Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

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

Food halls (Or: Haagse Bluf in The Hague)

Food halls have only recently become a “thing” in The Netherlands, lets say the last five years. A few examples I have been to include the Markthal in Rotterdam and MingleMush in The Hague. Apparently MingleMush re-opened today! I’ll have to schedule a (safe) visit, as it has been too long… It looks like they are open Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00-21:00.

Another food hall Marco and I still need to visit is the food hall in the Haagse Bluf, an upscale shopping area in the centre of The Hague:

It’s a great place to walk through, with very photogenic areas. Just click the tag “Haagse Bluf” at the bottom of this post to see more. My favorite photo was of the red scooter, but the photo of the iced chai tea at the end of this post serves as a great memory for me. We only had it a few times before Kaldi stopped selling it. It was delicious!

In other news:

  • It’s official: Amsterdam to London direct train without Brussels stopover now ready from nltimes.nl. Now it only takes 3 1/2 hours to get into London by train (from Rotterdam)! Considering how long you’re waiting around in an airport, that’s pretty good.
  • The Netherlands now reports deaths and hospital intakes on a weekly basis on Tuesdays. RIVM reported 19 Covid-19 deaths and 9 hospitalizations in the last week (from nltimes.nl), although due to delayed reporting not all of those were in the last week. They can say that 5 deaths occurred between June 28 and July 5, and two of the hospital admissions occurred after June 30. There were also 432 positive cases reported.
  • ICU intakes are (for the moment) still reported every day at lcps.nu. There are currently 24 Covid-19 patients in the ICU, with a low of 18 last week.
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The taste of durian (Or: Spotted at the local Asian store)

The inspiration for this blog post: last month I mentioned a news article from The Guardian about a durian fruit causing the evacuation of a German post office. Apparently it is a very divisive fruit. You know how I know that? I wanted to check my spelling of “divisive” so I typed in “divisive fruit” into Google, and durian was the top result. Hmm.

Are you in the camp that thinks it tastes like rotten eggs or gym socks? Or do you find it tastes of almonds, a bit creamy? (If you have ever had it, that is. Apparently it can be hard to find if you’re not in Asia.)

I didn’t realize it might be at the local Asian store until I saw sweets on the shelves:

That doesn’t look too bad, does it? Or these cakes:

But the fruit itself is indeed available at the local Asian store, as long as you are willing to try the deep freeze version. (I know, deep freeze is never as good as fresh.) Amusingly the page only describes it as having a “pungent odor”, which sounds… more bearable than it probably is in reality. Or you have another version which might be easy to break open.

I’m not sure I’m up for buying the deep freeze versions to start with, but maybe I can purchase a snack or two first and see how it goes…

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Coconut cookies and books (Or: A visit to Lebkov)

This afternoon I spent a few hours at Lebkov in The Hague, something I hadn’t done for a while. I have had takeout coffee from Lebkov over the last few months but this was one my first time sitting down. Well, there was one exception: I did meet a coworker there shortly after the rules were relaxed to allow customers to dine-in again. It was strange. We did not stay that long.

I purchased a coconut cookie, which was tasty, soft and slightly sticky on the inside. I also brought a book along, Night Train to Lisbon, although I ended up fiddling with Affinity Designer on my tablet instead. While I just started the novel last week I am enjoying it. It’s a bit dense (in a good way) so I’m glad I am reading the English translation and not the Dutch one. These days my reading habits seem to be me alternating Dutch and English with every book, which is fine.

In other news:

  • The Amsterdam zoo posted a video on YouTube of their newest baby elephant enjoying its first bath.
  • Would you like to see a pink limousine stuck on a Delft canal bridge? Then check out this Reddit thread.(And really. Who wouldn’t want to see that?)
  • You can also follow the Twitter account of Winston bureaukat (@Winston_topkat) for adorable photos of a local police station’s cat.
(“Look at me being so cute! You’ll just need to overlook the fact that I’ve destroyed half the station!”)
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Always watching (Or: Johan de Witt in the rain)

My plan of getting good photos this weekend for the blog has been temporarily halted by one very rainy Saturday. Boo!

But I did get a picture of the Johan de Witt statue:

That is a carefully cropped photo to try and hide any construction that was going on in the background. But otherwise, yeah, it was not pleasant weather at all.

In other news:

Here’s hoping Sunday has some sun in store for us!

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Invasion of the farmers (Or: Part 2)

Okay – it wasn’t exactly an invasion. Not like last time anyway, when farmers in trackers stormed the Malieveld and destroyed the grass. More like a small skirmish. The Dutch government has stated that if cows are fed cattle feed that is less protein rich there will be less nitrogen released which will allow the construction sector to build new homes (aka one sector makes less nitrogen pollution to allow another sector to keep polluting).

The farmers were understandably less than thrilled about that plan so they drove their tractors to The Hague to protest outside of the Binnenhof during yesterday’s vote. In the end the vote was delayed until 01:30 early Friday morning, and then delayed again to 03:30. See also Central The Hague sealed off to angry farmers as MPs vote to cut protein in animal feed from dutchnews.nl.

The government ultimately decided to go ahead with the plan to reduce protein in the cattle feed. In an attempt to prevent the chaos that happened last October, the military was called in to block off certain streets so that tractors wouldn’t disrupt the city too much today.

I decided to take a quick walk over to the Malieveld this afternoon to see what was going on. The only thing I found was a van from the national public television company (NOS) waiting for something newsworthy to happen. But by this point all of the farmers were gone, so they were just standing around. Poor NOS reporters!

