If you are looking for something to do in The Hague this summer, check out the sand sculptures at the Lange Voorhout. The World Championship Sand Sculpting 2018 is going on at the moment, with judging happening tomorrow. After that, the sculptures can be seen until 19 August! It will also be lighted at night, making it easy to visit at any moment.
The competition is held every three years. This year the Netherlands is the host country, with Japan, Singapore, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic competing. The theme is ‘200 years of sea, sand and …’ which also highlights Scheveningen’s Feest aan zee celebration.
Here’s a peek at how the sculptures look so far. First a look at the sculpture from the Netherlands (as the host country, they cannot enter the judging):
200 years ago: The wife looks back at the past longingly, while the husband looks forward to the future and what Scheveningen can be
Other sculptures include:
It’s official – Five Guys opens this Monday in The Hague!
Categories: Food, The Hague
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.
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
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.
The great thing about The Hague (and the Netherlands in general) is the random artwork and statues that can be found in the city. Here was a recent photo of mine:
And here is a close up of the statue:
It is on the Veenkade, near De Bieb and the old library, before it moved to the Spui.
Categories: The Hague
Marco had the good luck of being in Utrecht recently, although he wouldn’t describe it as good luck because he was there for work. But he did have the good luck to be able to visit the recently opened Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This American fast food restaurant opened its first location in Arlington, Virginia back in 1986. You can read more about the history of Five Guys.
I think for me the appeal is the simple menu. They mainly sell burgers and fries (duh) with a few hotdogs and sandwiches on the side. Of course they need to have a grilled cheese (tosti) to cater to the Dutch crowd.
Here is the menu in English:
(Did you see that in the milkshakes section they encourage you to add bacon to any shake?)
Categories: Food, Utrecht