August 26, 2018

Amsterdam or Amstelveen: whose street is it, anyway?

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:39 pm

Many streets in Dutch cities are often made with paving stones rather than asphalt, and when the stones loosen and become hazardous, people call up the city to tell them about it in order for them to be fixed.

However, on the Nieuwe Kalfjeslaan in both Amsterdam and Amstelveen, the stones are being called ‘mortally dangerous’ particularly at night and calling the city is a dead end, so to speak. The street in question is half in Amsterdam and half in Amstelveen, so regardless of where people call, one city tells them to call the other. In Dutch it’s call ‘being send from the cupboard to the wall’, or in my idiolect, ‘go ask your mom, go ask your dad’, that thing kids do resulting in not getting a straight answer until mommy and daddy get into a fight for not settling the matter.

A spokesperson from the Amsterdam South district, which borders on Amstelveen, insists that the part of the street in question is part of Amstelveen while the other part of the street goes through the Amsterdam forest, which is managed by Amsterdam and that’s when Amstelveen tells folks to call Amsterdam. At some point though Amstelveen admitted the dangerous street part was their responsibility, and in proper Dutch bureaucratic fashion, nobody knows why it is taking so long to get something dangerous properly repaired. And since this nonsense has hit the media, everybody seems more inclined to fix the problem.

Amsterdam and Amstelveen have also had to settle a situation about delivering babies in their hospitals. Amstelveen wanted to make part of their delivery rooms ‘Amsterdam territory’, so that women from Amsterdam who specifically wanted their children to be born in Amsterdam could do so, leading to many comments to the tune of ‘you should be happy your baby is born healthy’.

(Link:, Photo of Amstelveen flag by Andreas Trepte, public domain)

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July 24, 2018

Dutchman keeps breaking Rubik’s Cube world record

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 12:06 pm

Rubik's cube-fake

Mats Valk from Amstelveen (he probably lives and studies in Amsterdam), who broke the Rubik’s cube record in 2016 with 4.74 seconds, has just broken it again at the 2018 World Championships in Madrid with an average in the final of 7.24 seconds. There are many different competitions, including one contestants seem to do with their feet.

When he was 11 years old, his [female] teacher gave him a Rubik’s cube to solve and the rest is history. Valk’s best tip is ‘be patient’. Sometimes he trains a few hours a days, sometimes he doesn’t train at all. However, he always trains


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March 22, 2017

Vote for your favourite ugly public art

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 9:46 am
Photo by Peter Cox

Photo by Peter Cox

Dutch radio station 538 is asking their listeners to vote on the ‘Ugliest artwork of the Netherlands’. The nine nominees include a ‘pooping skater’ in Pijnacker, the awkward arch in Amstelveen and something I actually like, the ‘Big Funnelman’ (their spelling, not mine) in Breda.

Click here to vote!

(Link:, Photo of ‘Big Funnelman’ by Peter Cox)

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January 24, 2017

Amstelveen hospital wants to deliver Amsterdam’s babies

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:58 pm


While 20% of pregnant women from Amsterdam were being refused access to three main hospitals in 2016 because there was not enough personnel and beds, a hospital in the neighbouring city of Amstelveen wants to declare maternity space in their hospital as ‘territory of Amsterdam’ to help them out. In 2015 only 7% of Amsterdam’s women were refused at hospitals, but that was before one major hospital shut down their maternity ward. As well, note that this is happening in a country with one of the highest percentage of home births in the world, about 30%, so imagine if more women decided to give birth in a hospital.

Besides wanting to help out women from Amsterdam with additional maternity ward space, the personnel of Amstelveen understands how much people from Amsterdam want to be able to have ‘born in Amsterdam’ on their children’s birth certificate and passports. To give you an idea, when you meet someone Dutch and ask them if they are from Amsterdam, you rarely get a nod or a ‘yeah’, you often get a ‘I was born and raised in Amsterdam!’.

In a similar vein, in 2011 the mayor of the island of Terschelling wanted to have part of a hospital in Leeuwarden declared ‘territory of Terschelling’ in order to claim more island babies, but that didn’t pan out.

(Links:,,, Image: Flag of Amsterdam, public domain)

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May 16, 2009

French week with Yves Duteil and others

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 11:17 am


(Photo: Yves Duteil tuning and retuning, Leine’s second gig of the night)

The city of Amstelveen, next to Amsterdam, has been playing host to an entire week of French cultural events, the Festival Alliance Française. It was opened on Tuesday by the mayor of Amstelveen who lovelingly prepared a 15 minute speech in French. I listened because he mentioned my name as the MC for last Thursday’s evening of French music, starring French legend Yves Duteil.

My co-blogger said he’d woken up this morning withto the sound of a woman DJ from the radio talking about how nice the concert was. The week isn’t over and the 26th French song contest winners will be crowned tomorrow with Yves Duteil on the jury.

Last Thursday, three former winners of this French song contest performed and received serious applause: Sjors van der Panne, Sandra van Megen and Guido van de Meent.

The rest of the evening featured a mixed bag of local favourites Philippe Elan, Ben Cramer, Leine, Ralph Rousseau and David Vos, as well as Parisians Peppermoon. DJ Guuzbourg was in the DJ booth and wonder planner Frances Gramende who organised the event was enjoying the fruits of her labour.

One of the jokes I cracked backstage was that I felt like Kermit the frog at the Muppet Show. Leine laughed at that one because she finished the evening on stage with a French version of ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’, a coincidence.

Yves Duteil also jammed it out on guitar with a Dutch alto sax player of house band Omnibuzz and they then did that on stage which was very nice. When Yves told the audience he’d been giving shows in Paris recently and that there were Dutch people every night in front, someone yelled out “I was there!”.

The improvised duet of the song “Allez viens on danse/De Clown” by Ben Cramer singing the Dutch version and Philippe Elan singing the original French version was a crowd pleaser. The writer of the original French song, Georges Châtelain, came all the way from Paris and was in the audience. It was a perfect evening all around.

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December 23, 2008

Amstelveen volleyball club breaks world record

Filed under: Dutch first,Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:59 am

The players of the SVU Volleyball Club in Amstelveen, a student club part of the VU University Amsterdam, broke the world record for volleyball by playing 60 hours in a row. They broke the old record of 55 hours and 3 minutes, landing them a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The last bit was apparently very tough. “It was barely volleyball. They could barely move anymore,” a spokesperson for the team said. The team started on Saturday 20 December at 8 am with 24 players. Two people had to leave the field: one player was exhausted, while the other one had a knee injury. The players could not be replaced.


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September 10, 2007

First-ever grape harvest in Amstelveen

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 9:07 am

There is only one vineyard in Amstelveen, the town next to Amsterdam and that is De Amsteltuin. “Hopefully next year,” says owner Jan Schake, “the first real Amsteltuin wine will be served. We’re really looking forward to it”. The vineyard offers tons of wine-related activities and a chance to learn about grapes and wine in general. This year’s harvest will be experimented with to see what kind of wine can be made from it.

Dutch wine is made in many parts of the country and is not very well known. The only one that comes to mind is Apostelhoeve from Maastricht, available in major wine shops, which is still very expensive and according to a wine-tasting test earlier this year, not special enough.

Let us remember that there are tons of Dutch people making wine in France.

(Photo: De Amsteltuin, link: De Pers)

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