June 2, 2014

Eric Slot’s murder atlas of Amsterdam

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:18 am


The idyllic scene you see above is part of what was the most murder-stricken street of Amsterdam in the 20th century according to Eric Slot, author of the book Moordatlas van Amsterdam, which was published in early May.

The street is called is Oudezijds Achterburgwal, located in Amsterdam’s red light district. It is the location of many a sex worker’s place of business which is why, when AT5 interviewed Slot about his book two weeks ago, the interview took place on the second most murderous street, Zeedijk—prostitutes are said to have an aversion to cameras.

The book is the culmination of two decades of studying murder in Amsterdam. It describes a thousand murders of the 1,800 or so that took place in Amsterdam since the year 1900.

According to the publisher the book “notes trends, characterises neighbourhoods, shows you which professions are dangerous and explains the popularity of the knife in Amsterdam Noord”, and more.

The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in the world when it comes to murder with ‘only’ one murder per 100,000 inhabitants a year, but Amsterdam is one of the most ‘dangerous’ capitals of Europe with 3.7 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

The interview of AT5 with Slot is full of interesting titbits, including the fact that the inhabitants of Amsterdam themselves aren’t very violent—the problem usually stems from outsiders coming to the city. If you understand Dutch and have 30 minutes to spare, I suggest you watch it.

(Photo by Flickr user Taver, some rights reserved)

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November 17, 2013

Prositutes claim 1.2 million euro from procurers

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:18 pm

Ten former prostitutes are claiming 1.2 million euro from seven procurers before a court in The Hague.

The claim is part of a criminal case in which seven Hungarian men are accused of sex trafficking, AD reports. Twenty Hungarian women say the men forced them to hand over the money they made in prostitution. The damage claims run from 700 euro to 460,000 euro.

The sex trafficking case is the result of a police raid in April 2011 in the Doubletstraat in The Hague. The police cordoned off the street and talked to 157 prostitutes.

A court decision is expected in December.

(Photo of the Doubletstraat from Google Street View)

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July 3, 2012

The Dutch-Québec connection

Filed under: Food & Drink,Technology by Orangemaster @ 11:22 pm

Any links to be made between Dutch things and Québec ones are just me thinking that some things could be Dutch even if they aren’t. There’s nothing Dutch about the Keurig coffee maker, it comes from the US. However, ‘keurig’ in Dutch means ‘proper’, ‘neat’ and ‘trim’. I just have this feeling there could be a connection.

A Dutch oven is not an oven but a pan (duh), although the one I use, called a braadpan is apparently the same thing. These pots are made to fry things in as well, and then let them simmer. I had to get used to that as I always fry things in a frying pan first.

As for other Dutch things that people either know is Dutch or at least know they are European, Heineken beer is always one of them, as is TomTom navigation systems. TomTom apparently doesn’t have the best customer service in Canada, and charge extra for a bunch of things that Garmin (US) provides for free. I use my smartphone for navigation, while nobody does that here because a) no smartphone b) no mobile Internet (it’s like 45 CAD a month as compared to 5-10 euro a month in the Netherlands).

I also heard that the city of Montréal wants to move its prostitutes from the usual downtown spot to an industrial area like the Dutch do, called the ‘tippelzone’ (roughly, ‘hook up zone’). A ‘tippelzone’ is a municipally controlled area of town where prostitution is tolerated. The problem is, the Netherlands has tons of problems with theirs, and in Montréal, industrial businesses don’t want to be associated with prostitution — it’s bad for business. Hookers are very scared of working where the police wouldn’t normally come to help them if something went wrong.

I’m keeping my eyes open for any other connections.

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May 30, 2012

A film about old twin whores and their stories

Filed under: Film,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:18 am

Dutch documentary ‘Meet The Fokkens’ (in Dutch, ‘Ouwehoeren’, 2011) was recently sold to the US while showcased at the Cannes Film Festival. It will hit movie theatres in New York City on 8 August and can also be viewed during the 25th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam this November.

‘Ouwehoeren’, means both ‘old whores’, ‘whore’ being a neutral word here, and ‘chewing the fat’, as in talking about whatever, a bit like old people do. Fokkens is a proper Dutch last name, but coincidentally sounds dirty in English, surely a nod to 2004 movie title Meet the Fockers.

In the trailer below one of the sisters is putting mountains of whipped creamed on a thick, yellow alcoholic beverage, called ‘advocaat’ (the yellow stuff above), which is often associated with old people.

Twin sisters Louise and Martine Fokkens have been working in the red light district of Amsterdam for 50 years. Despite many setbacks and a great deal of negativity from those outside the world of prostitution, these strong, optimistic and humorous women have managed to survive all those years with verve […] The twins tell amusing tales of how they came to be in this line of work, how they eventually went into business for themselves, and how relationships in the world of prostitution have changed over the years. Louise stopped two years ago, but Martine is still working – she also wants to quit, but her financial situation won’t allow for it, she claims.

(Links: www.shownieuws.tv, www.idfa.nl, Photo of Avocaat drinks by Ulterior Epicure, some rights reserved)

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March 11, 2011

Amsterdam to pay hookers and marijuana parlours to quit

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 5:56 am

The downtown district of Amsterdam will start offering subsidies to ‘undesirable’ companies if they change their type of business. The district lists so called coffeeshops (marijuana parlours), currency exchanges, massage parlours, prostitutes, small supermarkets, and other businesses that draw tourists to the city as eligible for a subsidy.

