March 11, 2020

Van Gogh goes for 15 million euro in Maastricht

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 4:36 pm

‘Peasant woman in front of a farmhouse’ (‘Paysanne devant une chaumière’ in French), an 1885 work by Vincent van Gogh that was bought back in the 1960s in the UK for about 5 euro, just sold for 15 million euro at the world’s premier art fair TEFAF in Maastricht, Limburg.

It’s one of those stories were someone had left the painting in a cellar for years until a local antique merchant bought it at an auction for next to nothing. One year later, the painting was sold to a journalist for about 53 euro; he showed it the Tate Gallery director and it was deemed to be a Van Gogh. The journalist then auctioned it off in 1970 at Sotheby’s in New York City where it fetched USD 110.000 (97.455 euro).

In 2001 the work was sold for the last time at Sotheby’s for 1.5 million euro. Today, at 15 million euro, it’s the most expensive artwork ever sold at the TEFAF, although not all sales at the annual event are made public.

(Link:, image

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August 8, 2019

Old bombs found near railroad in Naarden-Bussum

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:41 am

During construction along the railroad in Naarden-Bussum, North Holland workers dug up some bombs, which according to ProRail, are most probably from WWII. I can’t imagine from wat other war they could be from, since the Dutch weren’t really involved in WWI. I say this as someone who recommends reading The Art of Staying Neutral: The Netherlands in the First World War, 1914-1918. When the Dutch mention ‘the war’, they always mean WWII.

The bombs will be exploded somewhere safe, as it is done here when they find bombs, which is quite regularly. It’s not sure whether this will delay the works along the railway or not, which are already planned to go on for three weeks.

Here are some of our past stories related to finding bombs and grenades:

(Link:, Photo of a 1000-pounder in Bunnik by the Ministry of Defense, some rights reserved)

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March 28, 2019

Dutchman wins Belgian seagull scream champs

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:23 pm


In the Belgian town of Adinkerke, a Flemish village close to the French border, 30 men and women did their best to imitate the scream of a seagull at a European Seagull Screaming Championship. We say men and women because there were two winners, one for the men and one for the women: a Belgian woman from Hasselt won her gold and the gold for the men’s was won by a Dutchman from Limburg.

Last year, 31 people participated in the Belgian Championship, and this year, it was time for a European version. The jury said that the level was ‘quite high’ and that part of the goal was to show appreciation for the seagull. I have friends on social media who cannot get enough of posting stories about seagull ripping food like fries out of people’s hand, but to each their own.

Our Limburger winner explains that he gives sport lessons outdoors and hears seagulls a lot, and was always impressed by the sound they make. He heard about the championship through friends and thought it would be fun to join in. “It was totally worth the 2.5 hour drive”, he added.

(Link:, Photo of Great black-backed gull by Robert Eliassen, some rights reserved)

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March 3, 2019

Crime is down, but a lot of it is in Limburg

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:29 pm

While I was in a tram this morning riding along a crime scene today in East Amsterdam, I started thinking about crime. Apparently, the top 10 cities with the most crime in the Netherlands includes four municipalities from the province of Limburg: Heerlen (4th place), Maastricht (5th place), Sittard-Geleen (7th place) and Roermond (9th place).

Amsterdam remains the city with the most crime, followed by Eindhoven and Rotterdam. A city next to Amsterdam, Diemen, has gone from 26th place to number 8, as some gang was quite busy with break-ins, but finally got rolled up.

Rounding off the top 10, there’s The Hague in 6th place and Schiedam in 10th place, both together with Rotterdam representing the province of South Holland. Amsterdam and Diemen are in North Holland, with Eindhoven in Noord-Brabant.

All in all crime is down, including pickpocketing, a classic in cities with a lot of tourists.

(Links:,, Photo: Dutch police officers

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August 28, 2018

Policeman found guilty of hurtful poetry

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:56 pm

Never mind kruidnoten already being stocked in a Dutch shop this summer, today the court in Limburg ruled that a policeman has been found guilty of neglect of duty by way of tasteless Sinterklaas poetry.

Usually for Sinterklaas when people give gifts to each other, they also write funny poems about its recipient. However, one man thought it would be laugh to write a hurtful poem about a female colleague, making fun of her failed relationship [they were going to marry, but that didn’t go through] with another colleague.

And it gets worse: he decided to read the poem out loud in front of 140 colleagues dressed as Sinterklaas. The end of the poem basically says ‘now you’re stuck celebrating Christmas on your own’, and then he sang a song about being lonely at Christmas.

The court said this showed zero respect for the female colleague, and has now had 16 hours of ‘furlough’ revoked, which by the way is from the Dutch ‘verlof’, basically meaning time off.

Even if the man disliked the woman and/or the other colleague involved – we don’t know – I don’t understand why he thought this form of humiliation was in any way funny or appropriate.

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

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July 12, 2018

Dutch university tries new way to catch criminals

Filed under: General,Science by Orangemaster @ 2:16 pm


As of yesterday, the police, together with Eindhoven University of Technology, started a trial using data correlation to determine the bad behaviour of criminals such as pickpockets more quickly.

In Roermond, Limburg, a city next to both Belgium and Germany that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from other countries every day for their outlet shopping centre, the city has a major pickpocketing problem. A university team led by data-mining professor Mykola Pechenizkiy is helping the police analyse various databases containing information about shopping centre visitors, including automatically recognised number plates, data collected for marketing purposes, messages on social media and camera images.

