No June 2020 Rotterdam Poetry International festival


This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

The Last Poets – She is

The Last Poets & Metropole Orkest

50th Poetry International Festival Rotterdam, De Doelen, 13th June 2019

From Poetry International today:

With a heavy heart Poetry International has decided to postpone the 2020 Poetry International Festival Rotterdam which was to take place June 25-28. We were looking forward to it very much. Under the theme What You Will Hear Is True, we were well underway to creating a truly unforgettable 51st festival, much as we did during our successful anniversary edition in 2019, together with poets, translators, musicians, volunteers, partners, and of course the audience. Because of the current COVID-19 crisis, and the necessary measures limiting movement that have been taken in the Netherlands and abroad, it has proven impossible to prepare a festival worthy of its participants by the end of June.

We are primarily concerned with the health of the poets, translators, partners, visitors and co-workers of the festival, and the uncertain circumstances in which they now find themselves. We will try to support them to the best of our ability.

With the decision to postpone made, we are currently exploring the possibility of presenting poets, poetry, and events online or on stage at a later point in time. In the meantime we reach out to loyal and new audiences via our websites and social media, aiming to inspire and offer some comfort and consolation in these times, for example through our Archive Tours. Soon we will also be presenting our short term plans for various Book Clubs.

We will keep sharing new information on our websites and social media. We feel encouraged by the solidarity and creativity that we have seen blossoming all around us. And we wholeheartedly thank our sponsors for their support as we take the difficult decision of postponing our festival. We wish everyone much strength and resourcefulness in these surreal times. Keep your distance, stay healthy, and support one another.

On behalf of the board and staff of Poetry International,

Inez Boogaarts, director

Vegan fish food in zoo aquarium


This 13 February 2020 video shows marine fish in Oceanium aquarium in Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam in the Netherlands eating their recently introduced vegan food.

The zoo writes about it on 13 February 2020 (translated):

UNIQUE VEGAN FOOD FOR FISH IN BLIJDORP

Herbivorous fish in aquariums are fed worldwide with fish feed with animal ingredients. There must be another way, thought Blijdorp. The zoo took action and is now developing its own, more natural diet for the herbivorous marine fish in the Oceanium. Everything is aimed at improving the welfare of the animals.

Ingredients fish food

The existing fish food of marine fish differs greatly from the diet of their species in the wild. All over the world they receive food of mainly animal origin, such as fishmeal. The plant-based ingredients in these foods are grown on land and not in the sea, such as corn, grain, soybeans and other beans. That’s pretty strange. There is a suspicion that this “unnatural” food is the cause of various fish diseases. An adequate diet could at least suppress various fish diseases such as marine head and lateral line erosion. That is why a new feed is being developed in the Oceanium.

100% vegan from the sea

Animal and farmed products are omitted from this new, natural feed. It only consists of vegetable products from the sea. With this, not one but more steps are taken in the right direction. After all, avoiding the use of soy also protects the Amazon region.

Grazing fish

Most herbivorous fish are “grazers”. For example, surgeonfish (known as Dory from the Disney movie) eat algae that grow on the hard surface of reefs. This natural grazing behaviour is also stimulated in the Oceanium. The new fish feed is not bound with the usual gelatin of animal origin but with agar made from red and brown algae. This is spread over our artificial corals in liquid form. This gives the fish the chance to show their natural grazing behavior. For the other fish in these aquariums it is more difficult to eat with this because their mouths are unsuitable for scraping or pulling away the food. In this way only the herbivorous fish can eat it. Now they can graze longer, just like they do in nature.

Various herbivorous fish such as surgeonfish, scats, butterflyfish and batfish swim in the coral tunnel of the Oceanium.

New wasp species discovery on green roof


The newly discovered wasp species Diasta dichrocera. Photo: Kees van Achterberg

Translated from Dutch Vroege Vogels radio, 14 April 2019:

Student discovers new wasp species

An investigation into insects on green roofs unexpectedly found a new species for the Netherlands in Rotterdam, in the roof garden of Erasmus Medical Center: a Braconidae family wasp species. The tiny wasp is called Idiasta dichrocera, and does not yet have a Dutch name.

There is a proposal to call it Erasmus wasp.

