It’s actually front page news that the Dutch military does not have to buy their own artic winter clothes for military exercises in Norway this month. A few days ago, the news was that the Dutch Ministry of Defense did not order winter clothes on time for them, with no explanation as to why they messed up, which probably means someone plain forgot or worse.
The military were asked to buy their own special winter clothes to the tune of 1000 euro per person, which was fronted by Defense. Defense claims it had to ‘possibly’ break its own rules on calls for tender to get the winter clothes on time to the more than 1000 military off to Norway later this month to carry out exercises. However, due to the time crunch, some military already bought their own gear.
What the hell was Defense thinking? Or were they thinking at all? Even Dutch Parliament was “very critical” of the idea of sending military who were given 1,000 euro to buy their own winter clothing. It may be 14 degrees in Oslo today, which is in the South of Norway, but it will be close to -20 soon enough in the North, and forgetting to equip your military is unsafe, dangerous and embarrassingly stupid.
The Dutch military have also had complaints about the quality of combat uniforms and even female military personnel have been forced to travel during work hours just to buy military approved bras.
Tags: cold, military, Ministry of Defense, norway, snow
Up until recently, altarpieces from the Middle Ages found in churches along the coast of Norway have been called Lübeck altarpieces, as experts assumed they were imported to Norway by the Hanseatics from Lübeck, Germany.
After analysing the altarpieces using advanced technical equipment such as an infrared camera, UV camera and electron microscope, research by Kristin Kausland of the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo (the only person to have a Ph”D. in conservation from a Norwegian university) has shown that major parts of these pieces were in fact made in Norway and not in Northern Germany. Paint fragments as well as gilding, type of wood, hinges and type of paint are some of the elements have helped reveal where an altarpiece was made.
The biggest surprise is that instead of figuring out if the altarpieces came from Norway or Germany, it turns out a lot of them were made in the Netherlands. In fact, 10 of the 60 altarpieces Kausland studied were made here, which is a big deal since according to her, almost all the altarpieces in the Netherlands were lost during the Protestant Reformation when the decision was taken to destroy church decorations. There’s also talk of a possible exhibition in the Netherlands at some stage to see what the fuss is all about.
(Link and image of a Dutch altarpiece from Western Norway: phys.org)
Tags: conservation, norway, Protestant Reformation
Two bodies washed ashore in two countries, three months apart, seemingly unrelated. However, a Dutch detective specialised in persons missing at sea, John Welzenbagh, noticed a curious similarity when Interpol’s “black notice” came in.
Both bodies were clad in the same wet suit, same brand, same type. Through an a RFID tag embedded in the suit of the victim that had washed ashore on the Dutch island of Texel, detective John Welzenbagh had traced the wetsuit back to a sports store in Calais, on the French side of the English Channel, but the items on the bill that was retrieved for that purchase didn’t match any type of diving expedition Welzenbagh — himself an accomplished diver — could think of.
That is where the trail died, until Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet decided to pick up the scent this year. They found out who the victims were and what brought them together in Calais on a fateful October day.
(Link: Metafilter; photo of a Texel beach by Ralph Schulze, some rights reserved)
Tags: beaches, Calais, detecting, detectives, divers, diving gear, English Channel, France, norway, refugees, Syria, wetsuits
This week Dutch junior justice minister Fred Teeven signed an agreement for the Netherlands to rent out its ‘luxury’ prison cells to Norwegian prisoners, as Norway’s jails are quite full. The cells are considered fancy because they have nice views, prisoners can grown and cook their own food, they can enjoy a hobby space and better television that most regular people, and can also choose the colour of one of their cell walls.
The Norwegians will be moving into those cells in a deal that will make the Dutch state 25 million euro and take away the privileges of the Dutch prisoners current using these cells. The Dutch prisoners are pissed and are taking the justice minister to court, while the Norwegians are pissed because family visits will be a problem, costing a lot of time and money.
In the past some 550 Belgian convicts were housed in Tilburg, but that’s not too far to visit and the language is pretty much the same.
(Link: www.businessinsider.com, Photo by Ken Mayer, some rights reserved)
Tags: norway, prison
According to business facilitator Iamsterdam, the high level of English proficiency in the Netherlands is only surpassed by that of Norway’s. All the Norwegians I have ever met speak English, even foreign national Norwegians.
The Netherlands ranks second in a proficiency index carried out, reflecting the fact that almost the entire Dutch population speaks English, especially in the greater Amsterdam area, a fact attributed to all the foreigners living there.
Some 80% of the workforce speaks English, making Amsterdam the largest anglophone city in continental Europe. Some 90% percent of the workforce speaks two or more languages.
To all the blind policy makers that keep saying you need Dutch to get a job in the Netherlands: it’s not true: thousands of expats, foreign nationals and immigrants live and work for years without learning proper Dutch and do just fine, whether you like that or not.
(Link: iamsterdam, Photo taken from Dunglish, a site with Dutch-English mistakes)
Tags: Amsterdam, business, language, norway
According to z24 (Dutch), the Netherlands is in second place on the so-called Misery Index, right after Japan. The index adds unemployment rate to inflation rate, and a high position (low value) indicates a healthy economy.
- Japan: 4,5
- Netherlands: 4,9
- Norway: 5,3
- Denmark: 5,5
- Switzerland: 5,6
- South Korea: 6,8
- Great-Britain: 7,3
- Australia: 7,5
- Austria: 7,9
- Luxemburg: 8,2
You could probably come up with all sorts of reservations against such an index. For starters, unemployment rates are notoriously unreliable, as they tend to be closer related to propaganda than to statistics. But even a Netherlands that is merely highish in the index might be still be doing well because of it. Z24 writer Mathijs Bouman points out that consumer confidence in the Netherlands took a dive the past half year from 15% to -2%. The factors that have a healing influence on lowered consumer confidence? Low unemployment and inflation rates.
Tags: economy, europe, inflation, japan, norway, statistics, unemployment