Here is a look at the Buitenhof from the other side, facing Plaats (“Place”, a plaza in the city centre). Read more about the plaza at the Dutch Wikipedia article with Google translate active. That page includes an image of Johan de Witt’s statue, a politician who was murdered in the 17th century. According to one legend the statue points to the ground to show the spot he was murdered…
What drew my eye when taking this picture was the two different shades of green for the trees on the island in the middle of the Buitenhof.
Random link of the day: a group of business owners from the city of Utrecht have created a YouTube video celebrating the opening of hotels, restaurants and cafés this coming Monday:
The song is Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life, with a different text.
And today it was announced that the long anticipated Formula 1 race coming to Zandvoort is officially cancelled (article from dutchtimes.nl). The reason? It was going to be the first F1 race in The Netherlands since 1985 and the track organizers didn’t want to race without fans being able to come and experience it. (I think the real reason is there is no possible way they could keep the fans away, regardless of what they did.)
All around The Hague you see the same thing: restaurant and café owners re-arranging outside tables and chairs in preparation for the big re-opening this coming Monday at 12:00. Do we get more space if we set them out like this? Or if we set them out like this?
In that post the plaza was empty, but now the plaza is again full of tables and chairs, with gates surrounding each restaurant’s area. This is to help with crowd control – visitors can no longer arrive from any angle but instead need to use designated entrances and exits.
In other news, the prime minister announced that sport schools, wellness centers, saunas and casinos will be able to open earlier than originally announced: 1 July instead of 1 September. Provided that the coronavirus situation is under control at that point, of course.
And here is some cool news for you: SpaceX/NASA is still on track to bring two astronauts to the International Space Station in a few hours – the first manned launch for SpaceX and the first since 2011 for NASA. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:33 PM EDT or 22:33 for those of us in The Netherlands. I generally watch it on my TV’s YouTube app – SpaceX has a channel there. You can also view the launch at SpaceX’s website.
ETA: looks like the launch was aborted due to bad weather. Boo! The next launch opportunity is Saturday at 3:22 PM EDT or 21:22.
I hope everyone is doing okay on this seemingly long Tuesday – only three more working days until a holiday (Ascension Day). Yay! Our last holiday until Christmas. Boo!
Here is a photo of an “Ik mis je” sign in the window of the Cheesecake Company. These signs have been appearing in the windows of restaurants and cafés all over The Netherlands. It stands for: I miss you.
It’s less than a week until restaurants, cafés and terraces can open again (with limitations). I’m sure half of the country is looking forward to it… should prove interesting.
On Thursday Marco and I went for a long walk. It was a great day to do so – a day off and temperatures around 26C / 79F. It was a bit weird to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but I loved it.
On the way back we found ourselves at the “back” of the bus platform at The Hague Centraal train station. I honestly didn’t even know there was a path back there. You learn something new every day!
The bus platform was remodeled last year so that the bus lanes were more easily accessible. Previously if you wanted the last bus you needed to cross every bus lane to get to it. Now if you want the last bus you only need to walk to the end of the pedestrian area and then cross over to your desired bus.
I will happily tag this post as “Spring” because the weather was just that good. Much better than the slightly grey, will it rain or won’t it sort of day that we had today.
Last week Marco and I noticed another poem hanging on the wall of one of the buildings in the city centre:
It’s also on the Grote Markt, across the street from MediaMarkt at the Lust poffertjes restaurant (Instagram | Facebook). In English it reads:
A while ago there was war and occupation here
Even so peace, freedom and joy returned
The sun always came back from behind the clouds
This will happen again now, we don’t know when
but it will happen for sure
We live in the now
With the joy from before
And the hope for tomorrow
The sun will come again
A few days ago I decided to walk through the Palace Gardens. You can see that it is getting busier, however logical that is. When I was there in late March there were only a few people around, including a man who sounded like he was coughing up a lung. I decided to not wander in his direction, I must admit.
On Sunday the beach pavilions in Scheveningen told The Hague government that they were going to open more facilities on Wednesday, earlier than the planned 1 June opening date set by the Dutch government. They want to rent out beach chairs and open up the toilet facilities.
And why do they want to open on Wednesday? Because Thursday is a holiday with a great weather forecast (26C or 79F). And why do they need to do so? Because the beach pavilions are bleeding money and say they won’t survive if they don’t open early (article in Dutch). They said they would all open up and if the government didn’t like it they would need to fine all 70 pavilions. Of course, fines range anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 euros…
The answer arrived from The Hague city government later on Monday: no, you cannot open early (article in Dutch). Like other restaurants in the country, you can only be open for takeaway at the moment. The Hague government also mentioned that it wouldn’t be fair to the city centre if the beach could open their terraces early and the city centre could not. That article also mentions a point of contention that the pavilions in Scheveningen have – other beaches do have more freedom to open more of their services, even though they are under the same rules as the rest of the country. The problem is that Scheveningen falls under a different public safety region than the other beaches do, and the other region has chosen to interpret the execution of the rules differently.
Personally, I think part of the problem that The Hague is trying to avoid is the obvious overcrowding of the beach area, but also overcrowding in the public transportation system. HTM (the regional bus and tram service) isn’t required to run their full transportation schedules until 1 June, the same day that face masks will also be required within public transportation due to the expected increase of travelers. I think people are starving for a bit of sun and any good weather they can find, and if they hear that the beaches are providing more services this week they will flock to them en masse.
Lastly, there will be another press conference tonight over the expected rules coming on 1 June, and I do expect them to stipulate that terraces and restaurants cannot open before 12:00 on 1 June, to prevent what happened with hair dresses here in the Netherlands as well as other countries: a lot of hair dressers opened at midnight. Can you imagine if all of the restaurants in The Hague tried to do the same?
Here is another random piece of art which I spotted at the end of a side street in The Hague:
And of course since it is the Netherlands you get to see a lot of bikes on each side of the alleyway. This is Bagijnestraat, a small side street off of the popular Lange Poten street, which includes stores, cafés and even the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives).
I’ve always wanted to write a blog post about this street!
Every time I walk past this street I have to laugh, but it seems so silly. The name of the street is Koediefstraat, which translates to Cow thief street. Hahaha. I’ll admit I had images of someone dragging an unwilling cow down this street while being chased by an unhappy army of Dutchies wielding pitchforks. But alas, the reason is a bit different.
If you go to the Haags Gemeentearchief website (The Hague city archive) and search for Koediefstraat, you’ll get two results for from the Straatnamencollectie, or the street name collection. The street had a few different names in the last 500+ years. One was Kromme Poten or Crooked legs but I’m not sure why. It was also named Wijnstraat or Wine street for a while due to the winery in the area. Another name was Burenstraat which was a reference to someone living in the area in the 1650s: Jacob van Buuren.
But the current name, Koediefstraat is likely a reference to Adriaan Janszoon Colijn whose nickname was Coedyff, which had a similar pronunciation to Koedief.
Also interesting to note: the painting on the side of the wall appeared recently; I don’t remember seeing it before. It caught my eye and reminded me that I wanted to do a blog post over the street name. There was no trace of it on Google Maps, whose most recent image was from June 2018.