In 2018 the city of Zaandam, North Holland was dealing with a tempest in a teacup: a street called ‘Hobo’ (‘Oboe’) was turned into ‘Piccolo’ because folks said it sounded too much like ‘homo’, which is a homophobic slur, the equivalent of ‘faggot’. ‘Folks said’ is not very clear, but city hall picked up on the discontent of some and decided to change instruments.
However, in 2019 the city went back on its decision, saying that it was hard to claim to be a ‘rainbow city’ (LGBTQIA-friendly) if they cater to the whims of a few people who didn’t like a street named after a musical instrument. Other Dutch cities have Hobo streets and that was never a problem. And just having a rainbow crosswalk is not enough these days to be truly LGBTQIA-friendly.
I went to Zaandam recently to see what the fuss had been all about. One very nice typical blue Zaandam-style house had a sign on the door that said “Hobo 14, former Piccolo 14”, which seemed to be for any kind of deliveries. Hobo street is barely a few hundred metres long. And why would I use another slur, ‘faggot’, to make my point? That’s because parallel to Hobo, there’s ‘Fagot’ street, which means ‘Bassoon’ in Dutch and nobody had a problem with that.
Tags: gay rights, rainbow, Urban planning, Zaandam
While these uselessly small parking spaces popped up in The Hague a few years back, an interesting show of urban planning gone mad in Woerden, Utrecht actually has an explanation. You can stop reading to try and guess while looking at the image in the second link or read on.
First, the city of Woerden hooked up the hastily fitted lamp pole for now, but will replace it soon, after receiving new ones. They claim it’s easy to fix, but yes, it looks totally stupid for now.
Then, it needs to deal with the run-up that leads into the bushes because that looks pretty moronic as well. The owner of the house had asked for a run-up, but has not yet dealt with removing the bush.
And it’s all about coordination, says the city. At the end of June things should look a lot less stupid.
Tags: Urban planning, Woerden
Until Friday 23 March at 4pm CET, people can vote for the best ugly place in the province of North Holland (see link below). Even if you don’t understand Dutch, the 25 videos with all the candidates speak for themselves.
Watch and see places ranging from Beverwijk to Den Helder, Zandvoort to IJmuiden, and many more. There’s ugly stuff from the 1970s, 1980s and other decades that probably should never have been built or were poorly built and badly updated or are just plain weird and stick out.
All these urban planning gaffes are super obvious in a country that’s as flat as the Netherlands. And this was only done in one province!
(Link: nhnieuws.nl, image from nhnieuws’ Facebook page)
Tags: Beverwijk, Bijlmer, Den Helder, IJmuiden, North Holland, Urban planning, Zandvoort