September 11, 2018

The Duck Guy’s book available in German

Filed under: Animals,Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Kees Moeliker, ornithologist and curator of the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, who was awarded an IgNobel back in 2003 — the tongue-in-cheek awards of Improbable Research — for writing about “The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard”, has recently had his book ‘De eendenman’ (The Duck Guy’, or Man) translated into German.

Not only is “Der Entenmann: Von Spatzenklöten, aussterbenden Filzläusen und nekrophilen Enten. Mysteriöse Todesfälle aus dem Tierreich” now available to the German-savvy population, the book is presented here by Moeliker himself in German.

Also known as ‘The Duck Guy’, Moeliker does give talks in English, but his book has yet to be translated into English or anything else than German at this point. However, if you’re in the Netherlands, you can visit the preserved remains of one of the ducks at the museum. The best time to visit is on June 5, when the museum and the city of Rotterdam celebrate Dead Duck Day, on the anniversary of the incident, involving two ducks and a glass wall.

UPDATE: Video now in Dutch.


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July 25, 2018

German series to be dubbed into Dutch, first time

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 2:42 pm

For anyone living in the Netherlands who watches Dutch television, it’s not news that all kinds of American, Canadian and other foreign series are subtitled in Dutch instead of being dubbed over. And in Germany, they dub over everything.

For the first time ever, Dutch broadcaster NPO will dub a German series for adults into Dutch. The reason I mention ‘for adults’ is because the only dubbed programs on Dutch television are cartoons for children. Subtitling is cheaper.

The German-Luxembourg series ‘Bad Banks’ (yup, English title) happens to feature British-born Dutch actor Barry Atsma in a main role, which means he gets to dub himself in Dutch, the only actor able to do so, as much of the cast is German-speaking from Germany and Austria.

As well, many things had to be left in English and French, which apparently makes the whole experience sound like a language course. Then again, if I can watch Norwegian series like ‘Okkupert’ (‘Occupied’) with Norwegian spoken, some English, French and Russian with Spanish subtitles, then Bad Banks should be fine. And if this experiment works out, the NPO will dub more series. It’s interesting to read that they will have the money to do so.

In the late 1980s, Québec series ‘He Shoots, He Scores’ (‘Lance et compte’) was filmed in both French and English, the first television series to air simultaneously in English and French on Canadian television. They would shoot one scene in French and then shoot it again in English with the same actors.

Here’s the international trailer (NSFW) for Bad Banks:


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March 21, 2017

Spring is here, tulips from Amsterdam

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 11:49 am


It’s spring in the polder and sometimes it’s good to stop and admire the tulips. Well, mostly daffodils at the moment on the side of the road, but you get the idea.

You may know the song ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’ made popular by Max Bygraves in the UK in 1958, but maybe you didn’t know it was a translation of a German song. According to Wikipedia, the song was first written in 1953 as ‘Tulpen aus Amsterdam’ by German singer, songwriter and entertainer Klaus-Günter Neumann, after he had performed at the Tuschinski theatre in Amsterdam and visited the tulip fields at Keukenhof.

Here’s Max’s version and of course a Dutch version by Herman Emmink.

And here’s a classic performance in the 1928 Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam not far from 24oranges HQ by Dutch pop singer Wilma Landkroon when she was a little girl.

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September 28, 2016

‘Booze and Drugs’ is ‘Stoff und Schnaps’ in German

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 10:19 am


At the start of the summer, we told you about Americans trying to sing Dutch summer hit ‘Drank & Drugs’ (‘Booze and Drugs’) by Lil Kleine & Ronnie Flex. Now it’s time for the next level, the German version ‘Stoff und Schnaps’ (‘Drugs and Schnaps’), complete with lyrics and bouncing ball.

Ronnie Flex says he’d love to more songs in German because there’s “a market of 70 million people!” Actually, 80 million, but we get it, it’s not the Netherlands with its puny 16.8 million and a language dwarfed by German on the world scale as well.

The big question is, how’s their German accent?


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February 20, 2015

British show mistakes Dutch for German

Filed under: Music,Shows by Orangemaster @ 11:27 am


Last week on British television show Room 101 Dr Christian Janssen Jessen claimed to hate German pop music, which he can get away with because his father is German. “It’s sung by what mainly look like, sort of middle aged men having a massive mid-life crisis,” he explained. Host Frank Skinner managed to sing the praises of this happy and silly music, calling it ‘Europop’, as if the UK wasn’t part of Europe, adding that maybe Brits take music “too seriously”.

However, of all the German music they could have played to illustrate his point, ignorant researchers used Dutch music, which was easy to recognise by the language and the Dutch television logo when they played the clip. Janssen and the other guests didn’t even bat an eyelid when hearing something that was not German, although Janssen later claimed on Twitter that he hadn’t chosen the music. He did, whoever, keep quiet, entertaining the idea that it was German. Connect Four host Victoria Coren, who should have known better as well, also stayed very quiet.

The Dutch carnival song ‘Bam Bam (Bam)’ by Snollebollekes, which read out in English sounds like ‘Snol Bollocks’ and could be a reason for having chosen it is for adults only on YouTube. The part they played on telly is basically about ass shaking and shagging.

British television show Room 101, season 4 episode 6 aired on 13 February. The German pop music rant about Dutch music starts at 26:26, while the music kicks in at 28:03.

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January 22, 2014

It’s a moped… it’s a scooter… it’s a bike! And that’s a problem

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 11:34 am

A German electric bicycle (aka e-bike), the blueLABEL cruiser (the pic is just a run-of-the-mill Vespa) can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h. Only a handful of them have been sold according to De Volkskrant newspaper, but they are popular, even with a price tag of 3,050 euro.

