August 28, 2019

Dutch government pushes for tax relief for ‘accidental Americans’

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:03 pm

According to DutchNews, The Netherlands has called on EU member states to try and change American tax laws that affect thousands of Dutch people who have the American nationality, but have nothing to do with the United States otherwise.

State Secretary of Finance Menno Snel, who has been slammed in court for illegally stopping child support from Dutch residents and migrants with an ethnic background (in Dutch), mentioned that The Netherlands has raised the issue in a European context, while Prime Minister Mark Rutte also brought it up in a recent visit to the United States.

If more European countries came together to make this demand to the Americans, maybe something could change. If the United States can make money messing up the lives of Americans abroad, they don’t have much of an incentive to stop in this current political climate.

I know Dutch friends born in the United States who are struggling with this ruling, having little or nothing to do with the United States in their lives. And then there’s that one friend who gave up being American altogether and is now a full fledged Dutch citizen, free of nonsense from the American tax office.


Tags: , , , ,

March 23, 2019

Van Gogh in American museum finally authenticated

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 11:43 am

Dutch experts from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum have finally declared that the painting ‘Vase with Poppies’ (‘Vaas met klaprozen’) is a real Vincent van Gogh. The painting, which currently hangs in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, was painted by the Dutch artist in 1886, just after he moved to Paris.

The painting has been part of the American museum’s collection since 1957, and when a prominent expert in 1990 starting questioning its authenticity, the museum put it in storage. Nowadays, using a Macro-X-ray Fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanner to analyse the painting like they did with Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ last year, the underpainting revealed what looked like a self-portrait, which strengthened its authenticity.

The Wadsworth Atheneum now officially has two Van Goghs in its collection. The other is a self-portrait painted in 1887.

Why does it take so long to authenticate a painting? Well, MA-XRF scanners cost in the hundreds of thousands of euro, which means few museums own them – they usually have to borrow one. Besides getting your hands on such a scanner, the time it takes to scan and proper analyse the findings means the painting is out of view for a while and that your staff is busy doing that instead of other things.

(Links and image:,

Tags: , , ,

January 9, 2019

Dutch ‘Rambo’ tulips at the Golden Globe Awards

Filed under: Film,Nature by Orangemaster @ 2:59 pm

The Dutch flower bulb company Borst from the wee town of Obdam, North Holland are now world famous for having provided the bouquets of tulips for the Golden Globe Awards, with a whopping 10,000 individual tulips having been ordered.

When the company received the order for the tulips from the United States, which doesn’t happen very often, they were kept in the dark about what they were for. Soon after the event aired, they got a message about what they were for and saw their product all over the news.

The fun part is, the Golden Globe opted for a type of tulip called ‘Rambo’, like the movie. “It’s a tulip that is heavy and gives big flowers,” explains Menno Boots from Borst.

(Link and photo:

Tags: , ,

August 9, 2018

De Kooning painting stolen by couple 30 years ago

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 6:47 pm

American couple Jerry and Rita Alter have been posthumously identified as having stolen the painting ‘Woman-Ochre’ by Dutch abstract impressionist Willem de Kooning.

For decades, the painting now worth 160 million US dollars was hanging on the bedroom wall of the couple’s home in New Mexico. It was discovered last year by an antique dealer, as it was part of the belongings of the deceased couple. Jerry Alter died in 2012 at 81, while his wife Rita, who also died aged 81, did so in 2017.

The painting was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson more than 30 years ago, and the couple was definitely in town when that happened. The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that a family photo had surfaced, showing that the day before the painting vanished, the couple was in Tucson, Arizona.

The theft was simple: the couple showed up early at the museum, early enough to be let in, but not too early to be told to wait. Rita distracted the guard while Jerry went in, cut out the painting, rolled it up, and put it under his coat. They then had a quick 15-minute visit and left with the painting.

According to The Washington Post, the works of De Kooning remain among the most marketable in the world. We told you in July about some works by De Kooning found in a storage locker worth quite a bit.


Tags: , ,

July 23, 2018

Works by De Kooning found in storage locker

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 12:38 pm


In 2016 a Belgian had scored a Willem de Kooning painting at flea market, and now an American art dealer in New York has found works that are probably by de Kooning, as well as a work by Swiss-German Paul Klee in a New Jersey storage locker for which he paid 15.000 USD (12.819 euro).

The art dealer bought the storage locker after an auction house had passed up the opportunity to do so, which indicated it probably didn’t have anything of value, but boy were they wrong if this all pans out.

However, the paintings are not signed. The Willem de Kooning Foundation based in Manhattan does not authenticate works, so the dealer hired an expert who believes that they absolutely are by De Kooning and are worth millions of dollars.

(Links:, Photo of Willem de Kooning by Smithsonian Institution Archives, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

July 21, 2018

Van Gogh house can stay for autistic son

Filed under: Art,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 1:40 pm

A couple in Florida has painted the outside of their entire house as a huge mural of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ for their autistic son, and has just just won an almost year-long battle with the city to keep it that way.

