October 14, 2018

Musical street in Zaandam sounds ‘too gay’ for some

Filed under: General,Music by Orangemaster @ 3:07 pm

The city of Zaandam, North Holland has a street that is getting a name change, from Piccolo to Hobo (Oboe), both of which are musical instruments. The Zaandam neighbourhood in question already has a street called Hobo and is now going to extend it. It also has streets called Cello, and then gets into musical-related terms such as Aubade, Prelude and Mazurka, to name a few.

The people who live on Piccolo street don’t want their street to become Hobo street. In Dutch, Hobo rhymes with ‘homo’, which is used as a derogatory word for homosexual, an issue brought up back in 2016 when the area was created. And I know what some of you are thinking, ‘Hobo’ doesn’t sounds great for anybody whose first language is North American English, as that refers to a vagrant, but that’s besides the point.

There are other Hobo streets throughout the country and apparently, that’s not a problem. I’d like to think that going from Piccolo to Oboe musically is a bit of an upgrade, because – and I held back on this – in that tooty-fluity neighbourhood, there’s also a street called Fagot, the Dutch name for a bassoon, which nobody seems to complain about.

In the Netherlands, you can always live on Fart Street, but then you could also live in on a street named after Lord of The Rings characters.

(Link: noordhollandsdagblad.nl)

Tags: , , , ,

February 20, 2017

Fun stories about Dutch street names

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 1:35 pm

From the old box, as the Dutch say, a photo of the Amsterdam street name that nobody checked, which should have read Groenburgwal.

Then again, the country has that neighbourhood named after Lord of the Rings characters and Fart street, and many more stories and fun facts that author René Dings is compiling for a book about street names in the Netherlands.

The longest street name is Ir. Mr. Dr. van Waterschoot van der Grachtstraat in Heerlen, which deserves an English explanation. The Dutch have a title for engineers, ‘Ir.’, Mr. is for ‘Mister’ and ‘Dr.’ is for Doctor and yes, you can compound them. ‘Ir.’ is fading because having taking over the Bachelor’s-Master’s system from the English-speaking world in recent history means dropping titles that are not used in English.

And then there’s more modern day funny names like Mickey Mousestraat in Almere or Eendekotsweg (‘Duck Vomit Street’), Poepershoek (‘Shitters’ Corner’) and Windgat (‘Wind Hole’) in other places, to name a few.

Dings tells the story of a street in Schiedam named after a mayor who got caught doing something wrong, and then you’re stuck with a controversial street name that you have to wait 10 years to change. He also tells about how older cities like Delft deserve more classic names than a relatively new city like Almere. The book is called ‘Over straatnamen met name’ for the Dutch fans.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of a misspelled street name in Amsterdam by Herenlunch)

Tags: ,

February 18, 2014

Canadian street names in Overvecht, Utrecht

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:41 am

Screen shot 2014-02-16 at 11.48.41 AM

It hit me when I motored through the Overvecht neighbourhood of Utrecht that all the street names end in ‘dreef’ (roughly, ‘avenue’ or probably ‘drive’, [click on the image for a closer look], a bit of a 1970s trend someone once told me although I don’t know if that’s true.

Since I was heading to Manitobadreef and was curious as to why the street was named after a lesser known Canadian province, I wanted to know what other streets had Canadian names. Sure, there were tons more with American states (Texasdreef, Nevadadreef, Mississippidreef) and someone should check into those, but I couldn’t possibly imagine that Manitoba was the only Canadian one.

The Overvecht wikipedia page (Dutch only) tells me that there are street names from ‘America’, which means they are probably erroneously assuming that ‘America’ also covers Canada. Then they’ll say ‘we mean North America’ and then I’d retort ‘but you’ve missed Mexico’ [still a shocker at Dutch parties, Mexico is part of North America], as Mexicodreef was bundled with the South American and Central American names’. The article has some glimmer of self-awareness by stating that Australia has been completely ignored, so it could always be worse.

Back to the Canadian names per province:

  • Manitobadreef
  • Winnipegdreef
  • That’s two for Manitoba, the province and the capital. Nicely done.

  • Ontariodreef
  • Ottawadreef
  • Torontodreef
  • Three for Ontario, the province, the nation’s capital and the province’s capital. Well done.

  • Edmontondreef
  • The capital of the province of Alberta is mentioned, but not Calgary, city of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Edmonton does have that huge mall.

  • Vancouverdreef
  • The province of British Columbia was probably too long, the metropolis gets a mention, but no Victoria, the capital, which most people have to look up. But OK, everybody knows Vancouver, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

  • Quebecdreef
  • The province of Quebec gets a mention, but no Montréal though, home of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The capital is Quebec City, so this is good enough.

  • Labradordreef
  • Labrador is part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland. A very odd choice, you’d think they went for the breed of dog.

  • Sint Laurensdreef
  • I’m guessing it’s part of the river names they use in Overvecht for cross streets, so decent choice.

It’s still really hard to beat a neighbourhood named after Lord of the Rings characters.

Tags: , , , ,

January 28, 2014

Dutch village boasts Lord of The Rings neighbourhood

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 10:58 am


The village of Geldrop in Noord-Brabant apparently has a neighbourhood with streets named after characters from the works of JRR Tolkien. The neighbourhood has been around since 2008 back when 24oranges was just getting started because had we known we would have been all over this one like Orcs.

For anyone who likes a long read, there’s this Master’s thesis on Street names in Noord-Brabant and Holland, which mentions the LOTR streets using an exclamation point.

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve told you about Fart Street in Capelle aan den IJssel near Rotterdam and a few more odd ones.

(Link: www.huffingtonpost.com)

Tags: , , , ,