August 15, 2016

Riding the green wave on your bike

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

The city of ’s-Hertogenbosch’ (Den Bosch) came second in this year’s Dutch “Traffic light region of 2016 Election”, after Helmond, both in the province of Noord-Brabant, and below you can watch a video shot in Den Bosch about how intricate and tech-savvy traffic lights for cyclists are. Den Bosch also features the country’s’ first Cycle-DRIP (Dynamic Route Information Panel) for cycling, an interesting read as well.

The video voice-over calls the traffic light button a ‘reassurance button’, which is mildly funny, but I’m guessing the contraption was taken over by pedestrian crossings. However, when you’re a visually impaired pedestrian, the ticking sounds the button makes after pressing it and when the light is green is very reassuring. Yes, the cyclist ‘reassurance button’ is possibly just for show and doesn’t make a sound, as it would be drowned out.

UPDATE: Wrong video, changed it.


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March 26, 2016

Creating crunchy patterns on modern ceramics

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 9:07 am


For anyone like me who usually finds ceramics dull, Dutch designer Floris Wubben of Eindhoven has found a way of making ceramics cool. He created a rotating flame-throwing device that makes exciting textures on his ceramic pieces.

A wet ceramic piece is placed on a rotating central stand, where an adjustable semicircular arm holds a blowtorch. The blowtorch then applies a flame directly to object’s surface, creating all kinds of patterns.

Wubben is able to control the flame, the distance and the speed at which the blowtorch hits a ceramic piece, creating cooler patterns than you’d normally see on ceramics. Wubben has produced bowls, pots and cups with different glazes in collaboration with Cor Unum ceramics studio of Den Bosch, Noord-Brabant.

(Link and photo:

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February 1, 2016

Do you know your seven sins? Test yourself with Hieronymus Bosch

Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 11:32 pm


There was never a better time to get your Bosch on.

The Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch, the town that one of the Netherlands most famous mediaeval painters was named after, has a major exhibit of most of Hieronymus Bosch’ works coming up in less than two weeks.

The Guardian calls it “the impossible”, an exhibition of 20 of Bosch’s 25 surviving panels in a small, local museum. The exhibit will run from 13 February to 8 May 2016.

If you are unable to make it to the museum, the Bosch fever sweeping the country ensures you can engage with the great painter in several other ways. The local newspaper, Brabants Dagblad, has an online quiz that will let you spin the wheel to find out how much you really know about the seven deadly sins. The questions are in Dutch and cover topics as varied as Doutzen Kroes, Roy Donders, frikandels, Mike Tyson, Snow White, civil servants, Louis van Gaal, FIFA, the biggest hamburger in the world, plastic surgery and David Beckham.

The paper has five other games for you, each one based on a different painting by Bosch, which can be reached through the quiz’s main menu.

If Dutch isn’t your forte, broadcaster NTR lets you explore the triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. There are spoken versions of the interactive tour in Dutch, Dutch for children and English. If you just want to admire the painting, Wikimedia Commons has a huge photo of 30,000 × 17,000 pixels (223 megabytes). Should you print that file, you would need a wall of five metres wide and almost three metres high to display it.

(Illustration: screenshot of the Brabants Dagblad game, edited to convey the impression of spinning motion)

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September 22, 2015

Drone films Dutch cyclist on their merry way

Filed under: Bicycles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 12:14 pm

Drone enthusiast Paul Haerkens has captured himself cycling near Den Bosch, Noord-Brabant, filmed by his Yuneec Q500 drone camera in ‘watch me’ mode.

You’ll see Versailles-like miniature gardens, bollards stopping cars from parking on the side walk, flat trees, hints of traffic circles and very little traffic. The film will give you an impression of what a Dutch neighbourhood in the middle of the country looks like: no canals, no bike paths (!) and no bustle.

The catchy music is the intro music to Paul Verhoeven’s classic ‘Turks Fruit’ (‘Turkish Delight’), composed by heavyweight Rogier van Otterloo and performed by Belgian jazz legend Toots Thielemans, all three of which come highly recommended.


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August 24, 2015

Den Bosch tests noise barrier made of solar panels

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am


Boffins at the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed motorway noise barriers that are colourful instead of dingy and that also collect solar energy instead of just cutting down on noise and being dingy. Sonobs (Solar Noise Barriers) can be made cheaply, made resistant to vandalism and come in many colours.

The special panels built to make the barriers are made of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), coloured panels that receive light and direct it to the edges of the panels where traditional solar cells collect the solar energy.

“A year-long test project was launched on June 18 on two sections of noise barriers, each 5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high. The barriers are partially covered in the LSCs and partially covered in semi-transparent panels holding conventional solar cells, so that they can compare the performances of the two technologies.”

Initial research shows that a kilometre of the solar noise barriers can generate enough electricity to power 50 Dutch homes.

(Links and photo:,

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February 16, 2014

Hieronymus Bosch’ buttock music brought alive

Filed under: Art,Music by Branko Collin @ 11:22 pm

garden-delights-bosch-pdTumblrer Chaoscontrolled123 decided to transcribe the music written across the buttocks of one of the characters in Hieronymus Bosch’ famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. You can hear the results here.

