September 28, 2014

Potato pop-up store opens in Amsterdam

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 11:20 am

aardappelmannetjes-joost-vd-toorn-uair01Quick, what is the world’s foremost potato exporting country? Yes, it’s the Netherlands, a country that exports almost twice the amount of potatoes it grows, leading France by just a few fries (which are Belgian anyway).

Enough of the FAOSTAT fueled statistics. Yesterday a Pieperboetiek (potato boutique) opened on the Jan Evertsenstraat in Amsterdam. Modern Farmer writes:

Between 26 September and 11 October, 25 tons of potatoes will parade through Amsterdam on big farm trucks. […] The pop-up will offer a wide and colourful variety of potatoes. “At first we were planning to have 30 types, but then some breeds got sick. So, it’s going to be 20 types,” says Felicia Alberding, a freelance journalist who is teaming up with potato farmers in organizing this event.

To make the pop-up more potato-y, there will naturally be an array of potato-related activities. The theatre team Superhallo will perform ‘Knol d’Amour’ which, they say, is both an ode to the potato and a delicious love story. The theatre makers will also host a fry potato party that lets people choose, peel and fry their own potatoes while they are playing music.

There will also be a tattoo artist who uses potato-based ink and both vodka and carrot-and-spinach tea are served, according to the store’s Facebook page.

The boutique was the idea of farmer Krispijn van den Dries from the Noordoostpolder area who wants to breed a better understanding between farmers and consumers. Felicia Alberding: “In most countries, farmers have become invisible over the past years. That anonymity is one of the reasons many people don’t value food and how it’s made any more.”

(Photo of De Aardappelmannetjes by Joost van den Toorn by Uair01, some rights reserved; this is a sculpture in Zoetermeer made from rocks and gilded bronze. It depicts two potato figures.)

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November 22, 2013

Dutch third most proficient in English as second language

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:55 pm

According to the third edition of the EF English Proficiency Index the Dutch are the third best in the world in speaking English as a second language.

Language educators EF tested the skills of over five million English speakers in 60 countries. The number one and two spots were taken by the Swedes and the Norwegians.

The South Americans and Asians are catching up the fastest. In Europe the English of the French actually got worse. Their proficiency was rated ‘low’. The countries that improved their English skills the most since the previous edition of the index were Turkey, Kazakhstan and Hungary.

The illustration is a silly visual pun. The Dutch call this type of train a dubbeldekker.

(Link: ANS)

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March 11, 2013

Dutch youths take extra driving lessons to lower insurance

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 10:19 am

Young men from the countryside are the worst drivers, according to Spitsnieuws.

This is why they have been taking supplementary driving lessons in droves, according to the online paper. Last year 12,000 Dutch youths participated in a program called ‘Trials’ in which they were taught how to perform emergency stops, how to control a skid and how to drive trucks. This is up from 10,000 in 2011. The program is run by several insurers who give successful participants a no claim discount.

Participation in the one-day programme costs 60 euro and is open for 18-28 year-olds from the provinces of Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Zeeland and Flevoland.

The Verbond van Verzekeraars (Association of Insurers) claims that the number of accidents with damage was 25% lower for participants than it was for people who did not participate.

Some figures:

  • At age 18 one can get a drivers license in the Netherlands.
  • 510,000 Dutch people of age 27 or under drive a car.
  • The risk for people aged 18-24 to be in a car accident is 4 times that of people aged 30-59.
  • People under the age of 27 are involved in 76,000 car accidents each year.

(Note that those numbers do not neatly fit together. The number of 31,000 accidents where at least one party was not insured for liability might not have involved a single youth and the lack of insurance might not have been on the side of the guilty party. This story was basically copy written by an insurance company for the main stream media, so take these things with healthy doses of salt.)

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March 9, 2013

Lack of women in top management roles in the Netherlands

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 2:55 pm

In the Netherlands 11% of all senior management positions are occupied by women.

Trouw likens the Netherlands to an emirate when it comes to the number of women in top management positions. (I believe they intend that to be an insult, which would be interesting in itself.) For comparison, the United Arab Emirates also sits at 11%. Since this year corporations and government agencies in the UAE are required to have women on their boards.

Of the developed countries (for want of a better word) only Japan fares worse. It has 7% women in management roles. The most emancipated country in the world is China with 51% of all big bosses being women. In fact the top ten of countries has seven nations in it that either are or used to be communist. (The word ‘socialist’ and ‘communist’ are oddly lacking from the Grant Thornton report (PDF) that Trouw bases its article on.)

Dutch women do not seem to be very interested in having careers, although they do like having the opportunity of having careers. In 2010 the United Nations voted the Netherlands the most gender equal country in the world.

