December 24, 2019

Frisian villages have first ever Frisian supermarkets

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 10:47 am

As of 20 December, the villages of Eastermar and Damwoude both have the ‘Dutch’ premiere of opening the first ever Frisian-language supermarkets. The Alles onder één dak (Everything under one roof, in Dutch) in Eastermar and the Albert Heijn in Damwoude have their advertising and signs all in Frisian, thanks to the support of the Afûk foundation that helps promote Frisian language and culture.

Fokke Jagersma of Afûk explains that the products are all in Dutch with Frisian explanations, which is not as exciting as having it all in Frisian for locals and tourists alike. However, the staff speaks Frisian, a language spoken by about 400,000 people in a country of 17.5 million. And apparently, tourists want to see Frisian when they go to the province of Friesland, so who knows what the future may bring. As well, there’s talk of a visit from the Ministry of internal Affairs in February.

(Links:,, Photo by Rupert Ganzer, some rights reserved)

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December 18, 2018

Frisians blocking the motorway Dutch Word of the Year 2018

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 2:40 pm

‘Blokkeerfries’ has won the Dutch Word of the Year 2018, followed by ‘yogasnuiver’ (‘yoga sniffer’) and ‘mangomoment’ (‘mango moment’) in third place.

‘Blokkerfries’ is described by Dutch dictionary Van Dale (a collaboration between the Dutch in the Netherlands and the Flemish in Belgium) as one of the people who blocked a motorway in [the Dutch province of] Friesland in order to stop others from demonstrating against an aspect of the Sinterklaas tradition, considered by some as a defender of it. You’ll notice they are not explicitly mentioning the now controversial ‘blackface’ aspect of Zwarte Piet, but that’s what was generally meant at the time.

A ‘yoga sniffer’ is someone that usually has a healthy lifestyle, but then once in a while goes overboard with party drugs and cocaine when they go out. For the advance class, if you do encounter the Dutch word ‘cultuursnuiver’ (‘culture sniffer’), it means someone who takes in culture, which is a positive thing.

‘Mangomoment’ refers to a Flemish television moment where a patient experienced a moment of happiness when the presenter of the show brought them a mango. Van Dale says it means a moment of happiness experienced by a seriously ill patient due to a seemingly insignificant, non-medical act or comment from a doctor or healthcare provider during normal healthcare activities.


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December 17, 2018

Dutch Word of the Year 2018 vote almost done

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 4:07 pm

If you are so inclined, you have until 5 pm today to vote for the Dutch Word of the Year 2018 by following the link below. Tomorrow, the winners will be announced.

The Van Dale dictionary folks have 18 new words on the shortlist, and I’m going to attempt to explain a few of them that seem to be talked about the most, or at least that’s what I’ve been reading.

– Balanstrutje (‘Balance bitch’). One of those more well-to-do Dutch women preaching bullshit about balancing work and career (and self-care, and whatever else) purely to flog shit to other gullible women.

– Blokkeerfries (‘Blocking Frisian’). The name for Zwarte Piet defenders from Friesland who thought it was OK to illegally block a motorway to protest the change of ZP’s appearance because they felt it attacked their cultural identity.

– Primarkpremie (‘Primark premium’). Named after the Irish chain Primark, a ‘Primark premium’ is when Dutch -based companies receive subsidies for staff who earn no more than a quarter more than minimum wage.

That last one makes a lot of people’s stomach turn and could win, we’ll see.


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October 7, 2018

KLM house number 99, a nod to coffee

Filed under: Aviation,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 1:57 pm

Back when flying was less democratic, KLM would give
house-shaped bottles filled with Bols genever to folks flying on intercontinental flights in business class, which over time became collector’s items.

This year to celebrate KLM’s 99th anniversary on October 7, a new house, number 99, was unveiled: the first shop of coffee merchant Douwe Egberts, in Joure, Friesland. These houses are so popular that people are already selling them on Dutch online auction sites.

KLM currently serves Douwe Egberts on their flights, in their lounges and in their offices, which would explain their choice. And all of us are wondering what house number 100 will be. OK, not all of us, but KLM and all those collectors for sure.

(Link:, image:

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June 21, 2018

Frisian wheat fields to feature big artworks

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 8:56 pm

As of next week, some Frisian wheat fields along the Wadden dike in het Bildt (now part of the new municipality Waadhoeke), will feature carvings by several Bildt-based artists and others carved into those local wheat fields.

In 2017 artist Marco Goldenbeld tested creating artworks in those fields, one of which was inspired by M. C. Escher’s ‘Impossible Cube’, a two-dimensional figure that resembles a perspective drawing of a three-dimensional one, with its features drawn inconsistently from the way they would appear in an actual cube, shown above.

The specific location of the artworks will be between Oude Bildtzijl and De Westhoek in Friesland. Besides the initiator Henk Rusman, other participating artists include Bowe Roodbergen, Marco Goldenbeld, Rinus Roelofs, Hans Kuipers, Roland de Jong and Ria Groenhof.

