April Fools jokes all the rage

1st April 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — "Scientific" research to locate the expat gene, zebra foals distinguished with black blocks rather than stripes, and a robot giving lessons instead of a human teacher. These are just a sample of the April Fools jokes doing the rounds on Friday.

1 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — "Scientific" research to locate the expat gene, zebra foals distinguished with black blocks rather than stripes, and a robot giving lessons instead of a human teacher. These are just a sample of the April Fools jokes doing the rounds on Friday.

Newspaper 'Algemeen Dagblad' reported that April Fools is becoming less popular. It said the media — which plays an important role in spreading the jokes — appears to have declining interest in the tradition.

Nevertheless, animal lovers appeared to be the most susceptible to jokes on Friday.

After dozens of dog owners volunteered their four-legged friends to undergo tests for a possible space mission last year, Maastricht Council urged owners this year to bring their dogs in for a DNA test.

A dog DNA databank was to be used to detect which dogs had left their smelly poop on city streets. A council spokesman said authorities wanted to teach dog owners about their responsibility to keep the city clean.

One dog owner reported to the council without his dog to demand an explanation. After a cup of coffee and cake, the bemused dog owner was finally able to laugh.

Visitors to the Noorderdierenpark in Emmen were alerted by a sign at the front entrance to a stable where a zebra foal with black blocks and its mother was being accommodated. But a photo in the otherwise empty stall showed the foal with an announcement that its African name 'Vitumbiko' meant 1 April.

The internet website dierennieuws.nl was filled with April Fools jokes. Among them included elephants grazing in North Holland and a veterinarian developing food for pet rabbits that stopped them from having to produce droppings.

Dog owners were also urged to come and collect free dog food from Amsterdam Central Station for publicity purposes.

The students of the Montessorischool in Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel were told they would be taught by a robot teacher from Friday. The scheme was designed to tackle the chronic teacher shortage.

A detailed website with introductory videos said the robot could give writing and maths lessons, dictations and answer parent emails. But instead of the robot, students were shown a video revealing it to be a joke.

Another successful joke was an Expatica article alerting expats to a scientific research programme in Wageningen. Academics, the article said, were seeking volunteers to help identify the 'expat gene' that guarantees a successful relocation abroad.

Some readers emailed Expatica in applause, while others asked how they could participate in the project.

It seems the name of a Health Ministry spokesman Wim van Gekkekoe — translated as Wim van Crazy Cow — failed to give the joke away. To read the Expatica April Fools article, please click here.

Another successful joke was the announcement by gay lobby group Roze Zaterdag that all of the signposts naming Nijmegen would be replaced with pink signs saying: 'Nijmegen, the oldest pink city of the Netherlands'. Several newspapers and television networks fell for the joke.

A council spokesman said the joke was suggested by Roze Zaterdag and the council agreed to go with it. The idea was to advertise Nijmegen as the oldest city in the Netherlands and the fact that the national Roze Zaterdag gay festival will be held in June in "gay friendly' Nijmegen.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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