May 9, 2013

Amsterdam, the city that knows no boundaries

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:46 am

There’s a new trend that has been brewing in Amsterdam when it comes to branding the city to tourists, and that’s making tourist attractions that are not actually in Amsterdam part of the city when it is convenient to do so (*cash register sounds*).

The cities of IJmuiden, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort on the coast are now just ‘Amsterdam Beach’, although they are closer to the bigger city of Haarlem, which is sometimes casually annexed to what is now being referred to as ‘The Greater Amsterdam Area’ by city marketing people. Schiphol Airport has been called Amsterdam Airport for ages although it is not in Amsterdam and the ‘Bulb Region’ again closer to Haarlem is the ‘Amsterdam Flower Strip’. Oddly enough, the most ‘bulbous’ region of the country is actually north of there, but that’s just inconvenient.

The lovely castle of Muiderslot 15 kilometres from Amsterdam is being sold to tourists as ‘Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot’. The number of foreign visitors doubled in 2012 from 10,000 to 20,000 (*cash register sounds*).

Although Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, it’s never really marketed as such, probably because the Dutch refer to Amsterdam as that big city over there and not as ‘the nation’s capital’. However, this absorbing of non Amsterdam attractions makes many an Amsterdam resident uncomfortable. What gives Amsterdam the right to poach tourist attractions? Money? I mean Schiphol, OK, it’s tough to pronounce, but the beaches 20 kilometres away? That’s overstretching boundaries.

According to Amsterdam FM radio, Amsterdam presents itself abroad as being a city that is much bigger than its actual municipal boundaries. If the locals of other cities don’t mind the poaching and enjoy the money like Muiderslot does, then fine, Amsterdam just got that much bigger (*cash register sounds*).

While us mortals in Amsterdam still have to use normal city limits, we are all the dupe of some city marketing we can’t believe in ourselves because we know it’s not Amsterdam. Why are the 1.5 million tourists that come to Amsterdam every year being treated like morons? It almost looks to me as if we are ashamed of quaint villages like Zaandam with its famous windmills and its having housed Russian Tsar Peter the Great for a week. And will this branding go so far as to make the city of Utrecht 30 min away by train a suburb of Amsterdam? Don’t laugh, that’s where this megalomaniac trend is headed.

To quote any good Dutch person talking to tourists and expats: Amsterdam isn’t the Netherlands. Hell, Amsterdam is not even itself anymore.

(Link:, Photo of Muiderslot Castle by Coanri/Rita, some rights reserved)

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April 8, 2009

Hiddink not happy with vodka named after him

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:52 am



There are vodkas named after famous Russians like Pushkin, Yeltsin, Gorbachev and Putin and now there’s talk of one called ‘Hiddinka’, named after Dutch coach Guus Hiddink who coaches the Russian national team. His claim to fame as of late is getting the Russians to the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

Although the vodka is scheduled to hit Russian stores today and the rights are not yet all sorted, Hiddink is very upset about his person being associated with a vodka brand. His spokesperson said that he never wanted to be associated with tobacco, alcohol or sex. Hiddink turns down hundreds of such requests, no matter what kind of money was being offered.

The to be expected answer from the distillery was “but it’s an honour to have a vodka named after you” and “it’s not called ‘Hiddink’, but ‘Hiddinka'”, making it a female singular adjective to qualify the vodka. Yes, that’s why what your poison is called ‘Stolichnaya’ (Capital) and ‘Moskovskaya’ (Moscow, as an adjective).

(Link:, Photo: Russian version of “going Dutch” )

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December 9, 2008

HEMA essential brand, followed by 8 o’clock news

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:06 am

The Dutch cannot part with their HEMA department stores, a recent EURIB study revealed. Some 81% of the population thinks the cheap retailer with a sense for design is indispensable. The number two and three positions are taken up by Blokker (housewares) and Kruidvat (cosmetics). Among men, NOS Journaal—the state-run TV news show—took the top position (77%), among women HEMA leads (91%), with Pickwick (tea) taking second place.

The researchers determined three factors that could explain the indispensability of a brand:

  1. Consumers see a brand as a part of Dutch culture
  2. Consumers can interact with the brand
  3. Consumers are exposed to a brand on at least a weekly basis

I think HEMA’s perceived indispensability is caused by the fact that nearly everybody buys their underwear there. Ipso facto, the Dutch are an underwear wearing people. Free scientific analysis from the 24 Oranges’ towers, there ya go.

The study (Dutch, PDF) can be downloaded at the EURIB website.

See also:

Via Blik op Nieuws (Dutch). Photo by Hans Vandenbogaerde, some rights reserved.

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