Just another Thursday (Or: Curfews and Easter eggs)

It looks like more Dutch parties are in favor of the curfew, as long as it starts a bit later. Last weekend the rumors were that it would last from 20:00-04:00, during the press conference on Wednesday we heard possibly 20:30-04:30 and now there is talk of it not starting until 21:00. This slight compromise seems to be the only way for the government to get a majority of parties to vote for the plan, although prime minister Mark Rutte mentioned that if it starts any later than 21:00 it would not have much effect.

MPs set to vote to bring in a curfew from 9pm after a full day’s debate from dutchnews.nl

The Dutch government revised the vaccination schedule slightly. See also this article at dutchnews.nl: When is it your turn to get vaccinated? The schedule so far (or the same list in Dutch from rijksoverheid.nl)

Did you know mid-January means Easter eggs are already arriving in stores? Het is januari, dus… zijn de eerste paaseitjes gespot in Den Haag from indebuurt.nl. The essential stores that are allowed to be open during this lockdown, at any rate. On the linked page the big picture on the bottom is of the Easter egg selection at Jamin, a Dutch candy store. The article says that some of the more unique flavors sold this year are wasabi, apple strudel and carrot cake. I’m also a big fan of the color coordination, though it makes me wonder what flavor is missing in the lower right in the article’s photo.

Speaking of Easter eggs, here is the selection at an Albert Heijn grocery store (somewhere in the Netherlands):

The tweet reads: “Every Easter I buy a large bag of Easter eggs and put them in a big vase on the table. Every January Albert Heijn reminds me that I still haven’t eaten all of them yet.”

Easter in January…

Categories: Holidays, News | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Further corona measures (Or: Curfew announced)

A curfew has been announced from 20:30 to 04:30, starting either Saturday or Sunday depending on a final vote by the Dutch parliament. For the moment the curfew will last until 9 February. Some of the exceptions to the curfew include essential workers (who have a signed declaration from their employer), persons seeking medical assistance for a person or an animal, caretakers and meal delivery workers with a declaration from their employer. You can also let your dog out, but you need to do it alone and the dog must be leashed.

Coronavirus in the Netherlands: What you need to know (January 20) from dutchnews.nl

Oh, and you see how I said the curfew doesn’t apply to meal delivery workers? Marktplaats bans sales of delivery worker apparel ahead of curfew from nltimes.nl. Markplaats is like a Dutch eBay. Apparently people were already selling (and buying) clothes to make it look like they had a legitimate reason to be outside during the curfew.

Other measures include:

  • all flights to the United Kingdom, South Africa and all South American countries will be banned until required quarantine procedures can be put into place, which might take up to four weeks
  • all travelers by boat and plane must have taken a fast test within four hours of their flight departing, in addition to the previously required PCR test within 72 hours
  • all travelers by boat and plane are required to quarantine for 10 days, but they can take a test after 5 days
  • only one house guest over the age of 13 is allowed per 24 hours. Previously 2 guests were allowed.
  • only 50 guests are allowed by a funeral (instead of the previous 100 guests)

The goal of the extra measures is to prepare for the scenario where the “British” variant is more dominant in the Netherlands, to prevent the situation that is currently happening in the United Kingdom. Another goal is to force the number of cases down even faster to allow schools to hopefully re-open on 8 February.

In other news:

  • dinner today was sauerkraut (English Wikipedia), made by Marco’s mom. Very tasty – thank you!
  • Marco and I forgot to take photos of the sauerkraut because we were busy watching the US inauguration of Joe Biden on CNN International. Fun fact as told by Marco: here in the Netherlands, CNN became widespread in the Netherlands during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. After the war ended the channel was still offered by most Dutch television providers, through today.
Categories: News | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Missed chances (Or: Expired Ziggo Dome tokens)

Marco showed me two expired Ziggo Dome (English Wikipedia) tokens he still has in his possession. Ziggo Dome is an indoor arena in Amsterdam where a lot of concerts and other events are held. The arena uses a token system, meaning you have to purchase tokens which you can then turn in for food and drink. It is not ideal, especially since the tokens expire relatively quickly…

Case in point: he received these tokens during a Tenacious D concert in February of last year and they are only valid through 31 July 2020. So about five months. In theory this should have been fine as we were going to go to a Pearl Jam concert in July last year, but because of corona that obviously didn’t happen. Oh well.

back side of the tokens

In other news: Dutch to announce new coronavirus measures on Wednesday, curfew possible from dutchnews.nl. It looks like a curfew might be back in the cards although it has been brought up before. Rumors are that it would be from 20:00 to 04:00, but who knows. While the number of corona cases is slowly decreasing, the government is afraid of what the “British” variant could do if it gets the upper hand in this country. However it remains to be seen if there is enough parliamentary support.

