July 23, 2020

Dutch building biggest bike bridge in Europe

Filed under: Architecture,Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 4:45 pm

The Blauwe loper (‘Blue carpet’) is a 800-metre-long bike bridge that will connect Winschoten to Blauwestad (‘Blue City’, a new village being built on reclaimed land) Groningen, making it Europe’s longest bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. It might also end up being a whole kilometre long if they connect it to the middle of the new town, and should be completed in late 2020.

It will be painted ‘bat-friendly’ green, with LED lighting designed to help the bats commute from the nearby nature reserve to the Oldambtmeer (‘Oldambt lake’). The bridge has been designed to last for at least 80 years and is made from wood sourced from Gabon, Africa. The wood has some sort of venting system rather than being pressed together, explains project leader Reinder Lanting.

Europe’s current longest bike bridge is 756 metres long and is located in Sölvesborg, Sweden, extending across the Sölvesborg Bay. However, the Xiamen Bicycle Skyway in China, designed by the Danish design firm Dissing + Weitling, is a whopping 7.6km long.

Although there’s not always something to see, there’s a webcam link if you like to watch Dutch motorway traffic when there’s no bridge construction.

(Link: theguardian.com, Photo blauwestad.nl)

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March 25, 2019

Dutch horror film flop unexpected hit in China

Filed under: Film,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:54 pm

A horror film by Dick Maas from 2016 called Prey (‘Prooi’) has become an unexpected hit in China recently for reasons that nobody here really knows.

Dick Maas, known for films such as De Lift (‘The Lift’, 1983) and more recently Sint (‘Saint’, 2010), only found out his film was a hit in China because all of a sudden, he got a pile of orders for it from there, for which he only gets a flat fee, but not royalties.

It’s possibly the biggest selling Dutch film of all time in China and at the same time, it’s the biggest flop in Maas’ career. Only 30,000 people out of a Dutch population of 17.5 million saw it. The Lift is probably his most famous film, or at least the one the Dutch mention first when someone talks about Dick Maas. The film is about a lift (elevator) that inexplicably begins to function alone, trapping people and doing nasty things to them.

Here’s the official trailer for Prey in Dutch with English subtitles. Now I want to watch it, too.

(Link: dutchnews.nl, Photo of Dick Maas by Rob C. Croes / Anefo – Nationaal Archief, some rights reserved)

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June 25, 2018

Dutch surgeon’s bad online buy turns good

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:33 pm

Dutch surgeon Harm Rutten in Eindhoven wanted to buy a camera that fits onto his surgeon’s headlamp so that his team could follow the operations he carries out on very small parts of the human abdomen.

Sadly, he bought a camera system off Chinese website Alibaba, but the camera didn’t do what it was supposed to do. He fired off a disappointed email and figured that was the end of it. Unexpectedly, the Chinese engineering firm that made the product contacted him and within days sent an engineer over to see what they could do to make their product work the way the surgeon needed it to work.

A Chinese engineer came all from China to Eindhoven, saying “I want to offer hospitals good solutions. It is nice to be able to help doctors”, which sounds like an excellent can-do attitude to me.

And if you follow the link below, there’s a film to see the result.

(Link: omroepbrabant.nl)

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May 21, 2018

Dutch radio aboard Chinese space mission

Filed under: Dutch first,Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:40 pm


Today, the Chinese space agency launched a relay satellite to an orbit behind the Moon with a Dutch radio antenna on board, the first Dutch-made scientific instrument to be sent on a Chinese space mission, opening up a new chapter in radio astronomy.

The Netherlands Chinese Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) is a radio antenna developed and built by engineers from ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy in Dwingeloo, the Radboud Radio Lab of Radboud University in Nijmegen, and the Delft-based company ISIS. The instrument will measure radio waves originating from the period right after the Big Bang, when the first stars and galaxies were formed.

“We cannot detect radio waves below 30 MHz, however, as these are blocked by our atmosphere. It is these frequencies in particular that contain information about the early universe, which is why we want to measure them,” explains Heino Falck, Professor of Astrophysics from Radboud University and ASTRON.

(Link: phys.org)

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October 2, 2016

Smog-free tower highlights clear air issues in Beijing

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 11:43 am

Daan Roosegaarde, who showed us the Netherlands as a network of light, has now installed a Smog-Free Tower in Beijing’s well-known 798 arts district, in a city that has become synonymous with smog.

Roosegaarde’s partial contribution towards a solution to the smog is a seven-meter metal structure that takes in smog and expels cleaner air, made up of 45 silver plates that look like window blinds, the tower contains an air-purifying machine that runs continuously. He says he came up with the idea for the tower after a visit to Beijing three years ago. His team of designers raised more than $120,000 online to help pay for the tower by selling metal rings with a clear cube that includes a bit of black carbon from smog.

