September 11, 2010

Gonorrhea infections among American teens 33 times higher than among Dutch teens

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 10:15 am

According to a study by Amy Chalet, 0.5 percent of all US teens aged 15-19 catch gonorrhea, whereas among Dutch teens the number is almost a statistical error (0.01 %).

There might be epidemiological reasons for the large discrepancy, but the evidence points elsewhere: Chalet’s study also shows “dramatic differences between the US and the Netherlands in rates of contraceptive use, teen pregnancy, abortion, and STI transmission”, as Lisa Wade writes (the American sociologist, not the Dutch TV personality).

Wade’s angle is that the Dutch (and Western Europeans) treat (teenage) sex as normal, not as ‘the nasty’, and that Dutch teenagers (therefore?) use condoms and contraceptives where their American peers do not. “Accordingly, most American teenagers hide their virginity loss from their parents, furtively popping the cherry in risky situations, often without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In contrast, most Dutch teenagers lose their virginity in their own bedrooms with their parents’ approval… and condoms.”

Americans can find comfort in the fact that according to some of their leading thinkers, “the way they do the statistics in the Netherlands is different”.

Link: Martin Wisse.

Tags: , , ,

September 6, 2010

Holland moped chic

Filed under: General,Photography by Branko Collin @ 8:28 am

In June of this year there were 1,000,000 mopeds on the Dutch roads for the first time, according to NOS.

That is 300,000 up from 2007, and even 600,000 up from 1995. In an article about bicycle manufacturer Batavus, Wikipedia claims that there were more than 2 million mopeds in the Netherlands in 1977, but I could not find anything to back that up.

I wanted to celebrate this millionth moped by creating a sort of “Holland moped chic” set on Flickr, analogous to Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Amsterdamize. Unfortunately, as you can see below, my photography skills were not up to the task and riders came out mostly blurred.

So I did the next best thing, and created a gallery of the best Flickr photos of Dutch men and women riding mopeds.

Dutch road laws make a distinction between bromfietsen (‘buzz bikes’) and snorfietsen (‘purr bikes’). The latter can only legally go 25 km/h, and are considered to be closer to regular bicycles in intent and use. Snorfietsen have also become very popular lately because they can look as good as regular scooter mopeds, yet you do not have to wear a helmet while riding them.

(Top photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved. Bottom photo by me, available under a permissive license soon from our Flickr account.)

Tags: , , , ,

June 21, 2010

Tablet PCs such as iPad to outsell e-book readers in 2010

Filed under: Literature,Technology by Branko Collin @ 1:50 pm

The Dutch will have bought 250,000 tablet PCs by the end of the year, market research company GfK predicts. Currently, there are about 50,000 e-book readers in the Netherlands.

GfK’s Laurens van den Oever told this at the Mediapark Jaarcongres two weeks ago, Bright reports. He also predicted according to Emerce that in three years’ time, 60% of the Dutch households will own a TV with an Internet connection. Today, that number is 10%.

(Photo by Rego Korosi, some rights reserved)

Tags: ,

November 15, 2009

Flu scare turns Dutch into discriminating kissers

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 1:48 pm

Almost 15% of the Dutch have become more selective in who they kiss because of the Swine flu.

A study held by vitamin sellers Centrum also shows that 7.5% avoid physical contact with others, Blik op Nieuws reports. Also, 6.3% have stopped shaking hands, and 1.4% have taken the ultimate step of no longer going to the office.

(Photo by Alex Erde, some rights reserved.)

Tags: ,

August 29, 2009

Motorcycle riders and their bikes get older

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:40 pm

Statistics Netherlands reported last Tuesday that the average age of motorcycle riders has gone up from 39 to 45 in the last ten years.

In 2000 the group that dominated motorcycle ownership were the thirty-somethings, now it is the 40-49 group that owns the most ‘bikes’. Total ownership of motorcycles has risen by 50% in the noughties, as has the share of vintage motorcycles. Interestingly, the older the rider, the bigger the chance they are driving a vintage motorcycle.

We don’t have any great wide opens here to cross, but people sure love to ride their bikes on the willow-lined roads atop river dikes.

(Via Sargasso. Photo by Jim Crossley, some rights reserved.)

Tags: , , , ,

August 15, 2009

Lucia de B., angel or witch? [HAR 2009]

Filed under: Science by Branko Collin @ 10:35 pm

I just turned away from the lock-picking talk, as the tent was absolutely packed (me being 5 minutes late). I don’t know how many people fit in these convention tents, hundreds, perhaps thousands, but that is the amount of people that after tonight may know how to break every lock you own.

Earlier today I was at the talk with possibly the smallest amount of listeners of this 4-day exercise, you might even say the attendants resembled Cantor Dust. OK, lousy statistical jokes aside, this talk was by statistician Richard Gill of the University of Leiden and dealt with the Lucia de Berk case.