In a move that suggests the government’s urgency, the press conference will be held at 13:00 tomorrow instead of the usual 19:00. We shall see.

Categories: Music | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Satay rempah (Or: Indonesian cooking with Marco and Roger)

On Saturday Marco, Roger and I made satay rempah with jalapeño atjar. As mentioned last week, Marco received the recipe book “Indostok” from Roger for Christmas. Satay rempah is a satay made from minced meat. In this case “rempah” translates loosely to “spices”, with minced meat used for the satay. We made the spices first (including but not limited to star anise, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ginger and lime zest because we couldn’t find lime leaves, etc…). Oh, and also candlenuts (English Wikipedia) which are mildly toxic when raw but perfectly fine if cooked. Who knew.

You then mix the spice with the minced meat and add some breadcrumbs and corn starch on the outside to give it a nice crunchy coating when fried.

The cool thing about this recipe is that the sticks that normally hold the satay were sticks of lemongrass.

You then fry them in a wok in a thin layer of oil. This was the only annoying part, since we ended up cutting the lemongrass in half to handle them better. Some of them also had a tendency to fall apart.

The finished meal: satay rempah, jalapeño atjar (sour/spicy vegetable pickle) and basmati rice. Yum yum yum!

Categories: Food, Friends&Family | Leave a comment

A bit slower this time (Or: Dutch filled dreams)

Random observation #1: I had a dream this morning. The only thing I can remember is that I was speaking Dutch. I remember this because I woke up and was wondering why I was speaking Dutch so slowly in the dream. The sentences I said certainly did not seem that difficult to me. But I thought about it and realized I don’t dream that often in Dutch. My mind was likely trying to construct the sentences as fast as it could but having a bit of trouble doing so, which likely woke me up.

Perhaps I should give the credit to Marco, who tries to keep me speaking Dutch during the day even when I’m working. (Which helps since we don’t get outside that much outside of grocery shopping, so there are a lot less spontaneous conversations with strangers.)

Random observation #2: If you are standing a supermarket and trying to lick your fingers to futilely open a plastic bag to put some jalapeños in, but you’re wearing a face mask, what can you do? I managed to get enough friction to open it after about half a minute, but it was a weird sensation to bring my fingers to my mouth and then realized I could not lick them because I was wearing a face mask.

I am sure this one was noticed by others months and months ago, but generally I have a re-usable bag on hand so I don’t need to grab a plastic bag.

Elementary schools will remain closed in the Netherlands until at least 8 February from nltimes.nl. Previously there was hope that elementary schools could re-open from 25 January, however there is still uncertainty around the British variant of the coronavirus, so the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) recommended against re-opening them early and the Dutch government agreed.

Museumplein schoongeveegd door politie om verboden demonstratie from nos.nl (Amsterdam’s Museumplein cleared out by police, ending an illegal demonstration). The city had said the protestors would not be allowed to protest at the Museumplein. An alternative location with a maximum of 500 protestors allowed was given, however 1,500-2,000 protestors still showed up at the original location today. The name of the protest was “Don’t vote for Rutte’s cabinet!” (elections will be held in mid-March).

Pretty much! Books rule (both physical and digital).

Categories: News | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Nutella oliebol? (Or: So sweet you can’t eat it all)

Roger brought me a gift today, from the oliebollen stand at the Grote Marktstraat, a Nutella oliebol:

As you can see the top is covered in Nutella (English Wikipedia) and chocolate shavings. The inside of the oliebol is also filled with Nutella, because it can never be sweet enough. And it was delicious! The dangerous kind of delicious that makes you want to buy one every week…

However, it was sweet enough that I decided to save half of it for tomorrow evening. Otherwise I’ll be bouncing off the walls in no time.

Random article of the day: Anger over NS plan to remove conductor whistle from nltimes.nl. It is not quite what it sounds like. Each train has a conductor who checks to make sure that all passengers have entered the train. When it is time to leave the conductor blows their whistle and passengers (in theory) do not try to enter or exit the train after that moment. The NS (the largest Dutch train company) plans to use cameras instead to watch the doors. They say this will make trains more punctual however the union sees that as an easy way to get rid of the conductor’s job altogether.

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

Time to celebrate (Or: The weekend has arrived)

I am not sure why but this work week has seemed so very long. My coworkers agreed during our team meeting today (on Teams, of course). But Marco and I celebrated the end of the work week in style, as he picked up our meal from FOAM late in the afternoon.

