December 18, 2011

The teenage watchmaker

Filed under: Design,Dutch first by Branko Collin @ 3:48 pm

In a way Mick Mooren is a typical teenager. He has a got a typical teenager’s room at his parents’ house with the highsleeper bed and the posters adorning the wall.

But the posters hint that there is more to Mick. They are posters of watches, and Mick is a 19-year-old watchmaker from Venray in the North of Limburg. And this year he became a watch manufacturer as well.

The first watch that Mooren is producing himself is the New Vintage and is available in black/orange and white/orange. It will set you back a cool 840 euro.

Mick’s back story is worth reading in itself. His watchmaking career was propelled earlier this year when he took on the restoration of a classic 1973 Zenith El Primero chronograph, a watch that doubles as a stopwatch. He wrote about the restoration process in detail over at Although the son of a goldsmith and nephew of a watchmaker, Mick did not take up watchmaking until two years ago.

(Via BNR. Photo:

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August 3, 2011

The best places to live in the Netherlands

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:42 am

In a tongue-in-cheek article, daily De Pers figured out the ideal Dutch towns to live in for large groups of people:

For the poor, Vaals (in the Southernmost tip of the country), because it is apparently easy to get social security there. The town wants to crack down on social security tourism though.

For the gays, Hillegom (South of Haarlem), of which the Pink City Guide of Bureau Movisie says it’s the gay friendliest town in the country. The municipality is working on a policy to support eldery gays, amongst others.

For the elderly, Kerkrade (Limburg). The paper quotes a citizen as saying: “Perhaps we can even draw older people from the rest of the country or even from abroad, because growing old in Kerkrade is fun.” It doesn’t say why it is fun.

For muslims, Alblasserdam (near Rotterdam). The town sports the highest percentage of muslims in the country.

For the handicapped, Huizen (East of Amsterdam), which is quick in allotting funds for medical needs.

For the Polish, Venray (Limburg), which realizes it will always need seasonal workers, so why not be nice to them.

For the drug addicted both Amersfoort (near Utrecht) and Utrecht (near Amersfoort). Junkies get free beer in the former town, and free methadone in the latter. (Pretty girls get free beer in Weert, Limburg. From the bar owners, that is.)

For the students, Sittard (Limburg), as it has the cheapest student housing of the country.

And finally, for sailors, the devoutly religious town of Urk (near nowhere in particular) which refuses to charge boat owners money for delivering electricity and water on Sundays, as that would constitute working on a Sabbath.

(Photo: an abandoned looking factory in Huizen)

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