Monthly Archives: April 2013

Koninginnenacht 2013 (Or: The Hague)

Last night Marco and I went out to enjoy Koninginnenacht, or the night before Queen’s Day. (If you live in The Hague you should really drop the ‘t off nacht, but I digress.) In The Hague you have several stages set up throughout the center of the city, with 7 stages this year. You have various musical acts throughout the night, generally lasting 45 minutes to an hour each.

Even Google got into the Queen’s Day festivities…

Google logo for King Willem-Alexander van Oranje

Hovering over the Google logo gives you: Queensday 2013: Best wishes to King Willem-Alexander!

Marco said that a few years ago (or so) they made the cardinal mistake of only having a few stages and advertising a rather popular band to the main stage at some point in the night. The result was chaos as hundreds of thousands of people tried to converge on the main stage. Since then, they have increased the number of stages and used slightly less popular bands.

Hommerson Casino Koninginnenacht The Hague 2013

Hommerson casino decorations

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Koninginnedag 2013 (Or: Orange things to buy, wear, decorate, and eat)

Tomorrow is Koninginnedag, or Queen’s Day. It’s also when Queen Beatrix abdicates the throne for her son, Willem-Alexander. There will be a lot of events going on, especially in Amsterdam where the main festivities are (schedule). One of the local movie theaters in The Hague will also be showing the abdication live.

Here are some pictures of the various random things you can buy to mark the event. I already did a blog post on the first photo, but the rest are new:

accessories for Koninginnedag 2013

Frilly orange scarves and more

Albert Heijn wuppie for Koninginnedag 2013

Albert Heijn “Wuppie” – royal version. (you receive one for every €15 you spend).

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Categories: Everyday purchases, Holidays | Tags: | 2 Comments

Koninginnedag 2013 (Or: Orange roses and flowers)

We have some friends visiting over the weekend so we decided to buy some flowers to brighten up the place a bit. I was left with the buying task, so of course I am going to choose something orange to reflect the upcoming Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) holiday on Tuesday.

orange roses and flowers for Dutch Queen's Day


Categories: Holidays | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Iron Man 3 (Or: A spoiler free post)

On Wednesday night, Marco Roger and I went to the Pathé theater in The Hague to see Iron Man 3. For some reason, the movie came to the Netherlands and other places a week before America. I won’t complain! It was a bit easier to ignore the Dutch subtitles at the bottom this time. (I don’t have a problem with them, but they are a bit distracting as I try to analyze the sentence structure.)

Oh, and I also decided that Maltesers (a British candy) aren’t nearly as good as Whoppers (an American candy which is a bit crunchier). It is the same concept, though.

inside Pathe The Hague Spuistraat 2

In the Netherlands, “Despicable Me” is entitled “Verschrikkelijke Ikke”, which I don’t remember how to translate except that it’s more of a “kid speak” type title.

It was a pretty good movie – it showed more of the human side of Tony Stark (Iron Man), although personally I liked the first movie the best. Although that was because I didn’t know just how sarcastic the Stark character was and so I was new to the character.

One thing I liked a lot about this movie was the comic relief character (you will see who/what I mean). Also the younger character had some funny lines as well.

inside Pathe The Hague Spuistraat

“Thank you for your visit. See you later!”

After the movie we walked a bit down the street and came across one of the outdoor café areas. It was too late for anything to be open (11:30ish) but there were still people wandering around:

outdoor cafes at night in The Hague

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Springtime distractions (Or: Dutch lesson 9 of 14)

The class seems to be shrinking again. Last night we only had 11, and one of those left at the break due to a headache. The weather is getting good – light jacket weather, but you didn’t even have to close it at night while waiting for the bus. It is definitely “spring fever” – no one seems to be able to concentrate on much. I heard a lot of English thrown in by the other students – Hoe is het met de transport? (How is it with the transport?, complete with “Hoe” pronounced as the English “how”) You could say instead: Hoe is het openbaar vervoer? or How is the public transportation?)

One of the students brought in the A1 test (she had the same teacher for that class as well) and the format didn’t seem that no annoying. No speaking, which is in theory good for me but not in reality. Ik moet meer Nederlands praten! (I must speak more Dutch).

We covered almost two sections yesterday (10B and 10C), so I am now only a week ahead (11A). That’s fine with me.  A few things that we learned today included materials (leer = leather, plastic = plastic, hout = wood, and etc).

muur van steen = a wall (made) of stone
een stenen muur = a stone wall

So when you put the material before the object (acting as an adjective), than you add -en to the word. (The number of e’s change to keep the pronunciation the same.) Leer = leren (leather), hout = houten (wood, wooden), wol = wollen (wool, woolen. The l doubles to keep the pronunciation of the ‘o’ the same.)

Another thing we learned was afmeting, or dimensions. Admittedly I complained to Marco that I don’t even care about this in English, much less a different language. The most important thing to keep in mind is meter (meter) usually stays singular, and is pronounced differently than English (may-ter) due to the first e not being enclosed by a consonant (me-ter, as there’s no doubling of the t… met-ter). But that’s boring for most folks!

Afmeting =

3m bij 5m = 15 vierkante meter (3 meters by 5 meters equals 15 square meters)

Also, where we usually use a period, they use a comma, and vice versa.

2,5m bij 4m = 12 vierkante meter

6.200 = zesduizend tweehonderd (six thousand and two hundred)


I am not sure if I will ever get used to writing commas and periods properly!

Next week there is no class due to Koninginnedag. The next class is May 7th.

