December 23, 2019

Longest Dutch street name sign disappears

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:43 am

In Early December, not too long ago in a land not too far away – Duiven, Gelderland in the East of the country which some of you might know for its big Swedish furniture store – was able to claim they had the longest street name in the country: Laan van de landinrichtingscommissie Duiven-Westervoort (roughly, ‘The Duiven-Westervoort land use committee lane’).

However, the 2.6 meter-long sign disappeared or was removed two weeks after it was unveiled. It is unclear why the sign is gone: theft, repairs, who knows. And nobody knows if the city of Duiven is planning to make a new one. My money is on ‘stolen’ simply because the sign is so unique. The street had technically been around since 2010, but only recently got its own sign. Easy come, easy go.

Talking about signs always reminds me that an entire Dutch neighbourhood has street names based on Lord of the Rings.

(Link and sign:

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April 26, 2018

So many signs, still many bike removals

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 2:08 pm


Downtown Amsterdam near the Leidseplein, one of the main party areas, a total of 54 bright signs asking folks to remove their bikes before April 23 was not enough to make it happen, forcing the city to remove 115 bikes.

A few of my Facebook friends took pictures of the sheer amount of signs they saw while biking, cracking all the jokes. However, the city is legally obliged to put signs at pretty much every bike rack, which would explain why there are so many. We also know how annoying it is to have to deal with the bike depot folks who remove ‘wrongly parked bikes’ due to a lack of bike racks in the first place and bring them to a bike purgatory 10 kilometres away from the city centre.

(Link and photo:

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December 5, 2017

Road sign riddle in Zaltbommel

Filed under: Animals,Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 6:28 pm


These signs spotted in Zaltbommel, Noord-Brabant look like more of a riddle than actual road signs, but the worse part is, they say exactly what the municipality needed to say: no horseback riders.

Why not a sign with a horseback rider and a red stripe around it sort of business like with other types of road signs? Because the sign that expresses no horseback riders isn’t an official sign any more by law, although one was actually put one on the shoulder ‘to make things clear’. By law, horseback riders are now considered agriculture vehicles even if the vehicles in question don’t require horses.

The top sign in this image is ‘road closed to horseback riders, cattle, motor vehicles and motorbikes that cannot go faster than 25 kph and microcars, as well as cyclists, scooters and handicapped vehicles’. The bottom sign says ‘except’ (the ‘U’ in the word ‘uitzondering’ (‘exception’) in Dutch should be lower case) and then the same pictograms, but excluding the horseback riders.

(Link and image:

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February 9, 2011

Bicycles as shop signs

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Branko Collin @ 8:30 pm

On Monday I saw this bicycle sticking out of a wall in the Westerpark neighbourhood of Amsterdam to indicate that the shop below sells and repairs bikes. Later that day I saw that another entrepreneur in De Pijp neighbourhood had come up with more or less the same idea, except in this case to confusingly signal the presence of a hotel.

Granted, it was a bicycle hotel.

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February 12, 2009

Don’t eat bulbs, warns supermarket

Filed under: General,Nature,Weird by Branko Collin @ 7:51 am

This is one of those inside-the-asylum moments: Supermarket Albert Heijn sells baskets with flower bulbs, and at the bottom it says: “For decorative purposes only, do not eat.”

Inside-the-asylum moment? A reference to the late Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books, in which one Wonko the Sane explains why the rest of us are living at the funny farm:

The sign read:

“Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.”

“It seemed to me,” said Wonko the Sane, “that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”

This is why he built himself a house that’s ‘outside’ the asylum.

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October 3, 2008

Students give back 300 traffic signs

Filed under: Gadgets by Branko Collin @ 8:04 am

No student house is complete without a traffic sign lifted without permission during a drunken late-night ramble. Or so I have heard.The Groningen police seem to think that traffic signs belong on the street (not everyone in the North agrees with them) and started a campaign to get the signs back. The result: 300 traffic signs were returned by “students and other citizens,” and 23 shopping carts to boot.

The campaign is now over, and the police say that they will hold checks in the near future based on tips and their own information, and will fine the owners of any traffic signs they might unearth. It’s not clear from the article how they will do that without search warrants.

Photo: Politie Groningen.

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April 20, 2008

“Thou shalt not” in Amsterdam

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 9:00 am

The past few weeks I came across these prohibitory signs in Amsterdam.

More and more people seem to think that anything that is not explicitly allowed (by whatever nebulous authority) must therefore be forbidden. This sign posted at the entrance of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam seems to pander to that strange sentiment. It starts with a list of things you are allowed to do. Now I can imagine that people wonder about barbecuing—open fires can be dangerous, and assuming that they are forbidden is not much of a stretch. But “acoustic music” and “daytime recreation”? Why, thank you mysterious authority!

That’s not the whole story though. The rules and regulations of this particular park became international news a month or so ago when they were reviewed by the local council. Patrons were interviewed to find out what kind of behaviours they liked and disliked, and it turned out that people hate free-roaming dogs, but don’t mind gays cruising the Rosarium and consuming their short-lived relationships in situ. The latter had of course always been tolerated in grand Dutch tradition. A little task for our readers: add a line to the sign displayed above that allows for steaming hot gay sex, but forbids tepid mushy straight sex. The winner will receive my heart-felt compliments.

Asking patrons what they like and grand Dutch traditions are almost certainly not what was on the minds of the architects behind the new central public library of Amsterdam. An imposing building at a grand square with steps leading up to the majestic entrance, the obligatory ramp for the wheelchair-bound worked away behind a broad pillar. You cannot have people use such a space any way they like. Somehow, the architects managed to realize that the Dutch won’t give up their bikes though, and designed an underground parking garage for bicycles. They originally limited signage to a parking sign for cars with a drawing of a bike beneath it, neatly out of the way from the square itself.

And then they had to plaster the entire square with these huge signs that point out that there is an underground parking somewhere. Amsterdammers like to bike right up to the entrance, and park within only a few meters distance of the building where they need to be. “There is an excellent parking,” the sign starts. Why not go the whole hog and begin the sign with “there is an excellent sign somewhere near here that points to the excellent parking”? Oh, the snarkiness of these signs: “Bikes will be removed from the square, and that’s an annoyance mostly for you.”

None of these problems would occur with the old library, which had no delusions of grandeur, was cramped or cosy depending on your point of view, and had bike racks no more than a few feet away from its tiny front door.

This final sign comes from the town of Goedereede on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee near Rotterdam. Not really mine, and not really “in Amsterdam,” but I felt it deserved a mention nevertheless. The good people of “Good Harbour” had the foresight to leave room for at least five more prohibitions. Last photo by David van der Mark, distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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June 3, 2007

Still waiting

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:43 am

I used to work at a factory that made these things, albeit not in Dutch.

The sign should read Groenburgwal, and so has an ‘r’ too many. Hope it was free.

This is akin to finding a four-leaf clover (and ‘groen’ means green).

‘Still waiting’ refers to the fact that the sign has now been removed and we’re all waiting for the corrected version (see link).


(Link: A5, Photo: Herenlunch)

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May 22, 2007

Cats crossing

Filed under: Animals,General by Orangemaster @ 10:46 am

In De Loostraat in the Eindhoven city district of Tongelre a new road sign has been placed that warns against crossing cats. A 10-year-old girl lost three cats from cars driving too fast and managed to get the attention of the city council to place two signs on her street.

(Link: Omroep Brabant)

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