November 25, 2020

Robbers auction off 300 stolen cheeses

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:03 pm

A cheese farm in Lievelde, Gelderland was recently robbed of 300 cheeses in the middle of the night. Soon after, the cheeses were being sold on Dutch auction site Marktplaats. In connection with the robbery, the police caught a man and a woman (insert Bonnie and Clyde cheese joke) who were probably not the masterminds behind the operation, and have been let go.

The robbers caused between 30,000 and 40,000 euro worth of damages to the shop that thankfully is insured. Back in 2016 there was a wave of robberies in the same area, with at least six cheese farms robbed of 10,000 euro worth of cheese, including the one in Lievelde.

(Link:, Photo of Gouda by Jon Sullivan, released into the public domain by its author)

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September 26, 2017

Alkmaar’s world premiere live streaming cheese shop

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink,Online by Orangemaster @ 12:10 pm

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.07.04

For five days starting today, Kaan’s Kaashandel in Alkmaar will be live streaming their cheese shop. As I write this I can hear the local church bells and fast speaking Dutchmen talking cheese.

You can also order cheese directly and even chat with the employees who I can imagine are on their best behaviour today. The shop says it’s offering “the expertise, authenticity and experience of a physical cheese shop, combined with the ease of use and speed of a webshop.” This was an attempt to get more online notoriety and I guess it’s working.

The stream was set up together with the ABN AMRO bank as an experiment to inspire other shop owners. And there’s cheese!

(Link:, screenshot of Kaan’s Kaashandel in Alkmaar)

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January 15, 2016

Country’s first gaming hotel comes with poutine

Filed under: Dutch first,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 2:11 pm

On 16 January, the Arcade hotel in Amsterdam will open its doors, the country’s first gaming hotel, where the Aalborg hotel in the De Pijp district used to be. The idea of a gaming hotel came from Montréal, Québec (where I’m from), and the owners promised to serve poutine, although I wonder how they will get the cheese curds for it because nobody makes that kind of cheese here.*

The rooms offer a lot of retro games, some that gamers can’t find as easily from Nintendo, Sega and Microsoft and they’ll be at least 10 kinds per room. And if that’s not enough, the lobby will also feature comic books as reading material, another favourite of new manager Daniel Salmanovich.

“Hotels always claim that they want to be a home away from home, but that’s nonsense. People want something different than what they have at home when they’re travelling. There’s enough hotels that offer pay-per-view and Netflix to their guests, and I wanted a hotel for people like me who relax with gaming.”

Salmanovich also says he’ll be offering poutine, Québec’s world-reknowned fast food dish, which newspaper Het Parool got wrong by saying it had ‘grated cheese’ (cheddar bits would have been more accurate), but called it a ‘unofficial national dish’, which means that the journalist has a better grasp of geopolitics than food.

*The Québec Delegation in Brussels, who represents the Benelux worked very hard to get a Belgian cheese maker to make 40 kg of cheese curds for the Québec national holiday parties on 24 June a few years ago.


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October 28, 2015

Spacious underground fridge shelter for your food

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:25 am


Dutch fridges are often small, with four shelves and a freezer section big enough to store ice cubes and a frozen pizza. The same goes for having an actual oven, bath and separate clothes dryer: it’s not the norm.

For folks rich enough to own land that you can dig into and hip enough to grow their own fruit and vegetables, there’s the Groundfridge designed by Floris Schoonderbeek. It looks like the coolest bomb shelter ever, and uses the ground temperature for isolation insulation, keeping your community backyard garden food fresh at 10-12 degrees Celsius without electricity.

According to Schoonderbeek, winemakers have shown interest in having a Groundfridge, as well as people who build hurricane shelters and probably any big cheese fan. Check out the Dutch video with English subtitles, although they are too small for me, a bit like my fridge, although I do have an oven.

