Home to one of the world’s best known circuits for motorcycle racing, Assen is a rustic city in the Netherlands. It covers an area of about 83 square kilometers and has a population that was estimated at just over 67,000, as at the end of the year 2013. Assen has always been a relatively important city since the medieval times. Historians tell us that the city’s history goes back to the 1250s, at a time when the members of clergy were also the rulers of the land. Nowadays, Assen receives huge numbers of visitors every year: with many of these being people coming to its motorcycle racing circuit, and with the others being people coming to savor its other attractions.
Getting around Assen
Assen has a railway station located close (about five minutes) from the city center. So as you come into or go out of Assen by train, you get to go through and see quite a bit of the city. Close to the railway station at Assen is the local bus station. The buses there can really take you around the city, unlike the train which just gets you ‘into’ Assen.
Assen, like most cities in Netherlands, really goes out of its way to encourage people (residents and visitors alike) to use bicycles. To this end, you have the option of hiring a bike, and using it to get around this city, which prides itself of being one of the world’s cycling capitals. The nice thing about getting around Assen in a bicycle is that, for the most part, you won’t really be trying to compete for road usage rights and road space with nasty motorists, as Assen has a very extensive network of tracks specially developed and set aside for use by people on bicycles. Neither will you be alone as a cyclist: as this is a city where almost half of all journeys are made by people using bicycles.
Assen is also quite a pedestrian-friendly city, so getting around and exploring its various sections by foot shouldn’t be too tricky.
Things to see and do in Assen
Contrary to what we have been conditioned to believe, tourist attractions don’t actually always have to be in the form of the cherished relics of a historical nature. This is the conclusion you are likely to draw, after coming to learn that one of Assen’s major tourist attractions is actually its rather modern motorcycle racing circuit, otherwise known as TT Circuit Assen. So good is this circuit that, for almost 65 years, it has featured annually in the MotoGP calendar. Even when there are no races taking places there, the circuit by itself is quite an attraction.
Many visitors to Assen also find it worthwhile to set aside some time, and visit Drents Museum in the city. This is a fine example of what a historical museum should be, and the time you invest in visiting it will definitely be time well invested. You will not only come across archeological displays, but also models of how people in the medieval and industrial ages lived, around here. You can also visit Assen’s Museum Westebork, where you will get to improve your knowledge of the atrocities committed in the Second World War.
Assen is also a city of architectural marvels. Among these is the Abbey Church, which is part of the city’s Drent’s Museum, but which is worth mentioning by itself. Originally built in the mid 13th century and rebuilt in the 17th century, is an austere but remarkable structure. Related religious structures that are also architectural masterpieces in Assen include the Beth-el Church, and the Parish Church which is close to the Jozefchurch. Jozefkerk, built in the mid 19th century is also striking, as is the city’s court of Justice and town hall.
If you are in Assen on one of the days when the flea market is open, you can go shopping there at Winkelcentrum Assen – and the experience will certainly be memorable.
A visit to Assen also gives you a chance to see a few of the remarkable natural rock structures known as Hunebedden. These, as per historical accounts, were used as burial sites by ancient people: the folks who lived in the Netherlands thousands of years ago.
‘Smart’ Mask Brainstormed by Dutch Physicians, Engineers
Physicians and engineers in the Netherlands said they are developing a “smart mask” that uses sensors and data to monitor a wearer's temperature and respiration and warns them when the mask needs replacing.
Though the mask is still in the development stage, researchers at the Holst Center, an independent research and development technology lab in the city of Eindhoven, said in addition to monitoring vital signs, a humidity sensor can indicate if the mask is functioning properly.
The core technology has already been largely developed in a joint research project with multiple partners to commercialize the smart mask. Holst Center researcher Ashok Sridhar said the mask was designed with practical applications to indicate if the wearer is basically healthy.
Sridhar said the mask will also tell wearers how the mask itself is doing. He said people tend to buy masks and wear them longer than they are intended.
“By measuring the humidity of the filter, you can also indicate that the mask cannot be used anymore. And the idea is to replace the mask, so that the effectiveness is retained."
The mask is going through a testing phase, and researchers hope to add further functionality, such as alerting users if they inhale toxic substances.
The mask uses flexible sensors that are printed into the fabric. The researchers said the Holst Center pioneered this printed electronics technology. They are using it to develop a T-shirt that can monitor the wearer’s vital signs during athletic training and report back to the user through a laptop or smartphone.
Coronavirus found in Minks in the Netherlands
The Netherlands also eases Corona Restrictions
The Netherlands has eased corona restrictions two months after the “lockdown”. As of the this week, hairdressers, beauty salons are allowed to reopen again., this is followed by restaurants, cafés and theaters on June 1st, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced in The Hague.
Rutte, however, called for continued caution – “We can only reopen the Netherlands if everyone behaves wisely.”
The government presented a gradual easing plan by September 1. From June 1, museums and all schools are to be opened thereafter, however, the relaxation is associated with a new obligation:
From June 1st, face masks must be worn in local public transport and the opening of primary schools from May 11th.
The Netherlands is now in a transition phase to the “one and a half meter society,” said Rutte but he warned that any loosening would be reversed if the virus spreads again as “The virus must remain manageable.”
From July 1st there are also plans to relax tourism with camping sites and holiday parks to open the gates again.
Restaurants, cafés and theaters can then receive up to 100 visitors. Sports with direct physical contact such as football should only be allowed from September 1st but playing golf, swimming or tennis will be allowed again next week.
The measures will be relaxed more quickly than planned. According to the government, this is possible because the number of new infections is declining faster than expected. So far, around 41,000 cases of corona infections have been registered in the Netherlands, 5204 people died and 628 patients are still in intensive care units and at the height of the crisis, there were twice as many in ICU’s reported.
Restrictions on freedom of movement have been in effect since March 13. Citizens should stay at home as much as possible and keep a safety distance of one and a half meters. Cafes, restaurants and schools had been closed. However, business was allowed to remain open. Prime Minister Rutte had called this an “intelligent lockdown”, appealing to the common sense of the citizens.
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