January 13, 2008

Most visitors still to Efteling; loses number 1 brand spot to Ikea

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 6:51 pm

Illustration: Houses at Efteling in Anton Pieck style, photo by Danny Haak. Some rights reserved. 

Amusement park Efteling is still the most visited attraction in the Netherlands according to RTL (Dutch). The zoos at the number two and three spots of 2006 changed places last year; Blijdorp came in second, and Burgers third. Burgers feels the swap can be explained by the extra attention Blijdorp got after gorilla Bokito escaped there.

Efteling suffered a blow in another ranking though: that of strongest brand of the Netherlands. Where it led two years ago, now it has to let foreign companies Ikea (1st) and Google (2nd) ahead. The amusement park based in Noord-Brabant comes in fourth, according to the ad agency Consult Brand Strategy (Dutch, PDF), after Cliniclowns (care clowns).

In 1952 Efteling opened its doors to the public. The park was designed by Anton Pieck, whose pictures of small winding streets with crooked, cosy houses found a welcome echo in the park’s architecture and landscaping. Originally little more than a tea house in green surroundings, the park soon added its fairy tale forest with life size depictions of well known fairy tales (trick question: name three of the seven dwarfs from Snow White), and from the 1970s onwards it acquired all the usual amusement park traits such as dark rides, fast rides, a hotel and a golf course.

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December 29, 2007

Dolphins outperform market analysts

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 4:15 pm

Dolphins perform better at the stock market than market analysts do, a recent experiment at the Harderwijk Dolfinarium suggests. The animals got to pick five balls that represented companies. Five stock analysts got to pick five companies that they thought would do well in the market. After a year, the dolphins’ stock had increased 27% in value, but that of all but one of the analysts had decreased in value. The one analyst that made a profit only made 10%.

In previous years similar experiments were done with a gorilla, with similar results. The gorilla got to pick from a number of labelled bananas that represented companies, and made a profit of 15% above market index. Obligatory joke: they had to switch to dolphins because the gorilla kept eating the bananas.

Link: Eamelje.net.

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June 24, 2007

Famous Dutch biologist faces jail time

Filed under: Animals,General by Orangemaster @ 11:57 am

Dutch monkey researcher Marc van Roosmalen faces 14 years in a Brazilian prison. He has been convicted of failing to apply for a licence for the monkey refuge at his home in the Amazon region of Brazil. Mr Van Roosmalen, hailed in 2000 by Time Magazine as a “hero for the planet”, is appealing against the sentence. Living and working for years in the Amazon, he has discovered several new species of monkey, one of which reminded him of Prince Bernhard. He named it “Callicebus Bernhardi” and five years ago he visited Soestdijk Palace to inform the now dearly departed prince in person.

Bert de Boer, director of Apenheul, a zoo and conservation organisation in Apeldoorn, Gelderland describes Mr Van Roosmalen as “A great conservationist.” He suspects that big companies have bribed the government to act against the vociferous biologist.

(Link: Radio Netherlands)

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June 13, 2007

More monkey business in Rotterdam

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:04 am

A passer-by in the Arent van ‘s Gravensandestraat in Rotterdam had to first rub his eyes before he could believe what he was seeing swinging in a tree: a small ape was hiding in one of the branches.

The police do not know where the ape comes from or what type it is (hey, it’s not a gorilla!). They’ve had to dispatch an ‘ape specialist’.

Although it’s cute, it feels like someone let him out of his cage by mistake.

(Link and Photo: gelderlander)

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May 24, 2007

Bokito the gorilla becomes a brand

Filed under: Animals,Gadgets by Orangemaster @ 9:28 am

Bokito is no longer that world-famous gorilla that broke out of its pen at the Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp) last week, it is also a brand name with CDs, printed materials, clothing and advertising, although the gorilla already had its own clothing line at bokitoshop.nl (which from what I can gather, is under construction). Some other advertising features Bokito plugging potatoes. The zoo is trying to stop this madness by forcing the potato folks to stop. And people at the pub are talking about how terrible it is for people to profit from other people’s misery. Ironically, the Dutch have a word for that, ‘leedvermaak’ (roughly, malicious pleasure).

(Link: zibb)

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May 20, 2007

Gorilla was teased by visitors

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 6:28 pm

So, what was that lesson many children learn about not teasing animals? No wait, not only did children apparently throw rocks at the gorilla, but the woman who was attacked and bitten had stared down the animal in a way you’re not supposed to, according to the zoo’s staff. She claimed that when she laughed, the gorilla seemed to laugh back, but in fact, this was a facial expression denoting “I’m gonna get you if you keep doing that”.

(Link: Dag)

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May 19, 2007

Gorilla runs amok in Dutch zoo

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 11:22 am

Yesterday afternoon, in the Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp), the almost adult gorilla male Bokito escaped from his pen (crib? pad?) and basically attacked a woman by biting her. Then, he popped over to the terrace of the Oewanja restaurant at the zoo and totally freaked people out. An employee of the restaurant was (is still?) in shock and the zoo is offering victim help. How this happened is as yet unknown. The fact that he could swim and cross the moat in his pen/crib/pad is a mystery to the keepers, as they say gorillas cannot swim. Maybe this is a real Dutch water gorilla.

Moral of the story: we cage up wild animals for our own pleasure and we don’t like it when they take off and attack people.

(Link: Diergaarde Blijdorp, via Netherlands Post)

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May 4, 2007

Oldest Dutch chimp turns 50

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 9:24 am

Mama, the oldest Dutch chimp in the Netherlands, turned 50 yesterday. She is already a great-grandmother and helps settle fights between many younger, fighting males. The Burgers’s Zoo in Arnhem is the first zoo in Europa that let chimpanzees live together in a group, something that was never allowed because biologists were afraid that they would fight and contract diseases. Mama is world-famous. Many biologists have written about her behaviour and social intelligence. She is still very healthy.

(Link: RTL Nieuws)

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