Graffiti all around (Or: Step in the Arena)

Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.

That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.

Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:

And finally, a claw crane game:

It was definitely a great spot to visit and one I can recommend (although it was about a 20-25 minute walk to get there).

Categories: Marco&Niki, The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

Cleaning day (Or: Hard to reach places)

Well, even those windows need to be washed.

An early morning photo from the inside of De Passage (Dutch Wikipedia article) while the windows were being cleaned.

This covered shopping area was first opened in 1885, making it the oldest shopping centre still in use in the Netherlands.

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Cinnamon (Or: Limited edition coke flavors)

Spotted at the local Albert Heijn a few weeks back:

Neither Marco nor I wanted to try the flavor, as it does sound a bit weird. But I always enjoy taking photos of the weird drink flavors companies up with (or weird potato chip flavors, in the case of Lay’s).

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Unexpected smells (Or: A steam powered car in The Hague)

On the way to Kelly’s expat store, Marco and I saw a steam powered car on Elandstraat. Very unexpected – and quite smelly actually!

No idea what it was doing there.

Categories: The Hague | 2 Comments

Invasion of the farmers (Or: Invasion of the army?)

Yesterday The Hague was host to thousands of farmers and their tractors. The reason? Farmers protesting one of the government parties proposed reducing nitrogen emissions by 50% by reducing the number of livestock sold. This was after the Council of State (the highest Dutch administrative court) ruled that nitrogen levels were too high around some nature areas.

The farmers had already protested in The Hague on October 1st, also with their tractors. This caused a nation-wide traffic jam of 1,000km (620 miles) in the morning on their way to The Hague. Additionally, there was also a protest earlier this week in various provinces, with some less-than-desired outcomes in the Groningen province (including a farmer using their tractor to break down the door to the province building, another tractor ramming through blockades and narrowly missing a cyclist, etc.).

Since the farmers wanted to protest in the Binnenhof, which is never allowed, The Hague decided to rent out heavy equipment to block major streets into the city centre. This was also done to protect any shoppers Which wasn’t completely successful yesterday as there is a video on the internet of smaller tractors going through a side shopping street.

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In plain sight (Or: Squatting in Amsterdam)

On Friday Roger, Marco and I went to Amsterdam to see a performance of The Book of Mormon musical. Along the way we spotted a building that definitely wanted to be noticed:

“Kraken” is the Dutch translation of squatting, or taking over a building or residence currently not in use. Squatting in the Netherlands goes back to the 60s (Wikipedia). “Kraken gaat door” means that the squatting hasn’t stopped, regardless of the action the government takes against them.

The musical was held at Amsterdam’s Carré theatre. It’s a beautiful theatre, though a bit disconcerting if you have a fear of heights.

I was thinking about how cool that backdrop would be as a background on my iPhone.

And above is a look at the seating, although I have been at places with even steeper seating arrangements. The best part was that the row in front of you was rather far down, so you don’t have to worry about someone tall in sitting in front of you.

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High wind causes detour (Or: Danger of falling glass)

For the last few months the walkway between the train station The Hague Central and the city centre is closed whenever there are high winds (article in Dutch). Pedestrians must take a short 5 minute detour via the Bezuidenhoutseweg towards Herengracht.

This measure is taken whenever the wind speed is over 50-60km or 30-37 mph. The reason? Four windows broke in June and July in the Dutch ministries office building pictured below, although at the time summer heat was considered the reason. It is not that big a deal, since it’s for everyone’s safety. Still – sometimes you just want to get home. Especially when it’s dark and late.

This was the scene again Friday night, so I decided to take a photo. It’s probably a thankless job, telling annoyed tourists that they have to walk around…

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Horses and trumpets (Or: Practicing for Prinsjesdag)

Last Sunday Marco and I were enjoying coffee at the central library when we saw a commotion outside the window. The police were practicing with the royal horses in advance of Prinsjesdag (held last Tuesday), with the route going past the library.

The final day of practice is traditionally held the day before the event, with the horses being trained on the beaches of Scheveningen. The horses have to navigate loud crowds, fireworks, sudden movements, etc., as preparation for the ceremony.

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Disney+ (Or: Dutchies are the guinea pigs)

Marco and I are now guinea pigs!

As of a few days ago, Disney+ is available in the Netherlands as a free trial. (Yay!) Officially it launches in the US, Canada and the Netherlands on 12 November, but Dutchies are able to sign up for free to test out the service for two months. Of course, the catch is that if you don’t unsubscribe before 12 November you pay the subscription fee automatically. Either €6,99/month or €70/year.

Marco and I signed up today. We first tried to sign up on our Apple TV, however the payment options were limited (only iTunes?) and there was no option to choose a yearly subscription. Therefore we instead completed the account setup via the website and then simply logged in on the Apple TV after the account was set up.

Since it is a free trial all of the extra “releasing on 12 November” type content isn’t there yet, however there is plenty of existing content from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic to choose from. Way more than I could name here, except I’ll list some nostalgic films: Cool Runnings, Three Musketeers, Escape to Witch Mountain, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Dad told me I wore out my VHS tape with that last one… I can see that.

There was one thing I noticed while watching some Pixar shorts (5-6 minutes each): anything with written words was translated into Dutch. See here:

The banner across the front door says Welkom Eerstejaars! or in English: Welcome Freshmen! The short was about a college party with the Monsters’ Inc. crew. There were no subtitles and no Dutch in the credits at the end, but there was still Dutch in this scene. I think it is a Pixar thing though – I can remember that Finding Dory also translated the signs in the movie into Dutch. I find it amusing for sure.

Otherwise: how cool is it to have all of this cool content at our fingertips? And to be the first country to get it? Ha!

Categories: Everyday purchases | 2 Comments

Remnants (Or: Hurricane Dorian says hi)

You know what’s kind of cool (if you ignore what happened to the Bahamas, of course)? That a hurricane can go over the Bahamas and up the east coast of the United States, before boomeranging back to Europe. Take a look at our weather today:

That’s the last remnants of hurricane Dorian floating over Northern Europe. It’s rained all day, but more the annoying kind of rain where you’re not sure if you need an umbrella or not – until you realize you’re pretty wet and yes you did indeed need an umbrella today. Oh well.

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