Chaoscontrolled123 appears to be unimpressed by the tune but I see promise in it. Surely techno DJs or metal band Within Temptation should be able to do something with the melody?

Hieronymus Bosch was a mediaeval painter who was born and lived his entire life in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (hence the last name Bosch). The Garden of Earthly Delights is perhaps his most famous painting consisting of three panels, the right-most of which depicts hell. Our trouserless friend is part of a scene in which the sin of lust is depicted as music—Wikipedia says lust was considered the ‘music of the flesh’ in those days.

By the way, I don’t know if any art historian ever noticed this, but there is a diptych in the right panel of the triptych. Huh-huh.

(Link: Trendbeheer; illustration Hieronymus Bosch)

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June 3, 2013

Den Bosch turned old country road into nature preserve

Filed under: Bicycles,Nature by Branko Collin @ 12:47 pm

When the city of Den Bosch expanded eastward in the 1980s, it gobbled up an old stretch of Meuse dike called Heinis. Originally developers wanted to build a business park there, but protests put a stop to those plans.

Instead, the city decided to build around the area as Mark Wagenbuur writes:

For ages this country road ran through the fields, but the city expanded and new parts were built north and south of this east west road in the late 1970s. Residential areas to the north and an industrial area to the south. By 1980 the old road was suddenly in the middle of the city.

When this was still a real country road there were many rural houses on it. […] Many of the more contemporary houses were destroyed but all the monumental farm houses remained. There were so many of those that the road still has the atmosphere of a country road.

Motor traffic on the old road is now restricted, with bridges spanning gaps in the old dike to let bicycles across.

From a conservationist’s perspective, the area is important for its ‘wheels’ (I don’t think there is an English word for the phenomenon), small but sometimes deep ponds made by kolks breaking through dikes, what IVN/Vogel- en Natuurwacht ‘s-Hertogenbosch e.o. calls “mementos of the sometimes unsuccessful battle against water.”

Here is a Google maps link. Although I cannot show you many photos of the area, the link above to Mark Wagenbuur’s article also leads to a video of a bike ride through the area.

(Photo of a ‘wheel’ in Heinis by Geert Smulders who released it into the public domain)

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February 11, 2013

How cities clear bike paths of snow

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 1:15 pm

Bicycle blogger Mark Wagenbuur has enough clout these days that when he calls the city’s department for public works to tell them they forgot to clear a bike path of snow, they go out and clear the bike path.

The city of Den Bosch went even further and invited him over for an in-depth explanation of how clearing the roads works, which led to a fascinating blog post and video (in English):

A city of the size of Den Bosch (140,000 inhabitants) in this day and age works with sophisticated technology to detect and combat slippery road surfaces. Sensors in the road, weather reports from different sources and agreements with other governments and other departments all feed information to the five people who make sure someone is on duty around the clock during the winter months. “The city in turn warns the smaller towns in the vicinity, which cannot afford to have such a sophisticated system themselves.”

(Photo: me. Video: YouTube / Markenlei)

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September 26, 2011

How red asphalt is laid for bicycle riders

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 9:14 am

Mark Wagenbuur published this video of road workers resurfacing Parklaan in Den Bosch back in May, but I felt it was still interesting enough to share with the one or two of you who don’t already religiously follow his work. He wrote an accompanying piece at the A View from the Cycle Path blog.

Note that alongside the regular black asphalt for cars, two strips of red asphalt are laid. These will become the bike lanes. Two workers are continuously measuring the width of the prospective bike lines. I am not sure, but I assume this is to make sure the bike lanes have a minimum width. Remarkable, as there is no legal requirement to do so.

I don’t know why they use red for bike lanes. According to a 2002 article called Fietsvoorzieningen brengen kleur op straat by Fietsberaad, the decision is mainly a political one. It highlights that politicians supposedly care. Fietsberaad said in 2002 that red asphalt is three times more expensive to make.

Note that the famous Dutch Tiger Stone automatic road paver can also do bike paths by simply putting in the right coloured bricks.

(Video: Youtube / Markenlei)

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June 25, 2011

Masturbating motorist almost frightens cyclist to death

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Branko Collin @ 1:44 pm

A fourteen year old girl on a bicycle got so scared by a man in a car next to her masturbating that she took off and almost got hit by a passing bus last Wednesday, the Den Bosch police report.

The man was in his early twenties, drove a black Seat Leon, and was of a skinny build. He wore a white vest with a broad, horizontal stripe. He had short, blond, curly hair and a pair of the most remarkably bright blue eyes. And those are all the details about him we got.

The incident took place last Wednesday around 10 p.m. at the intersection of the Zevenhontseweg and the Eekbrouwersweg in Den Bosch. Two girls were waiting to cross the intersection when a car pulled up next to them up. The occupant was watching the girls while he was pleasuring himself.

It’s not clear if the police have looked at video imagery of the bus’ on-board security cameras, but they sure would like to lay their hands on the perpetrator.

(Photo of the alleged intersection by Google Streetview.)

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