Ernst Haeckel, biology and art, Haarlem exhibition


Hummingbirds, by Ernst Haeckel

In Teylers Museum in Haarlem in the Netherlands, there is a special exhibition.

The museum writes about it (translated):

June 1, 2019 to December 8, 2019

In honour of his 100th year of death, the Teylers Museum highlights the wonderful visual world of German zoologist and artist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). Haeckel was one of the most important scientists of his time and a very gifted draftsman. Just like his great heroes Goethe and Von Humboldt, he wanted to understand nature in its great context. He used emotion and reason, art and science.

Haeckel’s first research was about micro-organisms from the sea, but ultimately his theories were about the development of all life forms, including humans. His books and his powerful visual language played a major role in spreading Darwin‘s ideas about descent and evolution. His Kunstformen der Natur in particular was a huge success and inspired artists and architects. This work is completely digitized and can be admired online. More than 20 plates from the book can be seen in the exhibition.

Leonardo da Vinci’s caricatures exhibited in Dutch Haarlem


Caricature by Leonardo da Vinci. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Translated from Annephine van Uchelen in the Netherlands today:

Astonishment, joy and blind anger: it can all be seen on the dozens of sketches of faces made by Leonardo da Vinci. He drew the faces as ‘mirrors of the soul’. And sometimes he also took ‘revenge with the pen’ on those who mocked him because he was ‘different’.

The works can be seen from this Friday on in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, which takes an advance with this exhibition on the international Da Vinci year 2019. It is striking that the Netherlands kicks off and not Italy. While Da Vinci still counts as one of the best export products in the cultural field in his native country.

When Italian merchants of death corporation Finmeccanica, linked to convicted criminal racist mafia crony politician Silvio Berlusconi, was entangled in its umpteenth corruption scandal, these war profiteers whitewashed themselves by changing the corporation name to ‘Leonardo’. The real Leonardo hated money-grabbers.

Caricature by Leonardo da Vinci. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The land of Rembrandt and Van Gogh is very much ahead of the troops, some countries think. But the exhibition goes ahead – also in the context of 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. …

This exhibition is unique and will not be seen again soon in the Netherlands for the next forty years. …

Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 in Anchiano, near Florence. He is seen as all-rounder: he was, among other things, a visual artist, inventor, architect, philosopher, physicist and chemist.

Someone who has seen Da Vinci’s most famous painting, the lovely Mona Lisa, may have to get used to the sketches. The deformed faces and tronies would not be out of place as illustrations in a horror story: toothless men with sunken mouths and hook noses, curious headgear, beaked mouths and faces expressing blind fury.

“You would like to call Da Vinci the inventor of the caricature, but unfortunately we have never been able to link his work to famous names and people”, says guest curator Michael Kwakkelstein.

Caricature by Leonardo da Vinci. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

“Unique for that time was that he also incorporated emotions, sometimes he went to the city gate to study the faces of tramps and travelers in preparation for his sketches.” …

“He was an illegitimate child“, says Kwakkelstein. “And he was not taken seriously by other scientists, because he did not do university studies and did not know Latin, and he was almost certainly homosexual.”

According to Kwakkelstein, some sketches seem to be a reckoning with his critical fellow men and impatient clients. “He has mocked them by deforming their features.”

Caricature by Leonardo da Vinci. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The museum did not get Da Vinci’s works without a struggle. Kwakkelstein: “Teylers Museum does not have any Da Vinci sketches in its collection, which is not an easy basis to ask for the already fragile works on loan, let alone from the Royal Collections of Windsor Castle, where most of the sketches come from.”

The fact that the British Queen Elizabeth gave permission has to do with earlier exhibitions by Teylers about the two other Renaissance figures Michelangelo (2005) and Raphael (2012). The Haarlem museum does have a large collection of their work, which is world-famous.

The exhibition can be seen from October 5 in Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Due to the expected crowds, a ticket must be booked online in advance.

An eye disorder may have given Leonardo da Vinci an artistic edge. A neuroscientist offers evidence that the artist had exotropia, in which one eye turns outward. By Amanda B. Keener, 6:00am, October 22, 2018.

80-year-old lobster saved from Christmas dinner


This video says about itself:

Breeding Lobsters At War – Blue Planet – BBC Earth

15 February 2017

After a month of walking, a female lobster is forced to fight for a breeding pit before laying her eggs.

Translated from Dutch regional broadcaster NH today:

HAARLEM – When Haarlem woman Yvonne van Eerden was eating in the Spaarne river city on Sunday evening at restaurant The Louisiana, her eye fell on a special announcement. Louis the Lobster, the 8.2 kilo-weighted lobster of at least eighty years old that is in the aquarium of the restaurant, is being auctioned for charity. Van Eerden offers. Not to throw Louis into the cooking pot, but to give him a nice old age. “That’s how it works two ways.” …

Ideally, Yvonne would like to bring Louis back to Canadian waters where he comes from. “But then maybe he will be caught again”, she explains her efforts to bring the gigantic lobster somewhere else. Yet she does not have to look for an aquarium in her living room, because after consultation the [Harderwijk] Dolfinarium is ready to house Louis. “He will gets his own home there”, says Van Eerden proudly. …

Tomorrow, Yvonne, restaurant owner Fausto and restaurant manager Douwe will bring lobster Louis to Harderwijk. …

In the Dolfinarium they are expecting Louis. “We found a nice spot for him”, says spokesman Taco Rietveld. “We do have other big lobsters, but not as big as this one”, he jubilates.