And although the blueLABEL cruiser is a fully functioning bicycle and looks like one too, Dutch law has problems classifying it as a bike, and apparently should have it down as either a moped (‘snorfiets’) or a scooter (‘bromfiets’) allowed to go up to 45 km/h.

If the blueLABEL cruiser is in fact a scooter, then you’d need a helmet, insurance and a different license plate (a blue one) to ‘drive’ it. If it’s a moped, you’d need yet another license plate (a yellow one). And when it goes over 25 km/h, it has to be driven on the road, not on a bike path.

The clincher is, the blueLABEL cruiser looks just like an ordinary bike, making the cops’ life difficult. In 2017 this type of bike, known as a ‘speed pedelec’ will be considered a scooter, which sounds about right. In the mean time, pricy German stealth bike it is.

Remember the Segway? That was a huge headache as well in the Netherlands.

(Link:, Photo by Facemepls, some rights reserved)

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February 23, 2013

Dutch with an accent just as easy to understand

Filed under: Science by Branko Collin @ 3:13 pm

People who speak Dutch with a foreign accent are just as easy to understand as native speakers. Listeners may need a while to adapt to the accent, anywhere from a few sentences to a few minutes.

Yesterday Marijt Witteman received her PhD for researching how fast listeners adapt to foreign accents. One perhaps surprising finding was that native speakers who were used to the accent, for instance, Dutch people living near the German border listening to Dutch spoken by Germans, understood words pronounced by language learners just as fast as they understood words pronounced by native speakers.

Even listeners who were not regularly exposed to the foreign accent only needed a few minutes of ‘priming’ to get up to speed. Witteman used reaction time tests in which subjects first heard a word, then saw the word written out on a screen, after which the subjects had to state if a word existed or not. Previous experiments had shown that people respond faster if they hear the word before they see it on the screen. The response times for words pronounced with an accent were just as fast as for words pronounced without an accent.

Witteman’s results could be useful in designing language courses. Course materials could be less about perfecting pronunciation and more about understanding a language. My personal take-away lesson is that Hollanders can stop pretending they don’t understand what the rest of the Dutch are saying. The game is up!

(Photo by Leo Viëtor, some rights reserved)

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February 23, 2012

Etymology of Dutch word for bicycle cracked after 140 years

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 4:48 pm

Two Flemish linguists of Ghent University in Belgium have finally pinpointed the historical origin of the Dutch word ‘fiets’ (‘bicycle’, sounds exactly like ‘feats’). They claim it comes from the German word ‘Vize’ (pronounced ‘vietse’, almost rhymes with ‘pizza’), which means the same as the English ‘vice’ (like in Vice-President, a ‘deputy’ president). In this case, it’s a surrogate horse, a ‘vice horse’. And a ‘vice horse’ is understood to be a bicycle.

The Dutch word ‘fiets’ was very different from the French word ‘vélocipède’, where the bicycle originated from in 1870, the English word and the German word ‘Fahrrad’. The French abbreviation ‘vélo’ couldn’t possibly have turned into ‘fiets’. A man called E.C. Viets from Wageningen started making bicycles around 1880, which was often quoted as a possible origin, but that was historically incorrect.

One day, one of the linguists was pouring some cider for a German colleague from a region who called it ‘Vize’ (vice-wine, surrogate wine), although in Dutch it could have sounded like the German had said ‘bad wine’ (‘vies’ in Dutch means ‘dirty’ or ‘bad quality’ in this case). But the German was speaking German and meant to say ‘surrogate wine’, ‘Vize’ being used for all kinds of surrogate things in his region of Germany.

The German ‘Vize-Pferd’ (‘surrogate horse’) was discovered by the linguists in written documents and then they found German dialect words ‘Fitz’ and ‘Fietse’, which was the missing link to ‘fiets’. A lot of Dutch words come from German, but for some reason, ‘Vize’, a bit like saying ‘bike’ or ‘vélo’ never made it over the German border.


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October 29, 2008

Sailor drowns because of language barrier

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:38 pm
Sailor\'s cap

Let me see if I get this straight. On Tuesday, 28 October a Czech sailor fell off a German boat into a canal in the province of Limburg, which borders Germany and French-speaking Belgium. A French sailor saw this and ran to warn the Dutch sluice guard in French. The sluice guard could not understand French at all and the fire brigade came 30 minutes later when the man had already drowned.

“Despite the large number of international boats on the canal, sluice guards are not required to speak several languages.” However, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Water Management said that “attention is paid to French and German” and that the “French sailor could have just dialled ‘112’ (the Dutch emergency number)”.

“Attention paid to French and German” means absolutely nothing and was said rather sheepishly in the video (link below). The French sailor not speaking any English is odd too, as I assume the sluice guard spoke some English, as most Dutch do, and that would have sped things up. Working on the border of two other countries and not understanding any French is weird, even though it is not required, but that’s just me. As well, most Dutch who live on the border with Germany do understand some German, but asking the French to speak German or Dutch for that matter is a stretch.

Just like in aviation, everyone could try and learn some English to avoid this kind of deadly mix up. And expecting sailors to know all the different emergency numbers throughout Europe is unrealistic.

Why doesn’t the EU have just one emergency number? Too much to hope for maybe.


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May 25, 2007

Smokin’ Dutchies

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:51 am

A record that is not something to be proud of: The Dutch are now the heaviest smokers of Europe, followed by the Belgians and the British. In 2006 the Dutch lit up 1,511 cigarettes per inhabitant. The old record belongs to the Germans (from where this posting is being written – Munich). The Netherlands is one of the only European countries left that still allows some smoking in catering establishments. No one saw the cloud of smoke in the bistro car of my German night train this morning. The lightest smokers are the Italians with 1,175 cigarettes.

(Link: Blik op nieuws)

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