accusations of blasphemy were flying as late as last September when a plan to project ‘female-friendly porn’ onto the tower of a former church building angered local Christian politicians in Enschede. Speaking of porn, did you know that the Netherlands is the second greatest porn hoster in the world? It only has the USA ahead of it.

The Netherlands is also the European market leader of empty office spaces, boasting 15% of all unoccupied office buildings. Meanwhile, students have to live in shipping containers. Architects responded to these issues by designing more office spaces (albeit really cool ones).



March 25, 2013

Service announcement

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 5:26 pm

You may have noticed a lack of postings the last few days. This is because I am too sick to think (a heavy cold) and Orangemaster is having technical problems. UPC says they will be solved somewhere today, but that’s UPC saying something.

As for when I will be better, I seem to be going forward slowly, but still in no state to think straight for more than a few minutes.

Our apologies for the inconvenience.


December 31, 2012

Branko’s favourite 24 Oranges’ postings of 2012

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:21 am

Here are some of my favourite stories of the past year.

1. Asylum seekers in abandoned church: what it’s actually like

This is one where we went out and got the news ourselves.

2. Man cannot stop laughing after an operation

It could have happened anywhere on the globe, but Dutch telly had it on tape. The video link is broken though, here is a new one.

3. Laura Dekker ignored by Guinness, but still a winner

We had a whole raft of postings about the ‘sailor girl’. She lives in New Zealand now. I wonder why…

4. Mobile euthanasia units to perform home deaths

Although euthanasia is legal, some doctors refuse to perform it. Mobile units run by the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life (NVVE) help the patients of these doctors.

5. Etymology of Dutch word for bicycle cracked after 140 years

I am not convinced, but it is a plausible explanation. What do you think?

6. Lab produced meat ready to grill this autumn

Although professor Post said in February he would have an artificial hamburger ready in October, I haven’t actually heard about him (or his burger) since. Could in-vitro meat turn out to be the flying car of science?

7. A ‘Truman show’ village for dementia sufferers

In this home people with dementia live in a fake village in which the staff pretend to be shopkeepers, friends, servants and so on. Really cool, and do check the video if you are not afraid of a bit of German.

8. Dutch TV cannibals won’t be prosecuted

Turns out that our micromanaging politicians were too busy ‘solving’ other tiny problems and forgot to forbid voluntary cannibalism between two consenting adults (does licking count?).

9. Diehard elderly Frisian man finishes 240 km bike race

Lovely story of a guy who chose his own path.

(Photo by me, paper craft Christmas angel by Pien Douw)


November 26, 2012

New design to go live today

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:29 am

Sometime during the day we will introduce a new, temporary site design.

We needed a redesign first and foremost to give space to advertisements. Fortunately we have found a way to do this without sacrificing editorial space. In fact, we have managed to put our main menu and search bar in a much more prominent place than before, and as a result all our other editorial sidebars have moved up a bit.

The biggest victim of this redesign has been the large photo of oranges at the top of the page. The main content column has remained exactly the same.

All in all we hope you will be satisfied by the result.

We hope to bring in a professional designer in the near future who can take a look at the entire site.

If you notice any problems using, please let us know.

The old design (2007-2012) started to look a bit long in the tooth.


March 8, 2012

24 Oranges goes mobile

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:38 am

Starting today has a mobile version of its website.

You can access this version using the same address as always. The mobile version is much leaner and is optimised for small screens. We use the very popular WP Touch plug-in for this.

If you are reading this on a mobile device and still see the old design, tell us which device you are using in the comments and we’ll see what we can do. The desktop version of this site should work well on tablet-sized screens and bigger, while the mobile version is intended for phone-sized devices.

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August 30, 2011

24 Oranges: switching from a Facebook Group to a Facebook Page

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 7:50 pm

We will be abandoning our Facebook Group and continue with a Facebook Page instead. You can find the page at

If you were a member of our group, follow us on Facebook by ‘liking’ our Page, as the group will be deleted.

We use Facebook for all kinds of things. We connect with our readers through it, and our page wall has its own content, although sometimes we post a link to a blog posting if the article is especially apt for our Facebook friends.

As for the difference between Facebook’s ‘pages’ and ‘groups’, they continue to mystify us and everybody else including, I gather, Facebook themselves. It would seem that the philosophy behind a page fits us better. From what I understand, Facebook initially intended groups to be a way for friends and family to connect, whereas pages are intended for larger groups of people.

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July 17, 2011

Roller derby scrimmage in Rotterdam

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 2:45 pm

Derby girls from all over the Netherlands and Belgium came together yesterday in Rotterdam for a scrimmage, an unofficial bout. Our very own Orangemaster was there to block for the white team, and I sat in the suicide seats and took pictures.

For those who do not know anything about the sport, here is a short, illustrated explanation. Two teams of five women race around a track, dressed both to impress and so you can tell them apart (in this case one white and one black team). The only men allowed on the track are the referees who dress in black and white stripes.

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