Monthly Archives: April 2018

King’s Night and Day (Or: Carnivals, festivals, and more)

The Netherlands celebrated the five year reign of Willem-Alexander Thursday night and Friday, with King’s Night and King’s Day. I can’t believe it has been that long. I still remember seeing the live, breaking news of Princess Beatrix abdicating the throne (video with English subtitles). I had barely been in the Netherlands a month, and was watching the news without having a clue what she was saying. There are no subtitles on live TV unfortunately…

First, we’ll start with the carnival at the Malieveld which is held every year around this day:

Carnival ride at Maliveld, The Hague, for King's Day

I could probably handle this ride.

Carnival ride at Maliveld, The Hague, for King's Day 2

Nope. Won’t be going on this one. It was pretty cool to watch though.

And then you had The Life I Live festival in The Hague, held every year on King’s night. A dozen or so music stages are set up throughout the city centre.

Stage at the King's Night party in The Hague

A smaller stage

Stage at the King's Night party in The Hague 2

Here is a much larger set up, at Het Plein (literally ‘the plaza’)

Buitenhof fountain during King's Night in The Hague

The fountain at Het Buitenhof, with the Ferris wheel from the previously mentioned carnival at the Maliveld in the background

Tram on King's Day, The Hague

And finally, a historic tram passing by during King’s Day on Friday

I still need to buy something orange for King’s Day. I’ve managed to not do that in the 5+ years I have been here. Related, amusing blog post about orange clothes and King’s Day: The King Size King’s Day T-Shirt blog post over at the Invading Holland blog.

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Another lazy library day (Or: On to the next book)

What can I say? Sitting in the library café in the morning sipping an iced coffee is the best.

Reading Haruki Murakami at the library

A lovely Saturday morning at the library

This morning I finished part 2 of Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatorea book first mentioned in the last post. It is about a painter, estranged from his wife and temporarily living in an old house in the mountains as its caretaker. The original owner, famed painter Amada Tomohiko, suffers from dementia and resides in a nursing home.

The story unfolds with the ringing of a bell… the simple ringing of a bell. Somehow ringing from beneath a burial mound, beneath countless immovable rocks, at the edge of an old shrine. But when the bell is dug up by the narrator and his rich neighbor, strange events begin to occur and Amada Tomohiko’s past is uncovered, bit by bit. Sweeping the narrator up in its wake.

Categories: Reading | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Days off (Or: Musings in the library)

This past Friday was my birthday. And what better way to celebrate that then taking the day off from work? I am currently in the middle of reading Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore, a novel published over two volumes (about 500 pages each!).

Thus Friday morning was a treat to myself: I went to the central library, ordered an iced coffee, and sat down in the café to read the second volume. In Dutch.

Two reasons that I mention that it was in Dutch:

  1. For some reason this novel won’t be released in English until October. Part 1 has been out since November in Dutch, and part two has been out since January. It’s crazy (but cool) to know you are reading something — and can read something — that hasn’t even been released in English yet.
  2. At some point during the morning I realized that there was a conversation going on to the right of me, at another table. Two women were talking in a mixture of Dutch and English, but since I had my headphones in I hadn’t realized right away. After a few minutes and based on the content of the conversation, I realized that it was probably a taalcoach and taalmaatje (language coach and student) from SamenSpraak.

And it was at that moment when I realized I have come a long way in the last five years, from barely knowing any Dutch to being 700 pages into what is effectively a 1,000+ page novel.

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Always watching (Or: The Observer by Berry Holslag)

Today’s picture is of the artwork ‘The Observer’ by Berry Holslag. You can find it on Kalvermarkt in The Hague (with the Grote Markt to the left and Primark behind the statue).

The Observer by Berry Holslag, The Hague

The statue was added in 1994. Stroom.nl has more information in Dutch and English. As the website writes – we look at him. But he looks back at us just as closely.

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