June 17, 2019

World’s oldest X-ray images found in Dutch museum

Filed under: Art,Dutch first,Science by Orangemaster @ 10:15 pm

While looking through old documents, as you do when you work in a museum, employees of the Teyler Museum in Haarlem, North Holland made a great discovery: they found a set of the oldest X-ray images in the world. As far as they know, there’s only another set somewhere in London.

The images were part of the inheritance of Nobel Prize winner Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, and printed by him. Time Magazine called these some of the 100 most influential photos ever collected. One of the images features German-Dutch physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen’s wife Bertha’s hand. “I’ve seen my death!” Bertha Röntgen said.

The Teyler Museum will be exposing these photos until July 14.

(Link: teylersmuseum.nl, Photo of Teylers Museum by Tom Clearwood, some rights reserved)

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December 9, 2018

A Frans Hals family portrait re-united

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 12:58 pm

The Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio, USA is currently displaying three Frans Hals paintings portraying various members of the Van Campen family from 17th century Haarlem.

What is remarkable about this set is that the three works used to be part of a single painting.

Nobody knows why the original painting was cut up, but it could have been something simple like trying to make it fit the place where it was hung—Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, secretly considered by many Dutch as the greatest painting ever, was famously cut up once because it did not fit through a door.

The two larger pieces had long been considered related, but it was only recently that the connection between the middle and the smallest piece became clear. The Art Newspaper reports that during a restoration of the middle part, Children of the Van Campen Family with a Goat-Cart, a painted-over girl appeared that allowed the restorers to link the painting to Head of a Boy.

The exhibition will last until 19 January 2019, after which the paintings will be displayed in either Brussels and Paris or Brussels and Madrid.

Last week, two other portraits by Hals were sold at Christie’s in London for 11 million euro.

(Illustration: collage of two of the three Frans Hals paintings with white space indicating the presumed size of the original painting)

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October 3, 2018

The Right Side Won was What Fun’s one hit in the 1980s

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 8:51 pm

This catchy reggae tune ponders how history is written by the winners, which is ironic considering that this would be Haarlem-based What Fun’s only hit, condemning them to relative obscurity.

The song was released in 1983 and reached the number 3 spot of the Dutch Top 40 in the spring of 1984. The single was also released in other countries, but did not do much there. The band did not seem to have much time for promotion since the members all had day jobs.

Singer Martin Richardson told social-democratic newspaper Het Vrije Volk (‘The Free People’) in January 1984: “At least South Africa understood what the song is about because they banned the record. In the Netherlands, 90 percent of the listeners do not get that the lyrics are based on the Falklands war between England and Argentina and the pumped up atmosphere surrounding the conflict. In other words, there are two parties, a pacifist and a war mongering one, and everybody gets to decide for themselves which is which, and history is written by the winner. That is what we mean by ‘the right side won’.”

What Fun tried to break the charts with another highly topical song, this time about the micro computer revolution, Let’s Get Digital, but without much success. The record sleeve for that song was created using a computer program that itself was included on the single. Computers of the day could translate the assorted beeps included at the end of the song into working program code.

(Video: YouTube / What Fun!; illustration: crop of a still from the video)

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February 9, 2018

Crates of porn handed over to Dutch library

Filed under: Literature by Orangemaster @ 8:47 pm


The Dutch National Library based in The Hague has received a collection of pornographic books, part of which is specifically about fantasies set in WWII. Former conservator of the Paleontology and Mineralogy Cabinet at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, Bert Sliggers, donated 100 crates of erotic literature, spanning from the end of the 19th century to today.

The library plans to hold an exhibition entitled ‘Porno op Papier’ (‘Porno on paper’), featuring a deal of his collection. Sliggers never hid the fact that he collected pornography. His collection starts in 1880, with books that were censured for various reasons. And one of the weirder genres he owned was Nazi porn. “Even after WWII this type of pornography sold well, in the hundreds of thousands of books.”

(Link: www.telegraaf.nl)

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November 21, 2017

Dutch Golden Age humour still relevant today

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 10:28 am


An exhibition at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, North Holland entitled ‘The Art of Laughter: Humour in the Golden Age’ is presenting “the first ever overview of humour in seventeenth-century painting” until March 2018.

Trying to present a lighthearted view of the Golden Age means showing “naughty children, stupid peasants, foolish dandies and befuddled drunks, quack doctors, pimps, procuresses, lazy maids and lusty ladies”.

And women being ‘grabbed by the pussy’.

In a painting by Paulus Potter, who specialised in animals within landscapes painted from a low vantage point, his ‘Resting rider before an inn’ has a woman brushing the rider’s face with her hand and in return he grabs her private parts all in good fun.

