Bijenkorf holiday windows (Or: 2020 edition)

Here are some of the holiday windows Bijenkorf (a high-end retail store) here in The Hague. Bijenkorf is Dutch for beehive.

This one is Sinterklaas themed (you can see the music in backend and his staff in front of the music sheet). The white letters that are almost impossible to see say Muziek dat verbindt – the music that brings us together.
The mannequin was also slowly rotating. The white letters say Feest van samenzijn – Feast of being together (or a similar translation).
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One night of frost (Or: Time to go ice skating?!)

Here is another Dutch stereotype for you: the Dutch love to go ice staking. As I mentioned a few weeks back, the Elfstedentocht (Wikipedia) is the event that stops the country – except for the fact that it has not been held since 1997 due to a lack of ice. Opps.

But the Dutch are an innovative folk and will find any way they can to go ice skating. A student from the university TU Twente developed a system to help keep ice frozen for longer. And this was put to the test on Sunday night as temperatures dropped under the freezing point. He put foam concrete under a layer of asphalt, and then added a layer of water on the asphalt. It froze overnight, creating an ice rink. The foam concrete helps retain the ice that forms, keeping the ice rink intact longer.

The best part? The ice skating rink can be found in the town Winterswijk, near Germany. The name translates loosely to “Winter neighborhood”, which is a great name in this case.

Video: Winterswijk skating rink open after one night of moderate frost from

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Portbello burger (Or: Another treat from FOAM)

Have a look at what Marco and I had on Friday evening (the fries were self supplied):

Doesn’t that look delicious? That was one of the FOAM @ home options last Friday (Facebook link). The best part? The burger was actually a giant portbello mushroom. The rest of the ingredients were Asian inspired (an Asian guacamole, shredded carrots, and a coleslaw).

The bread rolls were from Lekkerbrood (Facebook link again) which translates to “Tasty bread”. And that it was.

Mysterie: Daarom staan er geen prullenbakken op het Binnenhof from Mystery: Why are there no trash containers at the Binnenhof? Okay, I’ll admit I knew the answer before even clicking on the link – Binnenhof is s a complex of parliamentary buildings. There are no trash containers there for safety reasons; who knows what someone would stuff in them. (For the record, I’ve almost never seen the Binnenhof that dirty.)

Mauritshuis becomes first gigapixel museum in the world at The Mauritshuis, a museum in The Hague which houses Vermeer’s Girl with a pearl earring (and many, many other treasures), now offers its entire collection in Gigapixel sized images so that you can zoom in to impossible depth. Read more about the Second Canvas app which makes this possible over on the official website of Mauritshuis. With that being said, the reviews are a bit mixed over on Apple’s app store, so have a look and decide for yourself if it is worth the (small) price. Hopefully it will receive many updates with additional content.

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Hot chocolate (Or: The case of the disappearing cookie)

Yesterday Marco, Roger and I made a cup of hot chocolate before sending Roger off back into the cold. Hot chocolate, whipped cream, chocolate powder, and a piece of speculaas cookie (Albert Heijn link to the cookie).

Keep your eye on that cookie…

… by the time Marco noticed, it was gone. Marco did say the bottom of his hot chocolate did taste rather speculaas-y, though.

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Just lights and a sign (Or: No Royal Christmas Fair this year)

A few days ago I walked past the Lange Voorhout, a street with a rich history that spans back to the 12th and 13th centuries (Wikipedia). It is also home to the Royal Christmas Fair and one of the homes of the Rrrollend food festival (the other being Malieveld).

Of course there is no Royal Christmas Fair this year. But there are a few signs out as you can see above. The city also added the usual white Christmas lights to give it a holiday feel. (You can just barely see the light strings in the trees on the left of the photo.)

Balloons as an alternative to fireworks: ‘Still nice to pop’ from (Or try the Dutch version of this article over at

1987 Ferrari pulled from Amsterdam canal to appear in Netflix production from But it is all just for show – the article says it will be scrapped afterwards.

And it is unfortunately still busy today due to Black Friday shopping (where deals seem to last all weekend): Drukte in winkelstraten, in meerdere steden winkels eerder dicht from It is busy in the shopping streets, with many cities closing stores early, around 16:00, give or take. The Hague sent out a tweet at 12:30 today saying it was too busy in the city centre and people should stay away, but for the moments stores in The Hague are closing at their normal times.

(a pretty picture of Bijenkorf’s winter decorations…)
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Black Friday in The Netherlands (Or: Early morning lines)

Black Friday has become popular in the last 5 years in this country. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but who doesn’t love a good deal? (Although whether something is a good deal is questionable at times.) But with corona this year, it was a bit weird to see the city centre so busy.

Here was the line for Uniqlo, a recently opened Japanese clothing store:

This photo was taken just before 10:00, so right before the store opened. I was lucky that I was just passing through and could use the side streets to avoid this area. When I passed the edge of the city centre later in the afternoon it was almost impossible to see through the mass of people shopping here at Grote Marktstraat (, English site). Are the discounts really that important?

Most NL residents don’t care about Black Friday from You could have fooled me.

