November 19, 2018

Amsterdam cyclists are too good for red lights

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 12:16 pm

It’s definitely common to hear that cyclists in Amsterdam generally don’t obey traffic lights, but here’s some proof how bad and also how lucrative it can be.

The police decided to stop and fine cyclists blowing through red lights downtown Amsterdam on the Raadhuisstraat, close to the Palace on Dam Square. The cops weren’t even hiding their presence either and fined a whopping 50 cyclists in one hour, too good to wait for a green light.

Fining 50 cyclists at 90 euro a pop, means 4500 euro for one hour’s work. And we all thought parking was easy money for the city of Amsterdam.

The police say blowing through a red light saves them two minutes of waiting, 90 euro if they get caught and avoiding road accidents. The latter seems to be a brilliant idea.


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September 5, 2018

Meppel issues many fines for people peeing everywhere

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:49 pm

According to RTVDrenthe, Meppel has the most people fined for ‘peeing and pooping in the wild’ of all the cities in the province of Drenthe.

Per 10,000 residents, some 25 fines have been handed out in Meppel, which is more than cities such as Coevorden, the number two (ha, pun) on the list, where 6,2 fines per 10,000 residents have been issued. In what timeframe, that’s not clear.

On the national level, Meppel is in the top list, with places such as Terschelling, Valkenburg aan de Geul, Leeuwarden, Noordwijk, Utrecht and Schouwen-Duiveland out in front of it.

Nope, no idea why, but the amount or lack of public toilets could definitely play a role.


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July 10, 2017

Bike path under Rijksmuseum is making millions

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 10:06 am

The bike path under Amsterdam’s world famous Rijksmuseum has turned into a veritable cash cow for the city. Although it is illegal for scooters and mopeds to use this bike path, between November 2014 and January 2017 no less than 27,000 fines of 90 euro were issued to these tenacious road users caught on camera, amounting to a staggering 2.4 million euro in fines.

The city has even put more obvious signs, but it’s not working. A few days ago, local TV station AT5 stood outside there for an hour and a half and saw four scooters get fined at what is now 95 euro a pop.

What’s the big deal? Well, even back in 2003 when the bike path was being renovated, there were discussions about making it off limits to cyclists, but the museum was quickly struck down on that point. The path had been open to cyclists for ages, so that wasn’t going to fly. However, making it illegal for scooters and mopeds was acceptable, but obviously not everyone thinks it applies to them.

Here’s our previous story about it: bike path under Rijksmuseum and read its entire glorious history from Bicycle Dutch.


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August 25, 2015

Free app to send replies out when driving

Filed under: Automobiles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 3:35 pm

Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix, who brought us questionable songs about wearing a burqa and buses full of Polish people, is currently designing a phone app.

Motivated by the amount of fines he has had for using a mobile phone while driving and causing minor accidents ‘with no injuries’, Vlemmix’s app would provide the equivalent of an ‘out of office’ reply but then an ‘I’m driving’ version for all incoming messages, including social media. The app would be available in September for Android and iPhone, and it will be free.

Besides replying to the recipient who wonders why you’re not answering them back quickly, Vlemmix would leave his phone alone much easier knowing a reply was sent. Maybe he needs to tell his recipients to chill or needs to learn to let go of his phone while driving and realise that it is illegal to drive and text because it’s dangerous.

Another argument from Vlemmix is that if ever the police were to stop you (well, him), he could prove he didn’t answer his phone. We’ve had two stories, Man fined 237 euro for scratching his ear and Man gets 150 euro fine for sticking finger in ear, where this app could have been useful.

(Link:, Photo by Hello Turkey Toe, some rights reserved)

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April 10, 2015

Dutch speed cameras rubbish with foreign plates

Filed under: Automobiles,IT by Orangemaster @ 10:16 am

Last year a friend asked me to check a series of fines he received from France in French (in error), stating he had to pay the maximum fine for speeding even though he never got the original fines, which were for a lot less. Although an administrative mess, at least French speed cameras can read Dutch license plates. It took the Netherlands until sometime last year to be able to properly read French license plates on speed cameras and stop being the laughing stock of French speed freaks.

However, we’re still laughing stock to anyone that doesn’t have a Dutch, French, Swiss, German or Belgian license plate: the software in Dutch speed cameras can’t read anything else. The Dutch government keeps making lame excuses, while other European countries seem to have figured out how speed camera software works.

This also means that Dutch speed cameras don’t fine the notoriously fast driving Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians and Latvians who probably know all this and not suffer the consequences. It also attracts comments about the Dutch ‘paying for everybody’s mistakes’, as it is easier to nail locals for speeding that trying to decipher a Polish or Latvian address and registration that cannot be easily checked on the side of the road.

Speeding is dangerous, and apparently the Dutch government doesn’t feel that road safety is a priority.

(Link:, Photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)

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July 16, 2014

French tourists ignore fines and sleep in their cars

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 9:36 pm

Maybe French tourists are onto something: why pay a lot of money for an overpriced, cramped Amsterdam hotel room when you can sleep in your car and get a parking fine you won’t have to pay in the end? Apparently, the fines the French are being issued are not being collected anyways, so pourquoi pas.

