Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

I run the blog http://www.lifeinthehague.com

“Europe’s favourite cookie with coffee!” (Or: Biscoff/Lotus cookies)

Continuing the trend of “things that remind me of home while visiting America”, Marco and I were in a drug/convenience by the name of Duane Reed when we spotted some Lotus cookies. Except in America it looks like they are known as “Biscoff” cookies.

Lotus cookies renamed as Biscoff cookies in America

They are pretty good with coffee – fairly light, fairly small, so one is just right.

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Wafels & Dinges (Or: Goodness in Bryant Park)

Hi all! I’ve been gone for a while, as Marco and I were in America (three days in New York City as tourists and a week in Indianapolis with my parents). And now we’re back! And to begin with I have a few posts of things that remind me of home, to some degree.

The first is a Belgian waffle stand in Bryant Park, Wafels & Dinges (translates to Waffles and Things). Actually, they have a lot of locations throughout New York City. Here’s a look at the side of the stand:

Wafels and Dinges in Bryant Park

My favourite part is “Speku-what? Spekuloos!

It’s our favourite dinges made from traditional Belgian gingerbread cookies. In places like Dadizele, Zwevezele, and Erps-Kwerps, Belgians spread this dinges on waffles, pancakes or as the sandwich spread (“to spekulate”).

Some people we know also eat it by the spoon (“to overspekulate”).” Heh.

Continue reading

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De Bieb! (Or: Not a library, but a bar)

Near where the old central library used to be you can find a bar that goes by the name “De Bieb“. Bieb is a shortened, slang version of bibliotheek, or library in English. I knew I had to go there when a colleague told me that the bar had black cherry beer!

De Bieb bar in The Hague

My black cherry beer is on the left (Liefmans Kriek). It’s a beer from Belgium, and awesomely sour. Not something you would normally associate with a beer. Marco had a “Funky Falcon” which combines lemongrass, lemon, caramel and more. He let me have a sip – it was quite tasty.

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Flowers at Hobbemaplein (Or: A hint of summer)

Hobbemaplein in May – an area of The Hague known for its market (one of the largest open air markets in Europe, so they say!).

Flowers by Hobbemaplein, The Hague

And a close up of the flowers:

Close up of flowers at Hobbemaplein, The Hague

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Self-serve! (Or: Starbucks at the movie theatre)

Earlier in the month we saw Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. Great movie! While there I was able to check out the new coffee options, as the Pathé movie theatre by Spui now has self-service Starbucks coffee.

Self-serve Starbucks at Pathe Spui, The Hague

Apparently it’s been around for a few months but this is the first movie I had seen since they installed it.

Starbucks in Pathe Spui, The Hague

Of course you don’t have all of the options you would with a full-service Starbucks, but it is still some nice coffee, especially when viewing a movie in the morning!

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Removing temptation (Or: Bus and tram benches being replaced in The Hague)

Back in March 2015 The Hague replaced the shelters at bus and tram stops. The best part of the new design in my opinion was the much prettier glass on the sides and top. The design also included new benches which have since become an issue for curious kids. Have a look and see if you can guess what the issue is:

Holes in the bus and tram shelter benches in The Hague

Yep. The holes (which are used to drain off rainwater) are just the right size for a curious kid to stick their finger in. It took around a year (August 2016) for the first curious kid to get a few fingers stuck in the bench but after that the incidents just kept coming this year. With the first child they decided to administer anesthesia on the spot and cut out the bench around the finger, but since then they have removed an entire section of the bench and transported the child to the hospital (with part of the bench still around his finger) to remove it there.

Last month it was decided that the benches would be replaced using the advertising money the shelter generates, but it was still at a cost of more than half a million. The benches now use slits rather than holes to let the rainwater escape. The replacement of the benches began on May 2nd and will take until mid-July. And guess what happened on May 2nd? Yep, another kid got his fingers caught!

