A trio of ladies for the Dutch in 2017, named OG3NE, who will undoubtedly be shaking their bicycle-toned backsides with little effect belting out "Lights and shadows". It's dark here
Distressing to have more kitsch C&W balls from the Dutch. I didn't want it a couple of years and I don't want Douwe Bob now either, replete as he is with forlorn expression, a guitar, and "Slow Down", which I wish would speed up. It's here
The phoenix-like revival of the Dutch may temporarily stall in 2015. Whilst not without merit, the Anouk-penned ditty "Walk Along" to be performed by the Geordie Trijntje Oosterhuis isn't likely to set as many pulses racing You decide here
A duo named after a Dutch bird, The Common Linnets are a Country & Western act (of sorts) with "Calm after the Storm". I can do without C&W. If you can't, it's here
Anouk, a seeming wild child of the Dutch music scene, has stepped forward in 2013 to try and qualify them for their first Final since 2004. "Birds" is a very low key effort and is my favourite of the year. I do indeed wish it well here
Every year I cross my fingers and stick the others in the dyke, hoping for the Netherlands to atleast get through to the Final. Head-dressed wacko Joan Franka has a sweet little song in 2012 which may just get them through. Here's hoping here

The Tourist Guide says

"In a country where you can get a sex change on the national health scheme, and where Hilde and her two dads can share a joint to celebrate that she likes boys too, why does the washing up always get done straight after dinner? The Netherlands has managed to combine liberal attitudes with one of the most orderly societies on earth, in a community that manages to be radical and sensible without being silly or staid. The Dutch aren't bogged in their clichés, even though bikes, dykes, windmills and blazing flower fields are pretty much the norm outside the major cities" www.lonelyplanet.com


"Amsterdam, the Netherlands' capital, is one of the world's best hangouts, a place where you can immerse yourself in history, in art, in the head of a beer or a self-rolled smokestack. The city is a canny blend of old and new: radical squatter art installations hang off 17th-century eaves, BMWs give way to bicycles and triple strength monk-made beer is served in steel and glass 'grand cafés'. Amsterdam combines a huge case of big city exuberance with small-town manageability; it doesn't take much more than chaining your bike to a bridge to feel like you've got a handle on the place.

A shoplifter has been banned from a Dutch supermarket for allegedly defecating on a security guard.
The 44-year-old man was caught trying to steal two bottles of beer from the De Boer supermarket in Leeuwarden.
The security guard who caught him ordered him to empty his pockets but he dropped his trousers and defecated instead.
Shopholder Saab Rozema said: "It was all over the place and we had to disinfect the whole shop. We had to put the uniform immediately in the washing machine."
The burglar told police he had suffered an epileptic fit and didn't know what he was doing.


A sparrow knocked over 23,000 dominoes in the Netherlands, nearly ruining a world record attempt.
The unfortunate bird flew through an open window at an exposition centre in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden.
Employees of television company Endemol NV had been working for weeks setting up more than four million dominoes in an attempt to break the official Guinness World Record for falling dominoes.
"We were so happy we built 750 safety walls. If we hadn't, we could forget the whole event," explained Robin Paul Weijers of Domino Day 2005.
The bird was shot by an exterminator with an air rifle while cowering in a corner.
The organisers are out to break their own record of 3,992,397 dominoes set last year with a new record of 4,321,000.

Spent six months in the Netherlands a long time ago, picking up very little of the language, but an awful lot of love for my time there. Much of this time was spent taking a train between Leeuwarden and Amsterdam, sobering up on the way. The women are to savour, and their mildly aloof nature is challenging.

to come

A Dutchman who lost both legs in separate accidents says the health service has given him two false right legs.
Jelle Wagt, from Assen, says he will not stand up until he gets a prosthetic left leg because he would look ridiculous.
He lost his right leg after he fell into the hold of a ship in 1998, then lost his left leg in another accident three years later.
Mr Wagt says the Dutch health service originally gave him a prosthetic right leg which was too long for him. They corrected that mistake but sent him home with another right leg after his left leg was amputated.
"I didn't want to undress to try on the new prosthetic leg, so I opened the bag when I got home.
"I was stunned to find a right foot on my left leg. I'd love to try to walk again but with two right feet it just doesn't feel comfortable."

A Dutchman sick of noise from the Irish pub next door nailed the doors shut, drilled a hole in the wall and flooded the crowded bar with his hosepipe.
Murphy's pub, in Deventer, was full of people celebrating an annual carnival when the water came gushing in.
Pub manager Rianne Jansen said people tried to get out but couldn't as the doors had been nailed shut.
She said the water which was coming out of a garden hose was making the wooden floors of the bar slippy and could have caused injury to her guests.
Neighbour Tom van den Belt who admitted he blocked the doors, drilled a hole in the wall and then flooded the pub before calling out the fire brigade told police he was sick and tired of the noise from the pub.
He has now threatened to set off a stink bomb if the late night parties continue..

A Dutchman who has eaten pigeon food for three meals a day for the last 11 years, claims it could be the answer to world famine.
Gerben Hoeksma, 58, from Veendam, says his meals are nutritious, filling and cost him next to nothing.
He told Dagblad van het Noorden: "I first let the food soak in water for a night and then cook it the next day to get it softer.
"It has all the substances a man needs daily. Maybe it would be good food for the people in Africa.

A Dutchman has blown up his flat by over-cleaning his bathroom.
The man used several different cleaning products to clean the bath, shower and toilet at his home in Almere.
Within minutes of finishing the housework and settling down in his lounge there was an explosion. A chemical reaction between the cocktail of cleaning products caused the blast.
Police say the man was unhurt, but add that all of the windows in his apartment were smashed and the walls are on the verge of collapsing.

Leeuwarden Corner

Vincent Van Gogh, Frans Hals, Piet Mondrian
Rembrandt, Vermeer, MC Escher

Abel Tasman, Erasmus, Mata Hari
Rutger Hauer, Renee Soutendijk, 
Famke Janssen & the mighty 2 Unlimited


Life expectancy

75.7 men 81.59 women
Airports 27
Radios 978 per 1,000 people
Internet Users 1,893.1 per 1,000 people
Railway Network 1,702 mile
Death penalty abolished in 1982