Tot dan!

(until then)

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Studying (Or: A level of difficulty)

So a few days ago I started chapter 11, section A in Contact 1. The class is about 1-2 lessons behind. It’s hard to describe, but I think this 12 chapter book (3 sections each) finally got hard enough for me to pay attention. Note: I still need lots of help with speaking. Nothing’s changed there!

Here’s an example:

Contact 1 Nederlands voor anderstaligen

The highlighted section with the red arrow is the first real dialogue which is only a wall of text. Until this point, it’s usually two or more people talking to each other in simple sentences.

The section’s theme is “what a blunder”, or, the embarrassing things you’ve done in your life. The dialogue is simply a man telling a story (using the imperfectum/past tense) over how happy he was to finally get a newspaper subscription, and he looked forward to it every day because he always read the paper over breakfast. But helaas (unfortunately), the paper doesn’t come on time that often and sometimes doesn’t arrive at all.

So one day he calls up, but there’s no answer. Angry, he calls back the next day and finds out (after talking for 10 minutes straight and not letting the worker answer his questions), that the paper wasn’t delivered yesterday because it was Sunday and he doesn’t have a subscription for that day. He says: ik kon wel door de grond van schaamte (he cringed in shame – “fell to the ground from shame”) and quickly hung up.

But then you have to ignore the fact that he had a legitimate complaint with the newspaper arriving an hour or two late the other days… oh well. Crazy textbook!

Categories: Learning Dutch | Tags: | 1 Comment

Good weather (Or: Dutch carnival in The Hague)

Yesterday Marco and I went out for a walk due to the nice weather. We had no idea where we were going, but somehow we randomly ended up at a carnival being held near Buitenhof. De Haagse Koninginnekermis Kermis (The Hague queen’s carnival, for Queen Beatrix). There was a lot of people there due to the nice weather and it being a Sunday.

advertisement for a Dutch carnival

advertisment for the carnival, through May 5

rules for a Dutch carnival

rules for the carnival

1. No bikes or scooters on the carnival grounds.

2. Make use of the toilet facilities on the grounds.

3. No alcohol on the grounds, only in designated areas.

4. No drug use or selling on the carnival grounds.

5. No dangerous weapons or worn weapons

6. Deposit your trash in the trashcans present

7. If you see someone needs help, stay (by them) and call 112 (i.e. 911)

8. Always follow the instructions listed on the rides

9. Think of the environment

food stand at a Dutch carnival

food stand

go fish at a Dutch carnival

Iedereen altijd prijs = Everyone always (wins) a prize.

Haunted House at a Dutch carnival

haunted house

high ride in a Dutch carnival

I get dizzy just looking up at this (very high) spinning ride. It goes in circles, with riders at each ends. Sometimes flips.

ride at a Dutch carnival

Just pretend you’re on the spinning tea cups…

water bubble ride in a Dutch carnival

Water, water, everywhere. But you’ll stay dry. Lie down and relax in this giant bubble of a ride.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

Over twenty years (Or: WWE in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Earlier in the year we found out that WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) was coming to the Netherlands. It has been about 21 or 22 years since they have been in this country. So Marco took the day off and he and I went to Rotterdam in the afternoon to do a bit of shopping before the show at night, though we didn’t end up buying anything.

First we went to Selexyz, listed as “one of the largest bookstores in the Netherlands”. The arrangement of the store was pretty interesting… you had an elevator that either went up 3-4 floors or down to the basement. But each of the floors had mini-levels, with stairs connecting them. So Marco and I went all the way to the top (as he has done with Roger many times before) and slowly worked our way down taking the stairs. But they didn’t really have anything of interest in the Talen section (languages)

After that, we headed off to the MediaMarkt, which also boasted that it was one of the largest in the Netherlands, if not the largest. We were amused by what we saw:

WWE promotion sign in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Apparently there was a WWE autograph signing, although the names there aren’t the higher level wrestlers. Out of curiosity we went upstairs to where it was at, but the place was packed. (Good luck to the shoppers who actually wanted to find a product up there!)

After that, we walked back to Rotterdam Central Station to meet up with Roger, and then took the tram onwards to where the event was taking place. After having dinner at Subway, we went on to the arena, called Ahoy Rotterdam, or simply Ahoy. The name reminds me of Chips Ahoy cookies…

Link to the wrestling results

The wrestling event itself was pretty good. Some other friends of ours arrived so in total we had 7 seats together. The crowd wasn’t quite as vocal as I could have hoped, and at times it was hard to see (sucks being short!) but otherwise it was a lot of fun.

Daniel Bryan WWE Rotterdam, The Netherlands

One of the wrestlers – Daniel Bryan, with his crazy beard.

Kane WWE Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The other guy Bryan wrestles with (on the same team), Kane. Yes, that’s a red mask he’s wearing.

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Snakes alive! (Or: Brandslangen)

One of the random Dutch words that amuses me is brandslang (literally: fire snake, translates as fire hose).

Dutch word for fire hose

sign for a fire hose in the building where my classes are

I predict a few problems if someone is shouting for help after seeing a snake and the listener thinks it is just a hose and ignores them. I am sure it is all in the tone, though!

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Bird nests (Or: The A in Hema)

As I was walking past Hema a few days ago, just after 8AM, I noticed something peculiar in the A of the logo. A bird nest:

bird nest in the A of the Hema

A closer look:

bird nest in the A of the Hema 2

Good choice for a nest — the capital letter (A) offers the most protection from predators.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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