Sports

Blinded by the light (Or: Shocking orange)

As you know, diehard Dutch fans are covered from head to toe in orange during major sporting events. Here is a photo Marco took a few weeks ago of someone walking down the street.

Note: I actually cropped this a bit to hide the dirty street. The photo is a bit blurry because they were actually further away.

Speaking of sporting events, Jumbo (a national grocery store) is under fire for their commercial (YouTube) advertising their European championship gear. The main sponsor is Albert Heijn, another grocery store. However Jumbo uses a song that is widely associated with the 2017 women’s team and the commercial features a parade which is also generally associated with Dutch national football. See also: Jumbo the winner in dispute with KNVB over Euro 2020 advertising from dutchnews.nl.

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Tuesday tidbits (Or: Random news here and there)

Around lunchtime today I went to The Guardian’s website to check the news. Instead, I see a white screen with a tiny error message. As I have done countless times over the years, I then went to to Down for Everyone or Just Me. The website reassured me that the error wasn’t just on my side. Around then work got crazy again, so I forgot about it for a while (until work was less crazy and I could actually make some lunch).

It turns out the error hit more than just The Guardian. See also this article: Massive internet outage hits websites including Amazon, gov.uk and Guardian from theguardian.com. The best part of the article? This quote: “The Guardian moved to Twitter to run a dedicated liveblog, while tech news site the Verge published news to a shared Google Doc – until a reporter accidentally shared a link on Twitter that allowed the audience to edit it.” Opps…?

Also, from dutchnews.nl: Zandvoort organisers expect 50,000 F1 fans to cycle to Grand Prix. In other words, park at a nearby parking lot and hop on a bike to get to the race track. This September, the Netherlands will be hosting the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985 (!). It was supposed to happen last year but it was cancelled due to corona. The organizers rightfully did not want to hold the race without fans. I suspect there would have been huge riots if they had tried. The best part (even though it is not in the article)? There will also be a special bus line with the number #33 – aka, Max Verstappen’s number.

And from nltimes.nl: GGD Utrecht gives away 1,200 Covid-19 vaccines after power failure kills cold storage. The best part here? They had so many people show up they had to turn people away. Of course, the vaccines were first offered to healthcare workers or safety workers in the region and then the offer was opened to the public. It was 1,200 Janssen vaccines (J&J vaccines for any Americans reading this) so one shot was enough. The site brought in extra workers to manage the crowds and stayed open past midnight. Nicely done!

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Friday evening meals (Or: A bit of heat to end the week)

On Friday Marco and I cooked Kolhapuri chicken curry, a spicy, flavorful meal accompanied by naan bread. We found the recipe in our “Indian Food and Cooking” recipe book (Amazon.com link). The chicken joints were first marinated in yoghurt combined with chili powder, black paper, garlic, gram masala and more goodness. Top it off with some garnish (tomato, red pepper slices, fresh coriander) and you have a spicy treat.

Marco and I watched the Eurovision Song contest finale last night. We usually don’t–he watched begrudgingly but did get invested in the end. But since it was held in Rotterdam this year I wanted to watch. Article from nltimes.nl (note: spoilers).

The highlight of the night was seeing Iceland’s presenter: Olaf Yohansson is a Eurovision hit as he tries to award 12 points to Jaja Ding Dong from radiotimes.com (YouTube link). If that does not make sense to you then you need to watch Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix. It is a comedy by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. Olaf Yohansson was a character who is known for repeatedly shouting “Play Jaja Ding Dong!” (YouTube) at the main characters at one of the local bars.

Oh, and for the first time in history a Dutch driver is on top of the Formula 1 standings after a win today at Monaco (see also formula1.com). Crazy!

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Englandspiel (Or: A plaque in the Binnenhof)

A few months back I talked about the shortcut you could take to get in and out of the Binnenhof. In that area you can also find a plaque about the Englandspiel (English Wikipedia), a German counterintelligence operation held during World War II. The German forces captured nearly all of the British and Dutch allies, executing 50 of them.

