August 4, 2020

Kids learn about wine at a Dutch château

Filed under: Event,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:27 pm

In southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, Dutchman and owner of Château Canet Floris Lemstra is currently welcoming schoolchildren to teach them about winemaking, albeit without actually tasting any alcohol – they use soft drinks, sugar, salt and water to get the idea.

Wine museum Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, France is promoting wine education at smaller French wineries with free passes through the end of August to children under 18, and Lemstra thought it would be great for schoolchildren to learn all about viticulture.

Lemstra takes several groups of kids on an educational tour, teaching them about vineyard maintenance, harvesting and bottling, with plenty of time set aside to poke around in the vines and check out cool stuff like the stainless steel vats in the cellar.

“Teaching children about wine and alcohol is a little abstract at their age. However, we believe that demystifying wine and its consumption is important,” Lemstra said. He further added that although wine can be pleasant, it’s also an alcoholic beverage with its drawbacks.

Floris built up his wine career back in the early 1990s working for Boisset, one of the biggest wine companies in France. Buying Château Canet was quite difficult, as local government would have rather it was owned by card-carrying French people. Lemstra and his New Zealand wife Victoria whom he met in the Bourgogne region now run the place. Having read about it myself, I want to visit it as well.

(Link: , Photo: Château Canet)

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November 13, 2019

Stereotypes about women and migrants persist in Dutch schoolbooks

Filed under: General,History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 4:06 pm

After analysing 16 mathematics books and 17 Dutch-language textbooks used by secondary school students in their first year, Judi Mesman, a researcher from Leiden and her team concluded that they were full of stereotypes about women and people with an ethnic background. As you might expect, men were in greater numbers, depicted in real jobs like scientist and women were not as present and if so, often doing motherly things.

Let’s get into that one first. Is anybody surprised? Probably not, and it’s an easy fix for the future. It’s also easy to understand and prove that kids are sensitive to subtle messages about sex and stereotypes, shaping their world view. However, the truth is, Dutch society has tons of women working part-time – the highest level of part-time workers in Europe and beyond – and being the main carers of children and the elderly, earning less, and not making a serious enough appearance in the boardroom, let alone in other male-dominated jobs. Is it a stereotype or actual social commentary? And will depicting more equality change a system based on men working full-time and women working part-time, even without having children? I’m not optimistic, but feel free to try. Show men doing housework and being fathers instead of babysitting their own children, and show women doing real full-time jobs, not simply standing in as diversity hires.

As for what the Dutch call ‘non-Western migrants’, implying Turkish, Moroccan and the likes (funny enough including Mexicans, but not the Japanese IIRC – that’s a whole other discussion), they are underrepresented and shown in what we used to call ‘blue collar jobs’ as opposed to ‘white collar jobs’, to use classic stereotypes. Ask someone from Suriname in a good job how many times they’ve been mistaken for the cleaner. Sad but true, this is the reality in the Netherlands, which makes these images closer to reality, and I can imagine more painful than hopeful.

Good on the Dutch for wanting to create books with less stereotypes in them, but then there’s always wonderful authors like Sanne de Bakker who wrote a children’s book on Suriname conflating discrimination with facts or even a colouring book for children featuring Hitler that was casually sold at a Dutch drugstore chain.

Please teach children how to count, so that women can make an effort to be financially independent (still 60% are not) rather than rely on a partner, often a man, who might decide to show their maths skills by paring up with someone who is able and willing to be their equal.


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April 20, 2019

Dutch sculpture surprisingly back to original location

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 5:23 pm

This week, a bronze sculpture by Dutch artist Hans Ittmann (1914-1972), which has changed location quite a bit, was unveiled again on the Mirandalaan in the South of Amsterdam at the Judith van Swet retirement home.

Peter Lokkerbol, an employee linked to the home who pushed to have it moved to the public space it is at now, had to first figure out who the artist of this sculpture was, as it had no name. The reason for making a big deal out of the unveiling was that it had a interesting history that needed to be celebrated.

Lokkerbol found out that the sculpture was meant to be climbed by children, and that at the à  location of the Judith van Swet retirement home, there used to be a Jewish orphanage ran by the Jewish Le-Ezrath Ha-Jeled organisation, dedicated to helping children. The orphanage was opened in 1965 by Queen Juliana along with the unveiling of Ittmann’s work, which meant the work is now back where it started after 54 years.

