And now, to get us all into that old Sinterklaas spirit, a video about Zwarte Piet, with several Zwarte Pieten in it, by the developmentally (but not musically) challenged Dutch singer Zanger Rinus

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Heavy rain reveals 500 year old tunnel under Dutch town

Neat!

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Recent heavy rainfall has led to the discovery of a 500-year-old tunnel under parts of the Noord-Holland town of Hoorn, the city council said on Friday.

The rain washed away part of the pavement in a narrow passage named ‘t Glop, just off the town’s main square. Archaeologists investigated the hole and found the tunnel, which had been sealed up.

The tunnel, part of a sewage system leading to the former Zuider Zee, has collapsed in many places but the council hopes to open up parts of it to the public in time for national heritage day in September.

The tunnel runs under the site of a hospital dating from 1563, now home to the Kunstencentrum De Boterhal and certainly predates it, the town council said.

Amsterdam Crane Gets Converted into Luxury Hotel

Awesome!

Ambitious architects in Amsterdam have converted an old beast of a crane into a luxury hotel, complete with swanky rotating suites, spa pools and a TV broadcasting station.

The 250 ton, 50-meter high, decades old maritime crane is actually one of the world’s oldest and highest mechanical structures. It was almost in ruins, doomed to a life of decay, when a group of daredevil architects from various Dutch companies decided to get together and give it a new lease on life. 

Despite being dismissed as ‘technically impossible’, they decided to take on the task of converting the old crane into a world class luxury hotel. The project was not easy – they had to lay new foundations to withstand the weight of the massive structure, because the quay of the old wharf was simply not strong enough. Developers splurged nearly a million dollars on constructing each room. They even fitted the structure with a thrust bearing made of gold, allowing each suite to rotate with the wind.