November 22, 2017

Hoofddorp host to international men’s roller derby event

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 8:53 pm
Team Netherlands vs. Team Italy

Team Netherlands vs. Team Italy

Last weekend, Hoofddorp played host to ‘Road to Barcelona’, a six-team men’s roller derby event leading up to the Men’s Roller Derby World Cup to be held in April 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. Road to Barcelona events are currently being held in Europe, with this one organised by Team Netherlands – Men’s Roller Derby, their first time hosting such an event – and it was a blast. These pictures were taken by my co-blogger Branko, and I was the Head Announcer for the tournament.

Although the first ever men’s roller derby event ‘Battle of the Beasts’ took place in the Netherlands for the first time in in Valkenswaard, Noord-Brabant in 2013, happened twice after that and is scheduled for a fourth edition in January 2018, Road to Barcelona was specifically set up in preparation for the Men’s Roller Derby World Cup and featured Team Spain, Team Italy, Team Ireland, Team Belgium, Team Scotland and Team Netherlands. As well, a women’s exhibition game between Team Netherlands and Team Universe (a mishmash of European players) took place, with the Dutch women’s team preparing for the Roller Derby World Cup in February in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Why do we add the word ‘Men’s’ to the Roller Derby World Cup? Why isn’t it a men’s event in the first place? Because roller derby is originally a women’s sport, so it’s the men that get the mention ‘Men’s’ in their title, not the women. Even though this was the fourth ever men’s event on Dutch soil, it was the first one held near Amsterdam and attracted not only players, but officials, volunteers and spectators from all over Europe. Many of the players were playing for the first time and many people came to the Netherlands for this first time just to be there.

Team Spain vs. Team Belgium

Team Spain vs. Team Belgium

(Photos by Branko Collin)

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June 9, 2015

First ever Dutch flamenco singer graduates in Spain

Filed under: Dutch first,Music by Orangemaster @ 10:46 am


This week Amsterdam’s Luna Zegers, 40, has graduated as the first ever non Spanish flamenco singer from the ESMUC conservatory in Barcelona, a top Catalonian music institution.

A few years ago Luna move to Spain, where people call her Luna instead of her real first name Lonneke, after graduating from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam as a jazz singer. At the ESMUC only one student a year is admitted, but in the year Zegers applied, the institution let two singers in, and she was one of them.

Zegers had to work hard as a Dutchwoman entering a foreign space as well as study half of her courses in Spanish and the other in Catalan. She says she found what she looking for in the expression of flamenco after losing her father, mother and sister in a very short time span. “Jazz is very polished – that started to bother me. I was looking for something rawer. Flamenco is a mix of lamentation about things like death and unbridled joy. For the level-headed Dutch this is quite an intense form of expression.”

Here’s Luna Zeger with ‘El Amor Dolido’ from the ballet ‘El Amor Brujo’ by Manuel de Falla:

(Links:,, Photo of Guitars by tarale, some rights reserved)

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July 29, 2012

Sagrada Familia gets Dutch coating

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 11:21 am

The Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain, will receive a protective coating this year by a Dutch company from Winschoten, Groningen .

NOS Nieuws reported last Tuesday that manager Ton van de Klashorst decided to leave for Barcelona without an appointment last year (“we figured, let’s swing by”), and hope for the chance to speak with the supervising architect. Originally they got half an hour, but this quickly turned into two and a half hours, during which the company got to demonstrate their coating.

The coating is supposed to protect the stone against pollution and water.

Construction of the Sagrada Familia started in 1882 and is expected to be completed in 2026.

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July 30, 2009

Cool-looking compact bicycle storage system

Filed under: Bicycles,Design by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

Although the Bikedispenser has been around since 2007, designed by Dutch firms Springtime and Post&Dekker, we thought it was high time to point it out, being the cycling fans that we are. We recently wrote about the modular Bike & Chill, which also shows how important cycling is as a mode of transportation.

“Bikedispenser noticed that bike use once people got to their destination by train was really taking off, which is why the lack of bike storage at train stations is a huge problem. Bicycles are just 17 cm apart in the Bikedispenser, while in regular bicycle racks they are 37,5 cm apart, or more like 75 cm, as they are in the Vélib system (see photo below) in Paris.” In a land with more bikes than inhabitants (more than 16 million) and a population density of 395/km2, space is everything in the Netherlands.

The Bikedispenser site also explains how interested it is in foreign markets. Convincing the Dutch to cycle to work or school is a no-brainer, but getting people to do the same in much bigger cities like Paris, Brussels or Barcelona requires having inexpensive, freely accessible bikes around town at people’s disposal.

The system in Brussels ressembles the one in Paris, but there, cyclists are required to wear specific glow-in-the-dark construction worker vests, an indication of how uncommon and even dangerous cycling around town still is. Paris took to their Vélibs and own it, cycling rather carefully but proudly the few times I was there. In Barcelona, the bike loan system together with the amount of Dutch-owned businesses renting out bikes to tourists has contributed to the sharp decline in stolen bikes.


(Link and photo:, via The Presurfer. Vélib photo: Orangemaster)

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March 9, 2008

First dessert restaurant of the Netherlands

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 3:15 pm

This month restaurant Sucre will open its doors in Amsterdam, serving only desserts. The restaurant is owned by Martijn Machielse (of local caterer Mynth Events) and Eline Kok (of local restaurant Bloesem), while the man behind the pan will be Peter Scholte, formerly of Chateau Brakkestein in Nijmegen. Sucre will be the first of such restaurants in the Netherlands, although similar places in New York and Barcelona (Espai Sucre) have blazed the global trail.

“You can get four or five courses here, made entirely of desserts,” Machielse told the Zest blog. “We will have one non-sweet dish though.” The menu is still a secret, but Machielse ensured the restaurant would not take the molecular cooking route. “We will choose accessible dishes, but twisted! You may for example discover non-sweet ingredients in your sweet dishes. But you won’t find classics like crème brûlée on the menu.”

Sources: Bizz and Zest (both Dutch).

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