To find out whether green roofs actually contribute to biodiversity, the Natural History Museum Rotterdam is researching which plants and animals are found there. Particular attention has been paid to the insects that can be found. The first results are starting to show.

Eva Drukker, a master’s student at Wageningen University, did the fieldwork. She has placed insect traps on various green roofs and roof gardens throughout the Netherlands. These samples must show which factors make a green roof a success for insects and other small animals.

It is a coincidence that the new roof garden of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the neighbours of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, produced the special find. There, Eva found a little insect that was unknown to her: a small wasp-like creature that at first sight looks more like an ant than a wasp. Thanks to expert Kees van Achterberg, the animal could be named.

Idiasta dichrocera is only 4 millimeters in size. It had never found in the Netherlands before. It was in other European and Asian countries, including Germany, Sweden, Russia and China. Almost nothing is known about its way of life. It is suspected that the wasp is a parasite of fly larvae. Just what the wasp was looking for on the hospital roof is a mystery.

The wasp is included in the collection of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam under collection number NMR 9970-137370. Enthusiasts are welcome to come and admire the insect. A loupe is recommended.

Eva Drukker, discoverer of the new wasp species

This wasp was a female. Also other interesting insect species were discovered during the research.

Dutch city pond puffin to bird shelter


This 30 March 2019 video shows the puffin which turned up unexpectedly yesterday in a pond in Dordrecht city in the Netherlands.

As the bird seemed to be not healthy, it was caught and brought to Karel Schot bird shelter in Rotterdam today, as this video shows.

At the shelter, the puffin got extra food and extra warmth. They said its body temperature, which was too low on arrival, was already rising.

If the bird recovers, then it will be freed in the North Sea where it belongs.

Prude rich censorship attempt of Barbie doll art


This satiric video says about itself:

Music video by Aqua performing Barbie Girl. (C) 1997 Universal Music (Denmark) A/S.

The Mattel corporation did not like that parody of their Barbie doll product, and sued. However, United States courts including the Supreme Court decided that the song was part of free speech.

Mattel has since released a promotional music video of the song (with modified lyrics) on the official Barbie web site in 2009, as part of a marketing strategy brought in to revive sales.

Now, there is a new attack on Barbie dolls in art. This time not by Mattel, but by prude rich people in Rotterdam city in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad today:

At a primary school in Rotterdam a riot has broken out about the spare time activity of a teacher. Parents keep their children at home because they find the art made by the teacher – sexy Barbies – indecent.

By Jitske-Sophie Venema

The Rotterdam School Association has two primary schools in Rotterdam. The parental financial contribution here is more than ten times as high as average at 760 euros, more than half of the pupils get the advice to continue at the highest level of secondary education and culture is of paramount importance.

So, very probably, this prude minority of parents now attacking a teacher for making art in her spare time are much richer than average parents in Rotterdam. They may well be the same kind of person as billionaire Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. Berlusconi, who publicly censors eighteenth century art for showing a woman’s breast (not even a real mortal woman’s breast, the breast of the goddess of Truth). Meanwhile, Berlusconi had sex with a child prostitute. They may well be the same kind of person as billionaire Donald Trump in the USA. Trump, who uses religious Right theocratic ideas about ‘propriety’ for moving towards dictatorship. And who, meanwhile, privately, treats women like dirt.

Yet there is a fierce discussion on art here.

The teacher of the fifth grade is an artist outside school. On her Facebook page, scantily dressed Barbie dolls can be seen, set in challenging poses. The plastic blondes kiss each other,

‘Oh, how horrible!’ these anti-Barbie art parents think; ‘children getting to know that some girls don’t fall in love in boys, but with other girls‘. P.S. They won’t get to know that from their teacher, as she makes the Barbie doll art IN HER SPARE TIME and exhibits it IN HER SPARE TIME. She does not bring it to the classroom.

bend over in a translucent negligée or have a star on their bare buttocks. These images drive some parents of fifth grade students nuts. “It is not normal for a teacher to have this kind of images?” they scream in an anonymously sent e-mail. The parents even think that the teacher is a suspect of child porn,

Yeah, right. Good grief! A lesson in three steps: 1. A doll is not a child. 2. The Barbie dolls do not depict children, but young adult, often professional, women. 3. If the parents want to criticize purveyors of child porn, they should not attack that teacher, but their fellow right-wingers among the Roman Catholic clergy; among the Protestant religious Right in the USA; among Jehovah’s witnesses, etc.

demand that the management intervene and do not want to send their child to school until that time.