The borough wants to kill all kinds of economic activities in order to increase the variety of economic activities. Don’t ask me, I just live here.

See also: Unesco pulls trigger on Amsterdam.

Link: Plein Plus. Photo by Wikimedia user Bachrach44 who placed it in the public domain.

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April 12, 2010

Bed and breakfast at former madam’s

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:37 pm

Xaviera Hollander is a former New York call-girl and madam who got world famous with her autobiography The Happy Hooker. Nowadays she runs a bed and breakfast from her villa in the posh part of Amsterdam (right around my corner, although I live in the ‘poor’ part of the posh part).

She has two rooms on offer and a chalet in the back yard, the cheapest for 100 euro, and there is a sort of half-promise of being entertained by the ‘author, Penthouse columnist, legend, performer, [and] raconteur’ Xaviera Hollander herself. If you like, you can let her husband Philip cook you dinner.

(Source image: xavierahollander.com)

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March 18, 2010

Bring your whore some flowers

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:43 pm
Moulin Rouge

Youth television and radio channel BNN has declared 15 March ‘National Whore’s Day’. They surely mean well and believe sex workers should be given a bouquet of roses as a token of appreciation for their hard work. It already sounds too much like North America’s ‘Secretary’s Day’ now known as the more politically correct ‘Administrative Professionals Day’. There’s also Mother’s Day that made it over to the Netherlands and again involves giving flowers. I see a pattern here.

According to estimates, since actual numbers are hard to come by, some 0.6% of Dutch women between the ages of 15 and 46 can be classified as sex workers, including someone with a sugar daddy, a rich man who gives out money or expensive gifts to poorer, younger women in return sexual favours. (Yup, you’re a whore too, girlfriend).

Also according to this article, some 300,000 Dutch men frequent whores a few times a year. “Let us hope that clients [men] have time today [15 March] to bring the working girls some flowers. They should also buy flowers for their partners while they are at it, since surveys show that 70 to 80% of pro’s clients have partners.

(Link: kennislink.nl)

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November 28, 2009

Yab Yum the musical

Filed under: Shows by Branko Collin @ 2:37 pm

Gossip ‘journalist’ Henk van der Meyden and sex boss Theo Heuft have teamed up to produce a musical about the latter’s former brothel, Yab Yum.

Yab Yum, named after a Tantric position called ‘woman on top’ in the West, was the iconic brothel of the Netherlands until it was closed down last year by the city of Amsterdam using the dubious Bibob law, which allows local governments to refuse permits on the basis of rumours.

Speaking of which, it was rumoured that Yab Yum was the place where one brought business associates if deals needed to be closed.

According to Radio Netherlands, Heuft told the Telegraaf (Van der Meyden’s employer):

It’s an honour that there’s going to be a musical about my life’s work. That’s what Yab Yum was. I mounted prostitution in a golden frame.

[The musical will allow us] to enter a world of beautiful young women, of glamour and glitter.

(Photo by Chana de Wolf, some rights reserved.)

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November 24, 2009

A canal of whores at the London Gallery

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 6:16 pm

The Hoerengracht (literally ‘whore canal’) is the clever name of an exhibition by Americans Ed and Nancy Kienholz currently at the National Gallery in London featuring ‘an artistic re-creation of Amsterdam’s red light district’.

Althought the play on words is excellent, this sentence, however, is rubbish: “The Herengracht, or Gentlemen’s Canal, is home to Amsterdam’s prostitutes, who famously sit in windows to ply their trade.”

The Herengracht has beautiful houses, lawyers, offices, a few nice restaurants, but no whores. The nearest girls are on the Spui, roughly two streets down. So much for fact checking.

Someone on television said this exhibition would come to Amsterdam, and I wonder why anyone would bother looking at some artsy-farty rendering of the real thing when we can go, see and even experience the real thing. I could be missing the point, who knows.

(Link: independent.co.uk, Photo is Red Light District of The Hague)

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September 3, 2009

Amsterdam bullies critical group into dropping name and logo

Filed under: Architecture,General by Branko Collin @ 10:08 am

A group of Amsterdam citizens critical of the way the city is run has decided to change its name and logo under heavy pressure of the city government, Volkskrant reported last week (Dutch).

The group called Ai! Amsterdam (meaning Ouch! Amsterdam, a play on the official city marketing slogan of the city, I Amsterdam) has publicly criticized the city’s ban on drinking-while-standing, the gradual closing down of the Red Light district, and other less illuminated measures. The city has threatened with costly legal procedures if the group do not give up their name and logo, procedures which the group estimate would cost them tens of thousands of euro.

Ai! Amsterdam points out to De Pers (Dutch) that the city centre’s candidacy for becoming a UNESCO world heritage site (not just the canals, the entire city centre!) threatens the liveliness and openness of the city even further, creating a real risk of Amsterdam becoming just as staid as Bruges, Belgium, which is also a world heritage site. I think the group are underexaggerating things. At least Bruges started out boring. Amsterdam on the other hand has something to lose.

Ironically, the official I Amsterdam manifesto proclaims: “It’s time for Amsterdam to speak out for itself and make its relevance known in a proud, supportive and positive manner.”

(Illustration: the old Ai! Amsterdam logo, source: Ai!)

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