April 18, 2019

Dutch Air Force F-16 shoots itself by mistake

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 11:07 am

An incident that took place in January of this year is being investigated, in which a Dutch Air Force F-16 managed to shoot itself with its own MA61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun at a military range on the island of Vlieland, bringing the concept of friendly fire to a whole new level.

On 21 January, two F-16s were carrying out firing exercises, and the aircraft in question managed to catch up with its own 20-millimetre cannon rounds, damaging the fuselage and parts of the engine. No pilots were injured during this incident.

“The incident reflects why guns on a high-powered performance jet are perhaps a less than ideal weapon.” The Vulcan is able to fire 6,000 rounds a minute, but its magazines only hold 511 rounds, which is enough for five seconds of constant shooting. A pilot can accelerate and manoeuvre in such a way that they get hit by their own bullets.

The Dutch Air Force is currently replacing its F-16s with Lockheed F-35As, which have four-barrel General Dynamics GAU-22 Equalizers, with 25-millimetre cannons that can hold 182 rounds for two seconds of constant fire, hopefully providing less opportunities for ‘potentially deadly friendly fire’.

(Link arstechnica.com, Photo opmerkelijk.nieuws.nl)

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June 14, 2018

Vlieland on world’s most expensive beaches list

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:53 pm


Dutch travel site TravelBird has published The 2018 Beach Price Index, which caught the Dutch media’s attention, as the Frisian island of Vlieland took spot 31 of the 327 world’s most expensive beaches.

According to the media, local businesses are scratching their heads as to how they got so far up the list, but did not contradict the prices quoted by the site. According to TravelBird, besides Vlieland being the most expensive beach in The Netherlands and after calculating the prices of things such as sunscreen, deck chair, beer, ice cream, lunch and facilities, Vlieland will run you 53,26 euro.

Sure, a ton of beaches in Norway, the United States and France are way more expensive than the Dutch ones: everything is expensive in Norway (a country not in the EU – a reminder), while the United States and France both have very prestigious beaches. However, if we run down the other four Wadden Islands, North Holland’s Texel is ranked 78, the Frisian island of Terschelling is 97, the Frisian island of Schiermonnikoog is at 164 and the Frisian island of Ameland is ranked 187 (seen in the photo).

(Link: waarmaarraar.nl)

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July 22, 2013

Ferry wars are threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland

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

A price war between two competing ferry companies servicing the Dutch Wadden island of Terschelling is threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland as well.

Rederij Doeksen is the official ferry company that connects both islands with the mainland. In 2008 islanders of Terschelling, dissatisfied with Doeksen’s service, decided to start their own ferry company, Eigen Veerdienst Terschelling (EVT), which literally means Own Ferry Service Terschelling.

The Dutch government granted Doeksen a monopoly in 2011 (which was to enter into force in 2012) provided that Doeksen would guarantee a service throughout the year and not just in the summer, when tourists flock to the islands. EVT brought a case before the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal fighting the concession and in the meantime it charged 5 euro for a ticket to Terschelling whereas Doeksen originally charged 25 euro. Doeksen has lowered its rates to 4 euro, but now threatens to cut trips to Vlieland from three times a day to twice a day.

Vlieland’s inhabitants are not happy. Mayor Else Schadd (Labour) told Volkskrant on 15 July: “This is unacceptable. In the future if you want to go to the dentist, you will need to take the entire day off. Islanders who work on the mainland won’t get to their office before ten in the morning. And day trippers who want to visit us in the off-season will have to return home at five o’ clock.”

EVT’s case hinges around whether the Wadden Sea is a real sea or merely a whole lot of water, Veerbootinfo writes. In case of the former European law apparently gives EVT some breathing space.

(Map of the Wadden Sea by OpenStreetMap contributors, some rights reserved. Vlieland and Terschelling are in the top left corner, Vlieland is on the left. The white lines show the ferry routes)

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May 7, 2011

What have the Nazis ever done for you?

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 11:48 am

I grew up in Blerick, a town with a town hall but without the political body to inhabit it. See, in 1940 the town was added to the neighbouring city of Venlo by the Nazi occupier, which made the possession of a town hall moot.

Interestingly the previous municipality that Blerick belonged to, Maasbree, once had three different town halls, and the council would rotate among them until in 1904 the Blerick town hall was made the permanent one.

In celebration of Liberation day, daily De Pers summed up 6 of the changes the Nazis made that stuck:

  1. Child support (the Nazis wanted the Arian race to flourish)
  2. Corporate tax (funnily enough, these days our low corporate taxes make us a tax haven, according to the Berserker of Abbottabad)
  3. Central European Time (before that, we had our own sliver of a time zone)
  4. The Frisian islands of Vlieland and Terschelling (formerly of Noord Holland)
  5. Rent control and renter protection (including the right to live in a house forever)
  6. Job protection (including the right to keep a job forever)

In a number of these cases the occupier made into law what was already on the books. In other cases the law was kept because it made sense. For instance, with housing shortages being rather prominent after the war, it made eminent sense to protect renters from price gouging. In such cases the Germans had unwittingly produced both the diseases and the cures.

(Photo of the Blerick town hall by Wikimedia user Torval, some rights reserved)

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August 24, 2007

Bird friendly lighting at sea

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 12:12 pm

The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Philips have recently developed a new type of lighting for oil and gas platforms that is ‘bird friendly’. The lights give off a limited part of the colour spectrum, which distract birds less when they fly over the North Sea, making their journey much safer. A platform of the NAM, just off the Dutch coast at the height of the island of Vlieland, is currently testing the new lighting. The primary results are apparently very positive, according to NAM and Philips.

Remember, this is a country that builds bridges for frogs and wildlife.

(Link: De Gelderlander)

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