We have given in (Or: Time for oliebollen)

Earlier this month I had mentioned that oliebollen stands started appearing on 1 October, the first day they were allowed to do so. Marco finally gave in today (16 October) and purchased an oliebol for me and a krentenbol for himself, aka an oliebol with raisins. It still annoys Marco that the names changed over the years. It used to be that if you ordered an oliebol you would get a doughnut-like thing with raisins. If you wanted the version without raisins you had to say “oliebol without raisins”. Oh well…

Of course I had already taken a few bites when I remembered that I wanted to take a photo for a blog post, so I had to strategically position it so that you couldn’t really tell that about 15% was missing…

Marco and I either make our oliebollen ourselves or we order it from Vermolen in the city centre. I found this article about the 2021 situation (in Dutch from ad.nl): Oliebollen van Vermolen toch op Grote Marktstraat, gemeente verandert van gedachte. Quick summary: this oliebollen stand was always found at the Spui. However, for the last three years the stand was moved to the end of Grote Markt, about 100-150 meters away but much closer to the crowds of shoppers. It was moved due to the ongoing construction at the Spui for the Amare building. Officially the construction is complete and the Amare building is open, but things are still in a bit of flux in the area. The owner of the oliebollen stand first heard last week that he had to move back to his old location this year, but after a bit of campaigning at city hall (a lot of the politicians stop by for his oliebollen) he heard that he was indeed able to open at the Grote Marktstraat this year. Next year is still up for debate – he might need to move back to the Spui then.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Just how crowded is it? (Or: Sign in a tram in The Hague)

Earlier last month while on a tram ride I spotted a sign asking Is het rustaagh?!

Is het rustaagh?! is the equivalent of the Dutch saying Is het rustig? but spelled with an Hague accent. It means “Is it busy?” in English. It was a sign promoting HTM’s service to show how crowded a tram was in the HTM app or on the HTM website. The service was first introduced in September of last year, with occasional promotion popping up during the busier months.

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Anyone up for some Sinterklaas sweets? (Or: Albert Heijn offerings)

One of the local Albert Heijns has an entire wall display for Sinterklaas sweets:

Think of things like speculaas with almond filling (cakieshq.com), spiced kruidnoten cookies (thespruceeats.com) and the softer pepernoten cookies (allrecipes.com).

Autumn arrived at the end of September, bringing a lot of rain and cold with it. If you are not paying attention, you will get caught in a sudden downpour that soaks you and then dissipates within 10 minutes. Marco and I also still need to try the yearly traditional of oliebollen, as I mentioned in a previous blog post. Soon!

At least the weather looks a bit drier this week, even if the warmth of summer is gone.

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A few more photos of Amsterdam (Or: Fountains and statues)

First, here is a photo of a statue on the side of the building. I know it is somewhere in the city centre, and somewhere in the Chinatown part of the city, but I can’t quite make out the street name on the photo. Nevertheless, it is an interesting piece of art:

And here is a fountain near the main entrance of Vondelpark:

Unfortunately this weekend trip we took already feels like it was a few months ago, even though it was only last month. Oh well – on to the next trip!

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Oliebollen (Or: It must be October)

Last year it was a huge decision to let the oliebollen stands open a month earlier, on 1 October, due to missed income (no festivals were being held, etc.). This year they also opened a month earlier, from yesterday. But this was more of a surprise as it wasn’t splashed everywhere on the news. The stands are usually allowed to be open between 1 November and mid-to-late January as oliebollen is a treat for Christmas and New Years.

But it is good news to see that the stand is back in the city centre, at the end of the Grote Markt shopping street (across from the public library). And perhaps they will be allowed to stay here; they moved to this spot some years back due to the construction around the Amare building. But construction of the Amare building is complete (previous blog post) so that is a good sign for the oliebollen stand.

In case you have no clue what oliebollen are, here is the page on English Wikipedia. Just try and read that without drooling.

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

Chess tournaments (Or: Spotted at Rabbijn Maarsenplein)

Last weekend I spotted a chess tournament in full swing at Rabbijn Maarsenplein. How pre-corona!

I didn’t have time to stick around, unfortunately. But it had definitely drawn a big crowd (especially on the other side of the tables).

And in other news:

Dutch scientists may have solved mystery of why some twins are identical from theguardian.com

Campaigners head to court to have cats kept indoors from dutchnews.nl (due to how many protected bird species and other small creatures are killed each year).