Still, other cities had it much worse: Burgemeester Aboutaleb sluit winkels in centrum Rotterdam om ‘dramatische drukte‘ from The mayor of Rotterdam (Aboutaleb) closed all stores in the center of Rotterdam because of the ‘massive crowds’. He closed them at 19:10, about 50 minutes earlier than they would be required to close due to corona regulations. Amsterdam and Rotterdam were quite busy all day though (with both mayors issuing warnings to avoid certain areas of their cities early in the afternoon). According to reports the crowd levels were more manageable in Utrecht and The Hague.

Note: the above article does have a lovely picture of the “Koopgoot” shopping area. The nickname “Koopgoot” translates to “Shopping gutter”, owing to the fact that it is lower than the street next to it, although still an open area. It’s a lovely area. Just not on Black Friday in 2020…

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Opps… (Or: I am neither elderly or sick, but…)

This morning I went to a local supermarket to pick something up for dinner. While I usually go to Albert Heijn, this item required me to go somewhere else. Actually, the first place I tried was closed but I kind of figured that would be the case, so I walked on to my second choice.

I was pleasantly surprised to enter a quiet supermarket, only spotting two customers on my quick trip through the store. I quickly found what I needed, checked one other thing and then moved to the cash registers to pay. While waiting for the cashier to appear (it really was quiet) I saw a paper before my nose detailing the opening hours of the store. And then realized that 09:00-10:00, when I was visiting, was actually the weekday ouderuurtje, aka the “elderly hour” where elderly or “immune compromised” persons can visit a supermarket to do their shopping in the quieter hours. That is one of the corona laws the government passed earlier this year. Opps.

I did apologize to the cashier when he walked up, but of course he didn’t care. Probably because it was unbelievably quiet… but still, I know better for next time.

In other news:

Tired of sniggers, Austrian village tweaks its name to Fugging from I assume you can guess what their current name is… but hopefully this way people won’t steal as many of their signs.

Wintersporters blijven met Kerst massaal thuis, ‘nauwelijks boekingen from Dutch skiers are choosing to stay at hore for Christmas, rather than visiting Italy, France, Austria and similar. Although there is some speculation that last minute bookings might still occur. (This is important because the first wave of Covid this spring came from Italy, brought back by Dutch skiers.)

I told Marco about this one; he could only exclaim “Wow, like Pet Cementary!”: Culled mink rise from the dead to Denmark’s horror from The reason is simple, though: they weren’t buried deep enough and when their bodies started to decompose, well, bodily gases caused them to rise back up to the surface. Still, ew…

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Work “goodbye parties” (Or: Corona time addition)

One of Marco’s coworkers is leaving, so Marco’s company has scheduled a virtual goodbye party later this week. But, it isn’t just any goodbye party – each participant received a package in the mail today to give the person a “good send off” during the virtual party:

That’s right, a nachos and beer package! The nacho chips, potato chips and salsa are all Spanish products (or are labeled as such) while you have two Dutch beers from Jopen, a brewery in Haarlem. Apparently there is also an aioli dip, but I didn’t find that until after taking this photo. All the straw underneath reminds me of the leg lamp unboxing from A Christmas Story (link to YouTube).

The gift package itself comes from

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Music at the Malieveld? (Or: Parkpop changes)

Yesterday the news broke that the Dutch music festival Parkpop would be moving to Malieveld next year (article from in Dutch). The festival has been held at The Hague’s Zuiderpark for the last 40 years. Indeed, the festival gets its name from the fact that it is held at Zuiderpark (Parkpop). In 1992 it claimed the title as the biggest music festival of Europe, drawing over half a mission visitors that weekend (!).

However, location always proved an issue. It’s much easier to get to Malieveld (which is a 2 minute walk from The Hague’s Central Station) than it is to get to Zuiderpark. Another issue was noise: Zuiderpark is surrounded by residential area, whereas Malieveld is not.

In corona news:

De Jonge: Dutch partial lockdown likely to continue past mid-January from The worst part is this means restaurants and cafés will not be able to reopen for dine-in for a while, but if it helps…

Government advised to extend Christmas school holidays, not relax other measures from I bet kids will be really happy if their Christmas vacation does get extended, but it will probably mean a shorter summer break. But as a kid, would you think of that? (At the moment it is just advice; the government can ignore it.)

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Corona collection (Or: Upcoming exhibition at The Hague Historical museum)

The Haags Historisch Museum (The Hague Historical Museum) will be opening a new exhibition in the first week of December: “Corona collection, The Hague in lockdown“. (On the right side of the page there is a link to their online corona collection, which includes photos taken during the first wave of the coronavirus earlier this year. It’s written in Dutch, but Google translation should also work on the descriptions that accompany each photo.)

Photograph of random art spotted during the first “lockdown”… it translates to “Covid-19 is coming out of my nose!”

If you can’t make it in person, you can see some more of the corona-related photographs from the Dutch photographer Sandra Uittenbogaart at The Hague’s archive. It’s great that this year is being archived online for all to see and remember (or forget…).

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