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Entries in Netherlands (19)


North Sea Canal

Taking the Disney Magic through the North Sea Canal was a fascinating experience. The IJ drains into the North Sea here, but the sea level is above the polders, so a lock is required to allow ships to sail through without flooding half of Holland. We entered the canal, with our ship nearly at the maximum dimensions possible, before the river-side lock was raised. The sea-side lock slowly let water in, and over the course of an hour our ship slowly rose up to sea level. After we sailed out the largest water pumps in Europe dropped the water level in the canal down to river level again before opening the river-side lock. A marvel of engineering, especially when considering it was built 100 years ago, and the engineering does not stop at the ocean - a deep trench, the IJgeul, is required to get ships out to where the ocean is deep enough.

Watertower of IJmuiden, seen from the North Sea Canal


North Amsterdam

We recently had the good fortune to spend a weekend with a good friend in North Amsterdam, and found it a pleasant surprise. The north side is a new part of the city and has a completely different feel to the canal zone. Rather than ancient buildings and a network of canals, the north was clearly designed with bikes in mind as the central form of transportation. It was amazing to be able to ride from one side of the city to the other through a green belt, surrounded by trees rather than roads. It was so peaceful that Hayden even fell asleep in his wagon bike. 

Then we visited the former shipyards at Amsterdam NDSM. The area has been repurposed into an art district in a way that still keeps the former industrial feel. A crane has been turned into a hotel, greenhouses into cafes and walking through derelict shipping containers led us into a fun beach bar. A large warehouse had a hidden art studio village inside, and overlooking it was a stack of shipping containers turned into ultra-cheap student housing. A great way to modernise an abondoned site while still keeping the original visual uniqueness of the area. 

North Amsterdam really struck me as a Coopenhagen-type city. Trendy and European, designed to just integrate seemlessly with modern sustainable urban lifestyles.



Efteling at night


It's A Small World After All

Oh, sorry, "Carnival Festival" at Efteling is totally not a rip-off of "It's a Small World After All". Totally a coincidence that you take a world tour in small chairs past animatronic charactertures of national sterotypes singing annoying music. Twice. Only difference is that the Dutch version hasn't bothered to replace the more obnoxiously racist stereotypes yets, but hey, they still dress up in blackface this time of the year, because Santa having a Black slave is totally traditional.

Even the Chinese dragon thinks some of these are in bad taste

Fair is fair though. Walt Disney totally copied Disneyland off Efteling (he visited it in the Netherlands six months before coming back to America and coming up with the "totally innovative" idea of opening a fairy tale-themed park). So I guess Efteling get's to steal "It's A Small World After All".



"Look, that donkey can make caca coins!" - Hayden

And tiny pancakes were had by all...


Santorum is a filthy liar - even by Republican standards

This is Santorum discussing the health care system in the Netherlands:

Well in the Netherlands people wear a different bracelet if you are elderly. And the bracelet is ‘do not euthanise me’. Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands. But half the people that are euthanised every year, and it’s ten percent of all deaths, half of those people are euthanised involuntarily at the hospitals, because they are older and sick.

And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country. Because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, that they will not come out of that hospital to [unaudible].

Look at what has happened just in our tolerance of abortion. Fifty years ago, people who did abortions, sixty years ago, people who did abortions were, you know, in the shadows, or people who were considered really bad doctors. Now abortion is something that is just accepted. Well, of course people do abortions, it’s legal, it’s fine, there are no moral and ethical problems. This is the erosion, and it happens in the medical profession, and it can happen very fast, and I think Obamacare will lead us down that road.

Almost every single sentence he uttered is a filthy lie. Not shades of gray, an alternative interpretation or statistical slight-of-hand - just a complete lie. The elderly in the Netherlands do not wear bracelets saying "do not euthanise me". All euthanasia in the Netherlands is voluntary, can only occur following multiple independent consultations and even then only in the case of unbearable pain. Euthanasia accounts for ~1% of total deaths in the Netherlands, not 10%. Health care provision to the elderly is higher in the Netherlands, not lower, and there is no shadow health-care system of Dutch fleeing over the border because they are afraid to go to Dutch hospitals. Abortion rates in the US are lower than they were 50 years ago, thanks to contraception, and abortion-related deaths are much lower, thanks to safe provision of medical services. "Obamacare" will not increase the number of abortions provided.

This is the man the majority of Republicans want to be the next President of the United States. And that says a whole lot about Republicans.


The town with two countries

Last weekend we took JT to visit Baarle Hertog / Baarle Nassau. This is a wonderful little Belgian/Dutch town, with the world's most complex international border.

 Which meant that Hayden could stand in two countries at the same time:


Dutchies inflict their politics on the whole world

I was just reading that the world has been bombarded with Dutch political advertising for centuries, via the medium of the humble carrot. Yes, the carrot, after which the orange pigment carotine was named, was once red, violet, purple, yellow and white. The orange version of the carrot was only created in the 17th century by Dutch carrot growers trying to suck up to the Royal Family of the Netherlands - the House of Orange. The carrot they created, the Long Orange Dutch carrot, has effectively wiped out all competion.

Those Dutchies, tricking us into supporting their royal family. With $300 million in the bank and palaces across the Netherlands, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the Oranges have been taking a royalty for each orange carrot bought.


A big week for Dutch-speaking neo-nazis

Vlaams Belang, the neo-nazi anti-immigrant party of Belgium, is sending out free pocket knives to people in Brussels who fill write to them with concern about "immigration and crime in Brussels".

At least Vlaams Belang were not stupid enough to emblazon the pocket knives with a swastika. You can't say quite the same for the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), the neo-nazi anti-immigrant party of the Netherlands, which last week was photographed flying the old Dutch Nazi flag from their parliamentary headquarters. 

Of course they are not racist, they insist, they are just concerned about all of these filthy foreigners.