If you are interested in more photos check out the article Boeren protesteren tegen de voermaatregel from regio15.nl (Farmers protest against the feed measure).

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Canals and bikes (Or: Outside the gardens)

You know what you find a lot of in The Hague? Canals. (Okay, less than you used to.)

And what else? Bikes. (THAT one is probably growing exponentially!)

The rule in The Netherlands is: if it fits, I sits. (Oh wait, that rule is for cats.) But if it fits, bikes will be placed!

For a lighter news article, let’s try Child-interrupted TV broadcasts ‘show reality for working parents’ from theguardian.com. I think it’s cute, and glad that people see it happen. It is definitely a reality a lot of workers face these days!

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Blue skies and red windows (Or: Old city hall)

Blue skies all around, and we’re halfway to the weekend!

This is the old city hall of The Hague, which I have photographed a few times. The red windows are always the first thing you notice when walking past.

The dark brown building at the right of my photo has an Eat Company mural with an autumn theme, which you can just barely see. The company was changing it seasonably back in 2015-2016, but this mural was never painted over after it was added in 2016. So we’ve been stuck in autumn for the last five years almost…

Today’s news theme is apparently bikes:

  • Bicycle Cities Index 2019 from coya.com. Utrecht has taken the top spot on this global list. The criteria included percentage of bicycle users, safety, anti-theft measures, bicycle-related crime and road infrastructure. Go Dutchies!
  • France bans Dutch bike TV ad for creating ‘climate of fear’ about cars from theguardian.com. I saw the end of this commercial yesterday but didn’t think anything of it. Although I did to turn Marco and ask him “VanMoof? Who names their company VanMOOF?”. But apparently the commercial is very anti-car, including images of factories, accidents, traffic jams and flashing lights of emergency vehicles in the reflection of the car before it melts and reforms as a bike.
  • World’s second biggest bike garage opens in The Hague from nltimes.nl. With space for nearly 8,000 bikes! It’s found underground at The Hague’s Centraal Station. And can you guess who has the biggest bike garage in the world currently? Also the Dutchies. Utrecht – not a coincidence considering my first news point above – has a bike garage with space for 12,000 bikes (!).
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On a dreary, wet day (Or: Where did the weekend go?)

Rain, rain go away

Come again another day

I think the morning and early afternoon were relatively dry, but how would I know? Work kept me inside sadly. By the time everything got sorted in the late afternoon, the sky was a dark grey and rain was looming. But Marco and I both needed fresh air, so we did not let that stop us. And sure, we got rained on, but at least we got our fresh air…

But in the spirit of that, I’ll share a photo of the Palace Gardens which I took last week:

Lovely blue skies, great temperatures, all you could want without ever having to leave your hometown.

Although that one stray tree branch in the top middle of the photo does look a bit out of place. Anyone have a ladder and a tree cutter?

In other news, The Hague libraries will be opening up a bit more starting tomorrow (1 July), as the Dutch government has relaxed some of the corona measures. Unfortunately it is still only open 12:00-17:00 Monday through Saturday. But you can go there to study, read newspapers, visit the café for coffee and snacks, etc. You can also use library computers for up to 60 minutes per day. See more (in Dutch) at Studeren, uw krantje lezen en meer: veel kan weer!

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No corona here (Or: Sign outside a bar)

Check out the sign that I spotted outside a local bar:

Perhaps I should have stopped for a craft beer. Sounds good!

(What’s with the weird lining in the word ‘here’ though? The rest of the words only have one line.)

In other news… did you know we live in a banana republic now?

You can click the link in the Regio15 tweet to see the article in Dutch, but the general summary is: some people are still not happy that the Viruswaanzin demonstrations were banned two weekends in a row, so they went to the Paleis van Justitie (Justice Palace) and left bananas to signify we now live in a banana republic.

So yeah. I guess I need to update my address now.

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Waiting for the tram (Or: Summer days)

Yesterday I took a picture of a group of riders waiting for the tram at the front of The Hague Centraal:

It looks a bit chaotic with not enough distance between passengers, but in any other year except 2020 this would have been 3 or 4 times more crowded, as tram 9 is the tram to the beach. So this is actually a vast improvement.

As noted, today there may or may not be activity at the Malieveld due to the Viruswaanzin or “Virus madness” demonstration that was (for a second time) banned by The Hague mayor. You’ll never guess what the police confiscated last night:

sidewalk chalk (!).

Or read the article from regio15 (in Dutch): Politie neemt stoepkrijt in beslag bij het Malieveld. I think that is going too far – if you check the pictures the persons were drawing lots and lots hearts and writing ‘vrijheid’ and ‘liefde’ (freedom and love) occasionally. There are still chalk messages on the paths around Malieveld about Black Lives Matter and ‘Racism is not just an American problem’, which is true. According to the police the problem isn’t the demonstrators so much as the other people who plan to come, including football hooligans. That was the case last week, but only time will tell if that is the case today.

On an interesting note: officially sidewalk chalk was banned on all public surfaces before 2017, even if little children were drawing. But that rule was never really enforced. You can read more in Dutch at nu.nl: Gemeente Den Haag heft stoepkrijtverbod op.

And finally, the police are already starting to warn people to stay away today: Politie waarschuwt eerste betogers die naar het Malieveld zijn gekomen (ad.nl).

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