Today’s menu was Sri Lankan curry with pumpkin, spinach and sweet potato served with homemade naan:

It was very tasty! I am not the biggest fan of sweet potato, but the flavors definitely lifted up the taste. In the middle is a homemade yoghurt as well. Have a look at the naan bread – do you also think it looks like a face?

And now… Marco and I are going to watch Disney+’s WandaVision (English Wikipedia). It’s a superhero show, set after Avenger’s Endgame… but written as a sitcom. Two episodes premiered tonight, and we’ve seen the first already. And now on to the second! I can’t wait.

Categories: Food | Tags: | Leave a comment

Snow (Or: What is snow again?)

Buienradar (“Shower radar”) says parts of the Netherlands are looking at snow this weekend. As usually happens, it’s a minuscule amount, maybe an inch or two. It will also probably disappear within 24 hours when it starts raining later on Sunday – but hey, it is still snow!

Snow expected in NL this weekend from dutchnews.nl

It’s definitely been a few years since it has snowed here. Maybe Spring 2018? I posted a photo of the Hofvijfer with snow on top of the water that month. Either way, this weekend should be interesting.

In other news, we had tacos last night and Marco took a photo of his. Check it out:

Categories: Food | Tags: | Leave a comment

Wednesdays (Or: Halfway through the week)

The weather has turned a bit colder, with temperatures hovering around the freezing point the next few days. It is the perfect time to stay inside – one of the few benefits of a mandatory work-from-home policy, I suppose.

Here’s a look at some of the more random news stories of late:

Natural history museum bags electrifying new addition to collection from dutchnews.nl. A stone marten (English Wikipedia) found its way into an electrical substation, killing itself and briefly taking out the power in parts of Gelderland, a Dutch province. The Rotterdam-based museum has a collection entitled ‘Dead animals tell a story’. Another recent addition of theirs was a dead seagull with a face mask tied to its leg (rtlnieuws.nl, in Dutch).

Dutch officials seize ham sandwiches of drivers arriving from UK from theguardian.com. Thanks to Brexit you can no longer take animal products into the Netherlands – even if you are a truck driver and its your lunch…

Netherlands and Germany refuse entry to UK nationals for non-essential travel from theguardian.com. This article is from 4 January. At that point 13 people had already been turned away and not allowed to enter the country. Due to Brexit you need to have a negative PCR test and a very good reason to enter the Netherlands. Unlike the person who said he “wanted to visit Amsterdam” or the person who said he “had a connecting flight to Spain for a skiing holiday”.

Foreign visitors face ban from Amsterdam’s cannabis cafes from theguardian.com. The mayor, city officials and police want to ban tourists from Dutch coffee shops. While there has been talk of this for a while, I think corona and overcrowding issues over the last few years made it a bit easier for the city to look at what kind of tourist they wanted to bring into the city.

Speaking of which, I learned quickly: if you want to say you are going to get a coffee, you say you are going to a café. If you say you are going to a coffee shop that means you are going to going to purchase cannabis (and get some coffee on the side). Good to know…

Categories: News | Leave a comment

Lockdown extension (Or: Three weeks longer)

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced that our lockdown would be extended for three weeks (nltimes.nl, in English), moving the end date from 19 January to 9 February. Lockdown in the Netherlands means that all non-essential stores are closed, restaurants and cafés are closed, ‘through traffic’ places like libraries, museums, and amusement parks are closed.

Schools have switched to online education as well, although some students are allowed at school if they are deemed “vulnerable” or need to prepare for exams. Secondary education schools (students 12 and older) who are in the classroom are now required to adhere to the 1.5 meters distance rule in all situations. Previously secondary education students did not have to keep distance with each other, only their teacher.

The government considered implementing a curfew, however they have decided to consult with the Outbreak Management Team first before taking that step. It could still happen, but I think the government is trying to gauge public reaction before going there, because it could backfire.

The news is not all bad, though. Here is a look at the number of corona cases (the red line is the 7 day average):

We had about 5,000 cases today, 500 less than yesterday. But, the decline is too slow and the hospital and ICU intakes are not showing that much of a decline. The threat of the British variant of the coronavirus also looms. During the press conference the Minister of Health said there were about 100 recorded cases of that variant, with about half of them in the township of Lansingerland, not that far from The Hague. The township is currently working on testing all of its residents over two years of age–the first area in the Netherlands to do so (article in Dutch at nos.nl).

And really, there was a time back in early October when we were panicking because we hit 5,000 cases, so why should we accept 5,000 cases as a good thing now? Let’s just hope the downward trend continues.

Categories: News | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.