January 24, 2021

Film about ‘homesick’ stone brought back to Finland

Filed under: Art,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:42 pm

I recently asked a friend who is big on documentaries if they had any viewing suggestions, and I was told I should watch the 2019 Dutch documentary ‘Bart en de steen die terug naar huis ging’ (‘Bart and the stone that went back home’). It’s the story of artist Bart Eysink Smeets who took a dolmen stone from Borger, Drenthe back to its original home on the Åland Islands, a unique part of Finland where Swedish is the main language.

Filmed by Bart’s brother Tom, we get to watch Bart’s process in finding the right stone in Borger, Drenthe, the Dutch city with the most dolmens. The film is a combination of bureaucracy, up and downs, weirdness, and humour. The way to Åland is a fun road trip as well and you might get attached to the stone while you watch.

As I want to keep this spoiler-free, watch it if you can understand enough Dutch and/or with Dutch subtitles. There’s some English, Drents (dialect) and Swedish as well.

(Link: nrc.nl, image: still from the film)

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October 25, 2014

Dutch have best VAT discipline, together with Fins

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:55 pm

Are the Dutch goody two-shoes or do they merely possess a strong sense of civic duty? I’ll leave that for our readers to decide.

According to Z24 last Thursday the Dutch and the Fins are the best at paying their value added tax (VAT).

The European Commission compared the expected VAT with the VAT that was actually collected in 26 Member States in 2012. Finland and the Netherlands had a VAT gap of 5%, closely followed by Luxembourg at 6%. Romania had the largest gap at 44%. The average VAT gap for the European Union was 16% which translates to an estimated 177 billion euro in lost tax revenue. This lost revenue is borne by the governments and by the entrepreneurs who actually do pay VAT.

The way VAT works is that it is collected for the government by the businesses at the point of sale. It is a consumer tax, so businesses get to deduct the VAT they themselves paid from the money they send to the government.

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December 4, 2013

Finnish edition of Zone 5300

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 4:35 pm

zone_5300_103-1The Rotterdam-based comics zine Zone 5300 has dedicated its last issue of the year to comics from Finland.

Pretty much all of the larger comics in the issue are by Finnish authors. Tiitu Takalo (illustration) wrote and drew It’s a Wonderful Life, a feel good tale about an aspiring writer who is down in the dumps and who gets her spirits lifted by a friend.


zone_5300_103-3-petteri-tikkanenOther comics are Microkosmos by Jenni Janatuinen and Petteri Tikkanen (illustration), Tea and Beer by Jarno Latva-Nikkola, Post Mortem by Emmi Valve and Toivo by Tommi Musturi. Terhi Ekebom produced a beautiful story called What If, in which every panel takes up an entire page.

Interestingly, it felt like I knew these artists. I have the feeling that Finnish and Dutch comics artists perhaps use a similar visual language or have a similar sense of humour, it’s hard to determine exactly what the likenesses are.

There are also interviews with painter Elina Merenmies and regular Zone 5300 contributor Maria Björklund.

Ville Pirinen tells the story of high school gym teacher (illustration) who seems to suffer from short circuits that lead to regular injuries for himself and the occasional injury of others.


Fool’s Gold tells the story of black Amsterdam-based singer Big John Russell and his 1960’s band The Clan, which featured instrumentalists in Ku Klux Klan outfits.

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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.

(Link: blikopnieuws.nl)

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