April 26, 2013

Marijuana seeds with orange tops for the Queen

Filed under: Nature,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:27 pm

Coffeeshop owner Theo Buissink of Groningen wants to launch a bunch of orange-coloured helium balloons with marijuana seeds in them with the text ‘Thank you Majesty’, referring to Queen Beatrix who will abdicate the throne on 30 April. When the balloons burst at high altitude, the seeds will spread and marijuana plants will grow all over the country. The plants will have orange tops, as the owner claims to have had those specially cultivated for the occasion. The first plants should start appearing in September 2013. The coffeeshop is appropriately called ‘De Vliegende Hollander’ (‘The Flying Dutchman’).

The whole thing makes for a nice animation video in your head using your imagination.

“When Willem-Alexander was 18 we sent him joints for his birthday. Now he will get an empty container that he can fill up with weed in our shop during his visit to Groningen.”

Here’s the story in Dutch:

(Link: opmerkelijk.nieuws.nl)

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April 16, 2013

Thom Roep quits as Donald Duck editor after 39 years

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 2:14 pm

Comics writer Thom Roep (61) has announced in an interview with nu.nl that he will quit as Editor-in-Chief of one of the country’s most successful magazines of the past 50 years, Donald Duck.

Roep said the growing importance of the Internet for the franchise was his reason for leaving. All the major Disney characters have Dutch Twitter accounts and Roep feels that “it is no longer credible that I lead a team that is concerned with, and enthusiastic about, things that just do not mean as much to me. I am so old-fashioned that I read tweets from paper. I am a paper man. That is why it is time for a younger person to take over, somebody who is interested in the digital side of things. I do not want to be a pretender.”

Donald Duck was founded in 1952 as a weekly when other countries already had Disney magazines. The magazine managed to sell at least 300,000 issues each week until recently, mainly because it relies on subscriptions. Roep thinks its success stems from the fact that “[the magazine] is passed from generation to generation. Parents want to give their children the same pleasant childhood memories as they had. Let’s be honest though: if the magazine did not exist and it was started now, it would not manage to sell 10% of what we sell now. Would a white duck in a sailor suit be successful?”

Sales figures have been dropping—currently they are at 278,000 issues—and publisher Sanoma have been producing themed issues to get more advertisers on board. Today a special issue about the inauguration of the new king was released (see illustration). It contains a story, Abduckation, that according to Roep refers to a famous saying that was popular around the time Beatrix became queen. I am guessing this refers to ‘geen woning, geen kroning’ (no coronation when there is a shortage of houses), the slogan under which squatters disrupted Beatrix’s inauguration.

Roep wants to return to writing comics. In the past he has written the Douwe Dabbert series which was drawn by Piet Wijn.

See also: Students prefer Donald Duck magazine over serious newspaper.

Disclaimer: I have written stories for Donald Duck magazine.

(Image: Donald Duck)

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April 13, 2013

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is back in business

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 4:04 pm

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam today.

The museum had been closed for a decade for renovations by Spanish architectural firm Cruz y Ortiz, Miami Herald writes. The Queen was wearing a simple brown outfit and one of her trademark hats in what must have been one of her last public performances. I thought she looked lively yet old.

The Queen symbolically opened the museum by twisting a giant key in a giant lock, after which fireworks were lit.

A lot more people than I had expected had shown up, thousands drawn perhaps by the promise of a free visit to the museum, which will be open to anyone until midnight, France 24 reports. It was so busy it almost seemed like young Canadian pop star Justin Bieber had arrived in the city… oh wait.

The opening was accompanied by the musical performances of 13 marching bands from all over the kingdom. The bands marched up and down a wide orange ramp that would later be used to let the general public enter the museum. After the opening, the bands spread out over Museum Plein. The Caribbean band was especially very popular and completely locked in by onlookers.

As The Independent writes, the Rijksmuseum was originally intended as the home of classic Dutch masters. “But what were they smoking when the management of the foremost Dutch museum and the Government Building Agency predicted the task would take just three years?” Part of the problem, the paper writes, was the way the government looked at requests for tenders, which was that everything should be done on the cheap. The underlying idea, not to be frivolous with public money, was good, but the result was decades of cost overruns and sometimes plain shoddy work. (The Rijksmuseum does look good though.)

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February 4, 2013

What the Dutch have against their queen and more royal news

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:31 am

After Queen Beatrix announced her abdication, the entire Dutch web was trying to find royal angles for their stories.

Phonology professor Marc van Oostendorp points out how un-Dutch the word for queen, koningin, is and how people subconsciously try to avoid pronouncing it the correct way, koa-ning-in. According to Van Oostendorp, the ng-sound is never followed by a stressed syllable in Dutch. Words like tango and bingo (borrowed from Spanish and American English respectively) are pronounced tang-go and bing-go.

That leaves the female form of koning in an awkward position. The word for a female role is often produced by taking the male or generic form and adding ‘-in’ to it—Van Oostendorp gives boerin (farmer) and bazin (boss) as examples. But with koning+in this leads to a problem, because the combination is un-Dutch. The result is that we, the rabble, sharpen our linguistic pitchforks and guillotines and cut the title of one of our most beloved figures to ribbons. The word becomes koa-ni-xin or even koa-ni-gin (x is like the ch in loch, but voiced).

