Spotted in Rijswijk (Or: A stork sunning themselves)

A few weeks ago I was in Rijswijk (a nearby city) and I spotted a stork sunning themselves in a nearby park:

It was in the same area that I spotted a nest a few months ago:

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Rrrollend food truck festival (Or: Enjoying the sun)

We finally have some good weather here in the Netherlands! Unfortunately “good weather” in this case is about 19-20C, or 64-68F. But we take what we can get.

This past weekend was the Rrrollend food truck festival, this time by the Hofvijver. I am not sure if this is the first time that it was held there; usually it is at the Lange Voorhout or by Maliveld. People were enjoying the weather. Some were even sitting by the water, although maybe that was just to find a good seat — it was pretty crowded there after all. But dangling your legs over the water is a nice way to enjoy the sun.

A few weeks earlier Marco and I were at Anne & Max, a (chain) café found throughout the Netherlands. Check out the cool pattern on the cappuccino:

The cake in the background was a lime cake, but it was a bit drier than expected. It was still a fun time with Marco, though.

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Anyone feeling patriotic? (Or: A box of cupcakes)

Check out these red, white and blue cupcakes which I spotted at an expat store in the Mall of The Netherlands (yes, NL jumped on the bandwagon as every time I hear of the name I think of the Mall of America).

Sometimes with overly American branding I have to wonder if it was actually produced in the US or not. Companies make something that sounds American, they put an American flag on it and brand it American. But if you look closely you will see it was made in Europe.

And check out that price. €9,99 or $11.20. For 8 cupcakes!

Another thing that is very expensive here is a box of Cheerios. Those are also about €10 each, unfortunately.

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Tulips at the Spuiplein (Or: A few photos from last month)

I forgot to post a few photos that I took last month of the gorgeous tulips by the Spuiplein in The Hague (in the city centre). In the background you can also see the artwork that commemorates M.C. Escher on the wall of the city hall. I posted about that at the end of March.

And here is a close up of the tulips:

You have to love the color!

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Flags at half mast (Or: Remembrance Day and Liberation Day in the Netherlands)

A few days ago I found myself near the Peace Palace in The Hague. This was on 4 May, otherwise known as Nationale Dodenherdenking or National Remembrance of the Dead day. You have a few monuments to the war near the Peace Palace. One of them is The Hague Resistance and Liberation Memorial which commemorates those who lost their lives in The Netherlands during WWII. Here is the official website for the Memorial (in Dutch).

And on 5 May the Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day, which in comparison to the more somber Remembrance Day is a day for festivals and celebrating one’s freedom. A lot of cities hold festivals on 5 May.

Pictures from the festival in The Hague (at the Malieveld), in Dutch at

And because I couldn’t not take a photo of it, here is an impressive looking tree which is also near the Peace Palace. It is huge! I would love to sit under its shade and read a book for a while.

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King’s Day in The Hague (Or: Flags everywhere)

Today is King’s Day in the Netherlands. At the very least, it is a nice day off! It celebrates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, although most people use it as an excuse to head into town and enjoy a lot of good music and alcohol. (Seriously, walking into the local supermarket, the first thing on display was six-packs of beer. They know where their money is made!)

Dutch flags on display for the holiday with the Grote Kerk (“Big Church”) in the background.

You can also check out the King’s Day Google doodle. The doodle celebrates tompouces, a pastry which is normally pink. Unless it is King’s Day, and then it is bright orange.

Chilly but sunny start to King’s Day after a busy night of partying from The day before King’s Day is known as King’s Night and most of the major cities have music festivals. For instance last night The Hague had The Life I Live festival in the city centre.

There are two main activities on King’s Day: 1) The king and his family always visits one city each year. This year was Rotterdam. 2) A lot of cities have “free markets” (Vrijmarkten) which is basically a huge garage sale – one day a year everyone in the nation is out selling things. Or buying things. On that day people can clear out all of their junk and old items and sell them in specifically designated spots in each city.

Here is a live blog from NOS (the national news channel). It is in Dutch but at the very least you can check out the pictures to get a sense of how crowded it was/is!

And here is the live blog from the local news service, Omroep West, also in Dutch. But Google Translate is your friend. (And mine too, sometimes.)

