Monthly Archives: May 2018

Buying an OV-chipkaart (Or: Your ticket to freedom)

The OV-chipkaart (OV=openbaar vervoer=public transportation, chipkaart=chip card) is used throughout the Netherlands as a means for paying for a public transportation journey, be it train, tram, bus…

The card is used to check in and check out by holding the card against a reader as the traveler enters and exits the vehicle. Useful, but it can cause delays at some of the more crowded stops. When I travelled to Dublin I was intrigued by having the check-in and check-out machines at each of the stops rather than inside of the vehicle – it saves some boarding time that way, although the costs are higher for having machines at every stop.

The OV-chipkaarts expire after 5 years. Ironically, all of this household’s OV chipkaarts (5 in total) expired within a few months of each other. But this gave me the opportunity to visit the HTM-service desk at The Hague Centraal, which I hadn’t yet had an excuse to do.  And of course I dragged Marco along to experience the fun.

HTM brochure for traveling with an OV chipkaart

Information booklet for traveling with an OV-chipkaart, with information in Dutch, English and German. Handy for the tourists!

It was around 16:30 on a workday, and already fairly busy inside the service area. The area is serviced both by HTM as well as by NS, the national train company. We didn’t have to wait too long to get helped. Each card costs €7.50, before adding any funds on it. Luckily the HTM worker mentioned that the option to use the card to travel by train (NS) needed to be added manually, otherwise we would have been in for a surprise!

In this case we asked for anonymous cards (the blue variety) which can be used by anyone. There’s a few minor differences between those and personalized cards (yellow variety) – the main difference being that personalized cards can be automatically re-filled when they hit a minimum amount, for instance. But generally anonymous cards work fine.

Marco and I also both got information booklets on traveling with an OV-chipkaart, as you can see above. Not strictly required, but always fun to read (for me!).

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Five Guys (Or: Just a few days to go!)

It’s official – Five Guys opens this Monday in The Hague!

Five Guys location in The Hague

Categories: Food, The Hague | Leave a comment

Friday night cuisine (Or: Homemade beef noodle pho soup)

So… Friday night Marco and I made beef noodle pho soup. Marco was inspired by the chicken pho soup he had at Little V here in the Hague.

Some highlights for giving the broth depth: a whole onion burned over the stove oventop, entire pieces of ginger, cinnamon sticks, and similar. Slow cook it for a few hours, then strain it…

But the coolest thing about this dish? The beef is cut into thin strips and placed into the bowl. You then pour the broth over it to near-instantly cook it:

Cooking beef strips with a hot broth

And here is a look at the final dish, with spring onions, julienne carrots, coriander, chives, bean sprouts and red peppers…

Homemade beef noodle pho soup

And a bonus picture of a salmon curry (with accompanying naan bread) that we made last week:

Salmon curry with naan bread

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Almost there (Or: Five guys coming to The Hague)

Did you know Five Guys is coming to The Hague? And not five guys, but Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This American chain will be coming to the city centre at Spui 10, just a few doors down from the KFC and near the Centrum tram/bus stop. It is not open yet, but it looks to open any-day-now.

They sell burger, fries, milkshakes, and… wait, beer? That’s quite Dutch and not something you would see in the American locations.

What do you need to know about Five Guys?

  • they have a free-style coke machine for endless drink options
  • the burgers have set prices, regardless of the amount of toppings
  • they offer free peanuts-in-the-shell to eat while you wait for your order

I was excited to see this photo from Marco:

Five Guys construction site in The Hague 2

And this photo is from earlier in the week – more signage is now visible behind the construction walls. They are very close to being done, so hopefully an opening date is announced soon!

With all of the above being said, I can fully see why Amsterdam refused to give Five Guys a license to open there (article in Dutch). Amsterdam is trying to reduce the amount of fast food options, not expand them. It’s possible that Five Guys can adapt their concept to better qualify (more seating, no counter service, more time to eat) but even that isn’t a guarantee.

Categories: Food, The Hague | 2 Comments

SUN! and music (Or: Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague)

The Netherlands is enjoying a rare dose of sun this weekend! And like all good Dutchies, this means going outside to a café or restaurant and baking under the sun for a few hours.

Flowers at the Hof House in The Hague

Flowers at the Hof House https://www.hofhouse.nl

This afternoon Marco, Roger and I went to the Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague. Bevrijdingsdag, or Liberation Day, is celebrated on May 5 each year. The day commemorates the end of Nazi occupation during World War II. The day before, May 4, commemorates the Remembrance of the Dead.

Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague, 2018

One of the music stages at the festival

Bevrijdingsfestival music in The Hague, 2018

Another music stage, in the background. The woman in yellow is receiving a ‘Dutch kiss’ (the custom where you kiss each other on the cheek three times to say hello or goodbye).

Vrijheid display at the Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague, 2018

Vrijheid = Freedom

And do you see what the letters are made of, above? Juliper beer crates! (Juliper is one of the sponsors of the event.)

Now if you excuse me, I will go back to basking in the sun…

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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