Author Archives: Niki

About Niki

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

Bird and flowers (Or: New graffiti in the Wagenstraat)

Marco and I spotted some beautiful graffiti in the Wagenstraat in The Hague’s city centre.

Beautiful, isn’t it? if you live in The Hague and you want to check it out yourself, go to the Wagenstraat and then find the side street called Wagenstraat (no, that’s not a typo). The side street is around the corner from a Chinese restaurant, Kaa Luu Palace.

For something completely different, check out this article over at dutchnews.nl: Cameras in Veluwe capture clearest footage of wolf in NL to date. Yep, wolves! In the Netherlands. Yikes. But good for the ecosystem. The Veluwe is a hilly, forest-rich area in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands. See also the Wikipedia article about the Veluwe in English. It sounds like a pretty relaxing place to visit. If you avoid the wolves that is!

Categories: The Hague | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Aged cheese (Or: Jokes at a local Albert Heijn)

Here’s a silly joke about cheese for you, spotted at the local grocery store, Albert Heijn:

In English: “Age isn’t important, unless you’re cheese!” Haha. Such a silly joke. But a bit of personality at a chain grocery store as big as Albert Heijn is always nice to see.

Here is an interesting article spotted at The Guardian: Slowly does it: chord changes in John Cage’s 639-year-long organ piece. Or check out the article in Dutch over at at nos.nl.

The name of the work is As Slow As Possible (ORGAN/ASLSP) and it started playing in 2001. According to the Wikipedia article, there have been 14 chord changes to date, with the previous chord lasting 6 years and 11 months. Chords are changed by adding or removing organ pipes.

The performance is scheduled to end on September 5, 2640… It’s hard to imagine that.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Everyday purchases | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Podcasts (Or: Back in the groove)

Back in 2017 and 2018 I listened to a lot of podcasts during work. At that time I had a different job, still at the same company as today, and I found it easier to put in my headphones and “get in the groove”, as it were. Since last year I have a different job, and at this job it is all but impossible to listen to podcasts during working hours. That’s fine, it’s a different job.

Enter corona times. While everyone else is saying their podcast listening hours are decreasing due to not having a commute, mine are increasing again. And I like that a lot.

One of the Dutch podcasts I listen to is Echt Gebeurd (“Really happened”), which features people telling true stories that they experienced in their life. Podcasts range generally range from 10 to 15 minutes. It’s also the perfect podcast to listen to right before bed. The only problem? Since Friday I am finally caught up again. Eek! Here are some episodes for you:

Episode 222 Storyslam: Paulien Cornelisse This special episode is in English. (The 40 second introduction is in Dutch of course.) And the fact that it is told in English is important – it’s about language and how confusing it came be.

The rest of my suggestions are all (of course) in Dutch:

Episode 207 Via Internet: Alex Ploeg Warning: it takes an unexpected, sad turn in the second half. It is 1998 and student Alex Ploeg creates an email address. It turns out that the email address already belongs to someone else.

Episode 225 Met de auto: Willem Eekhof (met de auto = by car). Willem has two things: a desire to have kids and a Suzuki Splash. I don’t think I will forget this one. It grabbed my attention and didn’t let go all the way through.

Episode 263: Naakt: Sytse Wilman (naakt = naked). A beautiful summer’s evening six years ago. One moment Sytse is sitting with his wife on scaffolding, the next moment he is under water.

Episode 168: Gevecht: Eva Rovers (gevecht = violence). While on vacation Eva fights with the South China Sea.

There are many more, but those stick in my mind the most.

Categories: Learning Dutch | Tags: | Leave a comment

More than applause (Or: Shoes at the Malieveld)

While out walking today I spotted some shoes by the Malieveld. And by “some shoes” I actually mean hundreds of pairs of shoes. Today healthcare workers held a demonstration called #meerdanapplaus (more than applause). You can probably guess what that is about – it’s great that everyone claps for healthcare workers, but what about giving them a raise and hiring more workers to to prevent burnout? The sector did receive an 1000 euro bonus and is slated to receive a 500 euro bonus next year but more could be done.

Due to the corona restrictions, the healthcare workers couldn’t be there in person, so they sent their shoes instead. (After the demonstration the shoes will be sent to various charities.)

In a similar vein, do you remember my post about Irma Sluis, the Dutch sign language interpreter who stole the hearts of thousands with her “panic buying” sign? In Dutch panic buying (or hoarding) is translated as hamsteren, since hamsters are known to squirrel away food. Since there was no official sign for that term in Dutch sign language, it was created earlier that day.

The Tweede Kamer (Dutch House of Representatives) passed a motion earlier this week to recognize Dutch sign language as an official language (nos.nl, article in Dutch). The language is used by about 15,000 residents. The law also states that Dutch sign language interpreters must be used more often by the government, for example during important press conferences. The article mentions the fact that sign language courses have seen a huge boost due to the “Irma” effect, although there is still more that could be done. At least it is something positive to come out of this crazy year.

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A bit of cuteness (Or: Practicing for his new job?)

Today’s story can officially be labeled “cute” – a boy in a nearby town decided to pretend he was also a football referee. And get his exercise in at the same time, apparently.

The full article at omroepwest.nl (in Dutch) can be found here. In short, it talks about how the five year old ran down to the edge of the stands with about 10 minutes to go in the game and started following the movements of the referee. He even had a whistle he was using. His mother tried to get a photo with the referee after the game, however the referee hadn’t realized what was going on so he declined (he was busy with end-of-game activities after all).

After the referee went home he saw the viral video and realized what the mother had been asking. He then got in contact with the boy and brought along some football related items (a shirt as well as autographed red and yellow cards). And just to mention what kind of world we live in in 2020: the mother also mentioned that he politely took photos with her son at the door, rather than going inside. If you click on the article I linked to below the video you can see pictures of the items the boy received.

