June 27, 2016

One step closer to cleaning up the oceans

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:42 pm

Boyan Slat, the young Dutch inventor who came up with an inventive way of cleaning up the oceans, has recently unveiled the prototype of his ‘ambitious sea-cleaning device’ in Scheveningen, South Holland.

“Why move through the ocean if the ocean can move through you?” Slat asked at a press conference during the unveiling. He plans to use a 100-kilometre long V-shaped barrier made up of large, rubber pillow-shaped buoys floating on the ocean surface that trail a three-metre long curtain from its arms into the water.

Slat hopes to fully roll out the system in 2020, which could capture up to 3,000 cubic metres of plastic soup. Find out more at The Ocean Clean Up.

(Link: phys.org, Photo: screenshot of Tedx presentation)

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May 20, 2016

Wanted mafia boss ran top pizza joint

Filed under: Food & Drink,Health by Orangemaster @ 10:51 am

For years in Scheveningen Rocco Gasperoni of the ‘Ndrangheta’ or Calabrian mafia was happily making the best pizzas the neighbourhood had even eaten until his arrest about a week ago.

And his story reads like a movie. His criminal activities date back to 1997 where he was arrested in Spain, then sentenced to 14 years of hard time for smuggling drugs between Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. He was eventually placed in house arrest and managed to flee to the Netherlands.

The Italian government tried to have Gasperoni extradited, but apparently messed up the paperwork and he was free again. Then he opened up a few shops, but the pizza shop is the one that made him popular, although neighbours claimed that shady characters would visit the joint and sit in dark corners. And then the Italians tried to extradite Gasperoni again, but since he had been in the Netherlands for so long, it didn’t stick and more pizzas were made.

As of a week ago Gasperoni will be doing 12 years of a 14-year sentence in a Dutch prison. Dutch authorities blame the differences between Italian and Dutch laws for why it took so much time to put him away.

(Links: www.ad.nl, 20min.ch, Photo of Pizza pie by Adam Kuban, some rights reserved)

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January 4, 2016

Duindorp wins bonfire battle, sets new world record

Filed under: General,Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am


On 31 December the battle of the Christmas bonfires in South Holland was heatedly contested between Duindorp in the North and Scheveningen in the South, both on the beach. Current world record holder Duindorp ignited its fiery rivalry against Scheveningen to win by 50 metres in height, with a fire that was 4,000 cubic metres.

Duindorp took the win with a stack measuring 33.80 metres in height as compared to Scheveningen’s stack of 33.30 metres, which made all the difference, setting a new world record, confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records who I guess kept warm and took notes.

On January 3 in Amsterdam families and friends got together on the Museumplein with the Rijksmuseum as a backdrop to burn Christmas trees, a tradition that kicked off in 2009 and is now an annual event. Back then the pile of trees slowly being added to the bonfire caught fire and the fire brigade had to intervene. Nowadays there’s a fence around the bonfire and the police are there as well for crowd control.

(Link: www.nltimes.nl)

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November 8, 2015

Life’s a beach and then you rename it

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 7:56 pm


In 2013 marketing geniuses in Amsterdam decided to call the coastal cities of IJmuiden, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort ‘Amsterdam Beach’, and nobody calls it that because it doesn’t make any sense, geographically or otherwise.

Another bunch of marketing geniuses are contemplating calling the historical beach of Scheveningen ‘The Hague Beach’ to attract more tourists, a change already implemented on the district’s English Wikipedia page. They argue that The Hague has 11 kilometres of beach that ‘nobody knows about’, as if pronouncing ‘Scheveningen’, admittedly not easy, was the problem. The Hague is really called ‘s-Gravenhage’ and was simplified in Dutch to Den Haag, but that hasn’t stopped anybody ever.

Not far from The Hague, but way closer to Rotterdam is Rotterdam The Hague Airport, which was historical called Zestienhoven because that’s where the airport actually is. It was later renamed Rotterdam Airport and finally Rotterdam The Hague Airport to give it more international appeal. Nobody cares.

According to AD.nl, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ronal Plasterk, born and raised in Scheveningen said in a tweet: “Slippery slope: I was born in Scheveningen, not at The Hague Beach”, to which the city marketing spinners retorted that The Hague Beach is just what we’ll tell tourists, which is as condescending as sounds. Foreign nationals, historians and locals hate the idea. The city’s website still calls it The beach of Scheveningen, which almost sounds like painting by Adriaen van de Velde.

(Link: www.ad.nl, Twitter @ShakeAtOrion)

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June 6, 2014

Whale uncovered on 17th century Dutch painting

Filed under: Animals,Art by Orangemaster @ 10:56 am

Whale painting - after

A painting on display for some 140 years at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, United Kingdom by Dutch painter Hendrick van Anthonissen entitled ‘Gezicht op Scheveningen’ (‘View of Scheveningen sands’ in English) from 1641 has recently been restored, uncovering a stranded whale.

One of the men in the painting seemed to be hanging in mid-air when in fact he was sitting on the whale. Someone at some point in history thought it would be good to paint over the whale, but nobody knows why. Conservator Shan Kuang has apparently not been able to date the extra layer of paint, though she suspects it may be from the 18th century and done because an owner thought the whale was repulsive or that a dealer thought the picture would sell better without it.