However, it has been difficult to tell if the air was actually cleaner. An unscientific test using a handheld monitoring device throughout the day showed the air next to the tower was slightly cleaner than further away. Let’s be fair: it’s about the idea of showing that it is possible, as well as inspiring people to come up with solutions instead of doing nothing and hoping the government will magically care enough to do something about it.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of a particulate polluted Shanghai sky by Wikimedia Commons user Saperaud, some rights reserved)

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May 15, 2016

Dutchman snaps shop cats in China

Filed under: Animals,Photography by Orangemaster @ 12:42 pm


Dutchman Marcel Heijnen, originally from The Hague, lives in Hong Kong, China and likes to take pictures of shop owner’s cats. You can follow him at @ChineseWhiskers on instagram.

Surprised at how successful his cat pics are, he is planning on publishing a book, called ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ this September, with a book on Hong Kong market cats to follow by the beginning of next year. Both books will feature a haiku by Singaporean poet Ian Row, as well as an essay by Hong Kong-based British writer Catharine Nicol.

Shop owners have told Heijnen that they keep cats to repel rodents, but then they do that in The Netherlands as well. Heijnen, who previously lived in Singapore, said he is always careful not to identify the specific location of the businesses he visits so they are not bombarded with visitors.

(Link: www.scmp.com, Photo: @ChineseWhiskers on instagram)

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May 11, 2013

Dutch government mapping the Chinese grey market for baby formula

Filed under: Food & Drink,Health by Branko Collin @ 11:47 pm

Chinese expatriates have been buying up large amounts of Dutch baby formula and shipping it to their families in China for the past few years.

After the melamine scares of 2008 and later, it appears that Chinese parents no longer trust the formula from their own brands, even if it is made by Dutch manufacturers. Apparently there is a scarcity of baby formula in the Randstad region. Not just the Netherlands but also Germany, the UK, Australia and New Zealand suffer from Chinese bulk purchases, Gelderlander wrote last week.

Manufacturers and supermarkets have asked Minister Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs to interfere, NRC says. Dijksma has asked the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority to study the grey market. Producers of formula have promised to increase production in the meantime.

According to retail expert Paul Moers the shortage of formula in Dutch supermarkets is not because of Chinese parents buying all the product. Moers says according to Gelderlander that Nestlé, Nutricia and Unilever can simply make more money by selling to Asian countries:

“Multinationals are focussed too much on profit. How can it be that the Netherlands, where the product is made, has a shortage of baby formula? Doing business should also be based on morality and ethics.” Moers used be a manager for Unilever in Asia.

See also: Chinese buying up Dutch baby milk powder (RNW, 2010)

(Photo of a poster protesting Nutricia by Martijn van Exel, some rights reserved)

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June 24, 2012

Rooftop velodrome for Sanya, China

Filed under: Architecture,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 11:31 am

In the southernmost part of China lies the city of Sanya. Local housing corporation Vanke asked NL Architects from Amsterdam to design a bicycle club as part of a resort. This is their proposal.

The pavilion houses a bicycle rental, a cafe and a rooftop velodrome.

(Link: The Pop-Up City. Photo: NL Architects.)

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June 27, 2010

Lily shaped tower in Wuhan, China

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 2:50 pm

Smack in the middle of China on the Yangtze Kiang river lies the huge capital of Hubei province, Wuhan. Nicknamed one of the ‘four furnaces’ of China because of its oppressive humid heat in the summer, the city will become home to this lily shaped tower, shaped so that it can stand in its own shade.

Soeters Van Eldonk architects designed the building in collaboration with Grontmij engineering for Wuhan University, and it will house the New Energy Centre. Since it is to become an environment for studying new energy technologies, Soeters van Eldonk hope to have the tower both emit zero carbon and use zero energy. The huge roof consists of solar panels and a solar chimney for cooling.

Construction will start at the end of the year.

(Link: Inhabitat.com. Photo: Soeters Van Eldonk architects)

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April 30, 2009

Tilburg to give 1.5 ton park bench to Changzhou, China

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 9:30 am

When mayor Vreeman of Tilburg goes to Changzhou in China next September, he will present the sister-city with a so-called Socialsofa, reports Brabants Dagblad (Dutch). The Social Sofa is an invention by local comedian Karin Bruers who wants the outdoors to be a place where people talk to each other again.

Meanwhile real Tilburgers shun the English, marketing-friendly name and call the thing ‘benkske’ (little bench).

The Socialsofa is made of concrete, weighs about 1,550 kilo, and can be illustrated using paints or tiles. The bench in the photo is one of eight placed in The Hague in October last year.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved. Design of this bench’s mosaic by Wouter Stips. The text reads “If You Love I Hope It’s Me.”)

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