Of course, privacy is an important part of this project for both the criminals and visitors. “For this reason, we also work closely with the mayor and public prosecutor, for example. Based on the experiences in the living labs, they can assess the impact on the privacy of citizens and decide whether this is acceptable in order to achieve the desired goals’, explains Marius Monen of the university’s Data Science Centre.

In Rotterdam a while back, a dynamic teenage duo was following pickpockets, taking pictures and calling the cops on them.

(Link:, Photo: of Dutch police officers

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October 19, 2017

Family sells all and puts money into Bitcoin

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:02 pm


Didi Taihuttu, a Dutch man, his wife and their three daughters who live in a chalet in Limburg and who have decided to live simpler lives, have sold all their major possessions to buy up Bitcoin.

The 38-year-old, an IT business owner who used to employ 16 people, claims “It’s the currency of the future”, but says if it all goes south, he’ll be ready to start over. Last week, Bitcoin apparently broke through the 5,000 USD for the first time since its launch, an increase of more than 400 percent just in 2017. However, if you read the link, you’ll see that opinions are still very divided on the topic.

In 2015, a the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Bitcoin is exempt of VAT and there was also the Dutchman who had Bitcoin wallets injected into his hands.

(Link:, Photo by BTC Keychain, some rights reserved)

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July 12, 2017

Rare bee makes comeback in Limburg

Filed under: Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am


Nature lovers, rejoice: the little flower bee (pics) (Anthophora bimaculata) has been spotted in the North of Maastricht for the first time in 44 years. It was last seen in the Netherlands in the run up to the oil crisis of 1973.

On 18 June Kees Goudsmits spotted a female of the species (shown here) and a few days later on 23 June someone spotted a male in places where mines used to be, and they seem to be making their way North to places like Eindhoven.

This bee is so special, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page in English (hint). Until the end of the 20th century, it was normal enough to see the little flower bee in the Eastern and Southern provinces. After WWII, the bee eventually disappeared, with the last one spotted in 1973 in the town of Tienray, Limburg.

(Link:, Photo of Anthophora bimaculata by Ivar Leidus, some rights reserved)

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April 12, 2017

Giving birth in another city or province? Hell no

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:42 am

What could be better than giving birth to a healthy baby? Having it born in the same city or province where you live.

While the city of Amstelveen next to Amsterdam has been busy delivering ‘Amsterdam’ babies due to maternity wards shutting down in Amsterdam, women from the province of Noord-Brabant bordering on the province of Limburg don’t want to give birth down the street outside their province, if we believe half of what can be read on De Limburger. (I spent 30 minutes logging in and getting red error messages trying to read the rest and I have given up).

According to a midwife from Noord-Brabant, about 10 times a year women refuse to give birth at the nearby hospital in Weert, Limburg simply because of the locality. The arguments are ‘we have nothing to do with that part of the country, we don’t know the city our child would be born in and we don’t want that city in our child’s passport’.

Since quite some women in the Netherlands give birth at home, worrying about have children born elsewhere was not much of an issue until more women started giving birth in hospitals, some of which are not in their locality. Internet searches tell me that women don’t mind giving birth elsewhere in principle, but when they find out they cannot claim their locality as the place of birth of their children, they change their plans. Hospitals around the country have even tried to see if they can’t have some sort of exclave set up so that the women get what they want in the child’s passport, but that has never been allowed. Three days after birth, a child has to be registered in the locality where it was born, end of.

This article from Noord-Brabant even claims that residents of Valkenswaard “will die out” because they are being born in Veldhoven instead of Valkenswaard, which, if you think about it, could mean in the future almost an entire city full of people not born there just because the hospital is down the street. I say almost because of home births, but then people also move later in life.

My two siblings were born at a hospital in a city that they never lived in, while I was born at the same hospital many moons earlier, but actually lived in the city in question, albeit later in life. The hospital was rezoned roughly a decade ago and now all three of us have never lived in the city where the hospital is today.

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September 22, 2016

A regional Dutch accent means a smaller paycheck

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:22 pm

Women make less than men – check, white people make more than others – check, and in the same vein, Dutch people who speak with a regional accent get paid less, according to economy professor Jan van Ours of Tilburg University. Van Ours noticed that age, level of education or coming from a village or a city didn’t make a difference, but accents did.

Van Ours, who grew up with the dialect of Goeree-Overflakkee, South Holland, says nobody had ever done research into the economic impact of speaking with a regional accent before. While 40% of the Dutch have grown up with an accent, it is possible and plausible that people are discriminated against because of the way they speak. He also says that someone with a heavy Limburg accent working at a call centre could be more difficult to understand than someone who speaks standard Dutch (‘Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands’). I admit I called Dutch Rail once and hung up on someone who had an accent I couldn’t place that was so thick, I had no clue what they were saying. And sometimes when co-blogger Branko is tired and speaks to me with his Limburg accent, I have no clue, either.

There’s enough prejudice going around that if someone speaks with a heavy regional accent they are perceived as being dumber – I get this as a foreigner and it’s normal. Confirming this prejudice, foreigners and migrants also take lessons to get rid of their accent and sound more like standard Dutch speakers, including born and bred Amsterdam residents who speak with the city’s dialectal accent. Some people from areas like Het Gooi, North Holland have a specific accent, but because it’s a rich part of the country people don’t point out their accent as quickly as they do others.

24oranges HQ is run by two people with regional accents, but I don’t see us doing anything about it anytime soon.

(Link:, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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