January 28, 2016

Unsellable theme park becomes regular park

Filed under: History,Nature by Branko Collin @ 8:34 am

land-van-ooit-videocrop-ralph-denessenLast May the grounds of the Land van Ooit theme park (‘Land of Someday’) in Heusden, Brabant, that has been for sale since 2008, were turned into a temporary regular park by the municipality.

Before opening the grounds to the public again, drones had already taken the opportunity to shoot a couple of videos.

Video: YouTube / Ralph Denessen.

Video: YouTube / WOUW! Luchtopnames.

The theme park’s attractions were auctioned off in 2008, a year after the park went bankrupt. In 2015, after opening the park to the public again, the municipality of Heusden destroyed all the buildings in the park except the 13th century Castle d’Oultremont. It seems the pond with Napoleon’s drowning army also still exists. The municipality is still hoping to sell the grounds.

In 1989 former Efteling CEO Marc Taminiau founded Land van Ooit. He was trying to escape the fierce competition between ride-based amusement parks by creating a theme park based on theatre. The central deceit of the park was that it was its own fairytale country with its own anthem, salute and border crossings. Visitors were called Anderlanders, Otherlanders. Its motto was children are in charge. In its heyday Land van Ooit managed to attract up to 375,000 visitors a year.

(Photo: crop of the Ralph Denessen video)

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June 19, 2010

Trustees keep inviting payments through bankrupt on-line shops

Filed under: Online by Branko Collin @ 12:57 pm

Bankruptcy trustees often keep on-line shops running even though the companies behind them have gone bust, and therefore cannot deliver the goods.

Last week, Webwereld reported about at least three on-line stores that kept taking orders and payments even after they had gone bankrupt. Trade association ICTWaarborg had already sounded the alarm about this last year, but notices the problem continues unabated. According to the trade org, trustees in bankruptcies should shut down the on-line stores as part of their jobs.

In the Netherlands, the trustee in bankruptcy is the one who gets their salary by skimming the property off the top, and is often a lawyer appointed by their law school buddy, the judge. As you can see, absolutely no conflict of interest could possibly take place there.

From what I understand, people can only get money back from a trustee (curator in Dutch) when there has been an ‘undeniable mistake‘. The article I link to tells of a case where somebody wanted to wire money to party A, but accidentally wired it to party B who had just been declared bankrupt. That is considered an undeniable mistake, because the party making the payment had never intended to pay the bankrupt party.

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April 7, 2008

Buran passes through the Netherlands

Filed under: Design,History by Branko Collin @ 12:02 pm

Illustration: the Buran space shuttle on display at the MAKS air show, 1997. Public domain photo by Kobel.

One of the 10 Soviet space shuttles ever built traveled through the Netherlands last weekend on its way to its final destination in Germany. The shuttle, an atmospheric test model code-named OK-GLI or BTS-02, was shipped from Bahrain to Rotterdam, and from there was moved by river barge over the Rhine to the Technik Museum Speyer in Mannheim, German.

The story of the Soviet space shuttle is one of the most interesting of our time. The Soviets saw the Americans build a space shuttle, but could not figure out what it was for. So they built their own, and found out what NASA was desperately trying to hide: that in terms of effectiveness and launch costs, the shuttle is an inferior solution to current non-reusable launch technology (nowadays NASA shuttles costs USD 1 billion per launch). Astronautix even concludes: “The cost of Buran—14.5 billion rubles, a significant part of the effort to maintain strategic and technical parity with the United States—contributed to the collapse of the Soviet system and the demise of the spacecraft.”

The OK-GLI model was never intended to be launch tested. Instead, it was fitted with jet engines so that it could take off and land on its own, and was used to test atmospheric handling of the Buran shuttles. Later it was used as a demonstration model at airshows. It was bought by an Australian company which wanted to use it for the same purpose, but while the OK-GLI was in transit in Bahrain, its owner went bankrupt and the shuttle was stored for four years in parts at a junkyard.

The re-built shuttle drew crowds on its tour through the country, according to Blik op Nieuws (Dutch). Yesterday it passed Nijmegen, its tail clipped to fit under a bridge filled with onlookers.

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