January 24, 2011

Cooking club rides bikes and sails boats to local farms

Filed under: Bicycles,Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 10:05 am

“The people here have no idea where they can buy locally grown food,” Kook Company’s Saskia van Deijk told daily De Pers. “That’s why when it is summer we take the boat to nearby cheese farms and the bakfiets to farmers. Once we’ve stocked up on ingredients we return to our building which is right on the river Rhine and prepare our meals.”

These meals are surprising variations on the Dutch kitchen: cold cauliflower mousse and profiteroles with a Gouda cheese sauce, or spinach poffertjes. The Kook in the name is not a reference to a mental state, but simply means ‘cooking’ in Dutch.

Photo: Kookcompany

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February 25, 2009

Pre-dug beach holes in Katwijk

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 8:51 am

The city of Katwijk is going to pay students to dig holes at the beach which can then be rented out to tourists for an expected 4.50 euro a day, Algemeen Dagblad reports (Dutch). Apart from doing its bit to help fight the economic crisis, the Citymarketing Katwijk foundation also insists these holes fill a real need. This is borne out, the foundation claims, by a poll held among 300 people.

A popular view among the Dutch is that German tourists like to dig holes when ‘occupying’ a Dutch beach, but the foundation says it’s not just our Eastern neighbours who expressed interest in Katwijk’s rent-a-holes.

Katwijk is located at the mouth of the Old Rhine, a river that stopped having major economic import when it silted up around 1,000 A.D.

Photo of the sea at Katwijk by Michael Brys, some rights reserved. Via Z24 (Dutch).

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April 7, 2008

Buran passes through the Netherlands

Filed under: Design,History by Branko Collin @ 12:02 pm

Illustration: the Buran space shuttle on display at the MAKS air show, 1997. Public domain photo by Kobel.

One of the 10 Soviet space shuttles ever built traveled through the Netherlands last weekend on its way to its final destination in Germany. The shuttle, an atmospheric test model code-named OK-GLI or BTS-02, was shipped from Bahrain to Rotterdam, and from there was moved by river barge over the Rhine to the Technik Museum Speyer in Mannheim, German.

The story of the Soviet space shuttle is one of the most interesting of our time. The Soviets saw the Americans build a space shuttle, but could not figure out what it was for. So they built their own, and found out what NASA was desperately trying to hide: that in terms of effectiveness and launch costs, the shuttle is an inferior solution to current non-reusable launch technology (nowadays NASA shuttles costs USD 1 billion per launch). Astronautix even concludes: “The cost of Buran—14.5 billion rubles, a significant part of the effort to maintain strategic and technical parity with the United States—contributed to the collapse of the Soviet system and the demise of the spacecraft.”

The OK-GLI model was never intended to be launch tested. Instead, it was fitted with jet engines so that it could take off and land on its own, and was used to test atmospheric handling of the Buran shuttles. Later it was used as a demonstration model at airshows. It was bought by an Australian company which wanted to use it for the same purpose, but while the OK-GLI was in transit in Bahrain, its owner went bankrupt and the shuttle was stored for four years in parts at a junkyard.

The re-built shuttle drew crowds on its tour through the country, according to Blik op Nieuws (Dutch). Yesterday it passed Nijmegen, its tail clipped to fit under a bridge filled with onlookers.

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