May 11, 2018

HEMA pulls bad protractors before finals

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 5:18 pm


Lonneke van Krimpen was studying for her final exam in geometry at the secondary school level and noticed something was off. She did a practice question from a 2014 exam and noticed that her protractor was wrong. A friend of hers apparently had the same issue and so they told HEMA that their protractors were badly made.

HEMA was happy to be told this especially before the entire country takes their final exams. They said they have pulled their protractors from the shelves, flagged their inventory, and even blocked any sales of them at the cash register. As well, anyone with a bad instrument can trade it in for a good one.

The specific problem is that between the 50 and 60 there are 11 spaces, and between 60 and 70 there are 10, when in both cases there should be nine.

(Link:, Photo of Protractor by Richard Wheeler (Zephyris), some rights reserved)

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November 29, 2016

Smoked sausage meets kroket in new snack combo

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:40 am

The year 2016 is turning into the year of the junk food combos: discodel, pancake with fries, fries with soft vanilla ice cream, and now it’s time for the next level in junk food: the ‘rookworstkroket’ (‘smoked sausage kroket’).

Unox (Unilever) makes the famous smoked sausage that HEMA passes off as their own, but now the next level is upon us with Unox getting into bed with FEBO to spawn the deep-fried sausage snack. FEBO tried to get into bed with HEMA instead, combining the combo with the 75th anniversary of FEBO and the 90th anniversary of HEMA, but HEMA said no. Unox pounced on the opportunity and soon we’ll get to taste what the fuss is all about.


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March 1, 2016

Dutch Twitter row over chocolate Easter eggs

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 9:58 am

It’s time for another holiday controversy, one that revolves around chocolate Easter eggs sold at Dutch chain store HEMA. The store calls one type of its milk chocolate Easter eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for the purpose of an egg hunt, but omitting the word ‘Easter’ has led to hate-filled comments from Dutch Twitter conspiracy theorists living in their own echo chamber. ‘The H in HEMA stands for Halal instead of Holland’ and other hateful nonsense is doing the rounds, effectively helping the rest of us weed out the nutters just in time for some online spring cleaning.

Part of Dutch Twitter went down the rabbit hole claiming, with no proof whatsoever, that HEMA was pandering to Muslims by removing the word ‘Easter’ in their ‘eggs for hiding’. HEMA claims it has been calling one type of its milk chocolate eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for 10 years now because there’s a gold one and that makes them great for Easter egg hunts. After one ‘offending’ picture on Twitter, people jumped on the bandwagon because it sounded plausible if you ignore the pesky facts that get in the way of blind hate.

HEMA sells pork products, Christmas stuff, Easter stuff, Sinterklaas stuff, even head scarves that offends absolutely nobody.


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July 19, 2015

Holly Moors’ stamp art booklets

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 2:32 pm


We’ve mentioned Holly Moors before as a blogger from the North, but he is also an artist.

Recently Moors has been scanning a couple of his experiments from the 1980s in which he filled old Davo booklets (aimed at postage stamp collectors) with rubber stamp prints. For the first booklet he used pre-existing stamps, for the second he carved a rubber stamp from a HEMA eraser.

This is art that doesn’t easily fit on a wall in a museum, so a gallery on a weblog is a good place to study it. After you’ve clicked a link, clicking one of the thumbnail images will open the gallery. Moors chose Davo booklets, because he felt they “invited repetitive stamping”.

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January 21, 2014

HEMA caught plagiarising French wine label

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 1:58 pm

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 1.02.41 PM

It looked to many as if La Tulipe wine was available at the HEMA chain stores, but no, it was just a bottle of South African wine that had a very similar logo.

Coincidence or done on purpose who knows, but Dutch winemaker Ilya Gort cried sour grapes and wanted to take HEMA to court over it. In the meantime, HEMA has agreed to change the labels on the cheap South African wine which Gort gladly spits out on television right outside HEMA being the showman that his is (see Telegraaf link below).

If you want some cheap red wine with a very silly pun from the HEMA there’s always Chat-en-Oeuf .

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 12.58.00 PM

And some tips again on wine tasting for cheap bottles, Dutch-style by Ilya Gort himself:

– Look at the wine.
Take a few seconds to actually look at the colour of what you’re drinking. Someone worked very hard to get it that way.

– Smell the wine.
You smell your food before you eat it, give your wine the same courtesy.

– Respect the wine and use a proper glass.
I almost can’t drink from my tumbler glasses anymore, it doesn’t taste the same.

