January 16, 2021

Sailing from Rotterdam to Amsterdam (time-lapse video)

Filed under: Architecture,Film,History,Nature,Photography by Branko Collin @ 4:22 pm

In 2013 Shell had to transport an eight-story metal building from Rotterdam to Amsterdam.

They hired a company called The Timewriters to create a time-lapse video of the transport, which has now been released in glorious 4K format on YouTube, accompanied by a beautiful, if somewhat ill-fitting Dvořák piece.

The day-long journey begins on the Nieuwe Maas river near the Feijenoord neighbourhood in Rotterdam, then goes past Gouda, Alphen aan de Rijn and Schiphol Airport to end in Amsterdam. If it hadn’t been dark by then, you might even have been able to see my house at 9:14.

This is worth watching for the bridges alone.

And then you come back a second time for the places you know and a third time to figure out how and why the Dutch created their environment the way they did.

Also check out the comments on YouTube, lots of insights from people who recognise certain types of trains, planes and places.

(Source: YouTube / The Timewriters)

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March 3, 2018

Amsterdam turns into picturesque skating rink

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:41 am


As of Thursday, people started skating on a few selected stretches of canals in Amsterdam, mainly the Prinsengracht. Yes, there’s been skating of all kinds happening in the north of the country as it is somewhat colder, but when skate fever hits Amsterdam, it’s a big deal worldwide. The sheer amount of spectators on the canal bridges means we’re all on someone’s holiday pictures and social media.


While co-blogger Branko was taking pictures, I cleared my schedule on Friday and went skating. I’ve own a pair of custom Riedell ice skates since I was girl in Canada and they are at my door with my hats and gloves at 24oranges HQ ready to go skating. The last time the canals froze in Amsterdam was February 2012 and back then I had a broken leg from roller skating and missed out on all the fun. I couldn’t be happier to finally get to skate this time around. Practicing any of my figure skating jumps was not an option though, sadly, since the ice would crack in places as we all skated over it. It got a bit scary: getting on and off the ice at strategic places meant relying on the help of strangers and nobody is going to tell you where to skate and where not to, which is all very unregulated yet freeing.

I saw a guy cycle on the ice while texting, I saw girls and boys playing hockey together with some adults and I saw people skating for the first time on speed skates.

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December 22, 2014

Amsterdam Light Festival brightens up the winter

Filed under: Art,Event by Orangemaster @ 12:57 pm


In its third year, the Amsterdam Light Festival runs until 18 January 2015 and makes any winter night on the town that much more fun. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, a boat ride will give you a great view of some of the installations. I went on a running and walking tour where installations could be found in gardens (bike wheel dome shown here) and streets.

At 0:37 in the video, you’ll see coloured tulips coming out of a canal, the Herengracht, which have to be pumped up by passers-by using bicycle pumps. Other installations had their colours controlled by sound, motion and even Wi-Fi, making it interactive.

Amsterdam light festival 2014/15 from Jack Fisher on Vimeo.

(Link: roomed.nl)

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June 18, 2014

Animation film of Amsterdam’s 17th century boom

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 10:52 pm

The Amsterdam City Archives (Stadsarchief Amsterdam) has recently uploaded a five-minute YouTube film to its channel with nice animation showing the expansion of Amsterdam’s canal ring in the 17th century.

The animated film shows the growth and expansion of the ‘grachtengordel’ (the canal ring, a Dutch word that is a rite of passage in itself when you can finally pronounce it properly) that took shape during the Golden Age. It shows the Royal Palace on Dam Square, the Westerkerk (‘Western church’) and the houses on Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.

The now famous posh Jordaan district starts off the expansion phase, with animation that makes you feel like a bird flying over the city.

(www.amsterdamherald.com, Image: Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde, public domain)

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November 6, 2013

Modern art exhibit in historical Amsterdam canal houses

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 10:44 pm

Amsterdam’s famous canal ring turned 400 this year and as part of the celebrations an art exhibit is being held in 15 historical canal houses.

The houses include the mayor’s residence just past the Golden Bend. The artists were selected by curator Siebe Tettero because they had some connection with Amsterdam. They include current darlings of the Dutch art scene Joep van Lieshout and Viviane Sassen.

The exhibit—called Chambres des Canaux—started this week and will run until 17 November except on Mondays. You can buy a ticket for 14 euro at the tourists offices which will give you access to all the venues.

