Recently I was in Amsterdam’s famous Jordaan neighbourhood and decided to pop into an old brown café to have a drink. One of the bar staff was new, and she told me she was from Volendam, which only has 22,000 or so residents. Her comment also brought with it an inevitable discussion about ‘palingpop’ (‘eel pop’, typically Volendam music sung by the likes of Jantje Smit and Nick & Simon, which she’s not a fan of) and hereditary diseases.
Referred to as the ‘Volendam sickness’ and known more properly as ‘Volendam neurodegenerative disease’, this one village is know for “Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2 (PCH-2), a heterogeneous group of rare neurodegenerative disorders caused by genetic mutations and characterised by progressive atrophy of various parts of the brain such as the cerebellum or brainstem (particularly the pons) for which there is no cure”. Any child born with this disease will die before they reach 10. According to Dutch wikipedia, one out of every seven residents of Volendam is a carrier, and the chance of PCH-2 is one out of 250 births, while for the Dutch population it is one out of 180,000.
The bar woman talked about it being standard fare for her family members and their partners who wanted to have children to be tested for diseases, as the chances of being a carrier is high. Research has shown that European patients who contract the disease are all related 10 to 12 generations back to the same ancestor, and quick Google search tells me that the entire village of Volendam stem from about seven ancestors. People from Volendam are a very tight tribe, as told by my bar woman who said that when she came to live in Amsterdam it caused quite a stir in her family. And if someone from Volendam does marry an ‘outsider’, you can bet they will try and push for the new couple to live in Volendam.
Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful village full of tourists, and I’m sure it has a lot more stories to tell.
Tags: Amsterdam, disease, Volendam
In his recently published article entitled ‘Taking the Conservative Protestant thesis across the Atlantic’ published in the British Journal of Criminology, Don Weenink of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam claims that ‘Conservative Protestant rural youth are more often involved in violent crimes than their counterparts in urban areas, who also use less violence than average’. Less violence is possibly correlated with a total lack of nightlife, which in turn could also explain all the drinking and drugs.
Weenink collected data from 8000 Dutch young people aged 15 to 30. According to him, drinking alcohol is often seen as harmless pleasure by parents and young people in rural areas, whereas in urban areas it is often associate alcohol use with antisocial behaviour. As well, Protestant villages in the Dutch Bible belt have young people taking matters into their own hands in conflict situations. We only know the Bible Belt as a place where quacks suggest grinding oysters shells as medicine and children suffer and even die of measles for ‘religious reasons’.
Religious places like Urk and Volendam, also fishing villages, are often pointed out by many as full of bored kids that drink until they drop and take lots of drugs, usually cocaine. In 2012 quaint Volendam has more people snorting coke than cities like Paris, London and Milan. According to a 2003 Dutch television documentary ‘Fish, drugs and rock n’ roll’, the youth become drug addicts and alcoholics at a very young age and their religious leaders either thump Bibles or suggest they spend Saturdays playing board games with their parents. The documentary tells of Urk youth going to church to take and deal drugs.
(Link: phys.org, image an early 2000 Dunglish advert that wanted to say ‘if you drink more, you will think less, but managed to say the exact opposite)
Tags: alcoholism, cocaine, coke, drugs, research, University of Amsterdam, Urk, Volendam
Traditional fishing village Volendam is the butt of jokes for many things including hard drugs and ‘palingsound’ (‘eel sound’), a type of pop music from Volendam, referring to their smoked eel speciality. Then there’s the New Year’s Eve fire of 2000 where fresh pine trees branches (yup, illegal) were used as decoration on the ceiling of a cafe overflowing with people that caught fire because of a sparkler and caused deaths and serious injuries.
Nevertheless, the jokes about inbred villagers aren’t jokes. Three quarters of locals who want to have children get themselves checked out for a total of four hereditary diseases. One out of three villagers is a carrier, and if two carriers get together, that’s a 25% chance of hitting the jackpot. The 22,000 villagers all come from the same seven to twenty original families that settled the village, which explains many of the health issues, but not their ‘eel sound’.