(Links and screenshot:,

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July 21, 2013

Cardboard dividers nets HEMA design award

Filed under: Design,Dutch first by Branko Collin @ 9:25 pm

The 2013 HEMA design award was won by Tessa Eising, a student at the University of Twente, for her laminated rectangular cardboard space dividers.

The dividers have one folding edge at both one short and one long side with a label you can write on. The idea is that you put them in a cupboard, fold the edge, write your name on it, and put your stuff on it. As we wrote a couple of days ago, Dutch students often share a flat because of the high rents and they often need to figure out ways to determine who owns what. (In my student days, we shared most of the food and wrote our name on the packaging in the rare cases we needed to reserve something for ourselves.)

Another nominated design that I liked is Kim Monster’s ‘spider’ which you screw onto a standard soda bottle filled with water. Put the bottle ‘feet first’ in a planter and you’ve got a drip for your plants. There is also the travel bottle by Zsolt Hayde with two caps, one for dispensing whatever cream you put into it, the other for cleaning it when it’s empty. Handy for these paranoid times where governments won’t let their electorate onto planes with full bottles.

The HEMA design contest is held every year by the department store of the same name. Winning designs sometimes end up in the store, and it seems that first prize winners are sold through HEMA’s web shop. I have seen 2011’s winner Vrachtpatser, an extension for your bicycle’s luggage rack, in the wild a couple of times. This years prizes were awarded at a ceremony held 11 June at the OBA, the Amsterdam public library.

(Photo: HEMA)

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September 1, 2012

Money bra wins HEMA design award

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 11:17 am

A student at the Delft University of Technology has won the audience award of a design competition held every year by Dutch department chain store HEMA.

Hiske Elferink designed a brassiere that contains a small wallet which can hold some change, a bank card and perhaps a key. She told Radio Netherlands (see the interview below) that she got the idea because when she goes clubbing, she puts her bank notes in her bra. The problem arises when you get change, because coins will slide down and jangle.

A quick Google taught me that this is not the first money bra.

The professional jury did not award a first prize this year. The winners and runners-up will be on display at the public library of Amsterdam (OBA) until October 31.

HEMA organises a yearly design competition for students. In the past, several of the winners and runners-up have made it into the store’s inventory, such as the 103% Vase, a vase that had a little side vase for the inevitable broken flower.

See also:

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December 13, 2011

Man promotes push-up bra

Filed under: Fashion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:07 am

An inexpensive push-up bra from Dutch favourite brand Hema that gives you 2 extra cups sizes sounds like a good deal. And it works so well that even a man, world-famous model Andrej Pejic who poses both as a man and a woman, looks like he has breasts.

For the record, he doesn’t have breasts, he is an unaltered androgynous man, which makes him the perfect model: a good looking, young, flat chested person with no hips. Remember that most major designers are gay and that their ideal model is a man, not a woman. This goes a long way in explaining why many female models stay super thin and have no curves: to look like a young boy. Yes, it’s confusing.

(Link: at5, Photo of Bras by Jill Motts, some rights reserved)

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December 11, 2011

Battery pack disguised as classic Dutch bicycle repair kit

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 1:04 pm

Leiden-based American blogger Alicia likes long bike trips (50+ km), and the batteries of her smart phone tend to run out on these day-long rides, so her boyfriend made her a battery pack that can charge her phone twice. For the casing he used the box of a Simson cycling patch repair kit. These kits have been around as long as I can remember.

Simson was a brand of glue founded in 1881 in Groningen by Jehuda Levi Wijnberg (Wikipedia dixit). In 1989 the company was sold to German competitor Stahlgruber. Simson repair kits are sold almost exclusively in the Netherlands.

(Photos by Alicia, used with permission. Disclaimer: although I still have a Simson box, I refill it with the contents of the competing Hema kit. Orangemaster is a Brompton folding bike rider, and its anybody’s guess really how these people fix their flat tires.)

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January 10, 2011

Reheat v10.1 coloured perspex lamp by Han Koning

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 8:36 am

As an avid Blakes 7 fan you don’t need to tell me how pretty coloured perspex can be, so look, purdy!

According to Bright, Han Koning’s lamp Reheat v10.1 was inspired by the afterburners of jet planes.

Koning’s work first came to my attention when he won HEMA’s student design competition with his 103 % Vaas in 2002.

(Photo: Han Koning. In the screenshot to the right, of Blakes 7 episode Sand, the shipboard computers have broken down and Avon has to resort to letting coloured perspex do the thinking for him. Source: BBC.)

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