Foto’s

Paper planes (Or: Exhibit at city hall)

Do you know anyone who enjoys folding paper planes? Then you should bring them to The Hague’s city hall for an exhibition on paper planes (!):

Paper planes exhibit at The Hague's city hall, October 2018

You can also see each step of the folding progress and a stated degree in difficulty in making it:

Information at The Hague's city hall exhibition for paper planes

In total there are 100 airplanes on display.

Paper planes exhibit at The Hague's city hall, October 2018 (2)

It definitely beats the simple planes I folded growing up, that’s for sure!

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Girl with the pearl earring (Or: Keychain at VVV The Hague)

Over at VVV tourist information office, on the ground floor of the Central Library, you can find a rather special looking keychain of ‘Girl with the pearl earring’:

Girl with the pearl earring key chain at VVV The Hague

It looks pretty cool, although I can’t help but think she looks a bit annoyed at someone (in my opinion the shape of the dark brown eye piece makes it look like she is frowning).

Here’s a look at the actual painting on Wikipedia to compare.

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Grote Kerk in Breda (Or: Step back in time)

As mentioned in my last blog post, Marco and I spent our 5th anniversary in Breda. One of the places we visited was the Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) which was built between 1410 (!) and 1547. The church serves as a mausoleum for the first generations of the Nassau family (a total of 17 family members being buried there). After the Spanish invaded Breda, the Nassau family began to use the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Delft instead.

Here are some of the photos which I took of this magnificent church:

Grote Kerk in Breda, chandeliers

Grote Kerk in Breda, prayer candles

close up of prayer candles in a secluded part of the church

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5th wedding anniversary (Or: A trip to Breda)

My oh my, how time flies. It’s been five years since Marco and I got married! This year we went to Breda for a few days. Marco chose the location and hotel secretly. I must say – he chose well!

Breda is a city relatively close to the border with Belgium, with about 180,00 inhabitants. The only times I had been there was to transfer from one train to another, so it was new to me.

We stayed at the lovely Bliss Boutique hotel in the city centre. I can highly recommend it! Marco booked through booking.com, and thus didn’t have a chance to select a specific suite. However, it worked out wonderfully as we were placed in the Long Island suite.

It was perfect for us, as it comes with a separate sitting area (pictured below), an eating area, a king-size bed, a bath and double shower… the list goes on and on. The location was also great, being right next to the Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) in the heart of the city.

We also got complimentary prosecco and chocolates upon arrival, a welcome surprise as we hadn’t mentioned anything about it being our anniversary!

Bliss Boutique hotel, Long Island Suite, Breda

sitting area

Window at Bliss Boutique hotel, Long Island Suite, Breda

Yes, there was even a wooden boat hanging from the ceiling. And beautiful windows which let the gorgeous sky in…

While walking to the hotel, we went through Valkenburg park. It was beautiful, and luckily we had gorgeous weather for the mini-trip. We were in Breda from Tuesday to Thursday last week. Thursday was coincidentally the last day of summer-like weather in the Netherlands. Friday the weather suddenly changed and brought cold, wind and rain. We didn’t even need our jackets while in Breda. So much good luck there!

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Landscaping around the Grote Kerk (Or: The annoying stones are gone)

Earlier this year The Hague finished a renovation project around the Grote Kerk (Great Church). Some of the benefits included landscaping:

Landscaping around the Grote Kerk, The Hague 2018

Even better is the stonework which you can see nicely in this photo:

The Nutshuis, The Hague 2018.jpg

It’s hard to tell, but I did post another photo of the Grote Kerk back in March of 2013 which shows the old stonework. The reason it will always stick in my mind so well is because Marco and I got married nearby, in the old city hall. So it was a bit of adventure to be wearing (semi)-heels on the old stones!

Across the street is the Nutshuis, formally a bank. It’s now an art/cultural building. And yes, I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get another photo of the tourist tram.

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Cause and effect (Or: Train chaos by NS)

On Tuesday the train system here in the Netherlands, run by a company called Nederlandse Spoorwegen or more commonly NS for short, went to hell. Well, maybe not literally, but I am sure a lot passengers thought it was!

The craziness actually started around 17:45, when a 21-year-old shoplifter stole something from Albert Heijn at Schiphol airport and fled down the escalators to the train platform. As he noticed he was being chased – by the military police, due to shoplifting at a national airport! – he decided to jump into one of the train tunnels to get away. He was found and arrested anyway.

Amsterdam Centraal - stock photo from NS

Amsterdam Centraal – stock photo

But think about it – what happens when someone runs onto the tracks? The trains are immediately stopped, of course. Anything in the general vicinity. That was the begin of the chaos – Schiphol is an important hub for both travelers entering and leaving the country. But no, it gets even worse.