Hans Ittmann started with figurative work, and after WWII turned towards abstract work, having travelled through South American and Northern Africa and having been inspired by ethnographic art. He first started making massive wooden sculpture, and as of 1955 worked mainly with metal.

As well, Ittmann designed two pillars that are part of a property not far from 24orange HQ, so we’ll have to go and check that out one days as well.

(Link and photo:

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March 5, 2019

Dutch radio temporarily bans Michael Jackson

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 5:14 pm

After finding out about the documentary Leaving Neverland released a few days ago, a film that focuses on two men who claim they were sexually abused by singer Michael Jackson as children, NH radio from Amsterdam has decided to temporarily stop playing music by the American pop singer.

The radio is worried that the demand for Jackson’s music will increase because a documentary about him will be aired on Dutch television on 8 March. “We won’t be able to listen to his music in a neutral way and we want people to listen to his music with an open-mind,” the station explained.

In any case, the ban will last a few weeks. I have no clue if that will change anything or what purpose it will serve in the long run. And I wonder if other radio stations will do anything similar.

(Link:, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

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February 6, 2019

Dutch finally allow the registration of stillborn children

Filed under: General,Health by Orangemaster @ 11:19 am


As of February 10, parents of stillborn children in the Netherlands will have one of their dearest wishes come true: they will finally be able to register their babies in the Personal Records Database.

Although it is compulsory in the Netherlands to register the birth of a stillborn child, which applies if the child was born after 24 weeks of pregnancy, for many grieving parents, their baby was still considered ‘non existent’.

“A stillborn child does not exist in the registration of birth, but only in the registration of death”, according to Dutch law. The explanation is that the Personal Records Database is used to provide general data about people necessary for the government to execute its tasks, which means that it ‘doesn’t make sense’ to include data about a stillborn child in this system. However, back when this issue was up for discussion in Parliament, the Minister of Internal Affairs was unable to explain why this leads to the conclusion that registering the birth of this child was unnecessary as was issuing a birth certificate for them.

Losing a child is surely very traumatic, and being left with only a death certificate cannot possibly help alleviate parents’ grief in any way whatsoever. And since by law every child, born live or dead, must be registered after birth within three days according to Dutch law and international law, this practice runs counter to Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As well, making a distinction between liveborn and stillborn children is a violation of the right of the child to non-discrimination according to Article 2 of the CRC.

Anybody in the Netherlands who has had a stillborn baby can now register them retroactively, following a proper change in the law. The Dutch government estimated about 550 people a year who will register stillborns, while knowledge centre Stille Levens specialised in stillborns puts the number at around 800, based on figures from 2016.

(Links:,, Photo of baby booties by Winam, some rights reserved)

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December 4, 2018

Christian party wants rating system on YouTube

Filed under: General,Online by Orangemaster @ 12:33 pm

Similar to what is done with film and television, Dutch national Christian party CDA says it would like to help parents protect their children against images containing violence, sex and swearing on YouTube. The Dutch system, called Kijkwijzer, is a Dutch film and television rating system that is slightly more liberal than the one many people know from the United States or Canada. However, applying it to YouTube any time soon is said to be next to impossible.

Every minute, YouTube puts up 400 hours of video. The CDA says it’s up to YouTube themselves to protect children, which seems like, as they say in Dutch, ‘yelling into the desert’. If multinationals can’t even sort out all the copyright infringements that appear on YouTube, then they won’t care about some Christians giving their opinion about it in such a small country. This discussion had already been brought up in Parliament in 2015, but now that YouTube (and in this case, Google as the owner) may have to abide by the same rules as television (I don’t know about film), then getting YouTube to comply is a step closer, but still very close to impossible.

As a parent, a member of the CDA said that his seven-year-old son looks at YouTube films and it is tough to determine if a film is suitable for him or not, which is completely understandable. Sadly for him and I bet also his spouse, they have to look over their child’s shoulder to make sure they can control what their kid watches. As well, a representative of Google Netherlands said that imposing the Dutch system is impossible and that YouTube would then come with its own system, and the entire world would have to follow whatever they come up with.


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October 4, 2018

Children discover error in 2019 Dutch tax plan

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:01 pm

During an economics lesson, secondary school children in Tilburg, Noord-Brabant discovered a calculation error in the Dutch tax office’s plan for 2019.

