According to a study of 141 world airports conducted by Air Help, Eindhoven Airport is the tenth worst airport in the world. Flights to and from Eindhoven are often delayed, and passengers are quite negative about the airport.
I was there once over 10 years ago and found it tough to get to by public transport, which is a breeze with Schiphol. I was sending someone off to Ireland with Ryanair and I’m sure I’ve forgotten all about the troubles the person had at Eindhoven Airport. Funny enough, I remember getting onto a badly protected Wi-Fi network that was for employees only.
Eindhoven Airport is the second busiest airport in the Netherlands. Of course, Amsterdam Airport aka Schiphol performed better, and came out in forty-fourth place.
In November, Dutch company Aectual will unveil a 3D printed floor for at Schiphol Airport, which they call an ‘on demand floor’. The technology behind this 3D printing was developed in-house by Aectual and will be used to 3D print a design by Amsterdam firm DUS Architects.
3D printing is used to create the initial frame of the design, then a secondary process fills the gaps with a material called terrazzo, a composite material made from chips of marble, quartz, granite and glass. Once mixed with a binder and cured, the terrazzo can be polished to give a smooth surface.
“We make it possible to create your own design for spectacular floors in, for example, a hotel lobby, or for a striking retail brand, giving designers complete design freedom” explains Hans Vermeulen, CEO of Aectual.
I’m getting a 1960 Italian feel and that works for me.
According to Wikipedia, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, aka Schiphol, shifted some 63,625,664 passengers in 2016 and is a major European hub. The question is, have you ever wondered why the gates are lettered B, C, D, E, F, G, H and M?
Now I’ll call the gates ‘piers’. According to Wikipedia, a pier design uses a small, narrow building with aircraft parked on both sides: one end connects to a ticketing and baggage claim area.
There’s a simple explanation for why Schiphol has no Pier A. In English, the pronunciation of A sounds too much like the pronunciation of E in Dutch, which could confuse communication between Schiphol staff and passengers. ‘Access’ and ‘excess’ are both pronounced like ‘excess’ by many Dutch speakers. To avoid any confusion, Schiphol decided a long time ago to forego a Pier A.
And then it goes from H to M, so no I, J, K or L.The I and the J sounds the same in Dutch, but they also look too similar from far away to many people around the world. The sound of ‘I’ in Dutch sounds too much like ‘E’ in English and that could easily go wrong as well. K and L are being saved, but for now, if you fly EasyJet, you’ll have to take a nice, long constitutional to gate M.
In 2019 Schiphol will have a new pier next to Pier B, but what are they going to call it? Stay tuned.
The test was carried out with a self-driving Mercedes-Benz bus from German car company Daimler AG, some of which took place on a public road, but mostly on a closed circuit. The bus was able to communicate with traffic lights, collect data and negotiate junctions. As well, there was a driver on board in case things when wrong.
There is still a lot of testing to be done before self-driving cars become a reality, and it is cool that tests are carried out here. I don’t know about cars dealing with cyclists and pedestrians in the big cities, which still is a major source of accidents.
Belgian company Montea from Aalst, Belgium, which specialises in really big warehouses, is currently building the biggest bakery in Europe in Aalsmeer, North Holland, a city known its world-famous flower auction and proximity to Schiphol Airport.
The bakery will be the size of eight football pitches, use 8000 m3 of concrete and cost 40 millions euro. Construction should be done in October and family business Borgesius-Bakkersland, two recently merged Dutch companies, will start producing some 600,000 loaves of bread and pastries to supply supermarket chain Albert Heijn.
One of Montea’s last big Dutch jobs was the development of the biggest Internet pharmacy in Europe located in Heerlen, Limburg, of which the warehouse was a “mere” 14,800 m2.
Instead of scaring off seagulls with eagle noises like in Haarlem in 2015, the Dutch police have stepped up their game and are now training eagles to knock out ‘enemy’ drones out of the air. The idea was to find a way to get rid of drones that are not allowed to fly in certain spaces, such as protected airspaces. The video below tells of a trauma helicopter not being able to land because some moron was flying a drone and blocking the way or another moron flying their drone next to busy Schiphol Airport.
