In southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, Dutchman and owner of Château Canet Floris Lemstra is currently welcoming schoolchildren to teach them about winemaking, albeit without actually tasting any alcohol – they use soft drinks, sugar, salt and water to get the idea.
Wine museum Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, France is promoting wine education at smaller French wineries with free passes through the end of August to children under 18, and Lemstra thought it would be great for schoolchildren to learn all about viticulture.
Lemstra takes several groups of kids on an educational tour, teaching them about vineyard maintenance, harvesting and bottling, with plenty of time set aside to poke around in the vines and check out cool stuff like the stainless steel vats in the cellar.
“Teaching children about wine and alcohol is a little abstract at their age. However, we believe that demystifying wine and its consumption is important,” Lemstra said. He further added that although wine can be pleasant, it’s also an alcoholic beverage with its drawbacks.
Floris built up his wine career back in the early 1990s working for Boisset, one of the biggest wine companies in France. Buying Château Canet was quite difficult, as local government would have rather it was owned by card-carrying French people. Lemstra and his New Zealand wife Victoria whom he met in the Bourgogne region now run the place. Having read about it myself, I want to visit it as well.
(Link: , Photo: Château Canet)
Tags: Bordeaux, children, France, New Zealand, school, wine
The small village of Abbenes, North Holland is home to the very first enery-neutral pop-up house in the country, based on a design from the company Pop-Up House that hails from Marseille, France.
Claiming to make passive construction easy, the idea is to build homes that are not only affordable, but also free of energy costs, in this case, natural gas. I specify ‘natural gas’ because electricity is not considered an energy cost for most people around the world, but I come from Québec, Canada where about 90 of heating is generated from electricity, with natural gas as a back-up during winters like the one they’re having right now.
“A passive house is a building which has limited heat loss and takes advantage of natural factors in its direct environment (bio-climatic design). A passive house’s energy consumption is very low and thermal indoor comfort is ensured all year long.” To me, this sounds great in a part of the world that barely sees a minus on the thermometer.
This Lego-like house (see video) also costs 80 per cent less than a ‘normal’ house and can be built much faster, in about five months, according to Pop-Up House.
Pop-Up House: the affordable passive house from Popup House on Vimeo.
(Link and photo: bright.nl)
Tags: energy efficiency, France, houses, North Holland
During the World Cup qualifiers in Seine-Saint-Denis just north of Paris last Thursday, Volkswagen France thought it appropriate to diss the entire country of the Netherlands with some advertising that read “We’re not going to let a nation of cyclists block our path”. Remember, this advertising was approved by the French Football Federation.
While it’s true the French team had no problems moving the Dutch team out of the way with a 4-0 victory, French social media and surely others weren’t impressed with what Volkswagen called “humour”. ‘It was just a joke’ is the classic response people give after they get caught saying something stupid.
Volkswagen was quick in issuing a formal apology in French, claiming they’re cycling fans as well.
We’re talking about this because we speak French, but the Dutch press isn’t talking about this yet, so you may have read it here in English first. Maybe Volkswagen needs to learn what “speel op de bal, niet op de man” (roughly, ‘kick the ball, not the man’) means.
Cher Volkswagen France, on ne va pas laisser une entreprise qui ment au public depuis des années nous dire des conneries.
(Dear Volkwagen France, we’re not going to let a company that has been lying to the public for years talk rubbish about us.)
(Link and photo: sport24.lefigaro.fr)
Tags: advertising, football, France, Volkswagen
Why are there so few Dutch people working for Disneyland Paris? Besides French people, there are lots of Spanish and Italians, but very few Dutch speakers. Nicole Korssen from Eindhoven who works at Disneyland Paris explains that even though tons of Dutch people go to Disneyland on vacation, her employer’s recruitment days just can’t seem to close the deal. Disneyland Paris needs to have Dutch-speaking personnel seeing as they get about one million tourists from the Netherlands every year.
The first reason is that the Dutch don’t speak French well enough, something I’m thinking the Spanish and Italian actually can do. We can blame the Dutch educational system for not teaching French to children anymore, and that’s on the Netherlands. However, the lower salaries offered in certain positions, as compared to what the Dutch can make here doesn’t help, so that one’s on Disneyland.
