Jellyfish, one of the oldest living organism in the world, has existed in the world for at least 500 million years. However, we still know so little about them! This blog is a compilation of the...
"Great and ghastly stench"
Dutch whaling industry in the 17th century
“Lying in the bay were five large whale carcases which still had not been flensed through lack of manpower. There was a "great and ghastly stench" and, after a few fine days, the sun had...
Supplying the Dutch Diet Pt. 2
Life near the Port of Amsterdam was not only scented by colonial activities. Afterall, a huge portion of businesses ran by the docks were also to sustain a whole city of people. Having said that, the...
A Deterrence of Sight and Smell
The gallows field of Amsterdam
The small headland on the north side of the IJ, opposite the Oosterdok, used to be the location of the gallows field of Amsterdam. Criminals sentenced to death were executed on Dam Square, and as an...
Supplying the Dutch Diet Pt. 1
Along the lines of the previous topic : The Amsterdam port did not only shelter ships coming from abroad. Some of the vessels coming into the docks were also ships related to local industry. During...
Clean Lab team lives the Balanoculture
“Balanophagy” comes from ancient Greek and stands for the practice of eating acorns. The Clean Lab Team is working on bringing the forgotten practice back to the table.
A warehouse ablaze
Fire of 1791
It is true that many of the scents that infected the Amsterdam air was by way of the VOC/WIC ships coming to and from the harbour. In a way, a major import – albeit unintentional- from these...
Pelts and skin
Smelly goods from New Amsterdam
“If it was the search for a short route to Asia that brought the Dutch to North America, it was the beaver that made them stay” ( NNI, 2019 ). Like most trade network, the North American fur trade...
Of mothballs and grandma
Camphor's history with the Dutch
Cinnamomum Camphora , the fragrant camphor tree. A possibly large evergreen tree, with pale bark and dots of white flowers which will eventually bloom into small purple berries. While sight of the...
Aboard a passenger-liner-turned-hospital-ship
Smelly business did not remain in the pre-modern era. It is very much a modern phenomenon just as well. One point of interest for us scent-hunters is the MS Oranje. A 20,166-ton ship, in its hay-day...
A mélange of foul odours
The smell of discovery
One of the main purposes of the Oosterdok was the building of ships. For a short while in history, before the English took that questionable title, the Dutch were the largest colonial power in the...
Those who bled for nutmeg
The narrative contextualized within Banda Island's larger history
Workshop: Mediamatic Biotoop
Recreating Ancient Egyptian Essence28Sep 2019
Most royal ancient Egyptians tombs have been found with dozens, if not hundreds of fragrant unguents, salves, and perfumes for the journey into immortality. Learn all about the smells of...
Smell of the exotic
Rare animals in Amsterdam
The exotic animal trade: one might not think too much of its significance to our ecosystem. Yet, it is very much “alive and kicking” and becoming a real threat in the global world. Recently, the...
Presentation: Mediamatic Biotoop
Death Architecture18Sep 2019
How we relate to death culturally, is reflected in the design of our cemeteries and crematoria. Death has been pushed behind the scenes for the last decades, but it appears times are changing. It...
Presentation: Mediamatic Biotoop
Mapping Scent27Sep 2019
Kate McLean pioneered Scentscaping, a method to capture the smells of a city onto a map. A recent trend shows artists and researchers alike trying to map scents of cities and areas. Alongside McLean
Dora Goldsmith is a PhD student of Egyptology at the Freie Universität Berlin. The topic of her PhD project is the sense of smell in ancient Egypt, the exact title of her research being The...
Considered the first comprehensive exploration of the history of scent, the book Aroma. The cultural history of smell opens with the sentence: ‘Smell is a social phenomenon, invested with particular...
An era of colonial agriculture
One of the main culprits of contemporary scent is the local ecosystem. But with a globalized approach to importation and exportation, our locality not only sports indigenous flora but foreign ones...
Het Marineterrein ligt op het stadseiland Kattenburg aan de oostkant van het centrum van Amsterdam.
The dark side of medicine
Dutch cocaine and opium trade
A revised narrative in Dutch history?
A Dutch-style cleaning frenzy!
What has cleanliness got to do with anything?