Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

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Green and yellow (Or: Artwork of The Hague)

Here is a picture of random art from The Hague:

Art work at a Dutch school

It is green and yellow, to represent the colors of The Hague (also the colors of The Hague’s flag). Above is a piece of art in a Dutch school.

Of all random things to do on a Thursday night, I am currently watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Darmok episode to be exact. A good episode to see Patrick Stewart acting. ;)

Categories: Culture, The Hague | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Uniquely purple (Or: A random Dutch bike)

Some days I feel like I should have a blog which just documents bike photos. Some other bike photos include: Bikes in Delft and Amsterdam || Bikes along a Utrecht canal || So many bikes by Holland Spoor (train station) || All that remains: A lone bike wheel || Beads along bike spokes

Yesterday I came across a purple bike, although the paint was chipping. Looks like it used to be an orange color.

Dutch bike - in purple

Click for a larger size


Here is a close up:

Purple Dutch bike - close up

Click for a larger size


See? Orange paint!

Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Grand opening (Or: Paagman bookstore on Lange Poten)

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Paagman has officially opened on Lange Poten. Lange Poten 41 was previously a film house, a store called Liefhertje, and a Mercendes Benz store.

Paagman bookstore Lange Poten 1

There are two levels. Like the previous Paagman, the secondhand books are on the upper floor.

Paagman bookstore Lange Poten 4

The roof is rather stunning – so let’s show another picture.

Paagman bookstore Lange Poten 3

And below is a view from the second floor, overlooking the entrance.

Paagman bookstore Lange Poten 2

Of course, if you’re visiting this bookstore, don’t forget to stop in at the American Book Center a few shops down!

Here are more photos of the new bookstore (article in Dutch).

Categories: Culture, The Hague | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A view of fishies while you eat (Or: M C Escher)

A few weeks ago, Roger, Marco and I went to the café in Marks and Spencer for mid-afternoon coffee and cake. Yum! At some point I looked over Roger’s shoulder and finally noticed what should have been glaringly obvious as soon as we walked in. There was a fish staring back at us!


click to see a slightly larger version

M C Escher’s Three Worlds; click to see a slightly larger version

It is a lithograph by Dutch artist M C Escher, “Three Worlds” (Wikipedia). Hopefully the picture above gives a good sense of the enormity of this copy – the fish itself is pretty much the size of an adult human!

Here is a close-up:

M C Escher Three Worlds at Marks and Spencer 2

Click for a larger version


The black and white colors blend in nicely with the the rest of the café as well. If you’re in the area (the central part of The Hague) make sure you check it out!

Categories: Culture, The Hague | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wafflemania (Or: Valentine’s Day 2015)

Marco surprised me with another Valentine’s Day themed breakfast. It is becoming a sort of tradition. ;)

This time he used the waffle maker!

Valentine's Day waffles

Whar can I say, I am a sucker for his chocolate waffles (which is just the normal mix with cocoa powder thrown in). Another was dusted with sugar, and the last was “regular”. It also came with coffee (which we usually drink after dinner so that is a lovely novelty) and a large glass of milk. Yum.

And then halfway through I decided to get creative:

Valentine's Day waggled with candy hearts

Another use for the candy hearts! :)

Happy Valentine’s Day, all.

Categories: Food, Marco&Niki | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Boekrecensie (Or: Eilandgasten bij Vonne van der Meer)

This blog post will be written in Dutch. It is a book review for a fiction book I recently finished. Unfortunately the book is not translated into English but you can read a review in English if you’re interested (or let Google translate take a stab at this blog post).

* * * * * * *

De laatste drie weken heb ik een boek uitgelezen, een boek met de titel “Eilandgasten” bij Vonne van der Meer. Het gaat over verschillende mensen die een vakantiehuis in Vlieland huren tijdens een zomervakantie. In totale zijn er zes korte verhalen. Eigenlijk wilde ik dit bibliotheekboek snel lezen en in een leentermijn terugbrengen. Het was net niet gelukt. Ik heb het op vrijdagavond uitgelezen maar ik moest het op vrijdag ook terugbrengen (dus ik heb de leentermijn verlengd).

Het boek begint met een introductie over het vakantiehuis (met de naam “Duinroos”). In deze introductie is het perspectief van een schoonmaakster, een vrouw die Duinroos (en andere vakantiehuisjes) schoon maakt. Daar hoeft geen dialoog bij; zij is alleen als zij het huisje voorbereidt voor de eerste gasten. Dit geeft de introductie een rustig begin, wat bij een eilandvakantie hoort. Hoewel de schoonmaakster het probeert kan zij niet zien wat er gebeurt. “Soms zou ik willen dat ik dit huis niet alleen schoonhield, maar dat mijn armen de muren waren, mijn ogen de ramen. Dat ik kon zien en horen wat Duinroos meemaakt.” Als zij tussen gasten Duinroos schoonmaakt, vindt ze wat macaroni op de trappen. Ze vindt het vervelend – wie denkt dat de keuken boven ligt? – maar ze was niet erbij om het antwoord te weten. Maar de lezer wel.

Wat ik bijzonder aan het boek vindt is de connectie tussen de huurders hoewel ze nooit op de zelfde tijd het huis gehuurd hebben. De connectie is gemaakt tussen kleine, alledaagse objecten net als een gastenboek, een veertje, en een tak. Of een gast die een halflege fles met augurken in de koelkast laat liggen. “Het gaf hem een prettig gevoel de onbekende die na hem kwamen een plezier te doen.” En dat komt wel terug, maar niet naar zijn wens. Het allerbelangrijkste object is het gastenboek. Heb je ooit door een gastenboek gekeken om te zien welke personen ook hier waren? Een beetje nieuwsgierigheid naar het verleden?