(Link and photo:

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March 28, 2018

Friesland home to world’s oldest working planetarium

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 7:14 pm


Since the BBC has decided to talk about it, and many people have never heard of it, let’s tell you about the Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium, the world’s oldest working planetarium or orrery, located in Franeker, Friesland.

Built from 1774 to 1781 by Eise Eisinga, it is a national monument, a “Baroque theatre for stargazers, crowning the living room of a modest wool comber who lived shortly after the Dutch Golden Age and an unfathomable undertaking considering Eisinga quit school aged 12”. Not only did the project take seven years to complete, but it nearly bankrupt him as well.

The amateur astronomer captured the universe in his living room, and the science behind it is still precise today. It is a working model of the solar system accurate for the time it was made, although Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (today a dwarf planet) are missing, as they hadn’t been discovered back then.

The film below is in Frisian and some commentary is in Dutch. You can see the old and new parts of the planetarium, as they eventually expanded having bought up neighbouring houses.

(Link:, Photo of Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium by Bouwe Brouwer, some rights reserved)

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November 17, 2017

Afsluitdijk lights up thanks to multiple art projects

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 3:45 pm


For many of us who have driven the 32-kilometre-long Afsluitdijk from North Holland and Friesland (or the other way around), it’s a short cut with a great view of the water and sheep. However, historically, the Afsluitdijk is a key part of the country’s world-famous sea defences, as well as a major Dutch accomplishment.

Yesterday, Dutch artists unveiled a design and light show to highlight this feat of engineering, called ‘Icoon Afsluitdijk’ (‘Icon Afsluitdijk’), which shines at night “to enhance and safeguard the dyke’s rich heritage and anchor its position in the world as a Dutch water engineering and design icon,” according to its creators.

The project consists of a number of art installations, of which the last one is called ‘Gates of Light’, created by Daan Roosegaarde and his team. They applied a reflective layer to the Afsluitdijk’s 60 floodgates, which allows the concrete gates to brightly light up at night in the retro style of the 1930s, when the dyke was first built by hand.

The Dutch have lit other important landmarks up, such as the Kinderdijk, UNESCO World Heritage Site, with colours matching the Dutch flag.

(Links and images:,

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October 27, 2017

First ever Frisian translation for Book Week

Filed under: Dutch first,Literature by Orangemaster @ 4:52 pm

The city of Leeuwarden together with the province of Friesland will be one of the Cultural Capitals of Europe in 2018. To mark the occasion, during Book Week in March, the traditional free book handed out will be available in a Frisian translation for the very first time.

Best selling Flemish author Griet Op de Beeck will have the honours of contributing a book to Book Week, entitled ‘Gezien de feiten’ (roughly, ‘Having seen (given) the facts’ in English and ‘Mei it each op de feiten’ in Frisian). Dutch and Flemish authors read each other all the time, but it’s television that tends to ‘localise’ Dutch and Flemish television shows. Fans of Dutch-language literature, which includes any kind of Dutch, is read by all without a fuss.

And a free book is a free book.

(Link:, Photo by Rupert Ganzer, some rights reserved)

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September 29, 2016

New letters and photos of Mata Hari published

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 10:17 pm


The Frisian History and Literature Centre Tresoar in Leeuwarden, Friesland have made public a gift of 48 letters and 14 photos never been seen before they received from the family of the ex-husband of famous Frisian exotic dancer, Mata Hari. The only thing Tresoar had to do in return was turn it all into a book, so that everyone could enjoy the discoveries. The book ‘Don’t think that I’m that bad’ (‘Denk niet dat ik slecht ben’) by Marita Mathijsen-Verkooijen should be out at least in Dutch any day now.

One of the letters written during Mata Hari’s life in Paris in 1904-1905 talked about her one day become a mother and how difficult her life was in general, while in another she talks about living in Nijmegen and having to sell her bike to be able to survive. Mata Hari’s life story is a great read in itself, and these letters will certainly help historians and fans find out even more about her turbulent life. Next year in 2017, the legal documents of 1917 about her execution by a firing squad just outside Paris for being a German spy on 15 October 1917 will be made public, so stay tuned for more.

(Link:, Photo of Mata Hari in the public domain)

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September 24, 2016

Lost Dutch painting pops up on British telly

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 3:32 pm


First the the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, North Holland gets five paintings back from Ukraine and now the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden is getting back a portrait of etcher Leopold Löwenstam by Dutch-born British painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (aka Lourens Alma-Tadema), shown here.

The lost painting showed up on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, as the owner explained that their great-great grandfather and the artist were close family friends and their great-great grandmother was the governess of Tadema’s children. According to the show, Alma-Tadema holds the record for a Victorian painting at US$36 mln (about EUR 32 mln) for an enormous picture sold in New York a few years ago, but this painting is smaller and would be worth less, with no estimation suggested.

The painting has been restored and will be part of the upcoming touring exhibition of Alma-Tadema’s work at the Fries Museum as of 1st October. The portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1884, and went on display again in Liverpool in 1913, after which it hadn’t been seen until now.

UPDATE: the BBC showed aired, and the painting was valued at 230.000-346.000 euro.

(Links:, omropfryslan, Photo of Lourens Alma-Tadema by John Boers, some rights reserved)

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