October 9, 2018

Sending Dutch troops to Norway without winter clothes

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:16 pm

It’s actually front page news that the Dutch military does not have to buy their own artic winter clothes for military exercises in Norway this month. A few days ago, the news was that the Dutch Ministry of Defense did not order winter clothes on time for them, with no explanation as to why they messed up, which probably means someone plain forgot or worse.

The military were asked to buy their own special winter clothes to the tune of 1000 euro per person, which was fronted by Defense. Defense claims it had to ‘possibly’ break its own rules on calls for tender to get the winter clothes on time to the more than 1000 military off to Norway later this month to carry out exercises. However, due to the time crunch, some military already bought their own gear.

What the hell was Defense thinking? Or were they thinking at all? Even Dutch Parliament was “very critical” of the idea of sending military who were given 1,000 euro to buy their own winter clothing. It may be 14 degrees in Oslo today, which is in the South of Norway, but it will be close to -20 soon enough in the North, and forgetting to equip your military is unsafe, dangerous and embarrassingly stupid.

The Dutch military have also had complaints about the quality of combat uniforms and even female military personnel have been forced to travel during work hours just to buy military approved bras.

(Link: nu.nl)

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February 8, 2015

Robbers leave prints in the snow, get caught

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:59 am


Earlier this week the police in Haarlem caught two robbers by following their footprints in the snow, a bit like an old fashion television cartoon. A woman called about her shop being broken into in the middle of the night and when the police got there, they saw fresh footprints in the snow. They followed the footprints and found some of the loot the robbers made off with. They walked all the way to the suspects’ house, arrested the men and confiscated their shoes.

The men will now probably hate snow more than most people.

(Link: www.politie.nl)

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February 11, 2013

How cities clear bike paths of snow

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 1:15 pm

Bicycle blogger Mark Wagenbuur has enough clout these days that when he calls the city’s department for public works to tell them they forgot to clear a bike path of snow, they go out and clear the bike path.

The city of Den Bosch went even further and invited him over for an in-depth explanation of how clearing the roads works, which led to a fascinating blog post and video (in English):

A city of the size of Den Bosch (140,000 inhabitants) in this day and age works with sophisticated technology to detect and combat slippery road surfaces. Sensors in the road, weather reports from different sources and agreements with other governments and other departments all feed information to the five people who make sure someone is on duty around the clock during the winter months. “The city in turn warns the smaller towns in the vicinity, which cannot afford to have such a sophisticated system themselves.”

(Photo: me. Video: YouTube / Markenlei)

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December 26, 2009

Supermarket reports run on carrots

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:40 am

Supermarket chain Albert Heijn reported last week that the sales of carrots had gone up 25%, writes Z24.

The on-line business news publication speculates that the snow of last week may have had something to do with the increased demand: both snowmen and traditional winter dishes such as hutspot require carrots.

(Photo by Melinda Shelton, some rights reserved)

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December 21, 2009

Crash course in snow management

Filed under: Automobiles,Aviation,General,Nature by Orangemaster @ 9:44 am


I just got back from walking down my street at 7 am in the dark (Happy Winter Solstice) with bikers negotiating the snow and cars taking the onramp to the motorway near my house at 30 km/h like well-behaved cars.

So far, buses are generally not running. I’m guessing they don’t sport winter tires or radials (aka four-season tires). Putting winter tires on your car once every 10 years is not practical or good value for money in the Netherlands. Yes, they are tons of accidents, literally piling up (pardon the pun). My neighbour goes skiing every year in Austria and just switched tires because they are mandatory in winter in Germany, and has to drive through there.

Trains are running minimally, so I bet the delays are really nasty. Many taxis won’t be driving around and so people trying to get to work are going to have to come up with dog sleds or walk. Speaking of trains, while I whine about not being able to woosh to Paris at a proper speed, the famous Eurostar train that runs in the Chunnel between Britain and France has been cancelled for days now, never mind the people who were trapped in it Friday night.

And then there’s the airplanes. North American and European airports all have tons of delayed flights, as well as airports just closing shop all together like in Belgium, as seen on Dutch telly. Picture stranded passengers off to visit friends and family for Christmas, tired and sleeping on airport benches.

I still don’t understand why the Netherlands can plan for terrorist attacks that will probably never happen, but plan so little when it comes to serious snow, a more realistic situation. In real Northern countries like Norway and Canada, sure we’re having problems getting around too, but if we were to shut down the country for a bit of snow at just -1 Celsius, we might as well dismantle all Scandinavian countries, Russia, Canada and the Northern United States.

Granted, de-icing planes is international and trains can’t deal with autumn leaves properly (I still don’t understand why), but winter tires on buses, cars and taxis would have avoided many problems so far, methinks.

Again, we really seem to stink at planning ahead realistically. I’m loving all this snow, but then I have a home office. This was the view outside my window yesterday. And just as I finished writing this, it started snowing again.


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March 23, 2008

Snowy Easter in Amsterdam

Filed under: Nature by Branko Collin @ 5:34 pm

Snopes says “the last time Easter fell on so early a date was 1913, and the next time it will do so will be in the year 2160.” It’s barely spring, and some late snow is melting on the petals of this daffodil, or paasbloem as it is also called in Dutch (Easter flower).

This weekend will have been the coldest Easter in the Netherlands sinds 1964, although the holiday then took place a week later, according to the Dutch meteorological institute, KNMI. Including this year, frost was recorded at De Bilt (in the middle of the country) during 14 Easters since 1901.

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