According to De Telegraaf some 20,000 parking fines were issued to French car owners over the last two years, but few fines were actually collected by Dutch authorities. Even blogs are telling the French to ignore those pesky fines, although the tax office claims they’ll have to pay eventually. I know many French friends who have come to Amsterdam, been fined for parking in the wrong place not being able to decipher what they had to do and never paid their fines.

According to local telly station AT5 French tourists are said to sleep in their cars, which upsets the locals. Maybe the tax office should collect those fines for real because when it comes to bureaucracy the French know how to snub the system more than you, you clueless Dutch tax office you.


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January 5, 2013

Son pays Canadian’s fine after 54 years

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 2:28 pm

A Canadian tourist tried to pay a 54-year-old fine at the police station in The Hague during Christmas, but the police forgave his debt.

In 1956 Augustinus “Guus” Johannes Maria Niesink travelled with his sister Jo and her husband from Terborg in the Achterhoek region of the Netherlands (the -ink in the last name is a dead give away) to Maastricht in the South, when between Nijmegen and Venlo they were stopped by a policeman. It turned out Guus had faulty brakes on his Kaptein Mobylette (a discontinued Dutch moped brand from after the war when manufacturing mopeds was cheaper than importing them) and a fine was quickly drawn up.

A month later Guus boarded a ship of the Holland America Line to emigrate to Canada. He never returned, but he always kept his paper fine. He started his new life in Ottawa, and that is where he died a couple of weeks ago. On his deathbed Guus asked his son Patrick (50) to grant him one last wish: if Patrick found himself in the Netherlands, he would finally pay the fine.

(Photo: the police. Click the image for a larger version. Link: Der Westen)

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April 9, 2012

Dutch speeders can no longer be fined in Belgium

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 3:31 pm

An administrative change means that Dutch drivers caught on Belgian speeding cameras can no longer be sent a ticket, Gazet van Antwerpen reports.

Since January 1 the traffic authority RDW, which maintains a register of cars and their owners, no longer provides license plate data to the Belgian police.

Police chief Rudy Verbeeck told the paper: “As far back as September the federal police warned us that the Netherlands would switch to a single point of contact at the DIV [the Belgian traffic authority—Branko]. Half a year later the authority still hasn’t completed its transition. That is why we need to have Dutch speeders pulled over these days, otherwise we will never see the money we are owed.”

Apparently this is costing Belgium the fines of 100,000 Dutch speeders—the paper doesn’t mention across which time frame this was measured.

(Photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)

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March 13, 2011

What Louis Vuitton does not want you to know about Darfur

Filed under: Art,Design,Fashion by Branko Collin @ 1:30 pm

French bag maker Louis Vuitton has gotten itself a so-called ex parte judgement against Amsterdam based Danish artist Nadia Plesner, forcing her to cough up 5000 euro per day or stop using images of Vuitton’s Audra Bag.

Plesner had incorporated an image of the bag in her painting Darfurnica. On January 27 judge Hensen denied her the chance to defend herself in court, so that by the time she returned from a trip to Denmark she had already racked up tens of thousands of euro in fines. She will contest the judgement (PDF).

Plesner has already received a judgement against her for a similar ‘offence’ in France. Under Dutch copyright law she is unlikely to be found against, but this was a case about community design law, and I don’t know if that law has free speech exceptions.

Vuitton’s actions seem an obvious attempt to control the conversation about them. You cannot really blame a wild animal for being a wild animal, the fault lies clearly at the feet of the state giving it the means.

An ex-parte order is a travesty of justice. In order to obtain one you just shop at the judge without the other party getting a chance to defend themselves.

Judge Hensen is slowly building a reputation for issuing strange verdicts in intellectual property cases. In 2007 he/she/it concluded that legal downloading is illegal downloading (the case revolved around the question whether rights associations could collect money for illegal copies, which required a definition of illegal copies).

(Link: Trendbeheer. Photo: Nadia Plesner.)

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December 16, 2008

First court victory for copyright trolls

Filed under: Online by Branko Collin @ 8:01 am

“Copyright trolls” Cozzmoss got their first victory in a court of law, where they successfully sued blogger Joffrey Vermeule for copyright infringement of a newspaper article. The court awarded 402 euro to Cozzmoss (decision, Dutch, PDF). Cozzmoss had claimed at one point well over 5000 euro in damages.

A copyright troll is a particularly heinous creature that feeds off accidental copyright infringement by those least likely to defend themselves. It seeks out such infringements and then sends bills claiming preposterous amounts of damages. In countries like the Netherlands, where courts typically claim that damages must actually be proven, the troll then offers the infringer a discount on their trumped up ‘fine’ in the hope it won’t come to a court case. Vermeule was the first Dutch blogger to pass up on that offer.

The rise of copyright trolls in the Netherlands has led to a foundation that helps bloggers with their defense against these creatures, the Stichting Copyright & Nieuwe Media. It’s not clear if the foundation played a part in Vermeule’s defense, nor what part they would have played.

Link: Marketing Facts (Dutch). Image: stolen off the internets, arrr! (Actually, it’s in the public domain.)

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