October 1, 2014

World’s first microbe zoo opens in Amsterdam

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 11:38 am


Next to Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo in the East of the city where you can sometimes spot the heads of giraffes moving slowly in the distance you’ll find Micropia, billed as “the world’s first interactive microbe zoo”, opened yesterday by Queen Máxima.

And instead of looking at sizable animals like giraffes, the goal of Micropia is to display “micro-nature,” says director Haig Balian, who believes microbes have been underestimated ever since Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, known as ‘the father of microbiology’ observed these microscopic creatures in the 17th century.

“Much of the museum looks like a laboratory, complete with rows of microscopes connected to giant television screens. Visitors can look through a window at a real-life laboratory where different kinds of microbes are being reproduced in Petri dishes and test tubes.”

To get you started – or off your lunch – here’s an A to Z of lots of microbes.

(Link and photo: www.news24)

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October 21, 2013

NPR remembers Bert Haanstra’s Zoo (1962)

Filed under: Animals,Film by Branko Collin @ 4:13 pm

In 1962 Dutch cinema’s golden child Bert Haanstra visited the zoo of Amsterdam, Artis, during a sun-filled period and filmed the visitors as they were laughing, yawning, scratching themselves, chatting and taking naps. Then he filmed animals doing the same thing and edited the result to contrast the two groups and perhaps to say “we are not that different, you and I”.

The result seems comedic, making fun of the little people that are closer to the animals that they themselves seem to believe. The film itself is not too clear about which position its maker chooses. The editing and some of the videography is clearly done for comedic effect (ostriches’ heads popping up, the walk of the penguin), but the powerful walk of the tiger and the jazz music by Pim Jacobs do not fit the label ‘comedy’.

American broadcaster NPR seems to like the humane explanation the best:

Magically, [the film] makes the cages, the trenches, the walls disappear, and what you get is a real zoo — a mix-it-up porridge of animal life, where all the animals, the mischievous little boys, the oh-so-shy monkey, the proud baboon, the wide-eyed girl and the yawning lady trade moods, glances, worlds — our differences melt into little moments of us being like them, them being like us.

The name Artis was originally the zoo’s nickname. It came from a text written over the gates, “Natura Artis Magistra” (meaning “Nature is the teacher of art”). You can watch the video on the NPR page or by buying the complete works DVD set.

Thanks Fred Yoder for the tip.

(Photo: screenshot of the documentary)

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December 19, 2012

Many Amsterdam museums open on 1 January 2013

Filed under: Art,Film,Photography by Orangemaster @ 11:32 am

Everybody has some sort of party on New Year’s Eve, but what to do on New Year’s Day when you live in the capital and the town gets too quiet? Make going to a museum with friends and family a New Year’s resolution. Or there’s also the zoo, catching a film and some other tourist attractions.

The year 2013 will be a special year for Amsterdam as the city celebrates several milestones. The refurbished Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum will reopen, the Artis Royal Zoo will celebrate its 175th anniversary and the Amsterdam Canal Ring will celebrate its 400th jubilee.

Rijksmuseum (11 am – 5 pm)
Hermitage Amsterdam (including Van Gogh Museum exhibition) (11 am – 5 pm)
Foam (noon – 6 pm)
Stedelijk Museum (11 am – 5 pm)
Museum of the Canals (10 am – 5 pm)
Anne Frank House (noon – 7 pm)
Jewish Historical Museum (opens at noon)
EYE Film Institute Netherlands (opens at 1 pm)
Artis Royal Zoo (10 am – 8 pm)
Madame Tussauds (opens at noon)

(Link: www.dutchdailynews.com, Illustration: the Van Gogh that was ‘discovered’ last year)

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January 25, 2012

European first: elephant gets contact lens for eye

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 4:29 pm

Yesterday, Amsterdam Artis Zoo elephant Win Thida (not this one, but one like it) became the first ever elephant in Europe to be given a contact lens, in her case, for her left eye. The 44-year-old Asian elephant had a damaged cornea and had problems keeping her eye open because of the pain.

She probably injured her eye with a branch while playing with other elephants.

(Link: www.telegraaf.nl, Photo of Asian elephant by cskk, some rights reserved)

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July 10, 2008

Baby panda fed by cat in Artis zoo

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:32 am
Baby panda

A baby panda rejected by its mother has been adopted by a domestic cat which is suckling the animal along with its own young, Amsterdam’s Artis zoo said yesterday. “The young panda is doing well under the circumstances. For it to survive, it needs to get enough food and grow. We will see if this is the case over the next few weeks,” the zoo said in a statement.

The animal, an endangered red panda, would need to be suckled by the cat for at least a few weeks, it said, adding that it was not unique for a wild animal to be adopted by a domestic one. The panda and another sibling were initially accepted by their mother but a day later were found to have been abandoned. They were also suffering from hypothermia.

“A cat belonging to one of the zookeepers had just given birth and so we decided to try to get it to suckle the pandas,” the statement said. The second panda, was too weak when it was placed with the ca and did not survive. Red pandas, which are only slightly larger than domestic cats, are an endangered species found mostly in the eastern Himalayas. Many zoos around the world have breeding programmes.

(Link: news.yahoo.com, photo cyberpresse.ca)

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