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:
And here is a look at the final dish, with spring onions, julienne carrots, coriander, chives, bean sprouts and red peppers…
And a bonus picture of a salmon curry (with accompanying naan bread) that we made last week:
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:
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
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.
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.
One of the music stages at the festival
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 = 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…
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:
I could probably handle this ride.
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.
A smaller stage
Here is a much larger set up, at Het Plein (literally ‘the plaza’)
The fountain at Het Buitenhof, with the Ferris wheel from the previously mentioned carnival at the Maliveld in the background
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.
What can I say? Sitting in the library café in the morning sipping an iced coffee is the best.
A lovely Saturday morning at the library
This morning I finished part 2 of Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore, a 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.
Tags: Books, Libraries
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
Categories: The Hague
Tags: Art, Statues
For Christmas I was gifted a Ravensburger puzzle from Roger. It was made from a good quality – even using “soft lock technology” apparently. I found it interesting that the puzzle used a dark blue backing instead of the light gray backing that most puzzles use.
There were two minor weird things with this puzzle:
- There is a part of the actual puzzle that doesn’t match the box it came in. Look in the lower left with the lady in green – in the actual puzzle she leans over to the right, worried because the man behind her is choking on a herring. On the box, she panics a bit and falls backward because the seller is shoving a herring in her face.
- There was an extra puzzle piece that did not fit anywhere. The puzzle itself is done, and has no gaps. You can see it in the photo below, to the left of the actual puzzle.
If you’re looking closely, you’ll notice that the puzzle itself is within a flat case. The exact model I have is Jumbo luxe puzzelkoffer – 1000 stukjes. It makes for really easy storage. There are two additional panels which are shown in the link which you can also use to store pieces on top of. When you are ready to store everything, you put the panels on top of the puzzle to create a tight fit so that none of the pieces move. You could even store the work-in-progress horizontally. I have successfully tested this but normally store it vertically.
I am of course already working on my next puzzle…
Today Marco and I visited city hall after work to vote for the local elections:
To the voting area!
The Hague has 286 places to vote if my math is correct. Unfortunately the Central Library wasn’t a place you could vote this year. You could vote in a special tram (link in Dutch) however. I would have loved that. But it’s not a tram line I’d ever take, and it was running as a normal tram at the time. Imagine missing your stop!
Pictured: about half of the line
It didn’t take us too long – about 10 minutes at the most to get to the front of the line.
Live updates of the percentage of voters who had already voted, by hour
Admittedly, the number of voters is lower than 4 years ago when it was 51% at the close of voting (9pm). As of 8:15pm now it is 45.2%. The results are not expected until around midnight, give or take.
Tomorrow most of the Netherlands goes to the polls for local elections. This will be the first time I can vote in the Netherlands! This is because I have lived in the Netherlands for five uninterrupted years.
Here is a picture of my stempas (voting card) with personal information greyed out:
The card arrived in the mail a few weeks back, automatically. In the Netherlands every person is required to register with the municipality in the Basisregistratie Personen (BRP) or the Personal Records Database. I did that within a few days of moving to the country. It records life’s big moments – birth, marriage, divorce, and death, along with address changes. The database is used to determine who can vote for what. (In my case, I can vote for the local elections but I will never be able to vote for anything higher unless I obtain Dutch citizenship.)
There are some good sites available for voters, both in English and in Dutch. In this case, I tend to seek out information in English due to the nature of what I am reading, but I also supplement it with information in Dutch. For example, DutchNews.nl has some information and links available for expat voters.
There are, of course, various polls available to see which party matches your interests the best. For example, Stemwijzer Den Haag (knowledge of Dutch required).
Finally, here’s a look at what the ballot looks like.