Speaking of trams, a friend and I went to the remise or depot in Scheveningen to see (one of the places) where the trams are stored overnight. This is also where the workers start and end their shifts.

HTM remise in Scheveningen.jpg

Tram remise in Scheveningen

The tram above is being driven backwards into the remise. There’s a small grey box at the back of these older trams which tram drivers can use to “back the tram in”. That way they are facing the right direction when they need to leave in the morning. It’s only needed for the older types – the two types that have come since then are made to be driven from either direction during normal operation.

Categories: Scheveningen, The Hague, Transportation | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Stirrings of spring (Or: Flowers by the Buitenhof)

Spring is probably here already, but some days it feels so cold. At least there are beautiful flowers to enjoy!

Flowers by Buitenhof, The Hague

This is by the Buitenhof in The Hague.

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Art on the streets (Or: The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague)

Thursday was King’s Day in the Netherlands, a holiday to celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Or to just enjoy a nice day off…

But the real fun happens the night before, as The Hague organises a festival called The Life I Live. I have written a few blog posts about it, including last year’s rainy celebration and the 2013 celebration (back when it was Queen’s night; the last one as Queen Beatrix addicted the throne the next day).

The Life I live festival 2017, Kerkplein in The Hague

One of the many stages, set up at the Kerkplein (by the Grote Kerk)

Like last year, there was also an area set up for street art. This year’s theme must have been Mondriaan-inspired as there was a lot of primary colors in block formation.

Street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague

A look at another side, which had just been started:

Street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague (2)The third side:

Street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague (3)

And the last side – Marco’s favorite – a Mondriaan-inspired Transformer!:

Transformers street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague

Luckily the rain held off this year. It was cold – colder then even Christmas! – but bearable.

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Fit for a monkey? (Or: Bossche bollen and Oreo doughnuts)

Another fun place Marco and I found while visiting Den Bosch last week was Monkey Coffee. At the time we were actually looking for the local Bagels & Beans (which we also like and I’ve posted about more than once) but we were glad we found this one instead.

Bossche bol, coffee and a donut by Monkey Coffee in Den Bosch

Bossche bol at left, Oreo doughnut above. I was also a fan of the pretty coffee glasses.

Like almost every cafe in Den Bosch, you can order a Bossche bol. These are large profiteroles, a bit bigger then a tennis ball. They are covered in chocolate (usually dark) and filled with whip cream. Best served with coffee.

Bossche bol - on the inside

Dissection of a Bossche bol

That was for Marco – I decided to go with a doughnut covered in Oreo bits. It was delicious and very light, just like a typical American doughnut would be. Speaking of that – Marco and I spoke with the owner (?) and he joked that he was glad Dunkin’ Donuts was finally arriving in the Netherlands. At long last, Monkey Coffee will have good competition for doughnuts!

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Den Bosch (Or: Dragon statues and gothic cathedrals)

Continuing my Den Bosch post from last week, here are some more pictures. First of a dragon statue on the way from the main train station to the downtown area:

Dragon statue in Den Bosch

The money for this statue apparently came from a grieving father who donated money in 1881 for a memorial for his 17-year-old twin daughters.

Dragon statue in Den Bosch - bottom

The father did not specify a dragon as the memorial, though. One theory for why it was a dragon was that it was a reference to the king’s commissioner Jhr. Mr. P.J. Bosch van Drakestein who lived around that time (“Drake” is a type of dragon). The dragon is holding his family’s crest, so this seems most likely:

Dragon statue in Den Bosch - top

Another theory is that the city of Den Bosch is built around a swamp, and was considered a swamp fortress. The dragon is named the “swamp dragon” in honor of the city.

And here are a few more pictures of St. John’s Cathedral that Marco took:

Saint John's cathedral in Den Bosch

And a close up: Saint John's cathedral in Den Bosch - close up

Unfortunately we weren’t able to find the statue wearing jeans and holding a cell phone (which was added not that long ago, the last time the church was being restored).

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