August 23, 2014

Aniseed cubes dissolve into oblivion

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 4:19 pm

aniseed-david-monniaux Last year the sole manufacturer of aniseed cubes in the Netherlands, De Ruijter, ceased manufacturing its well-known comfort product.

Aniseed flavoured hot milk is a favourite drink of many Dutch people who have trouble sleeping. Personally I prefer Blooker cacao, so I missed out on the whole aniseed cube scandal, until last night when a Facebook friend mentioned he could not sleep because he had run out of the vaunted cubes.

De Ruijter explains its decision in a FAQ:

We’ve been making aniseed cubes since 1928 using practically the same method all that time. We’ve been able to keep the aniseed cube machine running for a long time, but wear and tear and the lack of replacement parts have made it impossible to extend the life of our machine.

The company has now introduced packets of aniseed powder at more than three times the price. Nobody is happy with this price hike and several people started stockpiling the cubes as soon as they found out. The limited number of likes the activist Facebook page Wij Willen De Ruijter Anijsblokjes Terug has received, only 75 at the time of writing, suggests perhaps a more practical reason why De Ruijter has stopped production.

Another company, M. & P. S., is still producing its own brand of aniseed tablets (“since 1854”, for whatever it’s worth), but apparently they are even more expensive than De Ruijter’s new packets.

So what do you do when you cannot fall asleep?

(Photo of aniseed by David Monniaux, some rights reserved)

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April 3, 2014

Google Naps maps good places to crash outdoors

Filed under: Online by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

In the spirit of April’s Fool, Dutch creative agencies Venour of Rotterdam and cartoonist Kakhiel (held up in a secret lair) created Google Naps, a parody of Google Maps, although it does give excellent tips about where to crash outdoors. Just like the real Google tool, Google Naps allows users to plot out specific locations on interactive online maps.

Writing this in downtown Munich next to the beautiful Isar river and its big city parks, Google Naps is telling me the place I relaxed under the sun with friends and beers was a good place to get some sleep and I agree. However, everyone can put in a suggestion and so sleeping under a bridge may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

The creators also put in a Dunglish disclaimer just for Google’s founders, asking them to not get upset and not sue them because they don’t have any money. They then say, “whenever you are in the Netherlands you can have a nap on our couch if you want, just e-mail us: We can also make coffee and bake eggs if you like that (for a small price).”

(Link:, Photo by Flickr user RelaxingMusic, some rights reserved)

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January 3, 2014

Detecting drowsiness at the wheel for touring car drivers

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 8:08 pm


Dutch touring car company Royal Beuk BV is currently testing technology called the Driver State Sensor that monitors whether a bus driver is getting drowsy at the wheel. Some 20 vehicles are being equipped with a system designed by Australian company Seeing Machines, which “uses infrared light and a camera to record eye movements to monitor whether a driver’s gaze is distracted from the road for too long or if they is blinking progressively more slowly, signs they may be nodding off.” If the system detects drowsiness, it will warn the driver with an alarm fitted to their chair and an audio signal, and additional alarms will also call for human intervention.

The Driver State Sensor costs 15,000 euro which, according to Marc Beuk in an RTL Nieuws interview is too expensive for the touring car branch, but thanks to the collaboration between Royal Beuk and Seeing Machines, the price could go down to as much as 5,000 euro.

It has been said that driving drowsy is a lot like driving drunk, but there’s no social taboo on it while it is just as dangerous.

(Link:, Photo of Beuk touring car by marie-II, some rights reserved)

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October 4, 2010

Double pillow

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 9:34 am

The Slaapaap is a double-sized pillow designed by among others Maarten Mulder, Bright writes.

This pillow would probably go well with the mattress size called twijfelaar, ‘doubter’ (twin bed), which is somewhere between a single and a full, and which is very popular in the tiny bedrooms of the Dutch inner city. The price (60 euro) makes one wonder though who would buy this. For that money, I would take sewing lessons and make one myself.


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