Yesterday, Femke van der Laan, widow of deceased Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan, was present at an unveiling of a wall of Amsterdam’s new IJ river ferry number 63, showing that the ferry was renamed after Eberhard van der Laan. This is the first time that Amsterdam’s transport company GVB has named any kind of transport after a person.
“Eberhard van der Laan was a mayor who poured his heart and soul into the city, a leader that built bridges and looked for connections between Amsterdam residents.” Since the picture of him about was shot at a meet and greet he did in my neighbourhood addressing people’s problems, I tend to agree with the image people have of him. Although different, much of the same has also been said of former Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen who is still living. Van der Laan died of lung cancer in 2017.
As well, the new ferry is one of four bigger, quieter and cleaner ferries that go across the IJ river and is part of the road infrastructure, which means it is free of charge. The new ferries are 33,60 metres long and 9 meters wide, able to transport 310 people. Although not emissions-free, the GVB says it will equip its fleet with fully electric motors when the time comes.
Today, outside in the sun at the Delft University of Technology, Dutch start-up Hardt Global Mobility, working together with BAM construction, unveiled a 30-meter-long and 3.2-meter in diameter white transport tube to be used to create ‘a futuristic high-speed transportation system’.
Known as the Hyperloop and originally suggested by Elon Musk of Space X and Tesla fame in 2013, the goal was to transport ‘pods’ with people in them at a whooshing 1,126 kilometres per hour, powered by electricity and magnetism that hurtle through low-friction pipes. And yes, it all sounds like science fiction and the Ceres station in The Expanse, which even has a stop called ‘Rosse Buurt’ named after Amsterdam’s red light district.
There are talks of building a transport tube between two Dutch cities within the next four years to be able to test cornering and lane switching. Being able to move goods from ports like Rotterdam is also in the cards.
On The Expanse, the pods are part of a subway station (a weird word to use considering that everything is underground on Ceres Station) and start whooshing at 0:47.
Cycling is an everyday mode of transport in most of the world, but nowhere do people choose to ride their bikes to work, school, football practice and bars as much as in the Netherlands.
This preponderance of cycling has led to many habits that have become a part of the fabric of life in this country. In the video above, Mark Wagenbuur shows examples of cycling hand in hand, of cycling with suitcases, of rear rack rides and of transporting large objects with your bike.
The video is part two of a series of two, so if you cannot enough of this sort of thing, part 1 is here. In a separate blog post Mark Wagenbuur talks a little about the background music he uses for the two videos.
Dutch touring car company Royal Beuk BV is currently testing technology called the Driver State Sensor that monitors whether a bus driver is getting drowsy at the wheel. Some 20 vehicles are being equipped with a system designed by Australian company Seeing Machines, which “uses infrared light and a camera to record eye movements to monitor whether a driver’s gaze is distracted from the road for too long or if they is blinking progressively more slowly, signs they may be nodding off.” If the system detects drowsiness, it will warn the driver with an alarm fitted to their chair and an audio signal, and additional alarms will also call for human intervention.
The Driver State Sensor costs 15,000 euro which, according to Marc Beuk in an RTL Nieuws interview is too expensive for the touring car branch, but thanks to the collaboration between Royal Beuk and Seeing Machines, the price could go down to as much as 5,000 euro.
It has been said that driving drowsy is a lot like driving drunk, but there’s no social taboo on it while it is just as dangerous.
1. Starting October 2012 transportation infrastructure operators in the Netherlands were allowed to use new traffic signs that have been optimised for colour blind people.
The new signs were given white lines to increase contrast between red and blue elements and to increase contrast of signs with a red border when viewed against a green background, the Dutch government said. Infrastructure operators (‘wegbeheerders’ in Dutch) are free to determine if and when they will replace the old signs. The Netherlands isn’t the first country to introduce road signs for people with deficient vision, I found examples on Flickr of similarly adapted signs in Italy and France.
2. Orangemaster and I attended the opening of the Dutch Rail Lost&Found pop-up store we wrote about earlier. We kind of rushed through it, so I did not get many photos (there is one below), but The Post Online’s photographer spent some more time there.
3. In the 1970s, the Netherlands were rapidly on their way to becoming a car sick country. Mark Wagenbuur has created several videos about how protesters managed to turn this development around. His most recent video explores how school children helped raise awareness for their particular plight in the densely populated Pijp neighbourhood in Amsterdam.
When I was a teenager, I had to bike through the narrow and windy cobblestone streets of a typically Dutch city centre to get to school, and part of that ride was spent waiting behind large, four-ton trucks delivering who knows what. Maybe it was 50 envelopes or a crate of tomatoes. It gave me the time to muse about a system where cargo was off-loaded just outside the city centre to smaller, horse-drawn carts for further distribution.
Although Utrecht-based company Cargohopper ditched the horse, they did implement this scheme for distributing goods to inner city stores to a tee. The small width, 1.25 metre, will surely lead to less irritation for the other road users.
Cargohopper is a vehicle that can tow 3 metric tonnes in a linear line by means of a 48 Volt 28 hp electric engine. Its max speed is 20 km/h, but that is more than enough as it is only driving in the inner city of Utrecht and does not do more than 60 kilometres a day.
Once empty, it collects dry cardboard, paper and empty packaging from shops for recycling, so it never runs empty. In this way, Cargohopper removes up to 100,000 van kilometres from the inner city streets and saves about 30 tonnes of CO2 annually.