Monthly Archives: June 2013

Parades (Or: Veteran’s Day in The Hague)

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day in the Netherlands. Marco and I went and checked out the local parade after hearing dozens of helicopters flying over on their way to Maliveld (where they had a lot of activities going on – we ended up not going there).

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 5

‘Veteranen, ingezet in dienst van de vrede’ – veterans deployed in the service of peace

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 4

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 3

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 2

Veterans Day parade in The Hague 6

Veterans Day parade in The Hague

People standing on benches trying to get a better view (it’s normally a well populated bus stop)

Categories: Holidays, News, The Hague | 3 Comments

Shopping Night (Or: Shop ’til you drop in The Hague)

Last night Marco and I went to Shopping Night in the Hague downtown area. The shops are usually open late until 9PM on Thurday nights in this part of The Hague. But for this special event, the shops were open until midnight. In addition, some stores were offering discounts which got higher each hour that passed, with the steepest discounts between 11PM and midnight.

Though Marco and I just went for the experience and the fresh air – we didn’t end up buying anything in the end.

The front page of the website says:

Ik had een favoriet jasje, knalkleuren en lekker gek, totdat ik op de tv zag dat een minister hetzelfde jasje droeg…

I had a favorite jacket, bright colors and quirky, until I saw on the tv that government official wore the same jacket…

Shopping Night 2013 The Hague 4

crowds gathering in the main shopping areas

Shopping Night 2013 The Hague 3

“Bus stop Glam bus” – free restyling. If you put your in the list for a certain time and waited, you could get a free restyling. Not sure what company was offering it.

Shopping Night 2013 The Hague 2

just a pretty picture as night falls

Shopping Night 2013 The Hague

In the main walking area, they set up a fashion stage. Models would come out and display the latest fashions that were available for purchase.

Shop ’til you drop!

Categories: Shopping, The Hague | Leave a comment

Window paintings (Or: Dutch children’s library)

I decided to take a few photos of the windows at the library where I work. It’s a small library staffed by volunteers, after the much larger neighborhood library had to close due to budgetary reasons. But at least this way the children have somewhere close by to check out books.

window decorations in a Dutch library

window art in a Dutch library

window paintings in a Dutch library

It is a bit hard to see from this angle, but in the right window you have a large green ‘B’ (since the word for library in Dutch is bibliotheek). The B is made up of lots of smaller Bs – look at the top to see it best.

A few random Dutch words I learned today:

coloring page = kleurplaat

glitter = glitter (spelled the same, but with the hardcore ‘g’ guttural sound)

I must also admit that the window above does not convey the prettiness of the yards (tuinen) outside the window. Very green!

Categories: The Hague, Working & Volunteering | Tags: , | Leave a comment

New books (Or: Contact 2 Textbook and workbook)

Yesterday I went to Paagman’s in The Hague and picked up my new textbooks. It’s a continuation of the previous ones that I had, Contact 1. While they are intended for classroom use, I’ll be using them while I do self study over the summer. It is easier now that I am used to the book format. Hopefully it all goes well.

Here are some images:

Contact 2 Tekstboek en Werkboek

the two books. The textbook is orange, and the workbook is white.

inside Contact 2 tekstboek

inside the textbook

inside Contact 2 werkboek

inside the workbook

dialogue in Contact 2 tekstboek

one really long dialogue exercise…

Now, if I had thought the exercise near the end of Contact 1 was long, this one is really long. The left page is all one dialogue. (It’s actually a listening exercise and you need to listen to the track on the CD. This is the back of the book which gives you the dialogue in written form.)

So, back to studying! Though today I will hopefully be visiting the National Library of the Netherlands.

Categories: Learning Dutch | Tags: | 2 Comments

Fireworks and Music (Or: King Willem Alexander visits The Hague)

Of course, I still typed “Prince” in the title and had to change it to King. Willem Alexander and Maxima are currently visiting The Hague. I was able to see them as they traveled through Chinatown (which is at best a few streets at most). They then went on towards Grote Markt, where the city hall and library are. They were treated to some music in one of the plazas areas (the same one Marco and I went to a few weeks ago for Queen’s night).

Here are some pictures that I took as they were driven past. Luckily that area wasn’t as busy – I was only waiting around for about half hour and was able to get up front.

Chinatown demonstration for Willem Alexander

rehearsing before he arrives

fireworks for Willem Alexander in The Hague

Willem-Alexander has been spotted, so they light the fireworks…

Those little fireworks are amazingly loud. The first photo I took the explosions for the beginning of the fireworks were half that size. Above is the second photo. I couldn’t take anymore because after that everyone was too busy shielding their eyes and taking a few steps back – the explosions at the end were twice as big. Quite unexpected. I think my ears were ringing for at least 15 minutes…

firework remains in The Hague

Also a good picture for seeing the crowd behind, through the smoke. This was actually the calmer part of the route – the letter everyone got in the mail directed people towards Grote Markt street, which had much more spaces for folks (that was where the music was by the city hall).