Things could be worse. When Napoleon Bonaparte made his brother Louis king of a conquered Netherlands, the new king tried to speak Dutch, but he wasn’t (yet) very good at it. The story goes that he accidentally called himself Konijn van ‘olland, rabbit of Holland.

Did you know that when Willem-Alexander becomes king, he will not be crowned? This is because crowning symbolizes a divine right to rule, whereas in the Netherlands, the people confer that right, which makes sense because we built this land, not the gods. To be honest I did not know this either.

According to NRC, this tradition has religious roots. It was the Protestants that protested a coronation, as they considered it too Catholic. The article further lists the following titbits:

  • The abdication will take place at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, the inauguration at the New Church (1600, next door).
  • Princess Máxima’s family will not be present (her father was a member of the Argentinian junta in the 1970s-1980s).
  • Titles: King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, Princess of Orange Amalia Beatrix.
  • Fresh euro coins and stamps will have Willem-Alexander’s portrait on them (the old ones will still be valid). The names of naval vessels will be prefixed ZM instead of HM (Zijne Majesteit).
  • The King and Queen will move to one of palaces in The Hague, Huis ten Bosch. Currently Queen Beatrix lives there; she will move back to her old bachelor pad Castle Drakensteyn (‘dragonstone’) between Utrecht, Hilversum and Amersfoort—a house she bought when she was young.
  • The children of Princes Magriet and Prince Constantijn will no longer be members of the royal family after 30 April. The paper has a handy infographic explaining the line of succession.

Trendbeheer reports that Ad van Hassel has already made a state portrait of the future king. “Since Van Hassel did not have a suitable photo of the prince, he went to Madam Tussaud’s to use the wax statue of the prince as a model.” Filed under ‘the alternative circuit’.

Bright writes that there has been a rush on royal domain names. Last Monday twice as many domain names than usual were registered. Koningsdag2013.nl up to koningsdag2030.nl have all been registered. The RVD (Netherlands Government Information Service) can try and expropriate domain names through the courts if the names are likely to confuse visitors about who is behind a site.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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June 23, 2011

First ever coins with QR codes issued are Dutch

Filed under: Dutch first,General,Technology by Orangemaster @ 2:10 pm

The Netherlands is the first country in the world to issue coins that are legal tender with QR codes on them. The Royal Mint decided to celebrate the 100th year annivesary of the mint building with this unique coin. One side features a 3D portrait of Queen Beatrix and on the other, when scanned, goes to a special page created for the occasion, activated yesterday by the Queen.

Like many other people, we are wowed by the Dutch design coolness of the whole thing, but not really wowed by their web page. We do understand how cool it could be in the future to have QR codes used for educational purposes about coins and what is pictured on them.

The coin was designed by mint designer, Juan José Sánchez Castaño.

(Links and photo: dutchcowgirls.nl, dvice.com, q5g)

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January 1, 2010

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine helps clean out social networking accounts

Filed under: Online by Branko Collin @ 2:03 pm

“Wenn ich Facebook höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning!” I am not sure those were the exact words Queen Beatrix uttered during her most recent Christmas speech, but it was something to that effect.

If you desire to hark her majesty’s caution against the pervasive and dehumanizing nature of social networks, you can now use the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine to obliterate your Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts in minutes rather than the hours a manual purge would take.

The site at suicidemachine.org will unfriend your friends, untweet your tweets and so on, but will leave the accounts intact. The process cannot be stopped. Afterwards, go introduce yourself to your neighbour, or read a book or something.

New Year’s Day is one of hope, the site, built by Rotterdam media lab called Moddr, won’t function today.

See also:

(Link: Sargasso.)

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March 19, 2009

Keukenhof flower exhibition turns 60

Filed under: Art,Nature,Shows by Branko Collin @ 11:07 am

The Keukenhof flower exhibition, what Wikipedia calls “the world’s largest flower garden,” turns 60 this year. Last Wednesday Queen Beatrix opened this sixtieth edition, according to Blik op Nieuws (Dutch), which is themed ‘USA, New Amsterdam – New York, 400’ in honour of the claiming of the region by Henry Hudson in 1609, followed 15 years later by the foundation of New Amsterdam, which is now called New York.

Part of the exhibition is a giant flowerbed depicting the Statue of Liberty, which is not in bloom yet.

Photo by Nguyen Dai, some rights reserved.

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August 2, 2007

Journalist fined for insulting Queen Beatrix

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:10 am

Are you a journalist and bored with the lack of exciting news this summer? Then you too should try and insult the Queen!

A 17-year-old journalist of Spunk magazine was caught together with her cameraman for – you guessed it – insulting the Queen. She was wearing a T-shirt that read “The Queen is a whore” (in Dutch of course). To make her point she also had a T-shirt that read “All moslims are goat fuckers”, which refers to a comment made by the late Theo van Gogh to prove that freedom of speech was an issue in the Netherlands, especially with Moslims.

The journalist and cameraman asked passers-by which text was more insulting and while interviewing people, were fined and their T-shirts and film were confiscated. They were also jailed for three hours. And then they made the news.

(Link: rtl.nl)

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