Finding the drone pilot can be very difficult and take a long time, a policeman explains. The eagle in the video grabs the drone with its talons, which are designed to carry things as opposed to just having claws like many other animals. There’s also less impressive tools they plan to use such as casting a net over the drone somehow. “The eagle sees the drone as prey and wants to bring it to a safe location and protect it from outsiders”. The trainers are not worried about the propellers hurting the animal, although opinions might differ on that point. The eagle may even get special gear for protection.
It’s in Dutch, but it’s all about watching the eagle catch the drone.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of jokes and less funnier stories about lost bags, but this fine film should make you smile: a baggage car from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport gets lost like a tourist in Antwerp.
It’s an advertising stunt for Schiphol because “Schiphol, is closer than you think.” The baggage car is driving through the main square, attracting all kinds of attention. The Dutch driver goes around asking how to get to Schiphol. Some people were helpful with instructions like “drive along the Schelde”, the river that runs in Antwerp, and “keep on for two kilometres then ask again”.
The makers also claim that Antwerp is only an hour train ride way, but that’s with the expensive Thalys train, as there are no normal trains running between Antwerp and Schiphol, a well-known headache for years now. The normal train service between Brussels and Amsterdam that also includes Antwerp and Schiphol is not a direct service and is still a mess (dated article, but gives you an idea).
Then again, Brussels Airport, aka Zaventem, is closer, so why go to Schiphol I wonder, especially if your baggage gets lost in a foreign country.
Yesterday Schiphol Airport started tests with a robot to help passengers find their gates, which are often missed due to short transfer times, delayed flights, problems getting around the airport and language barriers.
Spencer the autonomous robot guide (see picture in the link) was designed by the University of Twente together with European partners from Sweden, France, Germany and Switzerland for KLM. The robot won’t drive into a group of travellers, but wait calmly until that group approaches it. “Spencer needs to be able to recognise group behaviour and obstacles, such as baggage trolleys as well as respond to unforeseen situations”. Tests are being carried out this week and won’t involve actual passengers just yet, something that will be done in March 2016 with a new and improved Spencer.
I happened to land at Schiphol yesterday on a day where it had closed down all but one runway due to very strong winds. On my flight, which left and hour and fifteen minutes behind schedule and had us in a turbulent holding pattern above Schiphol, many passengers had already missed their connections or had very short transfer times. I can imagine that when you’re in a rush to get the right answer, a robot may not be able to pick up on your stress, a bit like the photocopier that senses your panic and just won’t print. Then you’d want to talk to a human, as already postulated earlier this year by the University of Twente: “a social robot with an overly human appearance creates an unrealistic sense of expectation for most Dutch people”.
Dutch Rail has announced that on 14 December it will be changing the name of the train station Schiphol, the national airport station often pronounced ‘Skip-pole’, to Schiphol Airport which will help travellers identify it better as an airport, including a wee airplane pictogram to make it perfectly clear.
One wonders why Dutch Rail didn’t think of that ages ago, as Schiphol is more often than not referred to as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol just like it says on the building or Amsterdam Airport. After all the Netherlands has Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and many more with that formulation.
The history of the name Schiphol (literally ‘ship hole’ or ‘ship grave’) is interesting as it is unclear and based on theories. No ship wrecks were found when the land was reclaimed. The name could have possibly been related to the portaging of ships, dragging them from one body of water to another or having to do with a ‘hol’ that is a ‘low lying are of land’, as in ‘Holland’.
Using the name Schiphol for airplanes in Dutch is as amusing as using the word ‘shipping’ for sending parcels nowadays that doesn’t involve any ships.
Visual artist Paul de Kort was asked a few years ago to design the Buitenschot land art park, a huge 33-hectare park with a series of ribbed hedges and ditches surrounded by trees that form a noise-reduction green space right off Schiphol Airport’s biggest runway, the Polderbaan. Sadly, you can’t see the park from the air and that would partially explain why I’ve never noticed it before.
The airplane noise experienced by nearby residents is mostly low frequency ground noise that radiates backwards in an oblique fashion from planes during take-off, and De Kort’s aesthetic yet functional park of furrows was inspired by 17th century German acoustic techniques as well as local farming techniques.
Completed in October 2013 Buitenschot features small parks, bike paths and foot paths. De Kort also incorporated art pieces that drew on the history of the project, like the ‘Listening Ear,’ a parabolic dish on a small pyramid one can stand in that amplifies ambient sound, echoing the park’s noise reduction purpose and a diamond-shaped lake where visitors can create ripple patterns on the water surface while standing on a bridge equipped with a wave generating device.