Chinatown parade in The Hague for Willem Alexander

preparing for the King’s arrival – you can see the smoke from the fireworks

The blue sign in the upper right reads auto op slot, buit eruit! It means lock your car and take your valuables with you.

Willem Alexander and Maxima visit The Hague

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima (in red, not quite visible here)

It lasted all of about 30 seconds. Maybe 45 including the insane fireworks.

Dutch police on bikes after Willem Alexander

Dutch police – on bikes! (quite common – there’s a lot of places cars can’t go easily).

After that, that portion was over and the crowds quickly dispersed.

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Popcatepetl (Or: Mexican restuarant in The Hague)

Yesterday I went with Marco’s mother for her birthday to Popcatepetl (nickname Popo, since they are smart enough to realize no sane person can pronounce that). I first blogged about the restaurant last year, but it seems like the service has been getting worse since then. This is my third time there since I have moved to the Netherlands and usually the problem is the service.

Granted, it was kind of busy for a Tuesday night and we chose to sit outside on the patio (with the ants, but that’s another story!) but it was still a bit too annoying for us. For instance, a couple came in about 5 minutes after us, and managed to get their food before we even ordered. Yeesh! The only thing we didn’t have to flag someone down for was the drinks when we first arrived. Total time at the restaurant was about 2 hours, 15 minutes, and we didn’t wait too long after finishing the meal to ask for the check.

The food was decent, though. Not spectacular, but decent. I had the nachos with chicken and she had the “Popcatepetl ensalada”, with a lot of different items: salad, bacon, chicken, kidney beans, olives, corn, avocado, a filled jalapeño pepper and some paprika.

chicken nachos at Popo in The Hague

chicken nachos (chicken is hidden in the middle, but there was enough)

Popocatepetl Ensalada at Popo in The Hague

Popocatepetl Ensalada

We both had a lot of leftover items on our plates that we had no interest in eating, unfortunately.

Categories: Food | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Warmth! (Or: Our two days of Dutch summer)

The title is actually a joke. Marco always says The Netherlands receives two days of summer each year. And those days seem to be today and tomorrow.

weather The Hague June 2013

The image is in Fahrenheit, though to be honest I have gotten used to telling the temperature in Celsius these days.

85F =29.5C

86F = 30C

71F = 21.5C

61F = 16C

All you really need to know is 20C = 68F. That can get you through most of the summer, anyway.

The one thing I haven’t quite mastered yet is the 24 hour clock. All clocks here are in military time, and even the tv shows are listed in military time. A 7:15PM show is listed as 19:15.

…Yes, shows can start at 15 after the hour, or 20 after the hour (etc). This is partially because there aren’t as many commercial breaks here (though the breaks they do have are longer), so it’s not as forced by advertisements. I do miss the more structured American method, though.

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The Hague (Or: Central Station’s roof)

Yesterday Marco and I were at Central Station in The Hague to drop off a friend who had visited for a few days. He was leaving The Netherlands to head to the next leg of his journey – Munich, Germany.

Marco pointed out the roof above us and I decided to snap a picture. Central Station has been the site of a few long-lasting construction projects, including some that are not yet done. But at least the finished product in this area looked really good.

roof on the Central Station in The Hague

More on the roof’s construction (now finished).

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Festivals (Or: Tong Tong Fair 2013)

A few weeks ago I went to the Tong Tong Fair in The Hague. It’s an Indonesian fair which takes place in the Malieveld area of The Hague (the same place as another festival we went to in May).

It was pretty good – I ended up buying a few things, including a stone box to use for my jewelry, along with some food items like dried fruit, kropoek, and a few Sambal chili-based sauces – triple hot, but we’ll see if it lives up to that name!

replica house at Tong Tong Fair

replica Indonesian house (front side only)

bench at Tong Tong Fair

decorative bench near the entrance

food display at Tong Tong Fair

display of various Indonesian foods used in the Netherlands

rice display at Tong Tong Fair

clever rice display (“rijst” in Dutch)

Dutch receipe for soto ayam

receipe for Soto ayam (printed Dutch is hard enough to read… this is pushing it!)

Soto ayam is a spicy chicken soup.

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Unexpected (Or: Marching band in The Hague)

Yesterday Marco and I were taking a walk and actually saw a marching band walking through the center of The Hague, playing music! How random and unexpected. It’s likely that it was part of the Ut Hague Notûh festival that took place yesterday afternoon, which was much larger.

marching band in The Hague

The two songs they played while we stood around and watched were “Walking on Sunshine” and “Let it Be” from the Beatles.

The other amusing thing was that the entire thing seemed unofficial – technically they were marching on the main biking path (the red bit), so a lot of bikers had to go around.

There was also a bag pipe group which we heard first, but they were already further up the road and not the direction we wanted to go in. Perhaps next year!

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

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