April 23, 2014 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Dutch Royals Give Out Prince Claus Prize

Posted in: Netherlands

Wednesday night saw the royal family of the Netherlands award the Prince Claus Prize at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam.. The Prize is in honor of Queen Beatrix’s late husband, who died in 2002. It began in 1997, and has a theme every year. Dutch Royals 300x222 Dutch Royals Give Out Prince Claus Prize

This year’s theme was culture and nature, and the winner was Colombian architect Simon Velez, who has been researching on how bamboo can be used as building material. Velez has designed buildings in the United States, Germany and China. In the Netherlands he will make a design for the stage in the new Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam-Noord, which will consist of a bamboo structure.

Upon receiving the award, Velez said to the audience, “Every construction which consists of concrete, steel or wood, bamboo can also be built.” He added there were doubts about his bamboo-design for the Indian pavilion at the Expo in Shanghai next year. “They wanted it would be steel. Once they heard I had won the Prince Claus Award, they gave permission to use bamboo.”

The nature and culture theme for this year’s Prince Claus Prize seems to coincide with the UN Climate Change summit in Copenhagen. Even some members of the Dutch royal family made comments on the environment.

“People seem to have forgotten to draw modestly against nature,” said Prince Constantijn, who presented the award. “The natural resources are being depleted and global warming threatens the delicate balance of our climate.”

The Prince Claus Prize is given to artists, thinkers and other innovators from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Winners receive 100,000 euros as part of the award.


Norwegian Royals Build Gingerbread House for Christmas

Posted in: Norway

The royal family of Norway released their annual Christmas photos Thursday. As always, they chose an activity to show them enjoying each other’s company. This year, that activity was building a gingerbread house.

Norwegian Royal Family 300x168 Norwegian Royals Build Gingerbread House for Christmas

Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix

King Harald V, Queen Sonja, the Crown Princely couple and their children built the house at the royal palace in Oslo. The house was big enough for Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus to walk through. It included gingerbread and cookies with the names of the children of Princess Martha Louise, their cousins.

While building the house, Ingrid and Sverre felt tempted to eat the gingerbread. But their mother made sure they didn’t.

“Ingrid, no. You are not allowed to eat the house. You can get one of the loose,” said Mette-Marit, who was dressed in traditional Norwegian clothes, as was Queen Sonja.

Luckily, Ingrid and Sverre found and ate some pieces not yet on the house. The gingerbread was made by the palace chefs.

This Christmas, the King and Queen will be in Oslo, along with their eldest child, Martha Louise and her family. Haakon and Mette-Marit will be in a cabin in Nore and Uvdal.

Not since 2004 has the entire royal family been together.

Click here to see a video of the family (you have to scroll down to the middle of the page).