And then there’s the fact that the Dutch are generally too tall to be ‘cast’ as characters. Too tall to be cast as Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse at 1.50 metres or even a princess at 1.65 metres. A quick search tells me the average height of a Dutch man is about 1.80 metres, the tallest on the planet, while the average Dutch woman is 1.70 metres.
Why don’t the Dutch get assistance in English when there’s a problem? According to Korssen, the Dutch choose to wait longer to be helped in Dutch. Why don’t they hire Flemish people who generally do speak some French and get paid less than the Dutch anyway? I don’t know, but I’m going to assume Disney would rather have actual Dutch people.
Dutch astronaut André Kuijpers does voice-over work for Disney.
Tags: amusement park, Disneyland, Dutch, France, French, language
Professional bekeeper Leo Gensen from Wijk bij Duurstede, Utrecht recently drove a truck with an adapted trailer full of half a million bees down to the southwest region of Dordogne in France to ensure their winter survival.
“The biggest problem for bees is that there’s often not enough food for them in the Netherlands” he explains. Gensen has a friend in France who is an amateur beekeeper and a pensioner, able to take care of the bees this winter.
In mid-October another one million bees will take the same 1100-kilometre trip. Chances are this is the first time this has ever been done.
(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, Photo of swarming bees by quisnovus, some rights reserved)
Tags: bees, France
Two bodies washed ashore in two countries, three months apart, seemingly unrelated. However, a Dutch detective specialised in persons missing at sea, John Welzenbagh, noticed a curious similarity when Interpol’s “black notice” came in.
Both bodies were clad in the same wet suit, same brand, same type. Through an a RFID tag embedded in the suit of the victim that had washed ashore on the Dutch island of Texel, detective John Welzenbagh had traced the wetsuit back to a sports store in Calais, on the French side of the English Channel, but the items on the bill that was retrieved for that purchase didn’t match any type of diving expedition Welzenbagh — himself an accomplished diver — could think of.
That is where the trail died, until Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet decided to pick up the scent this year. They found out who the victims were and what brought them together in Calais on a fateful October day.
(Link: Metafilter; photo of a Texel beach by Ralph Schulze, some rights reserved)
Tags: beaches, Calais, detecting, detectives, divers, diving gear, English Channel, France, norway, refugees, Syria, wetsuits
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: www.flitsservice.nl, Photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)
Tags: fines, France, license plate, speed camera, speeding
A painting entitled ‘Child with a soap bubble’ attributed to Rembrandt has been recovered in Nice, France 15 years after it had been stolen from the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires of Draguignan, not far from Nice and the Côte d’Azur.
Sounding a bit like a ‘polar’, the French word for ‘crime fiction’, the painting was stolen from the museum in 1999 during a procession for the French national holiday (aka 14 juillet), on 14 July. The alarm went off, but the sound was muffled by the party taking place outside. The 60 cm by 50 cm painting worth about 4 million euro in 1999 has been attributed to Rembrandt, but that is doubtful says France’s Libération newspaper.
Last Tuesday, two middle-aged men tried to sell the painting, which rang some alarm bells figuratively, and they got caught.
Sadly, Rembrandt is one of the most loved artist of thieves, if not the most popular, whether really a Rembrandt or not.
(Link: next.liberation.fr, Photo www.artmarketmonitor.com)
Tags: France, Nice, Rembrandt, theft
Rotterdam artist Florentijn Hofman, the guy who brought us the big cute ducks, big bunnies in Sweden and in Nijmegen, and much more greatness, just finished a show in Angers, France with giant slugs made of plastic bags (slideshow).
The work is made out of 40.000 plastic bags that move in the wind. The slugs are ascending this steep city staircase that leads up to a huge Catholic church, essentially signifying their slow crawl towards death. The work reminds us of religion, mortality, natural decay and the slow suffocation of commercialized societies.
(Link: www.designboom.com, photo florentijnhofman.nl)
Tags: Florentijn Hofman, France, Rotterdam, slugs
While 24oranges crew is slowly getting ready for the holidays (traditional food and poker with people of five nationalities and three continents), enjoy this 14-minute legendary documentary from 1962 about artist Karel Appel entitled ‘De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel’ ‘(The reality of Karel Appel’) by Dutch journalist and filmmaker Jan Vrijman.
It was filmed in France and has some French in it at the beginning, with Dutch commentary by Karel Appel himself and an English translation. It also features music by Appel himself and Dizzy Gillespie.
Tags: France, Karel Appel, painting