Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bedelaars (Of: Kun je wat geld missen?)

Beggars (Or: Can you spare some change?)

I must admit that the question “Kun je wat missen?” or”Kun je wat geld missen?” is any oddly formed question that manages to reverse itself to get across the objective – it basically translates to “Can you miss some money?” (geld = money), thus implying “Do you have enough gold that you can miss some without feeling the loss too much? If so, I’ll take it!”

Today was the first time that I was asked while walking alone (though it’s possible I’ve heard the question soon after moving here but wasn’t able to translate it). I was walking through a less than affluent neighborhood in The Hague when I spied someone stopping the person walking ahead of me. After they didn’t receive any help from that person, they decided to ask the question to me. Kun je wat geld missen?

I didn’t quite get it at first though I did hear “missen”, so I said “Huh?” (great language skills Niki!)  Then the guy asked “Heb je vijftien cents of zo?” – that was thankfully much easier to translate: Do you have 15 cents? I replied truthfully – Nee, ik heb geen geld bij me. (No, I have no money on me.) Why would I be silly enough to carry money when walking through a less than affluent neighborhood? Phone and keys, that’s all you need really!

The Hague did get enact a ban on begging of sorts, although it really just says you have to be a few feet away from the building and can’t stay in one spot too long.  I suspect it only for the city center, though.

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: | 4 Comments

Buttons (Or: Spreek Nederlands! Met Mij!)

I received this button during SamenSpraak at the Central Library in The Hague:

Spreek Nederlands met mij button

As you can see, it was originally made by the folks at Direct Dutch (a language school). Overall the concept is a pretty good one. I’ve heard time and time again that Dutch people will switch to English at the first opportunity if they think you are not a native Dutch speaker. They do it for two reasons: they like speaking English, and they want to help you out. Of course, that is a generalization!

The one thing I have against the button is the language used: Spreek Nederlands! Met mij! = Speak Dutch! With me! In both languages it sounds very… forward, commanding and slightly rude. It would be better to remove the exclamation points and add a “hoor” after. That word does not have a direct translation in English, but it conveys a friendly tone. Spreek Nederlands met mij, hoor.

Time will tell if they make a slightly more friendly version 2.

Categories: Speaking | Tags: , | 2 Comments

ROC Mondriaan (Or: A new class for me)

Today I received a letter from ROC Mondriaan (a school) — I was officially accepted into the B1 Dutch language course! It feels like ages since I have been in a Dutch course, but it’s really only been 2 and a half months…

Since I live in The Hague, the lessons are mostly subsidized by the city and I only have to pay €30 and also the cost of the textbooks (and that covers 14-16 weeks or so).

The classes are on Monday and Wednesday nights (!) from 6:45 until 10:00PM. That is double what I had for the A2 course. Should be interesting!

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Dutch wedding cakes (Or: The Cheesecake Company)

Marco and I have figured out what we will be having for our bruidstaart (wedding cake). The decision was the case of ‘a friend of a friend’; we have chosen the Cheesecake Company in The Hague.  The American owner, Rebecca, does some beautiful cheesecakes for weddings, with some pretty crazy flavors.

After a lot of tasting with family, we finally moved away from the crazy flavors (like razma-limey, a sourish combination of raspberry and lime) and settled with two strawberry cheesecakes and one chocolate cheesecake — double chocolate chocolate chip to be exact. …Though it’s not nearly as insane as ‘Death by Chocolate’ The smaller cake for Marco and I is cappuccino white chocolate. That’s the actual cake that he and I will cut. Yum!

Cheesecake company in The Hague

Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 1 Comment

1 cent (Or: A very tiny euro coin)

I must admit that in the 9 or so months I have been in the Netherlands, I have never seen a 1 euro cent piece, much less used one.

But a few days ago I found one:

1 and 5 euro cent pieces and a quarter

1 euro cent, 5 euro cents, and an American quarter (25 cents), for size comparison

It was actually in my wallet, of all places. I guess I was given it as change. It’s quite possible that I received it while I was in Dublin’s airport waiting for the flight home.  It’s actually quite tiny – much smaller than the euro 5 cent piece.

But I’ve never seen it in use in the Netherlands. I’ve seen a few signs saying that it isn’t accepted at certain stores, but that’s the only reference to it. The reason the 1 cent piece isn’t used here is because when you pay with cash, the prices are rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. If you use your debit card, then you pay the exact price.

Categories: Everyday purchases | Tags: | 5 Comments

Blue (Or: Painting at the Centrale Bibliotheek)

I saw this painting on display a few weeks ago at the Central Library in The Hague.

The crazy thing is you don’t see the “hidden” elements unless you are quite close by. Otherwise it just looks like blue with a hint of red.

painting at Centrale Bibliotheek

Categories: Culture | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Funny sayings (Or: Tiles at Big Bazar)

A few weeks ago Marco and I were at a Dutch store called Big Bazar. One of the bins was full of tiles with sayings on them – who knows what culture had them first – translated into Dutch.

tiles on sale at Big Bazar

Ervaring is leren van je fouten. Sommige mensen hebben veel ervaring!

Experience is learning from your mistakes. Some people have a lot of experience!

Love is in the air… Jammer genoeg kan ik niet vliegen.

Love is in the air… Unfortunately I can’t fly.

(jammer genoeg = unfortunately/sadly/regrettably)

Categories: Everyday purchases | Tags: | 2 Comments

Gino’s East (Or: Homer Simpson and pizza)

For the rehearsal  dinner, my brother and his bride chose Gino’s East in St. Charles (Illinois). It’s a pizza place, but they also served us penne pasta, breadsticks, and salad. Yum! And that was before another guest broke out the container of freshly homemade chocolate chip cookies…

They had some pretty interesting pizza, from the classic Chicago style deep dish to the thinner crusts. (While they even had a sausage patty pizza, which included a full size patty as one of its layers, I stuck with the thin crust pizza.) The most interesting and delicious thing was the crust, which was definitely seasoned well.

Homer Simpson poster at Ginos East

The restaurant decor itself was pretty interesting. The first thing that caught my eye was the Homer Simpson poster above (made up of individually colored elements, though I forget what they were. Probably scenes or characters from the show).

The other crazy thing was that you were allowed to write on the walls. It did provide character to the place. There were a few places that they asked you to not write on the walls, like the bathroom. The sign there said Don’t graffiti here or similar, which of course someone altered to say Don’t gravity here.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Music (Or: Amphitheatre where my parents live)

It seems like life is returning to a bit of normalcy this week after getting back from Chicago last week. Jet lag is, of course, quite evil. I slept 12 hours (9:30PM to 10AM) the first night back in The Hague. The second night sleep was very difficult to come by…

On our last full day at my parents, Marco and I went for a long walk, exploring the local woods and then the recreation center and townhall. Our adventure took us past the local amphitheatre, which was built after I moved to New York so I had not seen it yet. Amphitheatres are open air theaters.


the area with the musical notes is also used as the dance area

amphitheatre  2

from this angle you can see that the stone half circles are actually benches

landscaping around amphitheatre

landscaping around the edges

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