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Box of sweets (Or: Gift from my office)

Last week I received a surprise box of sweets from my office:

The box was put together by a company called Daniëlle kookt & zo (roughly translated as Daniëlle cooks and etc). One of their specialities is filled letters and numbers, each filled with either sweet or savory treats.

Mine is filled with brownies, macaroons, fudge, mini cookies, meringue and more. Delicious!

This gift is to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our office opening in The Hague, as well as the reopening of the office on 20 September. Since March 2020 the office was closed; before you travelled to the office you needed to secure permission. Since last week the office is open Monday through Thursday and closed on Fridays for cleaning. We are using hot desking and have a desk reservation system to ensure that social distancing is adhered to. (Although today is also the day that the 1.5 meters rule is abolished in most places; in exchange you need to show your coronapas (corona pass) if you want to sit inside a restaurant or go to the movies, etc. Read more at dutchnews.nl in English.)

At the moment going back to the office is optional. Personally I plan on going back later in the year. Next year, in the new form of hybrid working, each department can determine how often its workers need to be in the office. The department I work has asked for us to be in the office at least 4 days a month, but which days those are are determined by each team and the individual worker. My employer has been very lenient in that regard.

I do miss the commute so I do plan on going in more often than the minimum requirement. Although there is something to be said for the quick commute from the bed to the desk…

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Vondelpark in Amsterdam (And: Coffee by the river IJ)

When Marco and I arrived this weekend in Amsterdam, we decided to have coffee and lunch at a Bagels & Beans not far from the hotel. The location was on the river IJ, which meant beautiful views.

The empty seat in the photo would soon be filled by a father and his young daughter, though they hadn’t arrived yet. She was super cute (although at the age where she knew exactly what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to say it). One of things she wanted to do was blow bubbles in her juice, no matter what her father said. Unfortunately that fun stopped when she accidentally knocked the glass on the ground, shattering it. She was fine, not even crying, but she definitely quieted down after that.

On the way to Bagels & Beans we saw a plane flying past in the distance. Imagine my surprise when I saw the message:

“Stop the Corona hoax!”. Crazy. I suspect this is quite normal for Amsterdam, though. Maybe The Hague would have the same, but planes don’t fly over due to the government buildings.

On Saturday we visited Vondelpark (English Wikipedia). I had never been there, knowing it only as the park that was frequently closed during the corona crisis due to it being way too busy. It was definitely busy on the day we went, although there was enough room for everyone.

(Of course I found the greenest, most landscape-y part of the park to take a photo.)

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Hotel Jakarta (Or: Celebrating our wedding anniversary in Amsterdam)

Marco and I celebrated our wedding anniversary over the weekend. We booked two nights at the hotel Jakarta in Amsterdam:

It is a lovely 4 star hotel a few kilometers from Central Station. It is walkable, although after the initial walk we decided to take tram 26 back and forth (2 stops). As you can tell, most rooms had a balcony, which was definitely one of the highlights for me. I sunned outside for almost an hour the first day. Even the floor was nice and warm. It turned out to be a good choice, since there was definitely less sun on the second day.

In the distance you can see the Jan Schaeferbrug (bridge). It has quite an interesting design. You can read about it over on Wikipedia in Dutch (link). It has stairs on either side of the bridge and either side of the river, and a sloped ramp for pedestrians and cyclists on 3 out of the 4 sides. The 4th side doesn’t have a ramp, only stairs, since the construction literally goes through an old monument building, the Pakhuis de Zwijger (Dutch Wikipedia). You can also see more photos at bruggenvanamsterdam.nl (Bridges of Amsterdam).

Here is the bridge at night. The photo credit goes to Marco. His night photos are always better than mine! Although the photo makes the lighting look even more gorgeous than it was in real life.

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

Who needs to get home? (Or: I thought my day was annoying)

After a long workday (one more day until the weekend!) I logged off around 17:00, glad to close the computer and rest my brain for a bit. Turns out it could be worse: there are no trains running at the moment in the country. There is a disruption with the train communication system. That means traffic controllers can’t speak with the conductors. This is deemed a safety risk so all trains have been stopped.

Dutch rail traffic shut down over train control telephone outage from nltimes.nl.

Rijdt niet = not riding

The crazy thing is that this is not the first time this happened this year. It also happened back in May (also nltimes.nl in English). It makes me glad that I don’t need to grab the train today – good luck to everyone who does!

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