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The first signs of spring (Or: Tulips have been spotted)

On my way to Kelly’s Expat Shopping last weekend I spotted a lovely bunch of flowers planted along the sidewalk:

It is a good reminder that spring is coming, although it certainly hasn’t arrived yet. There have been a few days of full sunshine and blue skies, but it quickly turns cold and grey again. We were promised good weather this week but then the wind direction changed, coming from the east rather than the sea to the west. Brrr.

Speaking of spring… you have a few more days to pick up free seeds in preparation for National Seeding Day. This is possible due to an initiative from The Pollinators (article in Dutch). The goal is to have more flowers which are bee friendly.

If you are here in The Netherlands, don’t forget that King’s Day (April 27) is fast approaching. See also this article about the holiday at The night before (aptly named “King’s Night”), The Hague celebrates with The Life I Live festival with lots of little podiums throughout the city centre.

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Optical illusions and mind bending art (Or: The year of Escher)

The Hague announced that in 2023 The Hague will “be the city of Escher”. M. C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist born in June 1898, 125 years ago. To mark the occasion, exhibitions have been scheduled at the Escher museum and Kunstmusuem.

You probably know Escher from his impossible staircase (English Wikipedia) or his self-portrait in a reflecting sphere. One of my favorite jigsaw puzzles that I have worked on is Day and Night. I am really looking forward to when I can do that puzzle again.

The Hague’s city hall currently has a huge display honoring the artist:

It reminds me of the tribute they made in the same spot for the Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan back in 2017.

In 2023, The Hague will be the city of Escher (from the official website of The Hague)

The exhibit “Escher – Other World” is being held at the Kunstmuseum through 10 September 2023.

The Escher exhibition” is being held at the Escher Museum through 1 October 2023.

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Birds and buses (Or: Spotted around town)

This past Wednesday was the Dutch provincial elections and the water board elections (English Wikipedia). Both Marco and I voted (Marco for both; I could only vote for the water board as a non-Dutchie).

While shopping in the city centre that day I noticed a stembus or “voting bus” from the local news website Omroep West at the Grote Markstraat:

The bus was an old diesel bus, and you could definitely smell it.

A few days ago I was in Rijswijk, a neighboring town just outside of The Hague. At the top of a building (about three stories high) I spotted a stork building a nest.

Pretty cool.

And, for a touch of randomness: Starlings put on nightly show above Amsterdam’s Sarphatipark, but poop coats neighborhood from

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Busy weekend (Or: Protests and demonstrations in The Hague)

Yesterday there were two major demonstrations in The Hague at the same time.

The first demonstration was organized by the Farmers Defense Force and held in the Zuiderpark (Dutch Wikipedia). As the name suggests, it’s a park southwest of the city centre. Originally the farmers wanted to protest by Malieveld, a large grass field not far from The Hague’s Central train station. However, today was the CPC marathon (CPC=city-pier-city) so preparations were already underway by Malieveld to get everything set up. Therefore the city instructed them that the protest needed to be held at the Zuiderpark.

The second protest was held by Extinction Rebellion and they blocked a major road by The Hague’s Central Station. In this case, the group did not officially approach the city to discuss arrangements, although The Hague knew it was going to happen due to social media.

One thing the city did was bring in large army vehicles and strategically place them in different parts of the city if they were needed. The farmers have been known for driving to The Hague in their tractors and generally causing havoc. See also a blog post about this a few years ago, before corona. Here is a look at some army vehicles positioned at the crossing of Grote Marktstraat and Spui.

In the end, the protest by the Farmers Defense Force went fairly well, with only one scuffle when a truck drove through a blockade at Zuiderpark, allowing about 20-25 tractors to come into the park. The farmers protested from 12:00-16:00 as scheduled and then started leaving at 16:00.

Compare that with Extinction Rebellion, who stormed the highway at exactly 12:00, blocking everything. Around 17:00, the police told them they had to leave. At 18:00, the police said anything who didn’t leave would get the “water cannon” treatment. A lot of people left at that point – getting wet on a day with temperatures just above freezing isn’t a good idea – but some stayed. And then seemed surprised when they got wet?

700 climate activists arrested at XR demonstration on A12 in The Hague, 4 activists became unwell from

[Dutch prime minister] Rutte criticizes XR’s blockade of A12, use of water cannons is their own fault from

Police use water cannon to end climate protest, 700 arrested from

Coincidentally, voting will be held this week for the provincial council and water authority elections, so it is a good time to vote and let your voice be heard, no matter who you want to vote for. Get out there and vote!

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