And, yes, the boy said he now wants to be a football referee when he grows up. Awwww.

Categories: Sports | Tags: | Leave a comment

One holiday closer to the end of 2020 (Or: Halloween spotted)

Okay. I’ll admit Halloween is not that big in the Netherlands. Each year you see one or two more stores with a small selection of items. And why am I thinking of Halloween you ask? Marco took some photos of a new Halloween display at the local Xenos:

Of course the best part of Halloween is the candy, but Marco said those display shelves were still empty and hadn’t been filled yet. Here’s hoping it happens soon!

And thanks to the Halloween display I’m transported back to our 2017 Disneyland Paris trip (Marco, Roger and I) where Frontierland was decorated in the style of the Pixar film Coco for Halloween:

Here’s a “Hmm. I never thought of that.” link for you:

Grounded beef? Airlines sell in-flight meals to earthbound travellers from theguardian.com. No joke. It even talks about the company GNS Nuts selling their first class mixed nuts to consumers at a discount. This company normally services American Airlines and United Airlines.

Oh, and the first commemorative coin featuring the Dutch King Willem-Alexander with a beard (nltimes.nl) has been released. I must admit I was shocked when I first saw him with a beard after last summer’s recess, but it’s hard to think of him without one now.

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Brownies? Spinach? (Or: Commercials are weird)

Let me paint a picture for you. In the Netherlands you will see this pattern frequently:

  • commercial #1 (normal length)
  • commercial #2 (normal length)
  • commercial #3 is the first commercial, reprised; shorter, about 5-7 seconds

I will admit that I have gotten used to this oddity. But a few days ago I found myself in a confusing situation.

  • commercial #1: Iglo spinach commercial
  • commercial #2: Dr. Oetker brownies commercial
  • commercial #3: a few more seconds of spinach
  • commercial #4: a few more seconds of brownies… and now I’m just feeling confused and slightly put off by the thought of making brownies. Ew.

Side note #1: I don’t think I liked spinach as a kid. But as an adult I like spinach, and enjoy having it every month or two. My favorite is deep freeze cream spinach, since it’s hard to clean fresh spinach.

Sie note #2: I have been in the Netherlands too long. I can easily type spinazie, the Dutch translation, but need to Google the English and triple check it to make sure I am spelling “spinach” right. Hmm. It still looks wrong.

Categories: Everyday purchases, Food | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sliding away… (Or: Collapsing canal wall in Amsterdam)

Here’s a strange news story from today:

The good news is that no one was hurt. And for those of us who like to see the destruction in action, there’s a 21 second video over at this nos.nl news article: Kademuur in centrum Amsterdam deels ingestort.

It’s Tuesday, so the Dutch public health institute has released the weekly Covid-19 numbers (from rivm.nl, in English). It’s actually good news, to a degree: we’re either stable in comparison to last week (number of infections) or doing slightly better (number of hospitalizations and deaths). Because there are more people getting tested, the number of positive tests has gone down as well. The only less than thrilling news is that The Hague has more infections than last week – 331 this week versus 278 last week.

There was also a press conference tonight, about six months after the first coronavirus patient was reported in the Netherlands. I can’t believe it’s been six months! The biggest update was that nightclubs and discotheques are not yet allowed to reopen, with no reopening date set at this time. The prime minister talked about how we are getting frustrated with the situation but we need to stay alert, especially as schools are reopening and people are coming back from vacation.

The Dutch corona app CoronaMelder (Corona reporter) will be delayed until about half September so that testing locations can be expanded first. It should have been in use nationally from today. It is currently in testing, and anyone who receives a notification from the test app can get tested without symptoms. However, at the moment the general country is being asked to only get tested if they have symptoms. These two policies obviously don’t match, hence the slight delay.

There’s more on the press conference over at nltimes.nl: Nightclubs to remain closed, frustration with Covid rules is understandable.

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

Let’s just skip to Christmas (Or: Kruidnoten spotted!)

Marco spotted some kruidnoten (Wikipedia) by the local Albert Heijn today. If you’re keeping track, today is 31 August. Traditionally they appear in the grocery stories by 1 September, although we spotted them on 23 August back in 2018. So we seem to be on track this year.

Flavored kruidnoten are also available already. Caramel sea salt, white chocolate, truffle, stroopwafel…
And some speculaas

Marco was sweet and bought some gevulde speculaas (Albert Heijn recipe) for us. It is speculaas cookies filled with almond paste. Yum yum yum.

Of course you can’t blame anyone for wanting to skip to Christmas (and New Year’s, and 2021…) in these crazy times. Give me a shout when you put up your Christmas tree. Good riddance to 2020, I say!

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

Good news! (Or: Longer opening hours at the Central Library)

Being the book nerd that I am, I am happy to read that The Hague’s Central Library would go back to its normal opening hours starting tomorrow, 31 August. The library branches in Escamp, Scheveningen and Segbroek will also have their normal opening hours from tomorrow. The rest of the libraries will hopefully go back to their normal opening times in the beginning of October.

Personally, I’m quite happy about this, as I used to make a quick trip to the library after work. But with the corona opening hours being 12:00-17:00 Monday-Saturday, this usually wasn’t possible. And something always came up to prevent me from going on Saturday…

View of the Central Library from Pathé Spui (movie theatre chain), March 2019

And if that does not give you enough of your library fix, the Central Library is also holding their annual book/film/cd sale next Sunday, 6 September from 12:00-17:00, on the 3rd floor. Or the 4th floor, if you’re American (see Wikipedia’s article about floor numbering in different cultures). Heh.

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

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