While learning about the plan, which apparently can be found online and lets people know what’s coming tax-wise, a girl noticed a mistake. After discussing it and checking with the rest of the class, they sent an e-mail to the Dutch government, telling them about it, but didn’t immediately get a response. The next day, the error had not been corrected.

The economics class did some recalculations the next day and to them it still was wrong, as well as still being wrong online. They sent another message, and at some point, a cake was delivered to the school during their class. The cake had a QR code on it, which made them all laugh, with a personal message from Secretary of State Menno Snel thanking them for having found the mistake.


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July 10, 2018

Children’s book on Suriname sold discrimination as facts

Filed under: Literature by Orangemaster @ 6:38 pm

Dutch publishers and distributors can’t seem things to get right sometimes. Last year, a drugstore was selling a colouring book featuring Hitler, and now a mother was shocked to pick up a copy of ‘Suriname, here we come’ at the library containing some discriminating comments about the former Dutch colony.

The book tells children that cheating on one’s spouse is common and that men often have multiple women as partners. There’s all kinds of ways of discussing something like this seriously with children, but here the goal is to imply that it’s morally wrong, which is the wrong way to go about it. Why children need to know this if they visit Suriname is beyond me.

The rest depicts the Surinamese as bad people. “The Surinamese deliberately hit dogs with their cars, and used to sell themselves as slaves. Did you know that phone calls between Surinamese can often take a long time? A Surinamese needs an endless introduction and is unable to end a conversation”, all of which is presented as ‘facts’. I bet money the author is Caucasian and I can’t be bothered to check.

In light of pictures of the book’s content floating around Twitter, the publisher has decided to pull the book, basically admitting it was a bad decision to publish it in the first place. However, the publisher was obviously fine with it until they got called out for peddling such nastiness, which makes them tone-deaf and not suitable for children. Educate not hate, right?

And in true Dutch form, the ‘excuse’ contains “we never intended to hurt anyone”, but in fact they thought this was appropriate content to teach children until they were called out on social media.


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November 14, 2017

Kids’ gym class in Utrecht is the coolest

Filed under: General,Health,Sports by Orangemaster @ 7:07 pm

Children in the Netherlands

A physical education teacher in Utrecht has made gym class cool again by using games to keep all the kids busy instead of activities like dodgeball where kids have to sit out when they are hit while stronger kids play, and it’s going viral.

It’s going viral because he films the kids classes and puts them online.

On the Facebook page De Spelles (the ‘play lesson’) as well as on the website, you can see Dutch kids play relay races, dominos, Twister, and a whole bunch of games that keeps them busy, involved and happy.

Teacher Matthijs Jansen has been teaching PE since 2011 and strongly believes all the kids should participate and get exercise. One of the girls says she think Mr Jansen is the best meester (male teacher) of the school, but then he’s the only one (the only male teacher), she says, laughing.

(Link:, photo of random children: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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October 2, 2017

Racist stereotypes of Chinese used in classroom

Filed under: General,Literature,Music by Orangemaster @ 1:42 pm

We saw this go by on Facebook a while back from a teacher, but now that newspaper Parool has written about it in more detail, it’s time to share with you that Dutch schoolchildren have been learning about Dutch pronunciation using unambiguous racist stereotypes about the Chinese.

To learn about Dutch words ending in -ng such as ‘lang’ (tall) and ‘bang’ (afraid), the Laterna Magica elementary school in Amsterdam suggests children read the sentence “Shing, shang, shong plays ping-pong in Hong Kong.” To remember the -ng sound, the textbook says the children need to “make ‘slanted eyes’ using their index fingers”. Next to this comment, there’s a colonial era cartoon of a Chinese man.

Although in use since 2012, the school claims it has replaced this part of the textbook, but a media expert from the University of Amsterdam says the bigger issue is that all the educators and teachers involved in making this book had not given a single thought as to how this would promote racist stereotypes.

To drive the point home even further, the university expert said that children still sing ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ sung to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ at school birthday parties and use their index fingers to make ‘slanted eyes’. YouTube just gave me a few hits of mostly white people thinking this is normal behaviour.

And to make it a hat trick, the worst we’ve ever heard about the Chinese was a racist carnaval song that was pulled off the Internet featuring the lyrics “A Chinaman cannot see what’s above or below, in fact, he sees everything through a slit”.

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