Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

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

Graffiti by Amare (Or: Color in the city centre)

Here is a look at some of the latest graffiti to pop up nearby the Amare cultural complex. This part of the area in front of the building is still under construction. (Amare is off to the left – you can just barely see the edge of it in the photo below.)

In other news:

  • Speaking of Amare, parts of the building are sinking by a few millimeters (dutchnews.nl), as first reported back in April of this year. The five concert halls each have their own foundation to prevent vibrations from concerts dragging down the whole structure. But a few of the halls are sinking enough that the doors no longer close properly (!). A construction company is currently working on raising the theatres by two centimeters (official website, in Dutch). The work is taking place during the summer break, with performances scheduled to resume in September.
  • The food court in Scheveningen is beta testing a new ‘order from the beach‘ option. You can order and pay with your phone. You will receive a text message once the food is ready. According to this indebuurt.nl news article (in Dutch), the system isn’t quite perfect yet.
  • De Lange Poten (a street in the city centre, where the American book centre is) is still being worked on since my last blog post. Apparently it will be even more closed off next week Monday through Friday, with the street completely closed on Tuesday. See also this indebuurt.nl article. Although I don’t see how you can completely close down a shopping street, so we’ll see.
  • The warm-for-the-Netherlands weather is almost gone. Hopefully we get some rain tomorrow to mark the occasion and help with our drought, but the rain estimates go down each day.
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Trams in The Hague (Or: Colors and tunnels)

Here are two tram-related photos for you. First, a white Avenio tram:

Avenio is the newest type of tram available in The Hague. The big plus for this type of tram is that the there are no stairs to enter it – the door is at the same height as the platform. This is of course useful for people in wheelchairs, people with strollers, etc. Until this year the tram was black and red (see Dutch Wikipedia) but the white/red combination stands out more and is better for traffic safety. Each tram is being repainted as it comes in for a scheduled repair job, so it will take about a year for the black/red tram to disappear from The Hague’s streets.

This is a photo of the entrance to the tram tunnel which services the underground Grote Markt stop and the Spui stop. Trams coming in this direction are headed towards The Hague Central train station and trams going away from this direction are headed above ground, towards the Brouwersgracht stop.

While there isn’t a tram pictured, I thought the plants were nice to photograph. Perhaps I should take another photo in a few weeks to see if the trees still look green. About half of Europe is experiencing drought conditions at the moment. I hate to say it but we could use a bit of rain. Here is a map from the European Drought Observatory.

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

Vroom vroom (Or: Louwman museum in The Hague)

Today Marco and I visited the Louwman museum in The Hague. I scheduled this as a surprise for Marco a few weeks back. Consider it a late birthday present. The museum’s collection started in 1934 and the museum has been in its current location since 2010.

On the one hand, it is kind of funny that I wanted to go to a car museum as 1) I don’t have a driver’s license 2) I don’t like riding in cars, even as a passenger 3) if I hear someone got a new car the first (and only) thing I ask is “What color is it?”.

The museum starts with horse drawn carriages and old cars like the one above. Otherwise known as death traps. An honorable mention not pictured in this blog is the Sunbeam-Mabley Motor Sociable. The driver sat in the back (on the right side of the photo) and the passengers sat in front of him (!), but facing sideways. The wheels were also deliberately not aligned, which made skidding less of a risk but falling over more of a risk. Hmmmm.

The car above is the reason why we visited the museum. They have an F1 legends exhibition on the ground floor. On its own I don’t think the exhibition was worth visiting (it features 8 cars on loan) but coupled with a visit to the museum itself it is worth it. The cars on display took part in the Dutch Grand Prix between 1948 and 1970. The exhibit runs through September 4, coincidentally the day of the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort. The car above is Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 which won the Dutch Grand Prix in 1965.

The museum also had a display of car related toys (above). They also have a sizable display of art, including posters, sculptures, cigarette cases, miniatures and other memorabilia.

Here is a lovely blue car with wicker seats, because why not? Read more here. Another wacky example is the swan car and the boat car (not seaworthy, unfortunately).

Above is a 1965 Ferrari owned by the Dutch Prince Bernhard. The prince specifically requested the metallic paint color “Verde Pino”. It is a beautiful color, and apparently the car goes fast too (the name of the car being Superfast Speziale).

You can browse through the rest of the cars by checking out their online car collection.

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Construction work at the library (Or: Where do I find xyz, again?)

Continuing the theme of construction related blog posts… did you know The Hague’s central library is also undergoing a massive renovation at the moment? You can read more about it over at their official website in Dutch. The fifth floor has already been renovated and features a new café. The main goal of the renovation is to add more areas for people to meet – the trend most libraries are following these days.

At the moment they are working on the ground floor and the first floor (second floor for Americans!). Here is a look at the ground floor:

The information desk used to be on the right side, the café was in the back and the old tourist information point (now gone, having moved to the The Hague’s central train station) was on the lwft side. For now the information desk and area to turn in books is on the second floor.

And here is a look at the first floor, which had places to meet and hold live shows:

I was looking for a specific book. Before I left the house I checked the website, writing down the number and floor where I could find it. It never hurts to be prepared! Of course, when I went to the third floor most of the bookshelves were missing. Hmmm. There was a sign saying the books I was looking for were temporarily moved to the second floor. I go to the second floor and there are even bigger gapping holes and empty space. The section I was looking for was nowhere to be seen.

I didn’t really feel like standing in the ever-growing line for the information desk to ask where I could find the book, so I shrugged and went home. It’s not that big a deal. Hopefully the construction will be over by the end of the summer. I am sure the end result will be worth it!

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Construction work in The Hague (Or: You want me to walk over THAT?)

