December 31, 2017

Branko’s favourite stories of 2017

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 7:24 pm

fireworks-branko-collinOn the dying hours of the year, I present you with my favourite postings of 2017. If you only read this in the next year, I hope you are washing away your last traditional oliebol with a mug of strong coffee.

In 2017, parents wanted their children to be born in the ‘right’ hospital, not because of the care they would receive, but because of the birth certificate; it had to list the proper city. As if the birth place of your child were some cool brand.

A bicycle bridge was 3D printed and installed in Gemert. Plastic tchotchkes resembling Delftware miniature houses managed to sell enough at 50 euro a piece to make an overpriced kickstarter succeed.

Cool teacher Matthijs Jansen has been busy inventing gym class games to keep his students happy. The kids seem to appreciate the effort, with one girl saying he is the coolest ‘meester’ (male teacher) of the school. “To be fair”, she added, “he is the only meester we have.”

The world-famous bike path underneath the even more famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has been making the Dutch capital a lot of money. The city has fined 27,000 moped owners 90 euro each for illegally using the path. If you need to go from the city center to the South of Amsterdam or vice versa, that bike path is often the fastest route.

Other stories from 2017 that drew my eye were:

Finally a ton of casual sexism portrayed the Netherlands in a bad light (here, here, here and here), and to top this off, the top 15 richest Dutch artists are all men.

See also: Branko’s favourite postings of 2016.

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January 7, 2012

Welcoming the new year with a cannon

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 4:36 pm

Carbidschieten (igniting calcium carbide in a milk churn) is a popular New Year’s eve tradition in the rural areas of the Netherlands.

It seems that these days milk churns are considered too small for a decent bang, and bigger and better cannons are built. Not always with the desired effect. The following video’s were shot in Triemen in Friesland on December 31.

(Video: Youtube / Vancha112)

(Video: Youtube / Uko van der Meulen)

Both videographers have more vids of ‘carbide shooting’ on their Youtube accounts.

Kids should not try this at home.

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January 1, 2011

Winner new year’s lottery has to pay income tax twice

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 3:50 pm

The Dutch revenue service (Belastingdienst) has announced that the winner of the Staatsloterij Jackpot will have to pay income tax over these winnings for both 2010 and 2011.

Since 2001 the Dutch income tax is divided into three parts, a tax on wages, a tax on business interests (including dividends), and a tax on savings and investments. The latter category is calculated by taking the money you own on December 31 and the money you own on January 1 of that same year, and halving it. You then pay a one percent tax on the resulting average, the idea being that an average person should be able to realize a profit each year on their savings of investments of 4%, which is essentially a sort of income.

The tax service takes its own formulas very serious and figures that since the prize is won in the dying seconds of 2010, the winner also has to pay this tax on savings over 2010, even if they have not been able to collect and enjoy the prize.

Tax law professor Ruben Freudenthal has been quizzing his students for years on exactly this eventuality, and sides with the Belastingdienst. He told Financieel Dagblad: “Right after the draw the lottery ticket becomes valuable. You could sell it to somebody else.”

The 2010 lottery had a jackpot worth 27.5 million euro. The 2010 tax would amount to 137,500 euro.

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January 1, 2009

Baby born on flight to Boston, USA

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 5:56 pm

A baby was born on New Year’s Eve on Northwest Airlines Flight 59 from Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam to Boston, USA, reports Fox News. Phil Orlandella, spokesperson for Logan International Airport, said that a doctor and paramedic who happened to be on board assisted with the birth. Upon arrival the baby was treated as a Canadian citizen, as it was born while flying over Canada.

I would assume that births in airplanes to the US are rare, as women who are more than 32 weeks pregnant a rarely allowed to fly on American flights.

Welcome to this big blue marble, baby, and a happy new year to you, and also a happy new year to all our readers!

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