Here is a video made by Cambridge University featuring Shan Kuang, the conservator who made the discovery.

(Links: www.theguardian.com, historiek.net, Photo: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK)

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March 17, 2013

Kurhaus and pier in Scheveningen in decline

Filed under: Architecture,History by Branko Collin @ 12:42 am

The Kurhaus Hotel in Scheveningen near The Hague is bankrupt, Omroep West writes.

The hotel is owned by seven anonymous private investors who bought it in 2004 for 46 million euro and is run by the German Steigenberger Hotel Group. At the time the purchase was supervised by Willem Endstra, who was accused of being banker to the underworld and who was murdered shortly after. Steigenberger has denied that there are financial problems and has declared that business will go on as usual, according to Misset Horeca.

Meanwhile the nearby pleasure pier, another icon of seaside resort Scheveningen, is also heading towards bankruptcy. The curator has decided to put the pier up for auction. It is currently owned by known tax evaders Van der Valk Hotels who bought it for 1 euro in 1991 of insurer Nationale Nederlanden who wanted to get rid of it because of the high maintenance costs, NRC writes.

The origin of Scheveningen is hidden in the mists of time, but towns with names ending in -inge originate from the 10th and 11th century according to Wikipedia. As the nearby The Hague turned from the hunting lodge of the counts of Holland to the seat of the government of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, the fishing community of Scheveningen grew. In 1665 the two towns were connected by a paved road and from 1800 onwards Scheveningen developed into a seaside resort with hotels and villas being built to the northeast of the harbour.

In 1884 the Kurhaus was built, a hotel which doubled as a spa. The Kurhaus was connected to the pier via a bridge. (In World War II the original pier burned down—a new pier was built a bit further up North in 1959.)

According to history blog Geschiedenismeisjes, Kurhaus was still an icon of tremendous luxury at the start of the 20th century. During World War I, in which the Netherlands managed to stay neutral, the hotel was the location of a culture clash between new and old money. A group of people who had gotten rich during the war, the so-called ‘oorlogswinstmakers’ (war profiteers) flaunted their wealth in Scheveningen. And in 1919 a labour law was passed that made leisure time for workers obligatory—the hours that a person should work per day were limited to 8 and the Sunday would be a day off. This brought spending time at the beach suddenly within the reach of the working classes.

(Photo by MichielJelijs, some rights reserved)

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June 16, 2011

Get blue on June 25, Global Smurf Day

Filed under: Comics,General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 5:08 pm

On Saturday, June 25, Global Smurf Day and birthday of Peyo (Pierre Culliford) (1928-1992), the Belgian creator of the Smurfs comics, 12 countries, including the Netherlands, are going to see people paint their bodies visibly blue to try and beat the world record “Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Smurfs within a 24-hour period in Multiple Venues”. For smurf fans living in the Netherlands, you are to get your painted, disguised self down to Scheveningen, South Holland at beach pavilion 53. You can’t miss it, there’ll be a big smurf sand sculpture and people looking like smurfs. The current world record dates back from 2009 in Wales, with a mere 2510 people posing as smurfs.

To my adult friends who own smurfs — you know who you are — I dare you to free up June 25 and get to Scheveningen dressed like smurfs and send in pics.

Find out more at globalsmurfsday.com

(Links: waarmaarraar, independent)

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April 3, 2009

Traditional herring feast endangered

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Branko Collin @ 12:20 pm

Lack of sponsors may cause the Vlaggetjesdag (Flag Day) festivities of Scheveningen to be cancelled this year, or to be shortened to an actual day, reports Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch). On Vlaggetjesdag the coming home of the herring fleet is celebrated in Scheveningen. Organiser Arie Kleijn is uncertain whether he can raise the half million euro the 62nd edition of the event would cost. Pledges usually come in at the start of the year, but this year he’s got nothing.

The commenters at Algemeen Dagblad seem to be happy with the disappearance of Vlaggetjesdag. They question its scale (small), the quality of its entertainment (second rate celebrities) and its cost (half a million for a few stalls?). They also reminisce about the old Vlaggetjesdag, when rather than receiving the fleet, the day was meant to celebrate the departure of hundreds of luggers adorned with many flags. Despite the critical attitude of the vocal readers of Algemeen Dagblad, Vlaggetjesdag rose from 62nd to 29th most popular national event last year, and brought 250,000 visitors to the village wedged in between The Hague and the North Sea.

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March 2, 2009

Panorama Mesdag painting to be digitised

Filed under: Art,Technology by Orangemaster @ 1:18 pm

Panorama Mesdag, the largest cylindrical painting in Europe, located at the Panorama Mesdag museum in The Hague, is going to be digitised. It was painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag, his wife Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, along with help from G.H. Breitner, T. de Bock and B.J. Blommers. It is apparently one of the world’s finest and largest surviving panoramas. The visitor’s platform is a dune, creating the illusion of being back at the nearby Scheveningen beach in 1880.

The panorama is 120 metres long and about 14 metres high, of which every brush stroke will be photographed. A total of 10,000 details of an exceptionally high resolution will be taken using a specially designed tripod.

The museum believes that this project, which will last for months, will provide countless possibilities for studies and restoration.

(Links: nrc.nl, holland.com, Photo by flickr.com user Aldo, some rights reserved)

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