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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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.

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October 1, 2009

This year’s herring is fantastic

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 3:49 pm

Two weeks ago I had the fattest herring I have had in a long time, but thinking that it might be fluke, I did not post about it. However, yesterday I went to the same fish store, and had the same experience. Highly recommended.

If you are currently in the Netherlands, this appears to be one of the better years to try this Dutch delicacy. Just in case the quality of the herring is a function of the store I bought it at, I buy mine at the Volendammer Vishandel J.C.M. Koning on the Eerste van der Helststraat in Amsterdam, just off the Albert Cuyp market.

Traditionally the herring is sold with onion bits and gherkin, but I usually leave out the latter as it tends to neutralize the already delicate herring flavour. The best herring is greasy and soft. In lesser years, the herring tends to be ruddy and firm.

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March 1, 2009

Robert Jasper Grootveld, co-founder Provo movement dies

Filed under: Art,General,History by Branko Collin @ 10:54 am

On Saturday evenings their parents were watching the TV with their left eyes, and the cars in front of the houses with their right, seated on refrigerators and washing machines, with mixers in the one hand and copies of De Telegraaf in the other, and the children went to the Spui. […] When the electrical clock on the Lutheran church indicated it was midnight, the high priest appeared from an alley in full regalia, sometimes with painted face, sometimes masked, and started to walk magical circles around the nicotinian demon, his disciples clapping and singing the Cough Cough song all the while.

Thus describes Harry Mulisch in his book Report to the Rat King the happenings of self-proclaimed ‘anti-smoke mage’ Robert Jasper Grootveld who died last week at age 76.

I’ll just say it: Grootveld was instrumental in harnessing the counter-culture movement of the 1960s and helping decide its course, and as a result the course of the Netherlands. BN/De Stem calls him (Dutch): “the man who put Amsterdam on the map,” and Marijuana Library holds the Provo movement responsible for the Netherlands’ current drug laws.


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February 2, 2009

Toy Smurfs bigger hit than football cards

Filed under: Comics,Gadgets,Sports by Branko Collin @ 10:10 am

Supermarket chain Albert Heijn has done it again. A collecting mania is sweeping the country and bringing tens of thousands of customers to “the biggest green grocer,” where every 10 euro spent earns you a package of football cards. However, last year’s action with Smurf figurines was perhaps more succesful, reports Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch). The paper quotes market research agency GFK which says that on average Albert Heijn can count 37% of all households among its customers. With the football cards, that number has risen to 39,7%, while at the height of the Smurf craze, it was 40%.

Joop Holla of GFK thinks there are several possible reasons why the Smurfs would be more popular: the cartoon characters are popular with both boys and girls, whereas the football cards mostly attract boys. Also, a competing chain (Plus Markt) had a similar action with football cards last year.

Regardless of which hype is bigger, the football card promotion is drawing plenty of attention. Last Tuesday, the Albert Heijn on the Daalseweg in Nijmegen had to install crowd control barriers because hordes of young boys begging for football cards were apparently bothering the customers. Telegraaf says (Dutch) that at one point at least 50 children were asking for cards in sub zero weather.

It just goes to prove that kids are crazy. If I were standing in the cold on the Daalseweg, I’d make sure to either get to CafĂ© Jos or ‘t Haantje in a hurry, and the only thing cold near by would be the brewsky in front of me.

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January 22, 2009

Dousing a hangover with drinks

Filed under: Food & Drink,Weird by Branko Collin @ 9:53 am

National Geographic made this handy interactive chart that shows how different cultures deal with hangovers. According to the chart, only one people kills its “brackish” feeling, as they say here, by pouring alcohol on top of alcohol, and that’s the Dutch. Visit the site and hover the images for more illumination about inebriation.

Via Sargasso (Dutch).

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December 11, 2008

Googling for Google

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:00 pm

“The Dutch don’t know how to Google,” thinks (Dutch). Google has recently published its Zeitgeist 2008, a list of the things people have been googling for this year. The Dutch top 5:

  1. hyves
  2. youtube
  3. marktplaats
  4. google
  5. weer

(Emphasis mine. Marktplaats is the Dutch eBay, “weer” means weather.)

Yes, that’s right, the Dutch google “Google” to get to Google. Don’t gloat yet, as the lists for other countries look surprisingly similar, with the names of typical Dutch sites replaced by local favourites. As Bright points out, these results likely have more to do with “the bankruptcy of the address bar” than with a sudden dumbing down of society.

Here’s a clip from hit British series The IT Crowd called “Never Ever Type Google Into Google”

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November 29, 2008

Ceramic version of disposable French fries container

Filed under: Art,Design,Food & Drink,Gadgets,Weird by Branko Collin @ 3:18 pm

These ceramic containers for French fries are apparently on sale for 1 euro each at Bas / Dirk van den Broek in Rotterdam.

As the whole world has known since the movie Pulp Fiction, the Dutch eat their fries with mayonnaise. Hey, don’t knock what you haven’t tried! The only acceptable way to eat fries is from a cone-shaped paper bag, with the mayo on top. Since a long while many snack bars have switched however to serving their fries in plastic boxes with two compartments, a big one for the fries and a small one for the mayo. What kind of statement the Dirk van den Broek supermarket chain would be trying to make by having a sale of ceramic versions of these disposable containers Trendbeheer doesn’t tell.

Photo: Niels Post / Trendbeheer, some rights reserved.

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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.

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November 15, 2008

De(con)struction of a country

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 2:36 pm

The Christian government’s War on Fun is plodding along at a glacial pace here. This can make it difficult to get a decent picture of how bad things have gotten. Luckily, over at the Yak’s forums, somebody who calls themselves DutchLlama has provided a list of battles lost and about to be lost:

One thing DutchLlama forgot is the ban on flags in the inner city of Amsterdam, as these make the city look too cheerfulcommercial according to some politicos.

I should point out that although all of these bans are right up the alley of the Reformed government (the Reformed are a protestant sect), the measures taken in Amsterdam can likely be subscribed to nimbyism, as they’re often based on decisions taken by the council of the city center borough.

Yak is the pseudonym of brilliant games programmer Jeff Minter, the guy who almost single-handedly brought the concept of author’s voice to the video game world, and kept it there against great opposition.

Via Cloggie. Photo of the spire of the Westerkerk by Mararie, some rights reserved.

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