School director Per Severin sees this happening indeed. “The exact number of children staying at home differs per day, but there are more than five”, he sighs. In order to cope with the situation, he has now called in the help of the Education Inspectorate and the municipality. “This is an excellent teacher with a long service record. What my teachers do in their private lives is not my business and certainly not that of the children – unless the private activities clash with our school principles. In this respect, these artworks are okay. Facebook has never labeled them as offensive, even though they are very strict in such matters.”

… “Of course, there can be discussions about art. But even if the majority would find these works of art repulsive, that does not mean that I will take away a teacher away from her class.”

Dutch racist threatens election candidate


This June 2017 video says about itself:

Discrimination is on the rise in the Netherlands

Rotterdam was once known for welcoming newcomers, but the rise of the Dutch far-right is making life there more difficult for foreigners.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

A 61-year-old man from Barendrecht was arrested because, according to the police, he threatened a Rotterdam local council election candidate on social media. The target is a member of the Ubuntu Connected Front, which in the city council mainly wants to represent Rotterdam people with an African and Caribbean background.

The Barendrecht man posted death threats on the Facebook page of the local council candidate yesterday. He also threatened to start a fire.

Fast performance

UCF, which already expected racist or discriminatory reactions in election time, immediately reported the threats to the police. “The suspect could quickly be tracked down by the police’s fast actions”, says the UCF.

Dutch building closed, fearing ‘Grenfell’ disaster


This Dutch TV video about London, England says about itself (translated):

7 November 2017

He has been living in a hotel room for about 3.5 months. In June Antonio Roncolato just managed to escape from the conflagration in the London Grenfell Tower, and now the authorities are unable to find a new home for him. With some 500 others, he has signed up to help with the investigation into the disaster, because he is full of questions about the cause of the fire.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Rotterdam University closes building for fear of Grenfell Tower

Adapted at 01:29

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has closed a part of one of its buildings as a precaution. The university has commissioned investigation of the façade panels of all buildings after the fatal fire in Grenfell Tower in London last summer.

“This investigation revealed a doubt about the fire safety of the façade panels that are attached to the oldest part (building section C) of the Kralingse Zoom location”, writes the Hogeschool Rotterdam in a press release. “Based on these findings, the university has commissioned independent research.”

This initial investigation has shown that the façade panels of the building component do not meet the current standards of fire safety. According to the university of applied sciences, the certainty can not be given that the building component is sufficiently safe for students, employees and other users.

No risk

In June, 71 people were killed in the fire in London because the fire spread rapidly through the outside cladding. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences therefore does not want to take any risks and has the building undergo further inspection in the coming days.

UPDATE: the building was indeed not safe.

David Duke, Hungarian nazi supporter was Wilders’ Rotterdam pointman


This 14 December Dutch regional TV video is about Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch xenophobic and Islamophobic PVV party, presenting the new local party leader and number one candidate for the Rotterdam municipal elections on 18 March 2018. Opponents of Wilders were present as well.

That new local leader is ex-soldier, now unemployed, Géza Hegedüs, of Hungarian ancestry.

Mr Hegedüs turns out to be an activist in the Dutch self-styled ‘alt-right‘ neonazi Erkenbrand organisation (called after a Lord of the Rings fictional character). He also supports neonazi Holocaust denier David Irving. And he hates Africans. See also here.

Initially, Geert Wilders said that the PVV was ‘only’ against Islam, supposedly not anti-Semitic or otherwise racist. So, he then said he did not want collaboration with neofascist parties like Vlaams Belang in Belgium or National Front in France.

In November 2013 however, Wilders dropped his previous objections to these Belgian and French racists. The Nederlandse Volksunie (NVU), Dutch open Adolf Hitler supporters, applauded this new cooperation between Marine Le Pen and Wilders.

In August 2014, Wilders declared his intention to march against immigrants in the Hague jointly with the NVU and other neofascists.

In 2015, there were negotiations between Ms Le Pen, Mr Wilders and the Hungarian Jobbik neonazis to form a common caucus in the European parliament.