In the name of mischief, farce and love and lust, the Frans Hals Museum features works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Judith Leyster, Adriaen Brouwer, Gerard van Honthorst, Jan Miense Molenaer and Nicolaes Maes.

The Museum explains that the writer Lodovico Guicciardini, who was living in the Low Countries at that time, said that the Dutch were ‘very convivial, and above all jocular, amusing and comical with words, but sometimes too much.’

(Links: vice.com, franshalsmuseum.nl, Photo: nos.nl)

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July 21, 2016

Self-driving bus goes from Schiphol to Haarlem

Filed under: Automobiles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:09 pm


The Netherlands has debuted self-driving trucks in a convoy, but this week a self-driving bus went from Schiphol Airport to Haarlem, a 20-kilometre ride.

The test was carried out with a self-driving Mercedes-Benz bus from German car company Daimler AG, some of which took place on a public road, but mostly on a closed circuit. The bus was able to communicate with traffic lights, collect data and negotiate junctions. As well, there was a driver on board in case things when wrong.

There is still a lot of testing to be done before self-driving cars become a reality, and it is cool that tests are carried out here. I don’t know about cars dealing with cyclists and pedestrians in the big cities, which still is a major source of accidents.

(Links: www.automatiseringgids.nl, www.zdnet.com, Photo of Dutch Daf & Flower Trailer by Lewis William Harris – Transport, some rights reserved)

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June 1, 2016

There’s a Dutch rap song about Max Verstappen

Filed under: Music,Sports by Orangemaster @ 11:42 am

By now Formula 1 fans around the world have heard that Dutch-Belgian F1 driver Max Verstappen, the son of former Dutch F1 driver Jos Verstappen and former Belgian kart driver Sophie Kumpen, is the youngest winner of a Formula 1 race at age 18. According to Wikipedia, he’s had a bunch of other firsts before that, but some firsts are more interesting than others.

What better way to celebrate than with a song, which is exactly what Dutch rap duo Dos Hermanos decided to do, inspired by Max Verstappen. Dos Hermanos from Haarlem are currently participating in a talent search show and their assignment was to write an ‘anthem’. Apparently, they didn’t have to think about it for very long. “There’s one person who deserves an ‘anthem’ and could use one! That’s why we chose the young hero Max Verstappen.”

Even if you don’t speak Dutch, every speaks F1 motor noises.

(Link: 1limburg.nl, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

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March 9, 2016

Utrecht unveils gay and lesbian pedestrian crossing signs

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 6:29 pm

Berlin has its ‘Ampelmann’ and ‘Ampelfrau’, Haarlem and other Dutch cities have ‘Sofie’, and now Utrecht has gay couples depicted on their pedestrian crossing signs in rainbow colours.

The city of Utrecht wants to show that gay men and women, as well as bisexual and transgender people are welcome in the city. Here’s the bright red gay one and the green lesbian one. Utrecht also has a rainbow colored pedestrian crossing.

Newspaper Metro mentioned that designing the signs cost 1200 euro, which led to online comments ranging from ‘bureaucrats are wasting our money’ and ‘where’s the sign with a straight couple’ to ‘gays and lesbians need to be treated like everyone else, signs won’t change that’. Knowing that Utrecht made the news in 2010 when a gay couple was harassed so much they were forced to move house makes one wonder if pedestrian crossing signs are really the way to go.

(Links: www.rtvutrecht.nl, www.libelle.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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March 2, 2015

Scaring off seagulls with drones in Haarlem

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 11:29 am

After the world found out about an owl terrorising the city of Pumerend and sending people to hospital, the city of Haarlem has decided to attack its annual seagull problem with drones, based on an American idea. Haarlem is a few kilometres from the North Sea, while Amsterdam is further away and seems more overrun by pigeons.

Forget hanging devices that make falcon noises to scare seagulls off. With a drone you can replace the camera part with the noisy device and scare the seagulls out of their nests, as long as it’s not too windy for the drones. Seagulls are a protected bird type, so scaring them away is the city’s best bet for now.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Drone by Karen Axelrad, some rights reserved)

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February 8, 2015

Robbers leave prints in the snow, get caught

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:59 am


Earlier this week the police in Haarlem caught two robbers by following their footprints in the snow, a bit like an old fashion television cartoon. A woman called about her shop being broken into in the middle of the night and when the police got there, they saw fresh footprints in the snow. They followed the footprints and found some of the loot the robbers made off with. They walked all the way to the suspects’ house, arrested the men and confiscated their shoes.

The men will now probably hate snow more than most people.

(Link: www.politie.nl)

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