Marco took this photo last week, hence the flowers for Remembrance Day on May 4.

The topo of the plaque reads “They leapt to death for our freedom”.

In other news, Ajax (the Dutch football champions) posted this video on Twitter. They melted the championship trophy into 42,000 stars to give to each of their season ticket holders as a thanks for their support over the last season. Each star weighed 3.45 grams.

Read more at nltimes.nl: Ajax melts championship dish, awards a piece to season ticket holders

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Sushimex (Or: A new restaurant for those who can’t decide)

Do you want sushi? Do you want Mexican food?

If you answered “both”, why not try the new restaurant in The Hague’s city centre? Sushimex (indebuurt.nl, in Dutch) opened last month on the Korte Poten. The menu at thuisbezorgd.nl (in English) lists poké bowls, temaki, burritos, nachos, spring rolls, mozzarella sticks… it’s so crazy that I might just be interested.

The Dutch ministry of health has released their vacation plan:

Living in the Netherlands? Find out when you can get vaccinated against Covid-19, and where from nltimes.nl. Spoiler: As a healthy adult under the age of 60, I have to wait a while. The vaccination location in The Hague is actually at the parking lot of the ADO Den Haag football stadium (adodenhaag.nl, in Dutch), although I’m not sure if other locations will be available in our area later in the year.

It’s possible to get to the stadium with public transportation (and a 10 minute walk) or by car, at least. I know that because a group of us went to an ADO Den Haag game back in October 2017:

Start of the ADO Den Haag game, back in 2017. The opponent was Rotterdam Sparta. Back when crowds were allowed…
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Black skies (Or: Birds dancing across the sky)

When I went to the kitchen to clean up after dinner this evening I heard a strange noise. At first I thought it was water running, making me think it was raining outside. But no – I looked outside and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The ground was (relatively) dry.

…Until waves and waves of birds flew up over our apartment complex. Hundreds of birds, flying in undulating waves, this way and that. It looked like my own personal nature screensaver. After a few minutes most of them landed on the large tree on the other side of the apartment complex. It made me wonder: could those thin branches really could hold 8 to 10 birds without snapping? (I could not help thinking of Pixar’s short For the birds on Youtube.) I stood and watched for a while until they left. I mean, it is definitely better than washing dishes, right?

Unconfirmed rumor: Grand Prix to return to Zandvoort on 2 May 2021 from nltimes.nl. The first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985 was supposed to be held this year, but was postponed due to the corona crisis. I suppose it is a rumor, but really – how could Zandvoort not be on the 2021 race calendar?

Dutch state broadcaster pulls logo from vans after attacks from theguardian.com. The world is a weird place these days. The state broadcaster (NOS) has removed their logo because of the abuse they have been receiving.

NOS van at Malieveld earlier this year (they expected a demonstration, although none came that day if I remember correctly)

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Football linesmen (And: Overeager makeup assistants)

Note: for those Americans among us, by football I mean soccer. But since I now live in Europe, I am required to call it football.

Today I have two of the most random articles ever for you, spotted recently. The first article – imagine you’re a football referee at home, a linesman to be exact. You’re enjoying dinner with your mom and her friend when you get a call asking if you could quickly come over and help with officiating the rest of the game. Why? The head referee was injured and there was no backup available at the game. That is exactly what happened to this referee: Grensrechter opgeroepen om in te vallen tijdens voetbalderby: ‘Zat bij mijn moeder te eten’ from omroepwest.nl. Luckily he was able to gather his gear really quickly and the game itself was only about 5 miles up the road.

The head referee was able to walk off the field with a calf injury. The other linesman took over as head referee and (after confirmation from the Dutch football league KNVB) this gentleman was allowed to take over as linesman. Because of that the last 20 minutes of the game could be played. I’m mostly amused that he talks about how he was at home eating with his mom when he got the call.