(Illustration: public domain version of the symbol of feminism, via Wikimedia Commons)

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March 27, 2011

Gays marry less than straights

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:39 pm

April 1 marks the tenth anniversary of gay marriage in the Netherlands. In that period some 15,000 same-sex couples got hitched here, making 1 in 5 same-sex couples married. Four in five heterosexual couples are married, AD reports.

Jan Latten of Statistics Netherlands told the paper that gays marry for the same reasons as straights—love, children and security—, that the relative number of divorces between the groups are virtually the same, and that both groups have the same preferences for wedding months: “spring and summer”.

See also:

(Photo by CarbonNYC, distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

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February 7, 2011

Six step tutorial for dechurching yourself

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 3:10 pm

Diederik Willemsen has put up a page outlining how to get rid of being labelled a church member. Apparently, it’s not as easy as one would think. You need to convince the following organisations to stop counting you as a church member:

  • Local municipality
  • National church body
  • SILA (register for all churches)
  • Local parish
  • Baptism register (also local parish)
  • Bishopric (if you’re a Roman Catholic)

Willemsen believes it’s important that the number of registered members reflects the actual number of members, because churches apparently enjoy certain benefits for having many members.

Recently, 23,000 people have cancelled their membership to the Roman Catholic church in protest of its child abuse practices, NOS Headlines reports. Statistics Netherlands shows that in recent years the number of people that call themselves religious is in decline. This appears to be a function of age—the older age groups are more religious, and as their members die the percentage of religious people decreases.

(Photo by Johan Wieland, some rights reserved)


November 28, 2010

Internet use of lesser educated people trumps that of better educated people

Filed under: Online by Branko Collin @ 1:53 pm

Says the Trend Report Computer and Internet Usage 2010 of the University of Twente (PDF, p. 54):

The differences [in the amount of Internet use] are the most noticeable where education and social position are taken into account. On average people with a lesser education use the Internet more per day than people with a higher education— some 3.1 as compared to 2.6 hours. The unemployed and people unfit for work use the Internet on average 4.0 and 4.1 hours respectively per day, whereas working people average 2.6 hours. This suggests that the available time is an important factor. […] In the past 20 to 25 years it was the better educated who were the pioneers of Internet access.

The report unfortunately does not define ‘better educated’ and ‘lesser educated’ (in fact, it measures along three education levels, but does not define any of them).

Also notable is that the higher educated use the Internet far more to educate themselves further than the lesser educated do. (p. 41)

(Link: Blik op Nieuws. Photo by Woolie Monster, some rights reserved.)

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November 14, 2010

Record number 40th wedding anniversaries

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:16 pm

About 73,000 Dutch married couples will have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversaries at the end of this year, Blik op Nieuws reports.

The online news service quotes Statistics Netherlands who point out that this record simply follows from the fact that so many people married in 1970 (124,000 couples). Since 1970 was a peak year, it is not expected that the record will be broken soon.

Another contributing factor is the increased life expectancy, especially that of men. In the Netherlands, men typically marry younger women and die at a younger age than their wives.

(Photo by Anthony Kelly, some rights reserved)

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October 11, 2010

Women decide what take-away food gets ordered

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 9:19 am

The difference is small, but in Dutch households the women determine the most which take-away food gets ordered. A study held by market researches Trendbox confirms this, Misset Horeca reports.

Men tend to go for Chinese food, women like pizza. About 85% of theDutch household order out now and again, Blik op Nieuws adds.

The study also shows that the Dutch are not big tippers: on average we give our delivery person 1.20 euro.

(The photo shows a traditional ‘Chin. Ind.’ restaurant)


September 20, 2010

Half of the Dutch higher ed students are good in bed, they think

Filed under: General,Health by Branko Collin @ 8:41 am

A ‘sex sells’ issue (aren’t they all?) of weekly Nieuwe Revu questioned almost 3,000 university students about sex, Blik op Nieuws reports.

Here are some of the numbers:

  • Some 51% think they are good lovers
  • Some 12% think they are great lovers
  • More than 50% lost their virginity before the age of 18
  • Another half has had a one-night-stand
  • Some 79% think that love is necessary for sex
  • Some 2.3% calls themselves gay, 4.6% bi-sexual
  • Some 10% says to have had same-sex sex
  • Some 16% want to try same-sex sex
  • A staggering 22% never uses a condom
  • But only 7.6% have ever had an STD

For the sake of transparency I will list my answers to the magazine’s questions below, but for the sake of privacy I will do it in random order: 314, twice, yes, no, maybe, in Spain, in a hot air balloon, leather, a puppy’s tongue, 19, every other minute, 13, pickled gherkins, beards and moustaches, hanging upside-down, always, velvet, always, always.

(Photo by David Morris, some rights reserved)

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