These negotiations failed. A problem then was that Jobbik are very open about their support for the Adolf Hitler age and anti-Semitism. While these are officially absent in Wilders’ PVV. They are also ‘officially’ absent in Le Pen’s National Front and Vlaams Belang; though, less officially, they come to the surface again and again, both in the National Front and in Vlaams Belang.

In July 2017, Wilders demonstrated together with the Nederlandse Volksunie against a Dutch Moroccan becoming mayor of Arnhem.

Now, Wilders and his new local pointman Hegedüs are planning a xenophobic demonstration in Rotterdam on 20 January 2018. The Nederlandse Volksunie on its Facebook page calls on its supporters to join that demonstration.

Who is Wilders’ Rotterdam ‘hero’ Hegedüs?

Dutch investigators of the extreme right Kafka write about him today (translated):

Hegedüs explains during the conversation that he got to know the alt-right through Red Ice. According to him there are all sorts of differences within alt-right, but he finds that refreshing. Fortunately, according to Hegedüs, there is also a binding factor within alt-right. According to him, that is “the survival of the white race, so to speak.” David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan “also has interesting things to tell” he says. Hegedüs complains about the allegedly dominant influence of the concept of diversity in society. “Of course you are banned from doubting the ethnic diversity ideal in the first place” according to the intended PVV party local leader. “Where it goes wrong” he grumbles, “is the principle of equality.” Therefore he rejects feminism “totally” and he no longer conducts discussions with people who deny “racial biological aspects”. …

The Jobbik party soon comes up for discussion in the conservation and the two participants let themselves be known as outspoken anti-Semites and Roma haters. “The gypsy problem was discussed by Jobbik. That was very strong”, Hegedüs says with satisfaction. But he also has concerns about the development of this party. “Judgments about Jews have disappeared altogether” and “statements about gypsies are increasingly going to the background”, Hegedüs notes. He suspects, however, that this is a strategy to attract moderate voters. “If that is true” says Hegedüs, then it is “a very good strategic move.” Szaloki confirms the analysis of Hegedüs. “The skinheads in bomber jackets have disappeared from the streets in Hungary. Now it’s people in suits.”…

With the civil war in Western Europe to be expected according to Hegedüs, Eastern Europeans must come to the rescue.

UPDATE, 15 December 2017, 15:23: Wilders had to sack Hegedüs after one day after this information and has to search for another Rotterdam leader.

UPDATE, 19 February 2019: Rotterdam’s only PVV local councillor quarrels with his aides.

PVV financial scandal: PVV must return fraud money to Limburg province: here.

Bird reserve in Rotterdam harbour


This 1 November 2017 video by BirdLife in the Netherlands is about a bird reserve in the Maasvlakte Rotterdam harbour area.

It attracts several bird species, like common tern and spoonbill.

There is also an artificial nesting wall for sand martins.

Superb starlings, ducks and flamingos


Superb starling, 30 October 2017

This is my final blog post on 30 October 2017 in Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam. After the giraffes and the European starlings on the roof of their building, we continued to giraffe relatives: okapis, sharing their compound with superb starlings like this one.

Superb starling, on 30 October 2017

After walking through the tunnel under the railway, we came to the part of the zoo dedicated to the Americas.

White-faced whistling duck, 30 October 2017

In a South American aviary were white-faced whistling ducks; like this one.

In this ‘American’ part are two big buildings. One, the Oceanium, has many terrariums and aquariums; including a very big one where sharks, rays and sea turtles can swim above your head. Also, king penguins and gentoo penguins in a special cold hall.

The other big building is called Amazonica. It houses South American butterflies. And South American fish, like big arapaimas.

Flamingos and gull, 30 October 2017

We went back through the tunnel, towards the exit, which is also the entrance where we had seen the flamingos in the morning. They were still there; though many of them had now gone to a building for food. While a black-headed gull asked itself if there would be food for it as well.

Flamingo, 30 October 2017

Gradually, flamingos came back to the water to drink.

Flamingo, on 30 October 2017

And to clean their feathers.

Flamingos, 30 October 2017

And to talk to each other.

Flamingo drinks, 30 October 2017

And to have one more drink, as the setting sun coloured the water, contrasting beautifully with the birds.

Flamingo looks, 30 October 2017

And, finally, to look around and say goodbye.