April 28, 2019

Rainiest King’s Day since 1955 goes by without incident

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 5:15 pm

Yesterday King’s Day was the wettest in over 60 years.

With 8.9 millimeters of precipitation, only 1955 was rainier (9.6 millimetres), Parool reports.

Perhaps as a result King’s Day was otherwise uneventful, the papers say. Last year’s ‘disaster’, when beer ran out in the country’s capital, Amsterdam, was averted this year by readying more kegs.

The royal family visited Amersfoort, which joined in the uneventful trend by giving an undistinguished presentation, NRC writes. The organiser of the city’s festivities, Yordi Grutters, told the paper: “we are an average city with an average population.”

The paper adds that this was crown-princess Amalia’s day. For the first time ever, she gave interviews without her sisters to national broadcasters RTL and SBS. “It feels sometimes unreal that this is my life,” the princess said. I wonder how she knows.

Since the king’s inauguration in 2013, we haven’t had a King’s Day that wasn’t either cold or wet.

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July 9, 2018

Tax office loses fight against Dutch preacher

Filed under: Religion by Orangemaster @ 8:51 pm

A preacher of the Reformed Congregations (Protestant) from Amersfoort, Utrecht got into it with the Dutch tax office over wanting to deduct a dress jacket he used for special occasions like weddings as work clothing, which the tax office refused.

The 354,95 euro jacket was bought in 2013 and claimed as work clothing that year, but the tax office claimed it could also be worn casually, therefore it could not be deducted.

The preacher brought the matter before a court in Gelderland. He claimed he only wore the jacket for very specific work occasions, not in his spare time. The court also turned down his claim.

Not finished pleading his case, the preacher appealed the lower court’s decision, and the court of Arnhem-Leeuwarden took his side this week. Due to the buttons and other specific traits of the jacket, the court clearly saw a different type of garment that just a jacket and sided with the preacher who was then allowed to deduct it as work clothing. It was also bought at a very specific shop for that very same reason.

The preacher was refunded the money he spent fighting the case in court and can now adjust his tax return.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo by Johan Wieland, some rights reserved)

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May 2, 2017

Building in Amersfoort has an emoji façade

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 9:55 pm


In the Vathorst area of Amersfoort, Attika Architekten from Amsterdam has created a building that features a modern, quirky façade with 22 funny-faced emoji.

“In classical architecture they used heads of the king or whatever, and they put that on the façade, so we were thinking, what can we use as an ornament so when you look at this building in 10 or 20 years you can say ‘hey this is from that year?’. The cast concrete characters express a range of familiar emoji emotions, including the classic sad and happy styles, the instantly recognisable kissing face, and the much-loved heart eyes”.

(Link: designboom, Photo: Bart van Hoek)

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April 10, 2017

Amersfoort commemorates mass execution of Soviet prisoners

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 11:28 am

According to Remco Reiding of the Russisch Ereveld Foundation, April 9 marked 75 years since the second biggest mass execution in the Netherlands during WWII took place, a very little known history fact.

In September 1941 prisoners of war from the Eastern front, probably Uzbeks, made a two-week journey in cattle trucks to Amersfoort, Utrecht. They had been displaced, starved and beaten, and found themselves in a country where they could not communicate with others.

“The Nazis took them to the Netherlands to show Dutch people what untermenschen (‘those inferior people of the East’) looked like. They were paraded and exhibited like animals through the city on their way by foot to the camp while people watched. Once in the camp, they were left outdoors for days as a warning to Dutch prisoners.”

Instead of shocking Dutch onlookers, the prisoners caused a wave of sympathy, as the Dutch wanted to give them water, fruit and bread, which the Nazis did not allow. There was even a film crew charged with having the prisoners fight among themselves over some bread they threw to them, which also failed. The men took the bread and shared it instead, regardless of how hungry they were.

The terrible tragedy goes on, but in the end, the starving, mistreated soldiers had started dying off and were useless as a propaganda tool, so they were eventually all shot.

(Link: nos.nl)

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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)

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April 6, 2016

Watch and listen to a marble tsunami

Filed under: Gadgets by Orangemaster @ 9:26 pm


Need a break from cat videos? Back in 2015 Jelle Bakker from Amersfoort built a Mouse Trap-like course at Monkey Town in Gouda for 11,000 marbles all rolling around at the same time.

