December 11, 2018

Keep the rotating house rotating or destroy it?

Filed under: Architecture,Art,General by Orangemaster @ 11:55 am

Ten years ago (where does the time go?), we told about the Rotating House (‘Draaiend Huis’) on a roundabout in Tilburg, North Brabant, made by John Körmelings. For quite some time now, the house hasn’t been turning anymore, as it’s broken, and fixing it would cost about 45,000 euro. The artwork cost 400,000 to build, and according to article on (see link below), it broke down three times already. This would mean it has been fixed at least twice.

Sadly but not surprisingly at the moment, the Netherlands has a government that doesn’t like high art too much and feels that much of it is overrated. Since Dutch cultural institutions are dependent on government grants as opposed to endowments, sometimes people who don’t like art get to decide what lives or dies art-wise.

There’s currently a discussion about whether the rotating house should be fixed or destroyed. The city of Tilburg wants to fix it, but local youth politicians say the money can be better spent elsewhere like in healthcare. If the house is destroyed, then a lot of money would have been spent for nothing, whereas fixing it up means keeping a world-famous artwork turning for others to drive past and talk about.

Here’s a timelapse video of the ‘Draaiend Huis’ (‘Rotating House’)

(Link:, Photo: Stinkfinger Producties)

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January 8, 2018

Netherlands gets first energy-neutral house

Filed under: Architecture,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am


The small village of Abbenes, North Holland is home to the very first enery-neutral pop-up house in the country, based on a design from the company Pop-Up House that hails from Marseille, France.

Claiming to make passive construction easy, the idea is to build homes that are not only affordable, but also free of energy costs, in this case, natural gas. I specify ‘natural gas’ because electricity is not considered an energy cost for most people around the world, but I come from Québec, Canada where about 90 of heating is generated from electricity, with natural gas as a back-up during winters like the one they’re having right now.

“A passive house is a building which has limited heat loss and takes advantage of natural factors in its direct environment (bio-climatic design). A passive house’s energy consumption is very low and thermal indoor comfort is ensured all year long.” To me, this sounds great in a part of the world that barely sees a minus on the thermometer.

This Lego-like house (see video) also costs 80 per cent less than a ‘normal’ house and can be built much faster, in about five months, according to Pop-Up House.

Pop-Up House: the affordable passive house from Popup House on Vimeo.

(Link and photo:

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September 19, 2012

Weed grower electrocuted in neighbour’s crawlspace

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

Two weeks ago a man from De Meern near Utrecht was found dead in the crawlspace of his neighbour’s house.

According to the Utrecht police, the 46-year-old had electrocuted himself trying to steal his neighbour’s electricity. He had dug a tunnel underneath the foundation of both houses. The police had to cut out the neighbour’s floor to retrieve the corpse, which they believe had been lying there for no more than a day.

Parool adds that the man was a marijuana grower, which would explain why he had been looking for ways to lower his electricity bills, as weed growers use high powered lamps.

Earlier this year a 23-year-old weed grower from Oss in Noord Brabant was also electrocuted while working in his marijuana nursery.

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June 16, 2012

Amsterdam discovers a new oldest house

Filed under: Architecture,History by Orangemaster @ 2:50 pm

For ages, the house hailed as the oldest in Amsterdam was the unique wooden house (‘Houten Huys’) from 1530 at No. 34 of the Begijnhof (map), one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam, inhabited solely by unmarried women.

And now Amsterdam has a new oldest house, located at No. 90 of the Warmoesstraat, near the Red Light district and Central Station. Experts have dated the house back to 1485 by having its wooden structure analysed in a special lab in Berlin. The rich discovery also makes it the very first 15th century house to be discovered in the city.

A fire broke out in No. 90 back in 2010, and during the repairs, a building inspector noticed some very old details in the wood of this old house, also confirmed by the experts that tend to historical monuments and architecture. The façade of the building is from 1800, which is why no one bothered or noticed before.

(Link:, Photo of Warmoesstraat by Olivier Bruchez, some rights reserved)

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September 5, 2010

Temporary reduction of sales tax on renovations

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 12:03 pm

Government ministers De Jager (Finance) and Middelkoop (Housing) have announced a temporary lowering of the sales tax on home make-overs from 19% to 6%.

The reduction is to take effect on October 1, 2010 and will last until July 1, 2011, Telegraaf reports. The care-taker government hopes that this will soften the blow of the crisis for the building sector.

Some of the rules for the lower tax are:

  • Only for houses of two years and older.
  • Only for labour costs.
  • Only for improvements that will raise the resale value of your house.

(Photo by Yola de Lusenet, some rights reserved)

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August 30, 2008

A peek at the Amsterdam Begijnhof

Filed under: Architecture,History by Branko Collin @ 9:09 am

Apartment Therapy visited the 70 square metre home of American radio maker Ruth at the beguinage in Amsterdam. The complex, simply called Begijnhof (Dutch for beguinage), lies smack in the middle of the city and is open to the public. Located just off one of the busiest streets in the country, the Kalverstraat, it’s a sea of calm on the inside.

A begijnhof, or beguinage, is a secluded garden around which devout women lived a life dedicated to their faith, outside the formal structure of the church. Unlike nuns, beguines took no vows and kept any property they might have. There are dozens of former beguinages in the Low Countries. Although the houses were typically small, beguinages are still sought-after property because of their court-yard lay-out.

De Begijnhof is no longer home to beguines, but still only women live there. Should you wish to do the touristy thing, and should you be able to find De Begijnhof, access is free, and the beguinage has a couple of trumps up its sleeve other than just being there and being unique. It sports one of the two remaining wooden houses in the center of Amsterdam (1470). The panels of the pulpit of the English Church were made by Piet Mondriaan, and there’s a second, Catholic church hidden somewhere behind the gables.

Photo by Andreas Praefcke, some rights reserved.

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June 13, 2008

Skull-shaped bird house

Filed under: Animals,Art,Design by Branko Collin @ 2:49 pm

Germany-born but Rotterdam-based artist Stefan Gross sells these nesting boxes that look like skulls. “Rebirdy is fashioned from a frost-resistant ceramic material and can be easily cleaned by lifting the skullcap,” the artist says.

Recently he posted a video of a skull-shaped bird house inhabited by a blue tit at Youtube.

Via BoingBoing, who got the story from Kitschy Kitschy Coo.

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