September 2, 2014

Touring the euro bank note bridges in Spijkenisse

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 11:36 am


In 2011 we reported about pedestrian bridges resembling euro bank notes in Spijkenisse near Rotterdam and that they would be built at the same time as the neighbourhood they connect to downtown Spijkenisse.

The fictional bridges were designed by Austrian engraver Robert Kalina while the real bridges were designed by Dutch designer Robin Stam. The neighbourhood is still being built, but the six bridges are all there. Read on to find out why there are only six bridges although there are seven bank notes.

I happened to be working at the Spijkenisse Festival this year, which was held next to the new area. As I toured the grounds with my morning coffee, I noticed a bright yellow bridge. I looked around and saw some more coloured bridges, then realised I was staring at the ‘euro bridges’.

Below are photos of all the bridges which I took with a smartphone between two rain showers. Apparently the Japanese have a thing for these bridges, hence the prominence of Japanese on the sign (above).

On the far left of the neighbourhood there’s the 500, the 50 and the 10 bridge, and half a kilometre away on the far right of the area there’s the 100, the 5 and 20, and the 200.



The bridge depicting the 5 euro note has the bridge of the 20 euro note on the other side, the only bridge with a dual function. The 5 comes close to its grey bank note, and the blue is brighter than its legal tender counterpart.


The 10 euro bridge is more burnt sienna coloured than red, but it looks nice that way.


The green of the 100 is subdued. Since most shops don’t accept anything more than 50s, I don’t see 100s very often as they are inconvenient.


You can’t miss this yellow bridge depicting the 200, which stands out from the rest.


The 500 bank note bridge reminds me of the Martinus Nijhoff cable bridge near Zaltbommel, Gelderland, but magenta.

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November 4, 2013

Erwin Olaf’s euro coin criticized for cheap typography

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 2:35 pm

Erwin Olaf is a kick-ass photographer, but does that make him a good coin designer? The Netherlands do have to uphold a reputation in this respect.

When Willem-Alexander became king of the Netherlands the need arose to design new coins. The job was given to Mr Olaf this time around. He seems to have done a respectable job, except for the lettering. Fonts In Use says: “It’s highly questionable whether such a bold wide retro-futuristic letterstyle in mixed case is suited for the medium and the topic—and whether it had to be a font (as distinguished from custom lettering) in the first place.”

The alleged lettering.

Mr Olaf used a free font he found on the web called Days, which is according to a commenter over at Fonts In Use “a display typeface meant for use in large sizes.”

The choice for an off-the-shelf type is also remarkable when contrasted with the fact that the country “today has more type designers per capita than any other country in the world, a remarkable fact considering that there is now not one surviving Dutch type foundry”, typographer Gerard Unger is quoted as saying on Typotheque.

See also:

(Illustrations: Fonts In Use)

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June 18, 2011

Two hundred euro note bridge to become pedestrian crossing in Spijkenisse

Filed under: Architecture,Art,Design by Branko Collin @ 2:22 pm

As we wrote a couple of days ago, Robin Stam is making real bridges of the fictional ones you can find on the euro banknotes. His playground is a new neighbourhood in Spijkenisse near Rotterdam (bordering the Oude Maas river) called ‘t Land (the Land), which is still very much under development.

Robin gladly answered a few of our questions:

The first two bridges are almost finished, and the rest will be built in sync with the realisation of the neighbourhood.

The properties are sold in shifts, so unfortunately it will take a while for the project to be completed. The first two bridges will be ready at the end of September. The drawings and calculations for the other bridges are almost done. The way things are looking now the 200 euro bridge will be built at the start of next year. This will become a small pedestrian bridge, built exactly like on the banknote, meaning that the scale will be completely out of proportion.

Mark van Wijk, Joeri Horstink and I are working on a number of projects under the label Rotganzen. Currently a project of ours that is getting a lot play in the blogosphere is Party, about stylized broken party tents.

Completely off topic: an exhibit of big party tents in Dutch would be called an ‘evenementententententoonstelling’. I’d like to see other Germanic languages come up with compound words like that. I bet you cannot! I bet you are too scared!

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June 12, 2011

Real bridges to resemble the fictional ones on Euro bank notes

Filed under: Architecture,Art,Design by Branko Collin @ 4:00 pm

When Austrian engraver Robert Kalina designed the bank notes for the euro in 1996, he selected the architectural history of the bridge as his theme. Each note displays a drawing of a bridge from a certain period—but, as per the rules of the competition, Kalina could only use fictional bridges to avoid giving greater prominence to some countries.

Artist Robin Stam is now putting prominence where prominence is due—the Netherlands. He is making all seven fictional bridges very real by building them across a ditch in Spijkenisse. No word on when this will be ready.

Photo: Tumblr / Robin Stam. Via Trendbeheer.

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March 3, 2010

Netherlands and Finland trade euro coins

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:23 am

Again this year the Netherlands and Finland are going to trade euro coins. In 2009 both countries were the first countries in Europe to do so, saving costs and probably giving the environment a break, too. Instead of running out of 5 euro cent coins and making more, trading is a much better option.

The Finnish need 2 euro cent (French one shown here) and the Dutch need 5 euro cent coins (Dutch one show here). The 1 euro cent is here is Belgian. Of all the euro cents I have had, the Finnish ones are quite rare and I was told that they made less of them, as compared to other countries.

What I do find odd is that I was told that big stores in Finland round off prices to the nearest 0.05 cent, which would mean that like the Netherlands, they would need more 5 euro cents. If they need 2 euro cents, this means they don’t round off prices nearly as much as we do here or enjoy giving out lots of 2 euro cents to their customers.

Prices in big stores are rounded off to the nearest 0.05 as they were when we still had the guilder and did not have 2 euro cent and 1 euro cent coins. And rounding off saves time, money and space in cash registers. Paying with 2 and 1 cent coins is frowned upon in the Netherlands (never mind paying with anything more than a 50 euro bill – tourists often get the third degree with their 100 and 200 euro bills), while doing so in neighbouring Germany or Belgium is common. Both Germany and Belgium had equivalent coins back in the day.

Apparently 2 euro coins are also rare in Finland, while the Netherland has truckloads of them. It’s interesting to see how different countries deal with the same currency. The Dutch plan to swap 3 million 2 euro coins for 30 million 5 euro cents.

I’ve just realised that I had a big coffee can full of 5, 2 and 1 cent coins lying around.


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March 18, 2008

The dollar drops and droops

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:24 pm

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar’s value is dropping so fast against the euro that small currency outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists seeking to sell their dollars for local money while on vacation in the Netherlands.

“Our dollar is worth maybe zero over here,” said Mary Kelly, an American tourist from Indianapolis, Indiana, in front of the Anne Frank house. “It’s hard to find a place to exchange. We have to go downtown, to the central station or post office.”

That’s because the smaller currency exchanges — despite buy/sell spreads that make it easier for them to make money by exchanging small amounts of currency — don’t want to be caught holding dollars that could be worth less by the time they can sell them.

The dollar hovered near record lows on Monday, with one euro worth around $1.58 versus $1.47 a month ago.


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