Bakker, who is autistic and loves building things for marbles, built his contraption using wood planks and floor heating conduits. He says he likes the sound the marbles make as they go over different parts of the course.

I bet Jelle would like this wooden dinner table with a built-in marble track.

Watch all these marbles turn into a tsunami:

(Link: www.ad.nl, Photo of Marbles by Meghana Kulkarni, some rights reserved)

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December 12, 2014

Boris Johnson insults the Dutch hand that helps him

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:28 pm


A bit of a buffoon at home if we believe the media and quick to call Amsterdam ‘sleazy’ as the Mayor of Amsterdam and King Willem-Alexander were visiting London (which was nice), the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has no qualms about calling upon Dutch business expertise from Amersfoort to build proper bike paths so that cycling in London becomes safe for all road users.

London’s bike paths are found on busy roads and are dangerous, as London Cyclist points out and has filmed during a ride. The goal is to build bike paths in London along quieter roads, parks and the likes, a bit like we do in the Netherlands.

Cycling in major Dutch cities feels quite safe to me, but the zooming scooters, mobile using morons and inattentive tourists make it a bit stressful. However, it’s nothing compared to this video that I find difficult to watch.

And Johnson, the biggest tourist nuisance as of late in Amsterdam are British stag and hen parties. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan invited you to check out how your fellow Brits behave in his ‘sleazy’ city, so what’s the hold up?

(Link: www.z24.nl, Photo of Kruiskerk, Amstelveen by Drooder Fiets)

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June 5, 2014

Major UK Mondrian exhibition opens in Liverpool

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 10:11 am

On June 6, The Tate Liverpool museum will be opening the exhibition Mondrian and his studios, a huge UK Mondrian exhibition, including a life-size reconstruction of his Paris studio, all commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Dutch painter’s death.

I first saw his paintings as a 14-year-old when I travelled to New York City on a school trip from Montréal. We had visited the Whitney Museum of American Art and I had bought a few postcards of his work. Back then, I knew he was from the Netherlands, but what I found odd was writing ‘Mondrian’ instead of ‘Mondriaan’, even if that is how the artist wrote his name to make it more international. And today, the most banal of products, including hair products, have the Mondrian touch, truly making him a household name.

Closer to home, the Mondriaanhuis (Mondrian house, pictured above) in Amersfoort is surely a much more solemn experience, but very authentic, as I remember. The Mondriaanhuis features works from the artist’s early figurative period as well as artwork from other contemporary artists. In other words, more of his drawings of flowers and less of the primary coloured squares. The folks who work there will talk your ears off about their local international artist, don’t you worry about that.

Check out the Facebook group with Mondriaan-related things.

(Links: www.bbc.com, www.mondriaanhuis.nl, Photo by Elly Waterman, some rights reserved)

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September 18, 2013

Get married for free in Amersfoort on 11 December 2013

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:26 pm

For those of you shopping for a free wedding like the ones offered in Beuningen and Arnhem a few years back, the city of Amersfoort, Utrecht (where painter Piet Mondriaan was born) is offered free weddings on 11-12-13-14-15, or 11 December (12) 2013 (13) at 14:15 to five lucky couples.

The mayor himself, Lucas Bolsius, will be handling the ceremony and every couple can have their own reception for 12 people (the rest of the guests have to pay for their food and drinks) in fun places like the Amersfoort Zoo.

Mail the city at trouwen@amersfoort.nl and tell them why you should get a free wedding. The couples will be chosen on 9 October.

(Link: www.z24.nl, Photo by ValentinaST, some rights reserved)

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February 4, 2012

Temporary bench by Rogier Martens uses straps to attach to trees

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 10:54 pm

The Pop-Up City writes:

As part of his ‘Aandeboom’ series, which means something like ‘attached to trees’, the Utrecht-based spatial designer Rogier Martens has come up with a remarkable design for a pop-up bench for urban parks and landscapes. Invited by the Dutch city of Amersfoort to design a temporary bench for a local park, Martens created this Tree Bench. The bench is specifically suited for festivals and other temporary situations with urgent sitting needs. The Tree Benches are made of waterproof laminated beechwood and can be easily attached to the trees using a suspension system.

(Photo: Aandeboom.nl)

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