In 2013 Shell had to transport an eight-story metal building from Rotterdam to Amsterdam.
They hired a company called The Timewriters to create a time-lapse video of the transport, which has now been released in glorious 4K format on YouTube, accompanied by a beautiful, if somewhat ill-fitting Dvořák piece.
The day-long journey begins on the Nieuwe Maas river near the Feijenoord neighbourhood in Rotterdam, then goes past Gouda, Alphen aan de Rijn and Schiphol Airport to end in Amsterdam. If it hadn’t been dark by then, you might even have been able to see my house at 9:14.
This is worth watching for the bridges alone.
And then you come back a second time for the places you know and a third time to figure out how and why the Dutch created their environment the way they did.
Also check out the comments on YouTube, lots of insights from people who recognise certain types of trains, planes and places.
Need a break from cat videos? Back in 2015 Jelle Bakker from Amersfoort built a Mouse Trap-like course at Monkey Town in Gouda for 11,000 marbles all rolling around at the same time.
Bakker, who is autistic and loves building things for marbles, built his contraption using wood planks and floor heating conduits. He says he likes the sound the marbles make as they go over different parts of the course.
Does the Dutch-Moroccan ethnic group speak ‘street language’ (urban slang) or just a modified version of standard Dutch? According to postdoctoral researcher Khalid Mourigh of Leiden University, it’s an ethnolect, or what he likes to call ‘Moroccan Flavoured Dutch’ (MFD), a term coined by two linguists Jacomine Nortier and Margreet Dorleijn back in 2006. Interestingly, other ethnic groups and the native Dutch use words and pronunciations from this ethnolect.
Mourigh explains that Dutch-Moroccans often speak Berber and Arabic at home with their parents, but since Berber isn’t taught formally and Arabic is more for the mosque, Dutch is what young people speak with each other, albeit with an accent, sometimes a heavy one. Urban slang is more something for the ‘native’ Dutch and Surinamese youth. However, Dutch-Moroccans of the second and third generation choose to have an accent when they speak to distinguish themselves, according to Nortier and Dorleijn. On the other hand, if they want to put their best foot forward in a job interview, standard Dutch is usually preferred.
Artworks that are considered to be of national importance will be given protected status in an effort to stop galleries from selling them to foreign or private buyers, according to rules drawn up by the Netherlands Museums Association. Dutch museums will also be given preferred buyer status for works they want to sell, and if a museum wants to sell something, they will have to wait two months to see if another domestic buyer comes forward first before selling to a party from outside the country.
Museum Gouda was criticised for selling The Schoolboys by Marlene Dumas, at Christie’s in London back in 2011 without first offering it to other Dutch museums, which highly displeased the Netherlands’ best selling contemporary artist.
Monique van der Vorst (27) from Gouda was offered a contract with the Rabobank women’s bicycle racing team two weeks ago. The news was remarkable because in 1998 Van der Vorst had lost the use of her legs at the age of 13.
She became a hand cyclist and won two silvers medals at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. Her athletic career seemed to be over in 2010 when she was hit during practice by another cyclist. But after three months in the hospital something happened, Velonation reports in a long interview:
One night, I was lying there frustrated because I could only move one hand. It was the middle of the night and I started to make a fist to train that hand; then suddenly I felt tingling in my feet. I could not imagine it was happening – it was crazy! We did all kinds of testing but there was no function yet.
Three months later I started to recover, my upper body started to work better. I trained really, really hard. And then suddenly I could move my leg a little bit to the side, and from then on I trained with everything I could get more function.
After one Moroccan entrepreneur decided to make Gouda cheese in the Sahara, another Moroccan in Rotterdam is going to attempt making stroopwafels – also originally from the town of Gouda – and sell them in Morocco.
You’d think someone would have thought of this already, but according to businessman Mimoun el Arkoub, no one has. He explains that Moroccans love sweets and many of them know about Dutch food, so why not sell stroopwafels there? He bought himself two huge machines to produce the delights and is getting ready to crank them out and sell lots of them.
One major flop of pushing Dutch fare I have heard about in the past and seen on TV was convincing the Chinese to eat cheese. From what the Chinese, the Dutch people I know who have lived in China and others have said, the Chinese are not big on dairy products in general and have a problem with the smell of cheese. I mean, have you ever had cheese at a Chinese restaurant? The appeal of a huge market like China does not mean that if you just market real hard, they’ll start eating cheese. How many decades did it take the Dutch to drink wine? Think about it.