(Link and photo:

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March 3, 2015

World’s most expensive cheese slicer stolen

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 9:29 pm


Last weekend thieves made off with what is being called the most expensive cheese slicer in the world worth 25,000 euro, made by Boska Holland. It was stolen out of the Amsterdam Cheese Museum and is studded with 220 diamonds, designed in 2007 by Argentine bling designer Rodrigo Otazu.

The cheese slicer was being showcased in a basement window that wasn’t much of a match for the thieves. CCTV may provide a clue as to the persons that looted the shop.

However, it anyone helps catch the thieves, the generous Boska have a big cheese fondue set and some cheese for you. Yup, that’s it.

Even though many people think the cheese slicer is Dutch (like the potato, tulips and Delft blue – none of which is Dutch), the cheese slicer is a Norwegian invention.

(Link:, Photo of Cheese slicer by The Akermarks, some rights reserved)

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February 5, 2014

Tourist film about the Dutch keeps it white and cheesy

Filed under: Art,Film,Food & Drink,History by Orangemaster @ 2:49 pm

The tourist video ‘Going Dutch’ premiered in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam last November and yes, it is well shot. I very much like the voiceover with its impeccable pronunciation, as it has the right tone for that in-flight video feel. In fact, if you wanted to convince some friends and family abroad to visit the country this video wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The film does focus heavily on Amsterdam, which is often the first place people visit and then unfortunately associate with the entire country. Although you may learn something, I mostly saw stereotypes being reinforced like a dam with a leak in it.

Some 5 minutes into the film when basking in the past glory of Dutch football accomplishments, they actually mention that ‘women’s football has been given a boost in recent years’ although let’s face it, nobody here gives a rat’s ass about it. At about 7 minutes in we get into Dutch art, which again relies on the classics, but that is to be expected.

We continue on to 10 minutes in and ‘Dutch craftsmanship’ pushes top Dutch brands Philips and Bols — music and booze if you will. About two minutes later at 12 odd minutes, the ‘Dutch water’ bit focuses on in and around Rotterdam, with dams and shipping containers. At around 15 minutes, it’s about Dutch food and it shows herring and haute cuisine side by side, which doesn’t reflect reality at all. However, the cheese tour makes up for it and the white blonde Dutch narrator dares call himself a ‘cheese head’.

The testosterone-induced business atmosphere of the Zuidas, where a few wannabee skyscrapers are clustered, doesn’t work for me at all, but then it is often forced into every business film to make it look like we have a proper financial district. Speaking of getting down to business, Dutch music gets its bit at 20 odd minutes in after having used a picture of internationally famous singer Caro Emerald but completely ignoring her and skipping to classical music on the one hand and Dutch dance DJs (all men) on the other. By then I’ve seen three visual references to Tiësto, then finally a female DJ is on screen, but oh no, she starts praising the success of her male colleagues abroad.

In the end, the narrator is in what I think – and I am guessing here — Monnickendam, giving two blonde women passing by a badly acted once-over, as he says “come see for yourself what the Netherlands has to offer.” [Insert facepalm here].

Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be writing this blog if we didn’t think the Netherlands (the entire country, not just Amsterdam) had tons to offer, but giving the impression to foreigners that everything is mostly done by white men in 2013 is scary and unrealistic. The only time ethnic minorities are shown on screen is when they plug the tolerance cliché and the muliticulti one (filmed in Amsterdam) because ethnic minorities don’t seem to be of any use otherwise, not even in the food part.

It’s safe to say that history is basically repeating itself.


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August 17, 2012

Selling a bank using cheese and blonde clones

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:35 am

Clichés sells, even to our big Eastern neighbours, the Germans who like Dutch cheese, clogs and blondes. However, this commercial kicks it up a notch, with more clichés and a weird German-Dutch accent.

The advert is trying to get Germans to choose a Dutch bank. “What to do you think of when you think of a Dutch bank?” the advert asks. Those blonde clones look like a bad sect, the computers could be Tulips (a Dutch brand — anyone?), the phones are clogs, the orange national color is de rigueur and many more details the makers enjoyed cramming in.