‘Palingpop’ as the music is also called, started in the mid 1960s with easy listening tunes that resembled the American and British bands of the era. The term was coined by a radio station (video in Dutch) that would receive smoked eel as a present every time someone from Volendam would visit them. Acts such as The Cats and BZN as well as more contemporary singers such as Jan Smit and Nick & Simon are quite famous throughout the country and beyond.
(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of Volendam by quantz, some rights reserved)
Tags: eel, palingpop, palingsound, smoked eel, Volendam
According to Dutch television show ‘Spuiten en Slikken’, which talks candidly about drugs with young adults, the picturesque fishing village of Volendam uses more drugs per capita than cities like Milan, Paris and London. The sewer water, which was tested by the KWR Watercycle Research Institute, came up with the equivalent of one line of cocaine per 40 inhabitants. With XTC, Volendam takes the No. 3 spot in Europe, just behind the cities of Amsterdam and Eindhoven.
In July we already told you that Amsterdam had sewers full of hard drugs, but Volendam only has 22,000 inhabitants, although it attracts a lot of weekend drug users. Volendam is not as much the butt of jokes as the town of Urk, where kids drink and snort their religion-induced boredom away, but is home to many Dutch music artists that people either love or find annoying, making this discovery an excuse to make fun of Volendam.
(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo: DEA)
Tags: cocaine, drugs, Volendam
Here’s a Skype conversation between two 24oranges bloggers yesterday, while watching the Dutch national election results:
Branko: “that is so not shopped” (the above picture)
Orangemaster: “It isn’t!! I saw the item on telly!”
Here’s proof: another photo, taken by a legitimate news source.
Branko: “I guess he just doesn’t give a shit anymore. Is he the guy who coveted a job in Europe?” (as in, if I can’t be Prime Minister (power is addictive), I’ll try for some job at the EU level, which he didn’t get because people don’t like him there either!)
Orangemaster: “He’s going doooown tonight.”
Freshly ousted Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (in the pic), who has just caused a historic loss for his Christian-values peddling party, is wearing a T-shirt with a big swear word and is drinking the worst drug kids will probably ever encounter in their lives: alcohol.
Balkie, as we call him, was visiting the picturesque fishing village of Volendam, where ironically, the youth are bored to tears, drink themselves into a stupor and take lots of drugs when beer doesn’t do the job. But much like Balkie himself, they close their eyes to how people view these problems (total lack of self-relfection), look at the scenery of their touristic village and act like every is fine.
I gladly use this photo taken by Michael Sijbom, ironically (and I laugh writing this), campaign strategist for Balkie’s political party who needs as much image rebuilding as Rotterdam did after WWII.
Tags: beer, drugs, Jan Peter Balkenende, Volendam
A painting by French neo-impressionist Paul Signac and estimated to be worth 100,000 euro has been discovered in Hotel Spaander in Volendam, spokes person Marcel Rutten confirmed to AD yesterday.
The painting was a payment for the painter’s stay at the hotel in 1894. Hotel Spaander has a collection of about 1,400 paintings. It billed itself as a painter’s hotel back in the day, still does, and apparently it was not uncommon that residing artists paid their bills with their art. The Signac’s value though was unknown to management, which estimates that this is the best paid bill in its history.
The Signac representing a view of the harbour used to hang off a rusty nail in the lobby. Artists who wish to stay at the hotel can still do so in exchange for paintings, as long as the subject is Volendam, according to RTL Nieuws.
Signac was a contemporary of Vincent van Gogh, with whom he corresponded.
The painting’s true value was discovered during the preparations of an exhibition of the hotel’s art for the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen.
(Photo of the roof of Hotel Spaander by Flickr user FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)
Tags: France, Hotel Spaander, hotels, Paul Signac, Vincent van Gogh, Volendam