July 22, 2013

Ferry wars are threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:42 am

A price war between two competing ferry companies servicing the Dutch Wadden island of Terschelling is threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland as well.

Rederij Doeksen is the official ferry company that connects both islands with the mainland. In 2008 islanders of Terschelling, dissatisfied with Doeksen’s service, decided to start their own ferry company, Eigen Veerdienst Terschelling (EVT), which literally means Own Ferry Service Terschelling.

The Dutch government granted Doeksen a monopoly in 2011 (which was to enter into force in 2012) provided that Doeksen would guarantee a service throughout the year and not just in the summer, when tourists flock to the islands. EVT brought a case before the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal fighting the concession and in the meantime it charged 5 euro for a ticket to Terschelling whereas Doeksen originally charged 25 euro. Doeksen has lowered its rates to 4 euro, but now threatens to cut trips to Vlieland from three times a day to twice a day.

Vlieland’s inhabitants are not happy. Mayor Else Schadd (Labour) told Volkskrant on 15 July: “This is unacceptable. In the future if you want to go to the dentist, you will need to take the entire day off. Islanders who work on the mainland won’t get to their office before ten in the morning. And day trippers who want to visit us in the off-season will have to return home at five o’ clock.”

EVT’s case hinges around whether the Wadden Sea is a real sea or merely a whole lot of water, Veerbootinfo writes. In case of the former European law apparently gives EVT some breathing space.

(Map of the Wadden Sea by OpenStreetMap contributors, some rights reserved. Vlieland and Terschelling are in the top left corner, Vlieland is on the left. The white lines show the ferry routes)

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September 15, 2012

Saturday shorts: phone book dies, Dobben croquette disappears, other free market failures

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,Health by Branko Collin @ 12:51 pm

De Telefoongids to fire hundreds of employees

The phone book company that is trying to silence Alexander Klöpping is planning to fire 30% of its 800 employees, Z24 reports.

According to European Directories, the ‘restructuring’ is necessary for a print-to-online transition. The company has also declared that it plans to continue distribution of its paper phone book, despite opposition of Dutch parliament, amongst others.

Klöpping had registered the domain sterftelefoongidssterf.nl (‘die, phone book, die’), which he redirected to the presumed cancellation page of the phone book.

Famous croquette to disappear from supermarket shelves because of anti-monopoly rules

Snack producer Royaan can no longer use its famous brand Van Dobben in supermarkets if it wants to continue its merger with Ad van Geloven (of amongst other the Mora brand).

The Dutch anti-monopoly agency NMa has determined that Royaan must license the brand for supermarket use to another manufacturer during a period of six years according to NOS. After that the brand must be discontinued. The brand may still be used in snack bars; according to NMa there are still enough players in that market to keep it healthy. The intended merger of the snack giants was announced in November 2011.

Krokets or croquettes are a Dutch snack that consists of ragout deep-fried in a breadcrumb jacket.

Experiment with dental free market must be stopped

A recent, nationwide experiment in which dentists could determine their own rates must be stopped the court in The Hague said last Wednesday.

According to Z24, dentists’ rates had risen 6% since the start of the experiment. When Dutch parliament indicated in July it wanted to have the experiment stopped, the association for dentists sued the caretaker minister for public health, but lost. The experiment started in January of this year and was to run for three years.

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May 24, 2008

National Song Festival 1975

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 7:38 pm

Tonight is the latest episode of the world’s biggest schmalz fest, the Eurovision Song Contest, and for another year the Netherlands are not participating due to lack of quality. In fact, the last time we won was in 1975 with Teach In’s Ding-a-dong.

The song was performed in Stockholm in English, but during the national competition it was sung in this Dutch version. The national competition was set up so that three competitors all had to sing each other’s songs. As a result, there are also recordings by Albert West and Debbie. Which one do you like best?

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March 29, 2008

Anything is possible in Almere

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 11:36 am

Friday, March 28, an interesting exhibition was opened at the Casla in Almere, Flevoland. It features the winning projects of the third edition of the ‘Eenvoud’ (‘Simplicity’) competition for an experimental neighbourhood in Almere. The previous editions, ‘De Fantasie’ (‘Fantasy’) and ‘De Realiteit’ (‘Reality’) were kept in the 1980s and their results are still worth seeing.

The goal of the Eenvoud competition which started in 2006 was to design a freestanding and simple low-cost house, expressing living desires and ideas. The winners were given the opportunity to build their design on a beautiful open spot in the woodlands of Noorderplassen-West. The houses have to have a permanent character, with a minimum of building regulations.

That last bit is quite ironic, considering the plethora of building regulations imposed throughout the country and the fact that Almere, a city built moslty on reclaimed land, is literally sinking. The photo shows the Ornithologist’s house, birds and all.

(Link: dysturb.net, Photo ‘Het Huis van de Vogelaar’ by Anouk Vogel and Johan Selbing)

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