Dit boek was een rustig, kort boek (het was maar 205 pagina’s) dat wel echt spannend was. Het was geweldig om te raden hoe het gastenboek een rol bij dit verhaal speelt, of hoe het veertje terug komt, enzovoort. Hoewel mensen met problemen naar het eiland komen, is Duinroos een plek om hun probleem uit te werken. Zoals Sanne in het gastenboek schrijft: “All shall be well.”

C vdMEER (omnibus) DL rug42.8mm v06.indd

Categories: Reading | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’m sorry”s (Or: A bundle of tulips)

If Monday’s journey includes a stop to Utrecht Central, you might just be presented with a bundle of tulips by an NS worker (NS being the main train company in the Netherlands). The official reason for this is to promote “random acts of kindness”


Of course, the more cynical train riders would say that the timing is a bit suspicious as NS had a lot of sensor issues earlier in the week at Utrecht Central. This train station is more or less in the middle of the country and the main transfer point for trains. The delay due to the sensors completely halted traffic for a few hours, but the effects were felt far into evening rush hour. Delays were easily 90 minutes to 2 hours.

In continuing with the random acts of kindness theme, the NS recommend that if you receive a bundle of tulips that you pass it on to someone else to brighten their day. The article says that this isn’t the first time that they passed out tulips to train passengers, so perhaps it is just a a nice gesture after all…

Categories: Transportation | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New look (Or: Redesign of Hema’s cafe, Grote Markt)

Marco and I visited Hema over the weekend to check out the redesign of their cafe. Pretty impressive!

Redesign of Hema cafe Grote Markt 1

Do you see the image of the cat on the wall, completely made of candy? His face is a pancake, his whiskers red vines candy, smarties (European M&Ms) for ears, etc. It was a bit hard to get a good picture, unfortunately. Maybe next time.

Redesign of Hema cafe Grote Markt, 2

It even comes with a lively plant on each table, new furniture, new chairs, etc. A big improvement in my opinion.

The best part is that the coffee is now self-serve, which helps a lot with the standing in line part. However, there are still only two registers – made slightly worse by the fact that both lines are now right next to each other so you are standing in one massive, unorganized line until the last moment.

Still — self serve coffee! Woohoo!Redesign of Hema cafe Grote Markt, 3

A small children’s “kitchen” with the Jip and Janneke theme.

Overall a big step forward. When we visited, there did seem to be more workers which meant that the hot food was being served faster. I think it is the same menu, though, with a bit better advertising.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Serial the podcast (And: Other technological thoughts)

Lately I’ve been searching for something to listen to during my time at work. Previously the most success I have had was with Radio 1, the public service radio channel in Dutch. There is something to be said for having Dutch piped into your ears for hours on end when you are trying to learn the language. With that said, you’re tied down to whatever they are talking about at that moment – and sometimes it can be a bit boring. A little variety is nice.

On Thursday I re-found a podcast, “Serial“. It is a non-fiction story told out over multiple episodes. I had seen it several times over the last few months as I looked for podcasts but hadn’t listened to it. Apparently it was #1 for iTunes podcasts before the first episode even aired. Or something like that. Season 1 is twelve episodes long. It covers the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee and the former boyfriend who was convicted of killing her and sentenced to life in prison.

Serial podcast logo

What makes this podcast interesting is the use of actual interviews, recorded phone calls and court room testimony. It is not the voice of one person but the voice of many. Since the events are real, you can’t help but feel like you shouldn’t be listening, like this is private. It’s an interesting feeling.

Here are some interesting links:

Official page
Wikipedia page
Reddit thread
Facebook page

I only started listening to podcasts within the last year or so. While I do feel like I grew up with technology — there were computers at my elementary school and I was online regularly by 11 or 12 — I can definitely feel the divide between my generation and the digital generation. I still prefer email over texting. I don’t follow much of the latest crazes like Vine or Snapchat. Never tried Instagram. I had a twitter account, but deleted it after it got hacked (used the same simple password for that as well as a message board password, and the board got hacked first). I didn’t grow up with an iPad in my hands from birth or a pressing need to have a smart phone by age 7. I didn’t get my first cell phone into high school (Nokia, I believe) and didn’t get a smart phone until 2013.

So I can relate to older generations – I can only imagine what technology is going to confuse the heck out of me in 50 years. Heh. Get off my lawn, and just give me my iPad…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate delight (Or: Green tea kit kats and chocolate oranges)

Ever heard of Green tea kit kats?

Green tea kit-kat

Me neither!

Right before Marco and I went to America for the holidays, a friend from Japan visited us, bringing way too many tempting treats. Two bottles of Baileys (one regular, one orange flavor), for instance. The most unexpected was definitely the green tea flavored kit kats. It turns out that provinces in Japan each have their own flavor.  You can read reviews of 15 flavors at There is even a red bean sandwich flavor! And here is an article from CNN about how Kit Kat managed to get so big in Japan.

Another gift he brought was one of Terry’s chocolate orange. I have slowly made a dent in it every few nights, as it is great with coffee. I must admit the first night I found them quite artificial tasting (how often do you eat chocolate flavored oranges anyway?) but the second night and there after they definitely went well with the coffee.

It is either a pity or a good thing that those irresistible orange slices are almost gone.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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