Because of Louis’s exceptional size, he is housed in a private aquarium. “Because he needs deep water”, the spokesman explains. Whether Louis later will have other lobsters as companions, Rietveld can not yet say. “We need to see how it goes.”

Yvonne van Eerden has paid four hundred euros for Louis the Lobster. That money is transferred by restaurant owner Fausto to The Clean Ocean Foundation.

Blackbird bathing, video


This 8 June 2017 video shows a male blackbird bathing in the Haarlemmerhout woodland in Haarlem city the Netherlands.

Tonnie de Jong made this video.

Calf drives away swan, photo


Calf drives away swan

This photo shows a calf driving away a mute swan near Haarlem city in the Netherlands.

Kerstin made this photo on 1 September 2016.

Record ring-necked parakeet numbers in Haarlem city


This is a video from India about a nest of rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri), also known as ring-necked parakeets.

The Vogelwerkgroep Zuid-Kennemerland in the Netherlands reports about their counting of ring-necked parakeets in Haarlem. All these birds sleep in two trees along the Amerikavaart canal.

On Saturday 19 December, around sunset, 783 parakeets were counted. A record number for this species in Haarlem in winter. In January 2014, 638 birds had been counted.

When a sparrowhawk (a bird of prey, roughly the same size as the parakeets) flew near a tree, it did not really upset the ring-necked parakeets. Only five birds started flying to drive the sparrowhawk away.

However, when a goshawk, a bigger bird of prey, appeared, all parakeets started flying, and it took them ten minutes to settle again.

Disabled Palestinian refugee from ISIS now in Dutch ex-prison


Rafiq in the Haarlem prison building, photo: NOS

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Man on crutches in ISIS area, nearly drowns, but makes it to the Netherlands

Today, 18:24

In late August of this year we got to know him, Rafiq, a 65-year-old Palestinian from Syria, sweaty and exhausted, breathing heavily and inching, using crutches, crossing the border between Serbia and Hungary. He wanted only one thing: to go to the Netherlands. Correspondent Marcel van der Steen saw him disappear into the night.

Van der Steen decided to keep in touch with Rafiq and recently received notice that he had managed to reach the Netherlands. Rafiq is now staying in the Panopticon Prison in Haarlem, which is now an emergency shelter. Reporter Nicole le Fever met him there.

Rafiq’s journey is hard to summarize. To flee Syria he had to cross ISIS territory. A Chechen stopped him and asked why he had no beard. “That does not grow with me,” he replied. But the young man thought that was not a good excuse and Rafiq received twenty lashes.

When asked if he smoked, he lied, because he had heard that he should never admit it. Fortunately, the cigarette pack that he had was not found on him. Finally, the legs of his trousers above his ankles were cut off because Muslim men, according to tradition, must not wear clothing over their ankles.

Once in Turkey, it turned out that as a Palestinian he was not allowed to stay because he had no papers. “Stateless”, therefore, says the new card which he received from the Dutch authorities.

Nearly drowned

So the only way was to try to reach a Greek island by boat. The first attempt failed. The boat made water and Rafiq would have drowned if he would not have been saved by an Iraqi friend. The second attempt succeeded though.

Late August Marcel van der Steen saw him stumble in the dark towards the Hungarian border. He managed to enter the country and for 1000 euros he took a taxi to Germany. The last stage, to Amsterdam Central Station, was by train. There he got a ticket for the train and bus to Ter Apel refugee camp to report there.

Rafiq is grateful that he has arrived safely in the Netherlands. Syria and his problems with the government he won’t talk about much because he is worried about his wife, who stayed behind in Syria. However, he talks about his old life, including in Dubai and Eastern Europe, where he used to own electronics stores and a furniture store.

Will he still see his wife?

His greatest wish is that his wife may come to the Netherlands, but he is concerned about the length of the procedure. First he was told he would hear something within 5 to 12 months, but that is now a year. And then it takes another year before family members can come. Rafiq is afraid that he will not live that long.

All is not well with his health. He has many problems with his legs and kidneys. He also has to follow a special diet. Fortunately, he gets help from two Syrians in the cell next to him. They help him out of bed and with cleaning. For one of his neighbours bad news came today. One of his sons was killed in Syria and his 16-year-old daughter has remained all alone. The man is desperate.

“So, we all have our stories and problems.” says Rafiq.

Benedict Cumberbatch condemns UK government’s inhumane refugee policy: here.

While thousands of refugees risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean each day to commence an arduous journey through the Balkans, the governing coalition in Berlin is fighting over the most effective way to send them back: here.

Caterpillar on apple, video


This video shows a caterpillar of a privet hawk moth on an apple in the garden of Xandra van den Oever in Haarlem in the Netherlands.

Ring-necked parakeets conquer Haarlem city


This video is about ring-necked parakeets in Greece.

Dutch SOVON ornithologists estimate there are now about 10,000 ring-necked parakeets in the Netherlands. Mainly in the big cities The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

However, they are spreading to other cities like Haarlem.

The birds showed up for the first time in Haarlem in 2005. Last winter, 500 parakeets were counted at Haarlem sleeping roosts. In June 2014, 937 individuals were counted.