The commissioned painting works as a beacon for their adult son who has problems communicating and occasionally wanders away from home. By making their house a landmark, which their son refers to as T’he Starry Night house’, he can tell people which house he’s talking about when he gets lost and people will know where it is.

When the mural was started, the city told them it was considered graffiti if the wall didn’t match the house, so they went the whole hog and painted the entire outside of the house. Then, they got fined 10,000 USD (about 8,528 euro) for doing so. While the city said the house was a distraction and improper, the coupled expressed their constitutional right to free expression and won.

Parents are ready to fight for their children under normal circumstances, but if your kid also has a developmental disorder like autism, you’re probably going to fight anybody who tries to make your life more difficult. The city gave the family $15,000 USD (about 12,793 euro) and an apology, which was a big deal for this family who grew up in socialist Poland.

(Link and photo:

Tags: , , ,

October 9, 2017

Dutch show attacks US gun ownership

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 1:29 pm

Zondag met Lubach, a Dutch television show whose video explaining the Netherlands to Trump went viral, has now conjured up a solid slap in the face about gun control and the apparent lack thereof in the United States.

The ‘Nonsensical Rifle Addiction’ mocks the NRA (aka National Rifle Association) and shows ‘shooting people’ as an illness, which I believe isn’t too far from the truth. I enjoyed the jab at the expression ‘thoughts and prayers’, which in the eyes of the Dutch and beyond is synonymous with doing absolutely nothing whatsoever about the problem.

“Bullet points don’t kill people, ignorance kills people”. Watch the video (subtitles in English in places) to get why that’s funny and a bit sad. And bring some popcorn for the YouTube comments, the show’s not over yet.

Tags: , , , ,

December 3, 2016

Faces of nations, what composite national leaders look like

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 11:12 pm


Turkish-born, Amsterdam-based art-director Güney Sokayn had this simple but intriguing question – do composite portraits of natians’ leaders say something about those nations?

On his project page he explains:

Consciously or sub-consciously, you rarely think of Germany without picturing Angela Merkel or of Russia without Vladimir Putin. Because whether we like it or not, the political leader of our country represents how the world perceives their nation. But is it a reflection of that nation’s people? […]

This is where the idea for Face of a Nation originates. It is a personal curiosity project that aims to create portraits of different nations based on their leaders from the past 50 years.

To this end, Soykan took photos of presidents and prime ministers, spliced them vertically and put the resulting strips together, forming new, composite portraits. The strips are ordered by the periods these men (and the odd woman) governed. The width of each bar represents the duration of each government.

Although perhaps the most important lesson is how boring leaders look, some trends can be clearly spotted, and I am not just talking about the switch from black-and-white to colour photography. The end of apartheid in South Africa is visible, because all subsequent presidents after De Klerk were black (top illustration, detail). American presidents lead for exactly four or eight years (bottom left). Syria and North Korea are hereditary dictatorships. And if you are the leader of Turkey (bottom right) or Italy, you should probably make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.

face_of_a_nation-usa-guney_soykan face_of_a_nation-turkey-guney_soykan

Illustrations: Güney Soykan.

Tags: , , ,

November 21, 2016

Dutch-born Republican to head CIA

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:33 pm


In a special post-American election edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’) where the Dutch media finds remote Dutch connections for the sake of a story, Groningen-born, Republican Pete Hoekstra is being touted as the new big cheese of the CIA. Hoekstra, 63, who lives in Michigan and may or may not speak a few words of Dutch, claimed he worked hard on Trump’s campaign and knows which direction he wants to take the United States [insert all of the jokes right here].

Hoekstra is an American who emigrated when he was three, which is why ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ is always a sad attempt by the Dutch press to remain internationally relevant, the same press that treats long-time Dutch folks of other ethnicities as if they didn’t count when it suits them. Other attempts at finding ‘Dutchiness’ have included Britney Spears, Tiger Woods and Dave Benton. On the opposite end of the scale is Anne Frank who was never Dutch (she was German), but many people think she was or enjoy saying that her not being Dutch was ‘just a formality’.


Tags: , , ,

October 12, 2016

Trump and Clinton duet parody goes viral

Filed under: Film,General by Orangemaster @ 7:16 am

Screen shot 2016-10-12 at 7.05.12 AM, which produces funny segments for Dutch television show ‘De Wereld Draait Door’, has had their mash up of the latest American presidential candidate debate go viral. Sander van de Pavert is the brains behind the operation and until now, mostly known within the Netherlands.

I avoided watching the actual debate and read the fallout, but having a laugh at the idea of Trump and Clinton singing a duet is a nice change from the violence of the entire entreprise. Van de Pavert doesn’t just put an entire new sound on top of a video, he lets any sounds that match what he’s going for permeate, which makes his work recognisable. He wasn’t thrilled with this one, but at least his point is well made, which is more than we can say for either candidate.

(Link: dutchnews, Screenshot:

Tags: , ,