Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport gallery opens winter exhibition (about winter!)

I love airport art galleries. They offer the delayed passenger something far more satisfying than eating fattening toxins in the food court. The gallery at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam, is one of the best because it’s run by the world-famous Rijksmuseum.

The gallery has just opened Dutch Winters, a collection of winter scenes by Dutch artists. Interestingly, the curators didn’t go for the usual Dutch Masters and their depictions of the harsh winters of the 16th century, when Northern Europe shivered under the Mini Ice Age. Instead, they’re displaying works from the 19th century.

A January Evening in the Wood at The Hague, shown above, was painted by Louis Apol in 1875. A member of The Hague School, Apol made realistic images typical of that school’s style. Below is Charles Leickert’s Winter View, which he did in 1867. Leickert’s style harkens back to the Dutch masters with its rural scene, detailed architecture, and numerous lifelike figures.

Fans of the Dutch Masters of Holland’s Golden Age won’t be disappointed. The gallery has a permanent exhibit of some of their works.

Images courtesy Rijksmuseum.

New amenities for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: Wi-Fi and golf!

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been considered one of the best airports in the world for as long as I can remember – even when I flew in and out of it every week back in early 80’s, Schiphol had some of the best airport shopping of any airport.

In recent years, the airport added a casino, loads of new restaurants, a spa, shower facilities, 2 hotels and a museum.

And now two more amenities can be added to that long list; free Wi-Fi and a golf course. Wi-Fi arrived at Schiphol almost ten years ago, but was always a paid service. Now, users can connect to the “KPN” Wi-Fi network located througout the entire airport, landside and airside. The only downside? Access is only free for one hour. After that, you’ll need to purchase more airtime. When on paid access, you can also print for free, and collect your documents at one of the KPN Internet Centers at the airport.

The golf course is located away from the main terminal, towards the north. When completed in 2012, it’ll be a full 18 hole course with a driving range and club house. No word yet whether you’ll be able to use the course during a layover at Schiphol, but knowing how smart the airport operator is, it wouldn’t surprise me if shuttles are provided.

If only U.S. airports paid attention to their international cousins to see how a real airport should look. Schiphol gets a golf course – and we need to settle for a Sbarro. Sigh.

[Photo from Flickr/on1site]

Check out this list of five airline amentities making a comeback

German body scanner protesters remove clothes at airport

In Germany, a “fleshmob” of semi-naked activists from the Pirate Party staged a body scanner protest at the Berlin-Tegel Airport, reports Discover magazine. German authorities plan to begin using “Nacktscanners,” or AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology), which uses high frequency radio waves to produce images of a passenger’s naked body, across the country within the next two years.

Here and elsewhere abroad, the TSA and its international partners are increasingly employing body scanners as an airport security measure, so items like explosives, weapons, or drugs can be detected beneath a passenger’s clothing. The use of the scanners has become a subject of much public controversy, ever since the would-be “underwear bomber” was thwarted at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Dec. 25 of last year. Many passengers feel that the use of full-body scanners is a violation of their privacy.

Wired states that the German protesters scrawled comments such as, “Be a good citizen–drop your pants,” and “prosthetic [with arrow pointing to the wearer’s leg],” on their bodies. One flesh-toned-clothed woman bore a sign reading, “pixelated,” referring to the option modest passengers have to request a scanner be programmed to produce a blurred image of their body.

For more information on your rights as an air traveler, Reddit has created Fly with Dignity, a “site-based initiative to inform the public.” Want to personally protest body scanners? National Opt-Out Day is November 24th.

Delta pilot nailed for (allegedly) drunk-flying from Amsterdam to Newark

It’s a long flight from Amsterdam to the New York City/Newark area. I’ve done it. I get antsy and bored. I bring lots of stuff to do. Anything that could make the time pass a little faster would make it onto my list … and that includes putting a few cocktails back.

Of course, I’m not the guy flying the plane.

A Delta pilot was arrested and fined for being drunk, allegedly, when getting ready to fly from Amsterdam to Newark.The (alleged) culprit hasn’t been identified yet, but the Associated Press reports that he’s 52 years old (translation: old enough to know better) and is from Woodbury, NJ.

What Delta has to say on the subject, according to ABC News, is that Flight 35 was “cancelled out of concern that a crew member appeared to be unfit for duty.”

Okay, it isn’t not true …
Here’s a little more from the airline, via ABC News:

“Local Amsterdam authorities have met with the crew member to begin their investigation and we are cooperating fully, while simultaneously launching our own internal investigation,” Delta said in a statement. “The crew member has been suspended pending the outcome of these investigations. Impacted passengers have been reaccomodated on other flights.”

Delta claims to have one of the “strictest” alcohol policies in the airline industry, telling pilots not to show up for work with any alcohol in their bodies. It sounds severe: I have a glass of wine while I’m working from time to time … but I’m only a blogger. Lives are not at stake.

The pilot blew a 0.023 percent result, which puts him a bit over the legal limit in the Netherlands. This cost him $900 in fines, but he was set free. One does hope that Delta isn’t finished with him yet.

British tabloid takes syringe past airport security – labels it “terror airport”

Leave it to a British tabloid to try and show how dangerous Amsterdam airport is. One of their reporters carried a syringe past airport security, to try and convince us that the airport deserves the name “terror airport”.

Never mind the fact that 1000’s of people carry a syringe through the airport each day (diabetics), or that a syringe on its own isn’t a weapon.

Because the Nigerian would-be bomber used a (filled) syringe and underpants full of powder, the British newspaper draws the conclusion that syringes are now weapons of terror.

They obviously forgot to point out that metal detectors can’t pick up metal objects this small, and that full body scanners won’t be present at the airport for another couple of weeks. I’m willing to bet that none of the UK airports would have detected the syringe either – since all European airports use similar security procedures.

So, in the name of journalism, the Sunday Express creates fake hysteria, brandishing one of the safest airports in Europe a “terror airport”.