Making banking funny is an interesting stretch: either it works or it backfires, time will tell.


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March 9, 2012

Stealth cheese steals show, cookbook wins in Paris

Filed under: Food & Drink,Literature by Orangemaster @ 4:24 pm

Yes, the Netherlands took first prize at the World Championship Cheese Contest in the US and kicked Switzerland off its pedestal this week, but a group of five women from Groningen also won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award in Paris recently for the cookbook, ‘Koken Met Kruidnoten’ by Karin Sitalsing. They won the award for the illustration of a cookbook that features a lot of ‘kruidnoten’ recipes from local chefs Pierre Wind and Siemen de Jong.

Back to the cheese bit: the winning cheese, Vermeer, is a low-fat Gouda type cheese by Campina from Wolvega, Friesland, and is only called by that name for export, as nobody had ever heard of it until a few days ago. Remember, this is a country that boats Australian Homemade as a Dutch chocolate brand.

(Link:, Photo of totally unrelated Gouda by Jon Sullivan, released into the public domain by its author)

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June 29, 2010

Cheese ad misses the mark on ethnic stereotypes

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 11:10 am

There is a lot of cheese adverts in the Netherlands, but this cheese brand usually has beautiful Caucasian/Dutch people frolicking in the fields, with glimpses of breasts.

Here’s how this advert goes:

“In an ideal world, the Netherlands would be one big village.”
– ‘Morning!
– ‘Morning!
Then it goes on to say what farmers and farm girls would look like, emphasising they’d of course be young and have hair, not be old and balding. And eat said cheese brand.

Then we see farm girls, then we name the girls (typical farm region names), then Fatima. The narrator says “Fatima? Ooh, that’s good too!” implying that because she’s pretty, it’s OK. A giggle ensues.

In a time of political backlash against anything not perceived as being traditionally Dutch or Frisian with blond hair and blue eyes, this brand does a good job of throwing in ‘Fatima’ for good measure. The problem is, since the Dutch stereotype is highly exaggerated, throwing in a normal looking, non-exaggerated Fatima just doesn’t work and makes her an anomaly.

In many other Western countries, it’s downright normal for people of different cultures to be lumped in to the identity of a country. I’ve seen Spanish adverts with blonds, Italian ads with redheads and Asian-looking people in adverts of all kinds . They all belong there, but in this case, Fatima just doesn’t.

The message here is that Fatima was put there ‘as a joke’ and doesn’t belong there. Had they exaggerated her, it might have worked. Fatima is an oddball that unfortunately reinforces the Dutch stereotype of what is Dutch and what is not. Remember: 20% of the 16.5 million people in this country just voted for a right-wing, racist and anti-Muslim party in the last national elections.

In my ideal Netherlands, everybody counts, young or old, cheese or not, Fatima or not.

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January 26, 2010

Fired on the spot over a slice of cheese

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 11:22 am

Last year, an employee of that big American junk food chain fired an employee in Lemmer, Friesland for placing an extra slice of cheese on a colleague’s hamburger. The colleague was on a break and had not paid for extra cheese, so the hamburger turned cheeseburger and that was a reason for dismissal, according to the chain’s policy.

Recently, the local judge in Heerenveen believed the employer overreacted. You don’t say!

Since the story stops there, the employee either gets their job back (it’s been a while, I bet you they are working somewhere else) or some compensation. If I remember correctly and if things haven’t changed much, 25% of all cases are labour law issues in the Netherlands.

And you can’t just fire someone here, on the spot or otherwise. An employer has to go to the local court and explain why they want to fire someone. The most common reason as of late is of course downsizing, not extra cheese.

This is just capitalism gone awry. Oh, and if you really thought that extra slice was fit to be called cheese, read this older posting.

(Link: leeuwardercourant, Photo: