Cover your ears! Amsterdam Dance Event goers invited to hearing pill tests


The Amsterdam Dance Event is about more than top DJs and partying, reports Senay Boztas As 375,000 people prepare themselves for big noise at the five-day Amsterdam Dance Event, a business has asked them to listen up: Hearing Health Science is looking for recruits to trial its ‘protective’ hearing pills. The Amsterdam-based business, co-founded by a leading inner ear neuroscientist from the University of Michigan Dr Josef Miller, has joint US patents on a dietary supplement combination including vitamins A, C, E and magnesium. Studies have shown some evidence that this ACEMg supplement ‘can be beneficial for reducing hearing loss due to aminoglycosides and overstimulation,’ according to a report in Nature magazine in February, co-authored by Miller. Hearing Health Science hopes to begin producing pills next year and is taking pre-orders at the festival, at a cost of €30 for a four-week supply. Pilots It is also looking for volunteers to take part in pilot tests, signing up recruits at the Amsterdam Dance Event, which this year is putting on 2,200 acts in 140 venues and expecting a peak of numbers. Barry Seifer, co-founder and chief executive of the company explained: 'The pill we are bringing to market is safe, and you cannot test in the lab by giving someone a problem and then offering to cure it. If you are going to do epidemiological research on something like this – noise – you have to do it in the real world, where the problem happens. This is a great place to do that research.' The company is planning pilot tests with volunteers from the ADE – although Seifer said they won’t be handing out pills at the door – and hopes to invite some of these to a modified crossover study. This should take place when the ‘festival’ season begins from March next year, and subjects will be followed for a period, taking the drug and a placebo at different times, and measuring their hearing through a special app developed at the University of Michigan. Tinnitus ‘We’ve done it once with a tinnitus trial and now we want to do real-world studies in the music industry,’ says Seifer. ‘Our initial idea was to recruit 20 or 30 people but we have such intense interest that I think we’ll have 500 who sign up. We would love to be able to give this to people now because millions need help, but we’re not quite there yet. We’re not going to stand at the doors and hand out pills.’ A spokesman for ADE said the festival has worked with Hearing Health Science in the past and invited it to speak at an event on Thursday. ‘We believe you need to protect your hearing and welcome initiatives in this field,’ he said. ‘HHS has been working on this hearing protection for a long time and at ADE we are always looking out for innovations in the field of (electronic) music…we also actively offer earbuds to visitors.’ Highlights of the event this year include Afrojack, Hardwell and Martin Garrix, and the festival expects 3% more clubbers, with a steadily pattern of growth over its 10 years. House music and techno are currently the most popular genres. Seifer adds: ‘We would never tell you to turn the music down. Entertainment goers are trying to keep the music to lower volumes and encourage people to use filters and party plugs – these are good. The problem is that this is supposed to be fun!’  More >



Dutch celebrate jean pool: Denim Days fest

The Dutch are proud of their jeans – that’s the message at this year’s Denim Days Festival, where more than 75 exhibitors will show off their wares. The festival, previouslyl launched in New York, aims to appeal to ‘true-blue’ denim enthusiasts, with a vintage market, music, workshops, attractions for children and speakers on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th. It will be held in the Westergasfabriek former gasworks in Amsterdam’s Westerpark and costs €10 in advance or €15 at the door, with discounts for students and under-12s free. Collaborators include the Denim City campus, manufacturers DENHAM, Kings of Indigo, Mud Jeans and C&A, which will talk about making its first ‘circular’ pairs of jeans with the Fashion for Good lobby group.  More >


Be brave, ask for a doggybag

Natuur & Milieu is happy the doggy bag is becoming an accepted part of eating out in the  Netherlands, the organisation writes on its website. According to the organisation 41% of diners are offered a doggy bag for surplus food at one time or another compared to 31% in 2015. The number of people asking for a doggy bag went up by 10%. However, 44% are too embarrassed to ask for one, the organisation found. ‘We are glad the doggy bag is going mainstream,’ marketing director Dorien Ackerman said. ‘But almost half of diners won’t ask for one because they think staff or the people they are with will think it strange. One in three is embarrassed to walk around with a recognisable doggy bag. It would be nice if people could just stop feeling embarrassed.’ Oddly enough the doggy bag fits in seamlessly with Dutch culture, Milieu & Natuur says. ‘66% of Dutch people were told by their parents to clean their plate when they were children and 85% claims to hate food waste. ‘So why the thrifty Dutch should be ashamed for asking for a doggybag is rather strange,’ Ackerman says. Natuur & Millieu has declared today doggy bag day and calls on all diners to ask for a doggybag while restaurant owners are invited to put the doggybag logo on their menus to encourage punters. According to the organisation 55,000 tonnes of food end up in the bin each year. Smaller portions and doggy bags can help prevent that, it says.  More >




Insurers won't pay out for Alpine snow

Winter sports enthusiasts have been warned that insurers are unlikely to pay out if they are unable to take to the ski slopes because of the extremely heavy snow in parts of the Alps. In France and Switzerland the amount of snow is close to the all-time record for the time of year, but snowstorms and the high risk of avalanches has forced some resorts to close the pistes. In the French resort of Tignes skiers were confined to their hotels and chalets as winter storms brought winds in excess of 200 km/h, while in the Austrian Tirol region two German skiers died in an avalanche on Friday. Some insurance companies such as Neckermann and Sunweb offer a package compensating skiers if there is not enough snow to ski, but the policy does not apply if the snow is too heavy. Holidaymakers who have to delay their journey home because of blocked roads or extreme cold may have a claim. 'The weather for winter sports is so varied at this time of year that we can't insure against it,' said a spokesman for the ANWB, which operates Pharos Reizen insurance policies. Not all of the Alps is under a blanket of snow; in parts of Bavaria, on the northern side of the mountain range, spring-like temperatures of up to 12 degrees have been reported.  More >



Maastricht has more shops than Amsterdam

Maastricht has more shops per head than Amsterdam, but the tourist hotspots of the Wadden Islands are a shopper's paradise, new figures show. The Limburg capital's 854 shops represent 7 for every 1,000 population, compared to a concentration of 6.4 in Amsterdam, according to statistics published on Tuesday by the national statistics office CBS. However, the islands have nearly three times as many shops per resident, largely because tourists outnumber locals during the holiday season. Vlieland, with 20.3 shops per 1,000 residents, leads the league table, followed by Schiermonnikoog in 13.8, Terschelling on 13.2 and Texel on 13.1.   The CBS said there are nearly 88,000 physical shops in the Netherlands. Clothing shops represent 18% of the total, followed by supermarkets at 7%, flower shops (4%) and bicycle shops, drug stores, furniture stores, butchers and shoe shops, all at 3%. Little has changed over the past 10 years the CBS said. The Wadden islands took pole position a decade ago and Maastricht headed the table of the 25 biggest cities.  More >