A photo taken a few months back, of a local bakery by the Holland Spoor train station, Marakesh bakery:
A very Spring-like photo, which is timely considering the weather of late. On the one hand we’ve had a few storms – storm Ciara two weekends ago and storm Dennis last weekend. In the United States these storms would be better known as winter storm Kade and winter storm Mabel. It’s interesting to think about how far these storms travel.
On the other hand the photo is ‘timely’ due to the fact that storm Dennis brought along warm temperatures, helping break the record for the warmest February 16 by 03:20 in the morning (around 56F) with temperatures in the southeast maxing out around 63F. The only problem is that the storm brought along a lot of rain and wind. The rain is luckily gone, but like the first storm the wind will hang around for a few more days.
Happy Chinese New Year! Yesterday The Hague and countless other cities across the world celebrated the holiday, signaling the start of the year of the rat.
Most amusing for me was the sea of red paper left behind from the parade:
New Year celebrations – Chinese or otherwise – are always a good excuse to set off some fireworks.
And here’s a look at one of the mini parades, led by a group from Nijmegen:
And another photo:
I don’t know… the year of the rat? But they are the first zodiac animal, and are seen as a sign of wealth in the Chinese culture. So there is that! If this is your zodiac sign, be proud of your ratliness (note: I made that word up).
Some months ago I was able to choose a gift for donating blood for the 15th time. I could not pass up the jigsaw puzzle that I saw – a 500 piece puzzle from Jan van Haasteren!
It’s specially designed for the Dutch blood bank, Sanquin and not available in stores.
Highlights include: the Sinterklaas in the upper right in the elevator, next to a prisoner stealing the pelican (Sanquin’s mascot), the guy in the business suit in the middle donating blue blood, and the gnome sitting patiently in the donation area on the right middle. Oh, and the gentlemen on the left side with the green shirt who is taking advantage of the policy of free snacks for blood donors.
The Netherlands has survived its night of fireworks. We did see one drunk guy (still holding his bottle of alcohol) walk up to a police car waiting at a stop light and talk to police agent for a few minutes. Maybe he was simply wishing them a happy New Year, who knows. By the time we crossed the street the police car was on the move again.
There is also a YouTube video available from user VerdierMedia PuntNL where he/she uses a drone to capture the fireworks over The Hague last night. Check it out!
Okay, I’ll admit – I don’t have a bike in the Netherlands so I am a bit biased with this post. However I was thrilled to hear that the shopping street on the Grote Markt would be closed to bikes this weekend+Monday and next weekend+Monday (article in Dutch). On a normal day it is dangerous trying to cross the street to get to the shops, but during Christmas…? Forget about it.
I’ll be honest – tourists and those not from The Hague have no clue where they should walk, which just angers cyclists even more. And I don’t think most cyclists know that there’s no official bike path on that street and that they should be adjusting their biking based on the movements of the pedestrian, and not vice versa.
If you’re interested, you can watch a time lapse of them re-doing Grote Marktstraat back in 2015. I will admit the street is much more beautiful now than it was, but the old street made it much more obvious that you were crossing a bike path.
Oh, and it’s still extremely busy in the city centre even without the cyclists!
It’s become a tradition – take a picture of the Christmas lights at Bijenkorf (a high-end department store – the name means beehive).
Here is 2019:
This year you have the addition of a digital advertisement board — which caused a bit of controversy when they were installed because of the noise and light pollution they caused. Things seemed to have died down since then, though.
Bijenkorf’s window displays are always a hit with the shopping crowd – each different than the last.
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.