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Leiden tourist info via cellphone

Posted on February 9th 2006 by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland, Science & technology, Travel

Tourists in Leiden will soon be able to use their cellphones as a city guide. Using the network of Wireless Leiden, visitors will be able to hear tourist tips while out on the town, in their own language. Information on restaurants, shops and cafes will also be available. More »

Leiden-only Rembrandt money coming soon

Posted on February 9th 2006 by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland, Travel

A series of special Rembrandt coins will be available to the public starting February 15. The coins will be issued in Leiden and can be used as legal tender at participating stores and restaurants in the Leiden area. More »

Travel book praises small Leiden museum

Posted on February 9th 2006 by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland, Travel

American travel book publisher Let’s Go has named Molenmuseum De Valk in Leiden, the Netherlands, as a unique travel destination with outstanding service. More »

Dutch otters in hot water

Posted on February 7th 2006 by Arthur in Life in Holland, Nature, News

Otters are rare in the Netherlands; the last native one was killed in a road accident in 1988. Since 1992 Staatsbosbeheer (National Forest Preservation) has been trying to reintroduce the otter in Dutch waters. Today five new ones were introduced in the Overijssel nature park De Wieden. More »

Supermarkets: Does size really matter?

Posted on February 6th 2006 by Arthur in Food, Life in Holland, Shopping & Stuff

One of my favorite things to do when in the United States is to look around at grocery stores. There is so much to see that we don’t have here in the Netherlands, and the selection is so much bigger; hundreds of different types of shredded cheese, potatoes and other produce much bigger in size than anything sold in Holland, and aisles of strange sodas that Europeans have never even dreamed of. The average supermarket in the U.S. has 45,000 different products, compared to ‘only’ 15,000 in the Netherlands. More »

Dutch language lacks logic?! Ask the Dutch!

Posted on February 5th 2006 by Amy in Life in Holland, Personal

As a foreigner living in the Netherlands, I could’ve told you that the Dutch language is difficult. But 60% of people surveyed (presumably native Dutch speakers) in December said that the language was not only difficult, but also illogical. 58% had difficulty with spelling words found in a simple correspondence. Only 37% said that Dutch was an easy and logical language. In August 2006 some new spelling rules will come into effect. 67% of those surveyed knew nothing of the new rules. 42% still struggled with the spelling rules applied in 1995. More »

Duikvaker scuba diving show in Utrecht

Posted on February 4th 2006 by Amy in Leiden, Life in Holland, Personal, Scuba Diving

Today we visited Duikvaker, a dive show dubbed “the diving event of the year”. Earlier in the week an ad ran in the Spits! newspaper that invited readers to enter a drawing for free tickets. I entered, and won two tickets. More »

Push or pull? Doors on public buildings

Posted on February 3rd 2006 by Arthur in Leiden, Life in Holland

In the United States all exit doors of public buildings open outward for fire safety reasons that came into effect after the 1908 Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago, in which 602 people died. When the panicked crowd reached the doors, the crush of people prevented those in the front from opening the doors. It is still the worst single-building fire in U.S. history. I am surprised that after all this time here in Europe there are no such fire safety rules, at least not here in Holland as far as I know. In fact, most exits in public buildings here open inward. Does it take a tragedy as the one in Chicago to change this? More »

New Dutch RFID passport easy to crack

Posted on January 31st 2006 by Arthur in Life in Holland, News, Science & technology

The Netherlands government is introducing a new passport in August 2006 with an embedded RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip that contains digital information about the holder, such as name, birthday, fingerprint and pass photo. However, a company from Delft demonstrated on Friday on the TV show nieuwslicht how easy it is to read (or destroy) the biometric data on the chip from a distance of around 10 meters. More »

Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland

Posted on January 29th 2006 by Arthur in Life in Holland, Nature, Travel

On this cold but beautifully sunny day we visited the closest national park to our home: Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland. The 3800 hectares (~ 1500 acres) park was opened in 1995 and is one of 20 National Parks in the Netherlands. The park runs for 7 to 8 km along the North Sea coast and consists of dunes, beach, forest and historical estates. More »