Author Archives: Niki

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Nutella oliebol? (Or: So sweet you can’t eat it all)

Roger brought me a gift today, from the oliebollen stand at the Grote Marktstraat, a Nutella oliebol:

As you can see the top is covered in Nutella (English Wikipedia) and chocolate shavings. The inside of the oliebol is also filled with Nutella, because it can never be sweet enough. And it was delicious! The dangerous kind of delicious that makes you want to buy one every week…

However, it was sweet enough that I decided to save half of it for tomorrow evening. Otherwise I’ll be bouncing off the walls in no time.

Random article of the day: Anger over NS plan to remove conductor whistle from It is not quite what it sounds like. Each train has a conductor who checks to make sure that all passengers have entered the train. When it is time to leave the conductor blows their whistle and passengers (in theory) do not try to enter or exit the train after that moment. The NS (the largest Dutch train company) plans to use cameras instead to watch the doors. They say this will make trains more punctual however the union sees that as an easy way to get rid of the conductor’s job altogether.

Categories: Food, Transportation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Time to celebrate (Or: The weekend has arrived)

I am not sure why but this work week has seemed so very long. My coworkers agreed during our team meeting today (on Teams, of course). But Marco and I celebrated the end of the work week in style, as he picked up our meal from FOAM late in the afternoon.

Today’s menu was Sri Lankan curry with pumpkin, spinach and sweet potato served with homemade naan:

It was very tasty! I am not the biggest fan of sweet potato, but the flavors definitely lifted up the taste. In the middle is a homemade yoghurt as well. Have a look at the naan bread – do you also think it looks like a face?

And now… Marco and I are going to watch Disney+’s WandaVision (English Wikipedia). It’s a superhero show, set after Avenger’s Endgame… but written as a sitcom. Two episodes premiered tonight, and we’ve seen the first already. And now on to the second! I can’t wait.

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Snow (Or: What is snow again?)

Buienradar (“Shower radar”) says parts of the Netherlands are looking at snow this weekend. As usually happens, it’s a minuscule amount, maybe an inch or two. It will also probably disappear within 24 hours when it starts raining later on Sunday – but hey, it is still snow!

Snow expected in NL this weekend from

It’s definitely been a few years since it has snowed here. Maybe Spring 2018? I posted a photo of the Hofvijfer with snow on top of the water that month. Either way, this weekend should be interesting.

In other news, we had tacos last night and Marco took a photo of his. Check it out:

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Wednesdays (Or: Halfway through the week)

The weather has turned a bit colder, with temperatures hovering around the freezing point the next few days. It is the perfect time to stay inside – one of the few benefits of a mandatory work-from-home policy, I suppose.

Here’s a look at some of the more random news stories of late:

Natural history museum bags electrifying new addition to collection from A stone marten (English Wikipedia) found its way into an electrical substation, killing itself and briefly taking out the power in parts of Gelderland, a Dutch province. The Rotterdam-based museum has a collection entitled ‘Dead animals tell a story’. Another recent addition of theirs was a dead seagull with a face mask tied to its leg (, in Dutch).

Dutch officials seize ham sandwiches of drivers arriving from UK from Thanks to Brexit you can no longer take animal products into the Netherlands – even if you are a truck driver and its your lunch…

Netherlands and Germany refuse entry to UK nationals for non-essential travel from This article is from 4 January. At that point 13 people had already been turned away and not allowed to enter the country. Due to Brexit you need to have a negative PCR test and a very good reason to enter the Netherlands. Unlike the person who said he “wanted to visit Amsterdam” or the person who said he “had a connecting flight to Spain for a skiing holiday”.

Foreign visitors face ban from Amsterdam’s cannabis cafes from The mayor, city officials and police want to ban tourists from Dutch coffee shops. While there has been talk of this for a while, I think corona and overcrowding issues over the last few years made it a bit easier for the city to look at what kind of tourist they wanted to bring into the city.

Speaking of which, I learned quickly: if you want to say you are going to get a coffee, you say you are going to a café. If you say you are going to a coffee shop that means you are going to going to purchase cannabis (and get some coffee on the side). Good to know…

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Lockdown extension (Or: Three weeks longer)

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced that our lockdown would be extended for three weeks (, in English), moving the end date from 19 January to 9 February. Lockdown in the Netherlands means that all non-essential stores are closed, restaurants and cafés are closed, ‘through traffic’ places like libraries, museums, and amusement parks are closed.

Schools have switched to online education as well, although some students are allowed at school if they are deemed “vulnerable” or need to prepare for exams. Secondary education schools (students 12 and older) who are in the classroom are now required to adhere to the 1.5 meters distance rule in all situations. Previously secondary education students did not have to keep distance with each other, only their teacher.

The government considered implementing a curfew, however they have decided to consult with the Outbreak Management Team first before taking that step. It could still happen, but I think the government is trying to gauge public reaction before going there, because it could backfire.

