Time to tango (Or: A mysterious door in The Hague)

I took this photo of a door on the Lange Poten street in The Hague’s city centre. It is between the KPN store (a telephone and Internet provider) and Kruidvat (a Dutch pharmacy chain).

It stood out to me because the door looked like a normal door for a residence, however the details around it suggested otherwise:

But no, it is not a residence. Tango Centro is an Argentinian dance school. Who knew. I am sure it has been around for years, but I only noticed the door while standing on the other side of the street waiting for Marco.

And in other news – remember how I mentioned a Dutch initiative to create a website to prevent corona vaccines from being thrown in the trash at the end of the day? Well. Website for left-over vaccines takes action after massive demand from dutchnews.nl. Apparently the doctor’s practice in question had a queue of over 100 people for 20 leftover vaccines. Although that isn’t a bad ratio, considering…

The website has made a few changes, including removing the practice’s phone number to prevent doctor’s offices from being overwhelmed with phone calls. That makes sense.

Anyway. We all know what day it is – happy Friday, everyone!

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Libraries will open again soon! (Or: Probably… Hopefully…)

The news outlets reported some really good news last night. During the corona debate, the prime minister agreed that it was unfair that you could buy a book from a bookstore but not loan one from a library. Bookstores reopened under step 1 of the re-opening plan, but libraries were not scheduled to open until step 3. That step is tentatively scheduled for 9 June. Therefore the government agreed that if the numbers allow it, libraries could also open next week in step 2.

The Hague’s library system confirmed that they would open from Thursday, May 20 if step 2 is allowed to go ahead:

I am just hoping to be able to check out books (in an appropriate socially distanced manner, of course) but I am sure a lot of patrons are hoping that they would be able to go to the library to study. This was a possibility before the libraries closed in December, if you had a reservation in advance.

Read more at the library’s website (in Dutch).

In other news: The Hague’s football team ADO Den Haag has officially been relegated to a lower classification next year after losing their game to Willem II. They were in the top Dutch league for 13 years. See also: Skirmishes in The Hague with ADO relegation; Vaccination site closed as precaution from dutchnews.nl.

Categories: Reading | Tags: | 1 Comment

Englandspiel (Or: A plaque in the Binnenhof)

A few months back I talked about the shortcut you could take to get in and out of the Binnenhof. In that area you can also find a plaque about the Englandspiel (English Wikipedia), a German counterintelligence operation held during World War II. The German forces captured nearly all of the British and Dutch allies, executing 50 of them.

Marco took this photo last week, hence the flowers for Remembrance Day on May 4.

The topo of the plaque reads “They leapt to death for our freedom”.

In other news, Ajax (the Dutch football champions) posted this video on Twitter. They melted the championship trophy into 42,000 stars to give to each of their season ticket holders as a thanks for their support over the last season. Each star weighed 3.45 grams.

Read more at nltimes.nl: Ajax melts championship dish, awards a piece to season ticket holders

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

Thunder in the distance (Or: Tulip fields)

Here is a beautiful photo from Reddit’s r/thenetherlands page:

The photo was taken in a tulip field north of Amsterdam.

Did you know the Dutch are obsessed with terraces? I blame the bad weather – we take every chance we can get the second the sun peeks out around the corner. See also dutchnews.nl’s article: What is the Dutch obsession with pavement cafes all about? Although the term “pavement café” is a bit weird.

Dutch are biggest consumers of meat substitutes in Europe from nltimes.nl. Although meat substitutes only count for 2.5% of the meat market according to the article. At the moment Marco and I don’t generally eat meat substitutes from the supermarket. We do eat a few vegan meals a week from FOAM, but that is mainly because it tastes so good. Otherwise we might replace meat with courgette (zucchini) or with peanuts for a bit of crunch. Marco does make a nice wok vegetable dish with hoisin sauce and peanuts…

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This is a parking spot, right? (Or: Accidents in Utrecht)

Check out this accident in Utrecht by a student learning to drive:

It was the usual case of hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. Opps! The driving student hit a small speed bump and then a bike rack. This caused the car to launch into the air and land onto another car (which was luckily unoccupied at the time).

This week’s vaccination goal is 1 million–the first time we will be over 1 million. See also the government’s corona dashboard in English. There will also be another press conference tomorrow. However, whether or not the planned relaxation of corona measures for step 2 will go ahead won’t be decided until next Monday. If the green light is given, measures would be relaxed from Wednesday, May 18. Think of things like re-opening zoos, amusement parks and gyms. Of course, we are most definitely not out of the woods yet.

A few doctors decided to set up a website today (prullenbakvaccin.nl in Dutch) to let people know when they had left over vaccines that would otherwise be thrown into the trashcan. The Dutch ministry of health is decidedly not happy with them. People can search for and sign up right before the time slot to receive them, although it is still possible that the vaccine will not be available when they arrive. See more at the NOS live blog (in Dutch). There are only a few location choices and I don’t expect the website to get very far. Interestingly one of the locations earlier today has already disappeared.