As usual, like most cities, The Hague is under perpetual construction. Check out this photo:

I know it is perfectly safe, but that still doesn’t mean I want to walk over that board to enter any of those stores. This is was by the Lange Poten (street) in the city centre. The entire street was dug up exposing the cables underneath.

It was only like this a few days before they filled it back in with sand, though. So the crisis has been averted: so far as I can tell no one fell in while the street was open. This time!

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Summer heat (Or: The Netherlands begins to sizzle)

Not wanting to be left out of the heat wave that has been occurring across southern Europe for more than a week, The Netherlands joined the fun yesterday and today, with temperatures here in The Hague around 31C/87F yesterday and temperatures today around 37C/99F. Technically that is nothing compared to what the rest of Europe has been going through, or what other parts of the world have been going through, but still.

I went to work this morning as usual (climate controlled office for the win), and it wasn’t too bad at that point. But on the way back…oh my. I felt like I had been smashed against a wall of heat, as if someone had thrown a heavy blanket around all of my being. Still, as long as you find the shade where you can it works out.

Speaking of finding shade…

As you can see, a lot of people went to the beach in Scheveningen. A smart choice, but if you’re smart you either need to bring an umbrella… or you find a spot directly under the pier for shade. Although then you have to wonder what is the point of going to the beach just to sit under the pier, but to each their own.

Luckily the temperatures will drop again tomorrow, so it really was a mini heat wave. Check out some other photos of Scheveningen over at indebuurt.nl (in Dutch, but scroll down for the photos).

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World’s Dutchest police chase (Or: Of course it is with bikes)

The video itself is a bit cropped, especially on the bottom, but if you want to see it in its original size you can click on the video to go to Reddit. (For instance, the guy being on the ground complaining is cut off in WordPress’s embedded version.)

If you think something is a bit off, it is probably the bikes the police are riding on. Usually police get their own bike, which is white with police decals (politie.nl in Dutch, but I linked to it for the image). However, in this video they did not have their own bikes so they had to borrow some from random citizens. Hence why it looks like the police aren’t that great at riding them…

In other news:

  • Hidden Van Gogh self-portrait discovered behind earlier painting from theguardian.com. Good ol’ X-ray scans, letting us see what the artist never intended.
  • Icelandair sends its own baggage crews to deal with Schiphol chaos from nltimes.nl. Although a lot of airports are having staffing issues these days, this is still pretty funny. Schiphol does have a problem with luggage piling up and not getting to its destination, of course. But Icelander is now sending two luggage handlers with on every flight to Amsterdam so that they can help out and make sure that that flight’s luggage gets in the owner’s hands quickly.
  • Apparently The Hague is getting its own Taco Bell (indebuurt.nl in Dutch). I hadn’t realized that were already a few locations in The Netherlands, but there you go. The new location will likely be in the city centre at Vlamingstraat 35, although that isn’t confirmed or official yet. It’s not really a place I really ate at often in the US, so I probably won’t go to it here either.
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Time to app (Or: Word play in a Dutch tram)

Here is a bit of Dutch word play for you. First, the image, taken last month in tram 17 in The Hague:

See the advertisement?

Mijn ticket? Blij dat ik ‘m app!

(Very) roughly translated, it says: “My ticket? I’m glad that I app it [use the app to buy one]”. But the word play is with the word app because when spoken in Dutch it is more of a soft “a” like “aap”. This makes it sounds a lot like heb, from hebben or “to have”. If you don’t speak Dutch you’ll have to trust me on that one. So if you read it quickly you could also say that it says: “My ticket? I’m glad that I have it!”

I don’t know, I love it. It’s an advertisement for public transportation and it is a language joke. What’s not to love?

In other news:

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Herb gardens (Or: Antwerp’s botanical garden)

During our visit to Antwerp last week, Marco, Roger and I also visited a small botanical garden, Den Botaniek (English Wikipedia). What can I say, I like to take pictures of pretty flowers…

The koi fish were just an unexpected bonus:

Or, the artwork below. It’s thought provoking, but I just can’t get past the bird crap on the smallest head. Hmm. Perhaps he was trying to hide from the birds but he just couldn’t hide fast enough?

Continue reading
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Lightning trip (Or: Concerts and architecture in Antwerp)

Marco, Roger and I were in Antwerp earlier this week for the Hella Mega Tour (Weezer, Fall Out Boy and Green Day). We booked the tickets in early 2020 and then only got to see the show now. Thanks corona! The scheduling was really nicely done, with Weezer and Fall Out Boy playing for an hour and Green Day closing the show with an hour and a half performance. Everything was almost perfectly timed (with only a few minutes delay here and there). The show ended when they said it would, wow!

Part of the reason everything is so perfectly timed is because 50 cents of your ticket price goes to public transportation, so you can ride the bus, tram or metro for free there and back. The venue and public transportation company agreed that all shows must end by 23:30. If that happens, the public transportation company guarantees that line 1 would run for an hour after the show ends. In the end we did take the tram there, although we walked back to the hotel after the show (about a 30 minute walk) due to how crowded the metro was. Technically they call it a metro, but the vehicles that arrive are still the shorter trams, so nothing like the New York City metro.

I will spare you my less than spectacular photos of the concert itself, so here are some other ones:

This is a statue of Nello & Patrasche, characters from the book A Dog in Flanders (visitantwerpen.be in English).

What can I say, I like Ferris wheels. And I thought this was a pretty image, with the Ferris wheel just poking out from behind the trees. This Ferris wheel is called “The View”.

Above: a look at some of the architecture in the city centre. Very pretty! We also enjoyed the nice wide streets as it made it easy to walk around.

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