Getting access to the former homes of rich traders sounds like a pretty unique in itself. Should you not be able to make it before 17 November, there is always the Museum Willet-Holthuysen on the Herengracht, which is the home of 19th century art collector Abraham Willet and which has been preserved in the style of its last residents.

(Link: I Amsterdam. Illustration: Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde, public domain)

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May 17, 2012

Glow in the dark canals

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 4:04 pm

Presented at the last PechaKucha in Amsterdam on 24 April, Italian architect Carlo Morsiani has come up with the idea of using luminescent bacteria to turn Amsterdam’s canals into glowing turquoise water, illuminating the canals and purifying them at the same time. The mock up is very attractive, it makes the canals look like those hotel swimming pools with the underwater lights.

In theory, the combination of two bacteria (Shewanella) converts electricity into motion, and the second (Photobacteria) consequently emits light in moving water. This bacteria is implemented to design lighting elements at different scales — from entire canals to window elements.

Morsiani says his project is easy to explain yet difficult to achieve. And I have so many questions. Knowing that canal water ends up in the sea, is this a good idea? Will it really purify the water? Won’t it upset fish and plant life? And the $64,000 question: who’s going to pay for it? I would start with a much smaller project first to test the waters.

(Link: popupcity.net, Photo of Herengracht, Amsterdam by zamito44, some rights reserved)

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May 6, 2012

Using boats for transport in the canals of Amsterdam

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:18 am

Bright reports about an inner city shipping company that uses an actual ship in Amsterdam.

The electronic freighter of Mokum Mariteam, the magazine writes, “replaces five trucks, and is quieter and cleaner.” (The company’s estimate is more conservative: “a boat of 20 by 4.25 metres, [and a] nett volume […] of 85 cubic metres (four compact trucks)”.) The batteries can power the boat for an entire day.

The canals of Amsterdam were dug originally at least partly for transport, but that function seems to have fallen into disuse, until recently. Bright adds that German logistics company DHL (originally American) has been using a canal boat for delivering packages “for years”. (Since October 1997, Binnenvaart.nl adds.)

The text on the side of the City Supplier, ‘vracht door de gracht’, simply means ‘freight through the canal’. The word ‘Mokum’ in the company name refers to the Yiddish name for Amsterdam, Mokum (Alef), literally meaning ‘city A’.

(Photo: Mokum Mariteam)

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February 13, 2012

Gliding along Amsterdam’s frozen canals

Filed under: Film by Branko Collin @ 6:34 pm

Somebody called Typevideos posted this beautiful little film of the citizens of Amsterdam enjoying the frozen canals on their skates on YouTube:

See also: Dutch Winter (video).

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August 1, 2010

Unesco pulls trigger on Amsterdam

Filed under: Architecture,General,History by Branko Collin @ 1:35 pm

Amsterdam’s city hall scored a major victory in the War on Fun today when Unesco added the city’s historical centre to its World Heritage list.

The appointment fits right into the city government’s fantasies of turning the city into Anton Pieck‘s wet dream. A group critical of—and therefore silenced by—the municipality, pointed to the damning example of staid Bruges in Belgium earlier.

Publicist Rogier van Kralingen told Radio Netherlands: “People don’t visit Amsterdam just because it gives them a flavour of the past, but because it has a strong spirit of freedom. The city has an open-hearted, liberal feel to it. If a city wants to create a good environment for its residents and international businesses – which, let’s face it, will have to provide most of our income – you need to maintain a healthy balance between tourism, recreation and people’s freedom to do what they want.”

It’s not like the city and borough councils needed more ammunition: here’s a list of things they have already outlawed. And what’s keeping the Robert-Jasper Grootveld statue?

The Unesco decision makes downtown Amsterdam the seventh World Heritage site in the kingdom.

(Photo by Colleen Taugher, some rights reserved)

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March 28, 2010

Rescue of a drowning tourist in Amsterdam

Filed under: Health,Photography by Branko Collin @ 12:24 pm

Marien van Os was walking with his camera through Amsterdam when he heard a big splash. Turned out a drunken tourist had jumped into a canal. Van Os photographed the ensuing rescue by Erik Blom and other bystanders.

(Via Making Light. See also: interviews at AT5. Source photo: Flickr / Marien van Os.)

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