The other news story is a minor blooper that I read about last week. During a live broadcast the makeup artist walked on set to touch up the presentator’s makeup, not realizing the camera was still rolling. He was quite the gentleman though and was able to laugh it off and keep going. The best part? She didn’t believe him at first.

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A bit of cuteness (Or: Practicing for his new job?)

Today’s story can officially be labeled “cute” – a boy in a nearby town decided to pretend he was also a football referee. And get his exercise in at the same time, apparently.

The full article at omroepwest.nl (in Dutch) can be found here. In short, it talks about how the five year old ran down to the edge of the stands with about 10 minutes to go in the game and started following the movements of the referee. He even had a whistle he was using. His mother tried to get a photo with the referee after the game, however the referee hadn’t realized what was going on so he declined (he was busy with end-of-game activities after all).

After the referee went home he saw the viral video and realized what the mother had been asking. He then got in contact with the boy and brought along some football related items (a shirt as well as autographed red and yellow cards). And just to mention what kind of world we live in in 2020: the mother also mentioned that he politely took photos with her son at the door, rather than going inside. If you click on the article I linked to below the video you can see pictures of the items the boy received.

And, yes, the boy said he now wants to be a football referee when he grows up. Awwww.

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Layers of green (Or: Another view of the Buitenhof)

Here is a look at the Buitenhof from the other side, facing Plaats (“Place”, a plaza in the city centre). Read more about the plaza at the Dutch Wikipedia article with Google translate active. That page includes an image of Johan de Witt’s statue, a politician who was murdered in the 17th century. According to one legend the statue points to the ground to show the spot he was murdered…

What drew my eye when taking this picture was the two different shades of green for the trees on the island in the middle of the Buitenhof.

Random link of the day: a group of business owners from the city of Utrecht have created a YouTube video celebrating the opening of hotels, restaurants and cafés this coming Monday:

The song is Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life, with a different text.

And today it was announced that the long anticipated Formula 1 race coming to Zandvoort is officially cancelled (article from dutchtimes.nl). The reason? It was going to be the first F1 race in The Netherlands since 1985 and the track organizers didn’t want to race without fans being able to come and experience it. (I think the real reason is there is no possible way they could keep the fans away, regardless of what they did.)

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Dutch sport taking the world by storm (Or: Jelle’s Marble Runs)

Imagine my surprise when I read that a new Dutch sport was showcased on the American late-night television show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The Dutch sport? Marble racing! The creators are two brothers, Jelle and Dion Bakker (English Wikipedia | Dutch Wikipedia).

Jump to 17:47 if you want to see just the part about the marble racing. John Oliver first discusses the world’s need for sporting events to come back, but also the perils of trying to do so too quickly. For instance, Germany’s football (soccer) league Bundesliga has restarted even though some players and staff members are testing positive for the coronavirus. He then connects this topic with the topic of Dutch marble racing, highlighting this as a “safe option” sport to watch for now. ‘It’s just not possible right now’: John Oliver on bringing back sports safely (theguardian.com).

Amerikaanse tv-show plots sponsor van Nederlandse knikkeryoutubers (article in Dutch, nos.nl). The article talks about how John Oliver has decided to sponsor the 2020 Marble League. After the episode aired, the number of YouTube subscribers jumped from 830K to over a million in a few days and is still climbing. The channel itself has been in existence since November 2018 (subscriber stats).

The key to understanding why this is such a hit is knowing that the marbles are divided into teams with their own names and logos. Each marble has its own personality. Each team has their own merchandise ranging from t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, die cut stickers, posters, and so forth. There are various competitions including the Marble League (formally MarbleLympics), the Marble Rally (a series of offroad races, either on sand or dirt) and even the Marbula One, which of course is inspired by Formula One auto racing.

Marble League 2019 – funnel race (the LAST marble wins)

So – will you be watching marble racing this summer?

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