December 11, 2013

Dutch railways to exhibit weird lost and found items

Filed under: Art,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Dutch railways (NS) plans to put on display the oddest items of the past couple of years from its lost and found collection in an exhibit entitled – you guessed it – Lost and Found, starting this Thursday, 12 December until Saturday 14 December on platform No. 2 at Amsterdam Central Station. 24oranges plans on being there when it starts and will report back to you with pictures. Some of the items featured in the exhibit include a prosthetic leg, a 1950s dress, a suitcase full of fake cash and the key to a Porsche.

On average 80,000 items are left in trains and at train stations, and 45% of the time, they are returned to their rightful owner. The Dutch railways lost and found collection piles up in Utrecht, the country’s biggest train station.

They’ll also be a pop-up store where you can actually buy lost and found items that have been restyled by art students from Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The money will go to the nature and environment foundation, Natuur & Milieu.

(Link:, Photo by Jason Rogers, some rights reserved)

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November 8, 2013

The trend of sharing unstamped train tickets through Facebook

Filed under: General,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:09 am

Sharing unstamped train tickets started with a Facebook page for Utrecht Central Station, the country’s biggest train station, with 9,400 likes and counting, and is spreading like wildfire to the rest of the country. Although many people now use a public transport chip card for train travel, paper tickets are still available until next year, and this trick works with paper tickets. It all started with a girl who took a picture of her train ticket and put it on Facebook to share it. Then three guys picked up the idea and started Facebook pages to do the same, with rumours of developing an app.

I plan to go from Amsterdam to Utrecht and back the same day. I buy a paper train ticket, get in the train, travel, and go back to Amsterdam in time for dinner. The train staff didn’t stamp my train ticket, so it can be used again for the same trip. The goal of the Facebook page is to share these tickets by leaving them somewhere at a train station, making someone’s else day, with a small treasure hunt as a bonus.

Technically a train ticket cannot be used twice and it is illegal to do so, but if nobody checks, nothing can be proven, and it’s been like that for ages. So why is it trendy now? Social media makes it easier to share these tickets and the prices keep going up, but not the service, so people are getting creative. As well, finding out that Dutch railways (NS) has been evading taxes to the tune of 250 million euro by buying trains through Ireland will make you stop your moral questioning since the NS is not burdened by any such feelings.

Then again, these Facebook pages are encouraging people to commit fraud, which won’t get the NS to check train tickets more often as they simply do not have the staff for it. The sharing is also not very convenient for one way tickets.

Either way, the message is clear: train tickets are too expensive and people are not happy with the NS.

(Links:,, Photo of train by Flickr user UggBoy hearts UggGirl, some rights reserved)

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October 18, 2008

Lesbian couples marry for free in the train

Filed under: Literature,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:00 am
Lesbian wedding

Three lesbian couples will be married next week on Tuesday, 21 October in the train. The idea of having lesbian couples marry in the train is part of a reading campaign of the NS (Dutch railways) called ‘Nederland Leest’ (‘The Netherlands reads’).

The campaign features Harry Mulisch’s book ‘Twee vrouwen’ (‘Two women’), a book with a homosexual theme, which explains the preference for lesbian couples. The witnesses (best man and best woman) will be known Dutch journalists Annejet van Zijl and Philip Freriks.

The marriages will be held in a special train that will run between the stations of Naarden-Bussum and Utrecht.


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October 9, 2008

Dutch railways upset about popular iPhone application

Filed under: General,Online by Orangemaster @ 9:47 am
iPhone beaver

The NS (Dutch railways) is not pleased with the Dutch iPhone application ‘Trein’ (‘Train’) developed by IT student Dennis Stevense. The programme fully optimises data from the NS’ mobile site for the iPhone and is currently at the top of the list of applications you can buy in the Netherlands, costing a mere 2,39 euro. A spokesperson for the NS told that the student did not get permission from them to use their schedules and that they plan to release their own application shortly.

The question is whether train schedule information is covered by copyright law. I’ve asked a copyright lawyer this morning and will keep you posted.

UPDATE: Dutch copyright lawyer and photographer Olivier says:

“Not likely to qualify for copyright, but perhaps database protection. The schedules may not qualify for database protection if NS is not able to show that it invested (spent money) in the database, separately from the investment made in the operation of the trains. (The schedule database may be a so-called spin-off from the main activity of making the trains run on time, and informing the NS customers about the schedule.) The spin-off exemption to protection is not always applied correctly though.

Even if it qualifies for database protection, I am not sure that the *app* (and, consequently app maker) would infringe on the database rights, as it apparently only allows the *user* to more easily access the NS database. As far as I know, cases in the Netherlands have always dealt with instances where the content/database from one site was extracted in some manner or fashion to a database on another site.

And then there is always tort.”

(Link:, Photo: Stevenojobs)

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May 6, 2008

Sleeping on the job for train staff

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 9:17 am

On Monday in Maastricht, Limburg, the Dutch railways (NS) installed the first ‘reclining seat’ at the train station for use by train personnel. While on the job, train staff can take a 15-minute nap, sitting on this vibrating seat. The idea is that the seat will lull those hard workers to sleep in order to have them fresh and alert on long train rides across the country.

If a train driver falls asleep on the job, it can have fatal consequences for everyone on board a train. Every year some 250 train drivers from the Netherlands and abroad drive right through a red signal.

This picture is from an accident that happened right in Amsterdam Central Station a few years back.

(Link:, Photo: ruudvisser)

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