I had heard of the case before. In 2001, a nurse from The Hague was accused of having murdered dozens of patients, and the strange thing was that most of her guilt was determined by statistics: she had been near the victims at the time of their deaths, and although a direct link with the accused in the form of a confession or evidence could not be established, the court found that the statistical likelihood of her being near all these victims at the time of death was so minute, she must have done it.

At the time I thought this reasoning seemed silly, but I have learned early on in life never to argue with statisticians. So imagine my surprise: here was a statician who argued that the court’s reason had indeed been extremely silly, and that an innocent woman had gone to jail.

I won’t bore you with repeating the entire lecture: author Maarten ‘t Hart summarized Gill’s position excellently in this article from NRC (Dutch). Gill’s paper on how likely the chance is that a nurse was on active duty during all deaths concludes that one in nine nurses would have gone to jail (PDF).


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

December 9, 2008

HEMA essential brand, followed by 8 o’clock news

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:06 am

The Dutch cannot part with their HEMA department stores, a recent EURIB study revealed. Some 81% of the population thinks the cheap retailer with a sense for design is indispensable. The number two and three positions are taken up by Blokker (housewares) and Kruidvat (cosmetics). Among men, NOS Journaal—the state-run TV news show—took the top position (77%), among women HEMA leads (91%), with Pickwick (tea) taking second place.

The researchers determined three factors that could explain the indispensability of a brand:

  1. Consumers see a brand as a part of Dutch culture
  2. Consumers can interact with the brand
  3. Consumers are exposed to a brand on at least a weekly basis

I think HEMA’s perceived indispensability is caused by the fact that nearly everybody buys their underwear there. Ipso facto, the Dutch are an underwear wearing people. Free scientific analysis from the 24 Oranges’ towers, there ya go.

The study (Dutch, PDF) can be downloaded at the EURIB website.

See also:

Via Blik op Nieuws (Dutch). Photo by Hans Vandenbogaerde, some rights reserved.

Tags: , , , , ,

November 19, 2008

Twenty-five percent wakes up with the Internet

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Branko Collin @ 9:46 am

A quarter of the Dutch goes onto the Internet right after waking up in the morning, even before going to the toilet or drinking coffee. (Coffee is the other national addiction.) A study from KPN also shows that 8% of the Dutch consider a day without Internet wasted, says Webwereld. Some 58% of the Dutch even feel a sense of panic coming up after two days offline.

Me, I’ve got one of them old-fashioned steam powered computers that takes a minute or so to start up, so that’s the ideal pee and coffee break. And at the end of the day…

Photo by E-magic, some rights reserved.

Tags: , , , ,

November 8, 2008

Dutch prefer to work around 27 hours per week

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 6:07 pm

OK, so I am going to throw these numbers at you without any attempt to explain why they are what they are, and without stating whether I think these reflect well or not on Dutch society, as my experience is that people tend to interpret such statistics along political lines anyway, regardless of my interpretations. TNO released a study last week that shows the Dutch would prefer to work somewhere between 25 and 28 hours per week. Earlier studies (Dutch) showed that the Dutch already put in the least amount of hours per week across Europe: 33 hours. A relatively large percentage of the Dutch work part-time (40%), and the Dutch also belong to the Europeans with the most irregular hours.

The Netherlands is also the country where most of the wages are fixed: paying somebody according to how productive they are hardly occurs here. The preferred increase of working hours is a function of the amount of hours a person already works (duh!). Interesting to see in TNO’s graph though is that only the more or less unemployed would like to work more, and only those that put in more than 40 hours a week would like to work less. People that work from anywhere between 8 and 40 hours a week seem pretty OK about the time they put in.

The study called Nationale Enquête Arbeidsomstandigheden (National Poll Working Conditions) is a collaboration between TNO and Statistics Netherlands, is repeated each year and involves questioning 25,000 members of the Dutch work force. The European working conditions study over 2007 referred to by Intermediair is fascinating reading.

Via print daily Metro. Photo by Shrekton, some rights reserved.

Tags: , , ,

February 14, 2008

Statistics Netherlands uses Google maps for local numbers

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

Statistics Netherlands (CBS, Centraal Bureau voor Statistiek), the government agency for statistical research, has launched a website called CBS in uw buurt (CBS in your neighbourhood) that is exactly that: it shows detailed statistical information about your neighbourhood. The data are shown superimposed over a Google map, and the site lets you compare the data of your neighbourhood with that of others. The types of statistical data available are pretty limited: things like income, housing, and demographics.

Webwereld reports (Dutch) that housing site Funda has been providing a similar service for a while now, but doesn’t operate at the neighbourhood level.

Via Dagelinks (Dutch).