The reference in the title is from the movie A ChristmasStory where the main character finally gets a decoder ring and can finally decode this week’s secret message – and it turns out to be as boring as “Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine.” That’s a childhood shattered…
For the past few months The Hague and other Dutch cities have been inundated with lots and lots of advertisements for an oat drink called Oatly It is supposed to be a replacement for milk. I haven’t tried it yet.
But I did get a cool picture last month of a building-high advertisement for their product. One thing the company is known for is their catchy advertisements. For instance there’s a similarly large one elsewhere in The Netherlands with the line “Only the best oat drink ads get to hang out on this corner”. It feels like most of the advertisements are unique, as there are many different ones to spot throughout the city.
Another smart thing they did? Advertisement everywhere in the city for a few weeks and then go on discount at the local supermarkt to get everyone to try it. It’ll be interesting to see if the product sticks around.
A new grocery store is moving in to the city centre! A Jumbo City grocery store will be opening on the Grote Marktstraat on 4 December, which means competition for the local Albert Heijn. A little competition never hurt anyone, though…
For the non-Dutch speaking among us: it’s pronounced Yumbo, not Jumbo.
The store will be opening in what was previously the Marks & Spencer was (which I still miss for its food options – never cared about the clothing lines).
One cool thing: the inside of the flyer had a map of the store layout. You don’t see that too often, since stores prefer you wander around and see everything.
Hopefully it lasts. It’s not bad to have more grocery store options in the city centre. Although there is also a Jumbo by the Holland Spoor train station already, it is quite small and didn’t have the same inventory as other Jumbos do.
The bus station at Den Haag Centraal is now ready for use! There’s still a bit of construction going on, but passengers can use the new area.
Here is how it used to look:
Note that the bus lanes are perpendicular from where passengers enter the area to catch a bus (so that the non-HTM buses tend to be all the way at the end, a bit of a walk).
And here is how it looks now:
This photo is taken from the entrance to the bus area. Now the bus lanes are parellel to the passenger, with large boards and information about departure times over each lane so that you can quickly see which bus lane you need to go to. There’s also a lot more light in the area, which is a huge contrast to the shadow-filled spaces the previous bus station had.
It’s definitely a welcome change to the previous version. If you have time and you’re in The Hague, go check it out!
Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.
That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.
Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:
Spotted at the local Albert Heijn a few weeks back:
Neither Marco nor I wanted to try the flavor, as it does sound a bit weird. But I always enjoy taking photos of the weird drink flavors companies up with (or weird potato chip flavors, in the case of Lay’s).
Yesterday The Hague was host to thousands of farmers and their tractors. The reason? Farmers protesting one of the government parties proposed reducing nitrogen emissions by 50% by reducing the number of livestock sold. This was after the Council of State (the highest Dutch administrative court) ruled that nitrogen levels were too high around some nature areas.
The farmers had already protested in The Hague on October 1st, also with their tractors. This caused a nation-wide traffic jam of 1,000km (620 miles) in the morning on their way to The Hague. Additionally, there was also a protest earlier this week in various provinces, with some less-than-desired outcomes in the Groningen province (including a farmer using their tractor to break down the door to the province building, another tractor ramming through blockades and narrowly missing a cyclist, etc.).
Since the farmers wanted to protest in the Binnenhof, which is never allowed, The Hague decided to rent out heavy equipment to block major streets into the city centre. This was also done to protect any shoppers Which wasn’t completely successful yesterday as there is a video on the internet of smaller tractors going through a side shopping street.
On Friday Roger, Marco and I went to Amsterdam to see a performance of The Book of Mormon musical. Along the way we spotted a building that definitely wanted to be noticed:
“Kraken” is the Dutch translation of squatting, or taking over a building or residence currently not in use. Squatting in the Netherlands goes back to the 60s (Wikipedia). “Kraken gaat door” means that the squatting hasn’t stopped, regardless of the action the government takes against them.
The musical was held at Amsterdam’s Carré theatre. It’s a beautiful theatre, though a bit disconcerting if you have a fear of heights.
I was thinking about how cool that backdrop would be as a background on my iPhone.
And above is a look at the seating, although I have been at places with even steeper seating arrangements. The best part was that the row in front of you was rather far down, so you don’t have to worry about someone tall in sitting in front of you.
For the last few months the walkway between the train station The Hague Central and the city centre is closed whenever there are high winds (article in Dutch). Pedestrians must take a short 5 minute detour via the Bezuidenhoutseweg towards Herengracht.
This measure is taken whenever the wind speed is over 50-60km or 30-37 mph. The reason? Four windows broke in June and July in the Dutch ministries office building pictured below, although at the time summer heat was considered the reason. It is not that big a deal, since it’s for everyone’s safety. Still – sometimes you just want to get home. Especially when it’s dark and late.
This was the scene again Friday night, so I decided to take a photo. It’s probably a thankless job, telling annoyed tourists that they have to walk around…