Home of a content challenger

Japan earthquake and radiation

Reading a little on the backgrounds of the Fukushima nuclear plants I stumbled upon allthingsnuclear. An interesting site with coverage of the problems in Fukushima, but also quiet some background on other nuclear issues the world currently copes with.


The lion man

For all of those who say: “you got to try everything once”. No, you don’t.


Dutch trust

After the famous ‘to go Dutch’, ‘Ducth courage’ and a ‘Dutch wife’ we might need a new one: Dutch Trust. I guess the definition would be something like: to trust someone who can not be trusted.

What happened? The Dutch government in the past couple of weeks introduced the following new rule:

  • All telephone and internet connection information is kept for 12 months, twice as long as European regulation dictates. The CDA, one of the ruling parties, even opted for 18 months, but this idea was refused because the costs would be to high(!). Link (in Dutch).

Apart from the new law the following two bits of information also came out in the last two weeks:

  • The Dutch government is talking to the US government to have ISPs snoop on their own customers. The idea here is that ISPs will be made responsible for the pirate copies their customers download from the internet. Link (in Dutch).
  • The minister of Justice announced today that in Holland every day 1700 phone calls are tapped. You might ask whether this is a big number or not. Compared to the US, where 2800 phones are tapped every year, one could argue it is. Link (in Dutch).

Now if you think the Dutch would go out on the street and demonstrate, you are right. There was a big demonstration today in Holland where the truck drivers honked 3 times to express their disapproval of the upcoming 3 cent tax increase on gasoline. The government was not impressed. Link (in Dutch).

Koninginnedag (Queensday) in Rotterdam

Every year on the 30th of April the Dutch queen celebrates her birthday. The day is celebrated with bands, beer and kids selling stuff on the street.

I lived in Rotterdam from 1990 until 2000 and during those years “koninginnedag” has always been a pleasant party. I would normally watch a band, buy a beer and walk to the next stage to have a look at another band, buy another beer… Oh and there is (almost) always the added benefit of great weather.

That does not seem to be possible anymore. Due to some soccer related troubles, Rotterdam had in the past, you are now no longer allowed to drink a beer in the street. You are only allowed to drink beer in front of a bar surrounded by a metal cage. You are not allowed to leave this prison before finishing your beer (I admit, that is a nice way to spent prison time).

It seems that the beer cage only goes for Rotterdam. I think it is a shame that Rotterdam accepted these rules. Koninginnedag is a day for party.

Holland for my German friends

I have been on my way in Holland again for the last 12 Months. A lot of things happen in this small country where I was born. When I left in 2000 the country was a pretty open society where people were proud to live together with a lot of cultures. Although Holland is still known for its ‘open atmosphere’ the reality has changed since then.

Due to a couple of incidents, most notably the assassination of Theo van Gogh and the planned attacks of the “Hofstad Groep” Holland is struggling big time with its multi-culture values. It seems like a lot of people I meet here have a hard time keeping up the old concept of tolerance, Holland was so proud to have. Things have even become so bad that the right-wing populist Geert Wilders has become salon-fähig.

When I come back home in Germany I often have a hard time explaining what exactly is going on and why I think Holland is changing. The German magazine Spiegel today posted an article about the state of Holland, in which they describe in a very clear way the changes that are happening.