The news is not all bad, though. Here is a look at the number of corona cases (the red line is the 7 day average):

We had about 5,000 cases today, 500 less than yesterday. But, the decline is too slow and the hospital and ICU intakes are not showing that much of a decline. The threat of the British variant of the coronavirus also looms. During the press conference the Minister of Health said there were about 100 recorded cases of that variant, with about half of them in the township of Lansingerland, not that far from The Hague. The township is currently working on testing all of its residents over two years of age–the first area in the Netherlands to do so (article in Dutch at

And really, there was a time back in early October when we were panicking because we hit 5,000 cases, so why should we accept 5,000 cases as a good thing now? Let’s just hope the downward trend continues.

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Anyone up for some satay? (Or: Tasty Christmas gifts)

Roger gave Marco a recipe book for Christmas: Indostok (, in Dutch). The title combines two words, “indo” and “stok” (stok=stick). The book includes many, many different satay recipes from Vanja van der Leeden.

Another skillfully posed photo by Marco

Satay (or saté in Dutch) was one of the few Dutch meals we made in Chicago for relatives. We brought along spices to make the accompanying peanut sauce (pindasaus) and then cooked and skewered some chicken. We also brought along a small jar of acar (atjar in Dutch – I had to look up how to say it in English, even), which is a vegetable pickle dish.

For me, the sourer the atjar is, the better. Consider this: one of my favorite random side dishes is cucumber with white wine vinegar, a bit of lemon juice and hot sauce. My mouth is puckering just thinking about it…

Categories: Food, Holidays | Tags: | Leave a comment

Road construction for “Plaats” (Or: That might cause some accidents)

Today I took a walk in the area of Buitenhof and Plaats (English Wikipedia and Dutch Wikipedia, respectively). The city is currently in the middle of a two year redesign of the “Plaats” area (which literally translates to “Place”).

I must admit I was slightly confused by new stone walkway area extending from the pedestrian area into the road (and bike path):

It’s a bit hard to see with the wet stone, but the entire area is now the same height, with the road and bike path disappearing. Here is a look from a bit further away:

But that is the city’s plan for the area. The official page which mentions the work that is going on and how long it lasts (, in Dutch) states: “Hiervoor wordt het straatniveau overal gelijkgemaakt en […] de route langs de Hofvijver blijft wel te gebruiken voor taxi’s en bestemmingsverkeer (bijvoorbeeld om winkels te bevoorraden, parkeergarages te bereiken of te laden en te lossen).” Or, in English: The street will be made the same height in all places and the street pictured above will only be opened to taxis or local traffic (to supply stores, to reach parking garages or to unload or load supplies).”

Therefore at some point there will be fewer cars in the area so it will be less of an issue. But it looks a bit weird at the moment.

However, why do they have to use stones that don’t dry as quickly? You can see the difference in the second photo, with the old stones already drying after the latest rainfall (which makes them less slippery).

It will be interesting to see how it looks once the construction finally finishes later this spring.

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

It’s been four years? (Or: Memorial to Chuck Deely)

Some kind soul created a memorial to Chuck Deely outside the Albert Heijn on the Grote Marktstraat:

Chuck Deely (Dutch Wikipedia) was an American street musician that was active in The Hague from the ’90s until his death on January 2017. I can’t believe it has been four years! There will never be anyone like him again.

He has been honored a few ways since his death, including a statue by Central Station:

He also received a mural in one of the tram tunnels near the Turfmarkt (, in English).

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

Indian Dahl and naan bread (Or: Friday meal from FOAM)

Tonight Marco and I enjoyed a meal of Indian Dahl and naan bread from the FOAM restaurant in The Hague – yum yum yum:

It was a tasty meal for a Friday evening and a great way to bring in the weekend. Generally they post their Friday FOAM @ Home offerings on their Facebook page.

In other (expected) news: Rutte: Lockdown extension decision to come on Tuesday from Spoiler: There is no way they will not extend the lockdown (where all non-essential stores are closed) due to the number of corona cases we have currently.

Oh well. At least we can enjoy the weekend in the meantime!

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The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Or: Enjoying the Christmas gifts)

Marco received an awesome book for Christmas this year—The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian—from Roger.

Marco being Marco, he had to get the perfect photo. And what better way to do that than to use the reindeer and teddy bear he bought from Xenos as the “readers”?

If you look closely you’ll see some chocolate in the lower right. That is dark chocolate marzipan from Albert Heijn, a joke of sorts between Marco, Roger and I. A few years ago Roger “stole” some dark chocolate marzipan we had in our Christmas candy dish, so Marco bought some and wrapped it up as a Christmas gift that year for Roger so he wouldn’t have to “steal” ours. But Roger also bought some and wrapped it up as a gift for Marco, so there was lots of marzipan going around.

This year we each gifted one to another (three packs in total). The tradition lives on…

Categories: Friends&Family, Holidays | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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