Monthly Archives: July 2014

It’s a bird! (Or: Graffiti in Delft)

Last month or so Marco and I went to Ikea in Delft to look for some random supplies. We ended up purchasing funnels for the kitchen (random) and reading lights for the bedroom (intended).

On the way to Ikea (by bus) we went under an overpass which had some really interesting graffiti…

graffiti in Delft

That’s one aggie bird.

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Gone already (Or: Seal outside of city hall)

Last month Marco and I were walking past city hall (probably on the way to get coffee at Lebkov) when we spotted something new.

seal by The Hague city hall

A seal near the entrance to The Hague’s city hall. But when we walked past it yesterday night, it was already gone. All that was left was a pattern of studs that had held up the seal. Did it fall? Was it taken down? Stolen? Who knows…

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Making your own practice tests (Or: NT2 Staatsexamen)

Sort of a joke, but I complained to Marco that there were not enough spreekoefenen (speaking tests) for the NT2 programma II exam. There are a few on the website, and a few longer practice questions in the textbook De Finale, but not enough if you seriously want to study.

You can see an example of what I mean by looking at this image of an example question (medium length).

So what does he do? He makes his own pictures and tells me that I need to make a story out of it (where did you go, how did you get there and what did you do).

NT2 spreektoets plaatjes

Crazy! But awesome…

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Staatsexamen, programma II (Of: Mijn ervaring)

Please note this post will be in Dutch. For my English-only readers, it basically talks about my experience taking a Dutch language test issued by the government with four sections: writing, speaking, reading and listening. Successfully passing each section (either together or separately if a part needs to be re-taken) fulfills a requirement for Dutch residency that must be done within 3 years. I’m pretty sure I passed every section the first time around, but I won’t know for about 5 weeks.

Op woensdag en donderdag heb ik het Staatsexamen: Nederlands als Tweede Taal, programma II gedaan. Het doel van programma II is om te laten zien dat je op een hbo/universiteit niveau kunt werken of studeren. Programma II is B2 niveau (zie ook Gemeenschappelijk Europees referentiekader).

Ik heb het examen vooral voor het plezier gedaan maar het is ook goed voor mijn inburgering. Binnen drie jaar moet je een taalexamen doen. Het laagste examen is het inburgeringsexamen (A2). Dan heb je NT2 programma I (B1) en NT2 programma II (B2). Je moet één van de toetsen doen. Als ik voor NT2 geslaagd ben (alle vier delen), dan hoef ik geen toetsen meer te doen.

Ik heb mijn examen bij de Rijswijk examenlocatie gedaan (vlakbij Den Haag). Dus misschien is sommige dingen anders voor je.

Algemene informatie:

1. Ze leggen ALLES uit. Punt voor punt – ze geven je veel informatie over wat mag en wat mag niet, wat je bij het examen moet doen, hoe de computer werkt, enz. Je kunt ook het meeste van de informatie op vinden voordat je het examen doen.

Continue reading

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Halfway there (Or: Taking the Staatsexamen)

As some of my readers know, I am halfway through the Staatsexamen. I had two of the parts today (writing and speaking) and have the other two sections (reading and listening) tomorrow. The goal I am hoping for is to pass all four the first time around so I do not have to repeat any sections. We will see how that goes.

I will write up more of a report on how it went either Friday or this weekend, but for now I figured some of my family and friends would want to know how the first parts went: good, no trouble with writing. Speaking I had a little trouble but nothing too bad. I can’t say for sure that I passed – but I would be somewhat surprised if I didn’t. I mostly had trouble with the last two longer questions, where you are required to speak for up to two minutes each.

There was some oddness with both sections: wow, everyone is furiously typing – why do they need to write so much? and wow, everyone is still talking? Couldn’t they say what they wanted to say in one or two sentences? But I am comfortable with how much I wrote or said. ;p

More later in the week!

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Study, Study, Study (Or: Staatsexamen Programma II)

It’s about time for me to take the Staatsexamen (programma II) and I can’t lie and say I am not nervous. But eh, het komt goed (it’ll turn out alright). The central library for The Hague had three practice exams (2012, 2009, and 2003-04) which I have done fully. There are also two additional tests on the official website ( though I am pretty sure there’s a mistake with the 2002-03 test for the speaking part as the audio files and the test don’t seem to be from the same test.

At this point I am focusing more on speaking and writing as those tend to be the harder sections. Writing is mainly to improve; I don’t really have a fear of not passing that one unless something monumental happens. Speaking should be alright, but there’s always the chance of suddenly forgetting how to speak!

Poor Marco – I’ve been bugging him to help me with checking my speaking and writing, and taking criticism in those areas is not my strong suit. But it is not much longer now, and then I will be able to move on with other Dutch activities.

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News on the teletext (Or: Differences in culture)

So about a month ago Marco and I were reading something from Teletext. That is a sort of information retrieval system for your television, created back in the early 70s. Of course, it is really ugly/gaudy/you name it, but it was apparently great before the advent of the internet. Below is only one  color scheme. (I don’t really use it much, but I didn’t grow up with it either.)

Imagine my surprise reading this article. Not so much for the content, but for the random use of a swear in the middle of an official news piece. Although shit is not such a strong swear word in the Netherlands — somewhat more akin to the Americans use of ‘damn’.

Dutch teletext news item

The actual news item above talks about an American mayor who stepped down after getting caught throwing a bag of poop on the driveway of a political rival (who voted against the mayor’s plan for a dog park). He initially denied the charge but unfortunately for him he was filmed doing it.

But then there is the random English phrase thrown in there. Tja equals something like ‘yeah, shrug’. Shit happens. Puns…

But it is rather mild. Just weird to see in an official news source!

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17 June 2014 (Or: Pearl Jam concert in Amsterdam)

This photo was from the 2nd night that Pearl Jam was in Amsterdam, taken by Marco:

Pearl Jam concert in The Hague June 17 2014

I wasn’t present at the second night, only at the first one. You can see where we were standing — in the standing area in the middle you can see a definite line/division where they had placed a metal divider to keep people from pushing too much to the front. We were right outside the first area with the divider right in front of us. The second night only Marco and Roger went; they definitely had nosebleed seats!

It was a great night of course – the only thing I wished was that they had played Future Days from the new album. (YouTube | Lyrics)

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World Cup/Netherlands


Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Tasty Fridays (Or: Cheesecake Company in The Hague)

A few Fridays ago some of my coworkers and I celebrated the impending weekend by getting some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Company in The Hague. Officially it was a cheesecake tasting – everyone took a little bit from each piece.

cheesecake from the Cheesecake Company Den HaagI don’t remember all of the fruit flavors, but ones I do know are: plain (lower right side). Directly above that is razma-limey, with the lime on top. Definitely my favorite fruit flavor. To the left of the plain one was double chocolate-chocolate chip. Dreamsicle (a sort of orange and vanilla swirl, based off a cream popsicle) was in the 9 o’clock position. Lastly, next to the strawberry up top was mango (with all of the yellow pieces on top).

Other fruit flavors that were there included blackberry, blueberry, bosvruchten (forest fruit), and more that I can’t possibly remember. But it was delicious! They are right next to the Grote Kerk in The Hague, on Torenstraat.


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