October 8, 2009

Viktor & Rolf’s credit crunch couture

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 8:36 am

Viktor & Rolf make cheeky fun of the crisis by taking a chain saw to the tulle of their 2010 Spring and Summer collection. Style.com has the whole story + more photos.

You really ought to see that second dress against a dark background.

(Source photos: the viktor-rolf.com video of the show)

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September 21, 2009

No crisis for speed skaters

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 10:03 am

Speed skaters have suffered no ill effects from the economic crisis, reports Z24 (Dutch).

The on-line financial magazine points out that sponsor contracts for long track speed skating teams tend to be long term. Insurers TVM and DSB for instance have sponsorship contracts in place until 2014. “Skating has loyal partners,” Barbara Peeters of Referee Sportsmarketing is quoted as saying.

But the main reason appears to be the loyalty of the fans. “Skating is not a sport, but a madness,” the TVM team’s manager Patrick Wouters said.

And what may also help is that skating matches generate an enormous amount of exposure. Whereas the most popular sport, football, is behind a pay wall with only an hour of summaries shown on public television, long track speed skating is shown 120+ hours a year. With only a few companies sponsoring the sport, logos tend to be on screen for a long time.

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August 23, 2009

Unemployed youth to help other unemployed youth find job

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:16 am

UWV, the Dutch organisation responsible for unemployment benefits, is going to train 200 unemployed and inexperienced young people to become junior job counsellors, Z24 reports (Dutch).

The first batch of 100 university or polytechnic schooled young people will start training right away, so that they can get started on their new job on October 1. The economic crisis is particularly brutal on this segment of the population who often deal with this by staying in school longer (Dutch) in the hopes of waiting out the crisis. Youths can get a student loan for up to 7 years.

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June 29, 2009

Older men least likely to be fired

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:03 am

Men of age 45 and older are not sharing in the general economic downturn, reports Z24 (Dutch). To the contrary, in May of this year 9,000 more men of that age group were employed than in May 2008.

Statistics Netherlands economist Michiel Vergeer explains to the financial news site: “These are the people who have been in their jobs for a long time, you just cannot get rid of them. But once they have become unemployed, it becomes very difficult for them to find another job.”

In the Netherlands jobs are ‘protected,’ meaning that you have to get permission from a court to be able to fire somebody. Although mass lay-offs are possible, courts tend to spare older employees during such procedures. Unemployment has risen 8,000 from April to May, a number Vergeer calls “still modest.”

(Photo by Erich Ferdinand, some rights reserved.)

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April 17, 2009

Berckheyde’s Golden Bend painting claimed by US bank

Filed under: Architecture,Art by Branko Collin @ 8:26 am

The US bank JPMorgan Chase claims to be the rightful owner of De bocht van de Herengracht (around 1672) by Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde, writes Volkskrant (Dutch). The Rijksmuseum, which currently has the painting, bought the work in October of last year from one Louis Reijtenbagh, who has since gotten into financial troubles. The bank claims Reijtenbagh never should have sold the painting in the first place, as he had been using it as collateral for a loan.

On April 1, JPMorgan Chase claimed the entire art collection of Reijtenbagh which contains Rembrandts, Monets, Picassos and so on. The location of many of these paintings is apparently unknown, but Berckheyde‘s painting of what later was to be known as the Golden Bend, where Amsterdam’s wealthiest citizens used to live, is currently at display at the National Gallery museum in Washington.

Note by the way that Volkskrant and De Telegraaf show two different pictures, and the Rijksmuseum website has a third painting with the same name. For the illustration of this entry I went with the version I liked best, but if you know which picture is the contested one, let us know.

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January 14, 2009

Dutch to profit from German bailout plan

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:43 am

Angela Merkel’s 50 billion euro plan for propping up the German economy might very well benefit the Netherlands, Z24 analyst Mathijs Bouman argues. The German Prime Minister’s plan consists mainly of Keynesian measures that should let money trickle up: tax cuts and insurance premiums cuts and inceased child support are all part of it. There will also be a car wrecking premium of 2,500 euro for cars older than 9 years which is supposed to help the famous German car industry, but which also sounds like a recipe for car theft to me. Still, I guess it is a lot better than giving the money straight to the people who got us into this mess, as some countries do.

According to Bouman, similar measures would be less useful for the Netherlands, since we are a trading country and much of the money our government would pump into the economy would simply flow across the border. However, Germans spend much of their money domestically, but Bouman believes that still plenty of it will end up abroad. And with 25% of all Dutch trade conducted with its large neighbour Germany, Bouman figures that plenty of the German bailout cash will end up here.

Bouman quotes economist Wim Suyker of the Centraal Planbureau (CPB) who estimates that a 50 billion euro plan in Germany leads to a growth of 0.6% of the Dutch economy.

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December 20, 2008

Tour company profits from financial crisis

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:49 pm

Tour company Amsterdam Excursies has decided to profit from the financial crisis by organizing themed guided tours of the financial history of Amsterdam. It’s Crisis Tour starts at the Zeedijk, where the first share in the world was traded in 1606, and ends on the Spuistraat at De Keuken van 1870, the oldest and only still extant soup kitchen of the city. Other crises touched upon during the tour are the collapse of Tulip Mania in 1637, and the end of the Dutch Golden Age.

Via the print edition of NL20. Photo of the VOC HQ (East India Company) by Josh, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

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