Let’s see if the website is still available tomorrow…

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When does air equal water? (Or: A riddle for you)

Last week Marco picked up some pancake mix from the local grocery store, Albert Heijn. The brand was Pondan, an Indonesian company.

I was slightly confused when I looked at the back of packaging to see what extra ingredients were needed (top left with the red arrow):

What? I need 100ml air? How does that work?

And then my brain kicked in and my eyes started working. Air in Indonesian is water in English. How confusing!

But I must admit I love the fact that most packaging is not just in Dutch. Usually you see Dutch and French, because the two main languages in Belgium are Dutch and French. My contact solution bottle has 10+ languages on it. It’s so different from packaging in the United States. For logical reasons of course, but it still is something that makes me pause sometimes.

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

Lights above the Netherlands (Or: Elon Musk’s satellites)

Mysterious lights above the Netherlands turn out to be satellites from Elon Musk) – nos.nl, article in Dutch. The satellites are part of his Starlink project which aims to put 12,000 satellites into low orbit by 2024 so that everyone in the world can have fast internet. (Nice goal, but wow, space is already really crowded!)

And another space-related article: Chinese rocket’s chaotic fall to Earth highlights problem of space junk from the guardian.com. Experts have no idea where it will land – anywhere in the southern hemisphere is currently a possibility. You can follow its path from orbit.ing-now.com. They predict it will crash in the next 12 hours. Its current speed as it spins around the earth is 26,183km/h (17,518 mph). Yikes! Oh, and did I mention this rocket is about 100 feet tall and weighs 22 tons? Here is hoping it either burns up in the atmosphere or lands in an ocean somewhere.

Today’s dinner menu? Saté with rice and peanut sauce, pickled peppers/onions and kroepoek. Saté is the one meal Marco and I made in America for my family (we stowed away the most important ingredients in our suitcases). Tasty stuff.

I can relate to this:

Hopefully in June I can go to the library and check out (physical) books again!

Categories: News | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Fridays and lattes (Or: Turmeric in your coffee?)

Today’s photo is of a turmeric latte that Marco ordered last week at FOAM restaurant in The Hague. Check out the vibrant colors:

And of course I had to be boring and order a sparkling water. Next time I will look at the menu faster, but I was busy taking a photo of the “this table is reserved” spoon!

In other news: Naturalis (a museum in Leiden) was named as the European museum of the year for 2021 (naturalis.nl, in English). I have never been there, but considering Leiden is only 15-20 minutes away by train, perhaps I should consider it. Once things calm down a bit, of course… One of their most prized assets is the T-Rex skeleton named Trix.

Netherlands in 9th for EU Covid vaccines; 6.1 million shots estimated from notices.nl. But keep in mind the Dutch minister of health wants to be administering 2.5 million vaccinations per week by the end of this month (!). Hospitals will be responsible for up to 500,000 shots per week (article from nos.nl in Dutch). This was always part of the plan but it will be interesting to see if they get enough workers to be able to pull this off.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Keeping up with Dutch (Or: Podcasts and audio books)

In an attempt to hear even more Dutch during the day I’ve been listening to a lot more Dutch podcasts. I’ve still got my favorites that I have been listing to for years, including Echt Gebeurd (=Really happened, where people tell true stories of things they have experienced in front of an audience).

I also have public transportation themed podcasts in Dutch (Spoorcast, De Podcastcoupé, Luisterruit). Or some newer ones: Lang verhaal kort (Long story short) which produces a 5-7 minute episode every weekday about one important news item from that day. Or something completely different: Bankplakkers (literally someone who doesn’t get off the couch). It’s about pop culture and what to watch on all the various streaming services. That one is generally 50-70 minutes long, so I usually listen to it during work.

I also downloaded an audio book from the online library app (link in Dutch). I chose Matt Haig’s “How to stop time” in Dutch. It is about someone who looks like he is 41 years old but he has actually been alive for centuries. Based on the blurb I do think it will turn into a romance novel, which I’m not a fan of, but hopefully not too much.

And today’s read, about The Flower Bike Man in Amsterdam:

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My favorite color scheme (Or: Water pitcher by Blokker)

You know how as you get older you want to purchase new cups, plates or bowls because they look pretty? But you realize that would be silly because you have perfectly fine tableware at home (especially tableware that you also think is pretty)? And then you don’t buy it, because it isn’t logical to buy yet another cup just because it looks pretty.

If I could start over (and no Marco, I don’t want to start over! I like what we have too!), I would go with this color scheme:

It is a water pitcher by Blokker. I have no interest in buying a water pitcher, but I’ve seen this color theme with cups at other stores. Every time I see it, I love it.

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