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Amsterdam Introduces Contactless Payment Jackets for Beggars

It’s getting and harder and harder for beggars to survive on spare change handouts these days. People have become too reliant on alternative payment options to carry cash around with them, and those that still have a few coins in their pockets are often afraid that recipients will just spend it on alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. However, a couple of Dutch advertising professionals have come up with an intriguing solution – a contactless payment jacket for beggars and homeless people.

Developed by Carsten van Berkel and Stefan Leendertse of N = 5, an Amsterdam-based advertising agency, the contactless payment jacket allows people to donate 1€ to the wearer using their contactless smart card. The unusual clothing item has a card reader sewn into it, and in order to donate 1€ to the wearer, all you have to do is hold the card close to the jacket for a few moments, and the sum is automatically debited from your bank account. The contactless payment jacket also comes with an LCD screen which constantly displays instructions of use.

“People have less cash in their pockets,” says Jan Jesse Bakker, the designer of the jacket. “And if you have a single euro on you and give it to a homeless person, then you do not know what happens to it.” That’s one of the big advantages of the contactless payment jacket. You’re not giving cash to a total stranger to do with it what he pleases. Instead, the fixed sum (one euro) goes into a bank account managed by a homeless shelter, and can only be used to purchase a hot meal, pay for a bath or spend a night at a homeless shelter (many such centers in the Netherlands require a contribution of 5€ per night). Homeless people who really want to turn their life around can also save money for various job certification courses or a down-payment for a home. “We can offer the homeless more than just a warm Christmas,” Bakker adds. “We give them back prospects.”

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You Need to Fail a Breathalizer Test to Enter the World’s First Hangover Bar

Provided you can find your way to it after a wild night of alcohol-fueled partying, the world’s first hangover bar, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, promises to make that nasty next-day hangover a lot easier to deal with.

Only open from Friday to Sunday, between 10am and 6pm, Amsterdam’s Hangover Bar is decorated as a green oasis in the middle of the urban jungle, and offers a variety of ways to deal with hangovers. But in order to experience any of them, you first have to prove that your blood alcohol content is well above functional levels, by taking a breathalizer test. Failing one of these is usually a bad thing, but at the Hangover Bar it’s actually your ticket in.

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The Cat Boat – Amsterdam’s Floating Sanctuary for Cats

The Cat Boat is one of Amsterdam’s most peculiar attractions. It’s essentially a sanctuary for cats, but what makes it special is that the rescued cats all live aboard a quaint little houseboat that bobs along the Herengracht canal. Although it wasn’t intended to be a tourist attraction, Cat Boat regularly receives about 4,500 visitors a year, most of whom are tourists missing their own cats while on vacation!

The origins of the Cat Boat can be traced back to 1966, when a kind woman named Henriette van Weelde took pity on a stray feline and her kittens and allowed them into her own home. Henriette soon became well known in the neighborhood for her kindness; people would regularly drop off rescued cats at her doorstep and she wouldn’t hesitate to take them all in.

This went on for about two years, after which Henriette simply didn’t have enough room to house more cats. So she came up with a solution – she put them all on an unused houseboat on the nearby Herengracht canal. The feline sanctuary was something of a ‘pirate’ ship for about two decades, operating without the knowledge of the authorities. But in 1987, it finally got a permit and was officially christened ‘de Poezenboot’ (the Cat Boat).

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World’s First ‘Blood Rave’ To Spray Party-Goers with Gallons of Real Blood on Halloween

A nightclub in Amsterdam is getting ready to host the world’s first ‘blood rave’ this Halloween, with real blood! According to media reports, Dutch partygoers will be sprayed with gallons of blood from an overhead sprinkler system, based on the opening scene of the 1998 vampire film Blade.

The event’s official Facebook page states: “Blood Rave is a night-life community for likeminded individuals, on a discrete location in Amsterdam.” It also lists a link to an intro video (the scene from Blade), and another link to purchase tickets.

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World’s Worst Hotel Warns Visitors Not to Sue Before They Arrive

What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? Never mind, it couldn’t have been any worse than the Hans Brinker Budget Hostel in Amsterdam, which actually prides itself on being the “world’s worst hotel”.

While most other hotels go out of their way to convince potential clients they have the cleanest rooms, the most comfortable beds and the most incredible views, the Hans Brinker hostel lets everyone know just how awful their accommodations are. Some of their most popular advertising slogans include: “It can’t get any worse. But we’ll do our best” or “Improve your immune system – stay at Hans Brinker!” Pretty funny stuff and although a lot of people who stayed there confirm it’s pretty much all true, it apparently just adds to the charm of the place. Despite management’s best efforts to warn guests about the rudimentary facilities of their establishment, most of the hotel’s 511 beds in 127 rooms are occupied these days. Of course, the fact that no room costs more than €25 ($32) can be considered an incentive.

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Dutch Bring-Your-Own-Food Bar Beats the Economic Crisis

Basis is a bring-your-own-food bar that recently opened in Amsterdam, in response to the crisis currently affecting the Dutch capital. Over the last two years, 10% of Amsterdam’s cafés have closed down, but its cool concept actually makes Basis Bar a profitable business.

The Netherlands appeared to be handling the economic crisis quite well, when it first descended over Europe, but now, after the old government collapsed due to disagreements over budget cuts, there are increasing signs of an economic downturn. A group of young entrepreneurs anticipated the precarious financial situation of their country, and came up with a great concept that allows people to still afford to eat out, without having to break the bank. The Basis Bar allows its customers to bring their own food, either cooked at home or ordered from cheaper eateries, like pizzerias. The bar provides everything from dishes, cutlery and napkins, to microwave ovens where people can heat up their food. All they have to pay for is the drinks they order.

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Beer-Bike Bar of Amsterdam

The Dutch love to ride bikes and drink beer, so they decided to mix them together and created the Beer-Bike Bar.

Able to accommodate between 10-19 beer lovers, the Beer-Bike Bar is powered by its clients’ pedaling. An increasingly popular party-mobile, the beer-bike is equally popular with both men and women, but it has raised some concerns because of two accidents, since it was launched, in April.

According to Ard Karsten, the manager of the Beer-Bike Bar of Amsterdam, the authorities will certainly realize that although people are allowed to drink in public aboard the beer-bike, they are only served 30 liters. Whether there are 10 or 19 people on board, there are only 30 liters of beer available. The Dutch must all be heavy drinkers, because I have some friends that can get pretty wild after 3 liters of beer. However, the man who steers the Beer-Bike Bar around the city is always sober.

via All Pics 4 U

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