About an hour later, NS tweets there is a major issue with the railroad switches (which determine what direction a train should go in, this platform or that platform; this direction or that direction) in and around Amsterdam. Because of this, no trains can enter or leave the city. Amsterdam isn’t that far from Schiphol airport – about 15 minutes by train, give or take. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Around 20:00, NS reports that the situation has been fixed and they are bringing the system back online. Around 20:30, this proves not to be the case, with the train system around Amsterdam still down. By 22:00, NS has about 70,000 stranded passengers on its hands and is forced to shut down a train station at Amsterdam-zuid (Amsterdam south) because of overcrowding on the platform.

Passengers begin referencing a seldom used hashtag, #treinpoolen (car pools for train passengers) to try and get car pools organized for people to get in and out of the city. NS even references it in a tweet. It’s too complicated to bring in buses to get people home, since it is too overcrowded and most of the buses are in use elsewhere in the country for other ongoing construction projects. The NS does however promise to get the remaining passengers home that night, with roughly one train running every hour (manually) in each of the directions from Amsterdam. Around about 03:30 that night, the system is fully cleaned and restarted. The only hinderance left is that some trains might be shorter than normal Wednesday morning, since they aren’t in the right starting place anymore. The NS promises to look into the situation.

Later on Wednesday the report is released with the cause of the railway chaos (article in Dutch). It turns out that the thief running into the train tunnels and the major issue with railroad switches around Amsterdam are connected. Cause and effect. When the trains around Schiphol were forced to stop and remain in their current position, one of the trains found itself in a very unlucky place. It was sitting right above the area where the software determines whether a train goes this way or that way. The software thought that a train was repeatedly arriving, and so it repeatedly passed information about which platform to go to. Just over 32,000 times, or 32,768 in exact terms. With 16-bit software, this causes an integer overflow. At the same time, a worker tried to add a platform number by hand for this train. The two events together caused a minor meltdown. Here’s the official article about the cause (still in Dutch).

The crash caused some corruption in the data. Around 20:00, the corrupt data seemed to be removed, but when the system was re-started this was not the case. By 03:30 that night, the system had been fully cleaned and brought back online, just in time for the morning rush hour.

Categories: Amsterdam, Daily Dutch living, Transportation | Tags: | 4 Comments

A summer’s day (Or: Scheveningen is crowded)

One of the Dutch news sites NU.nl was featuring a video of the crowded beaches at Scheveningen, taken from a helicopter.

Today’s actually the last day for a while of weather that can be labeled “very good” for a while, with temperatures around 94F here in The Hague. We should also be getting a bit of rain tonight, hopefully, although it will do nothing for the drought conditions the country is experiencing.

On a brighter note, Marco and I visited Five Guys for a second time for some burgers and fries. This time I took a picture of the bulletin board where guests can leave reactions:

Five Guys bulletin board in The Hague, Aug 2018

There are of course a lot of wishes that Five Guys would come to someone’s country. And the ‘best milkshake in town’ paper makes me realized I’ve never had a milkshake at this fast food place. Maybe I should change that at some point…

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Mornings (Or: Breakfast at Lebkov)

Lebkov in The Hague is one of my favorite places to drink a coffee (an americano!) while studying or reading a novel. The latest visit saw me enjoying an americano with a large croissant. Yum!

Breakfast at Lebkov, The Hague

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Cleanup in the city centre (Or: The end of the Volvo Ocean Race)

A photo from a few days ago. A large city truck stopped to grab one of the billboards advertising for the Volvo Ocean Race which ended in June:

Removing billboards for the Volvo Ocean Race in The Hague

This year the race ended in The Hague, so the city made it part of Scheveningen’s Feest aan Zee (Seaside Celebrations). This annual programme marks the 200th anniversary of Scheveningen’s founding.

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De jeugd van Tegenwoordig (Or: Parkpop here in The Hague)

Parkpop, a large free music festival, was held in The Hague a few weeks back. Roger, Marco and I went there to see the Dutch group De jeugd van Tegenwoordig or ‘The youth of today’. The first album was released in 2005.

Their newest album is called “luek” which is an intentional typo of the Dutch word “leuk”. Leuk translates to something like nice/fun/amusing. You can even see the typo, since the album cover in the image below is how MS Word would mark the typo (word highlighted in red, with a red squiggly line underneath saying it doesn’t recognize the word).

De jeugd van Tegenwoordig by Parkpop 2018.jpg

I’ll admit that this isn’t my type of music (the least of which because I can barely understand their Dutch when they are singing in person) but I do like the intro to Sterrenstof, which translates to Star dust.

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