The Hague

Summer cool (Or: Fountain by Centraal Station)

Here is a sign that the summer has returned to the Netherlands: they have turned on the fountain by Centraal Station, in the Anna van Buerenplein:

Since we’re now past 21 June I guess it means that summer can officially begin. And it looks like it will start with a bang – a small heatwave from Tuesday at any rate.

In other news:

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Malieveld (Or: Sit-ins, flowers, picnicking)

As I mentioned a few days ago, the mayor of The Hague refused to allow a festival against corona restrictions to happen today (see article from nltimes.nl). This was because the expected attendance grew from 100 to 10,000 and the organization billed it more as an “event” than a demonstration, including having DJs along with speakers. And since events aren’t allowed right now, it was only logical that it would not be allowed.

But as you might expect, this doesn’t stop everyone from showing up. There were about 10 arrests earlier this morning, of a group who refused to leave when the police requested that they do so. Some of the sticking points include the fact that the city has held two Black Lives Matter festivals in the last few weeks and that the Netherlands was poised to sign a corona measures law to replace the current emergency ordinances we have in place that are due to expire soon. That law has since been delayed amid some controversy that it impedes on fundamental rights (it would have even given police power over situations in private housing). See also this article from dutchnews.nl.

Around lunchtime the number of demonstrators had increased to a few hundred and everyone was asked to leave the Malieveld, including people sunbathing or exercising. Most of the demonstrators moved to the edges of the Malieveld but did not leave. A few hours later there are a few thousand people at the demonstration. The mayor did allow them to demonstrate until 13:30, but considering he said that around 13:05 or 13:10, I can see why that annoyed a lot of people.

Duizenden betogers nemen Malieveld over, politie sluit Binnenhof en winkelgebied af from ad.nl. ‘Thousands of protestors take over Malieveld; police close off Binnenhof and the central shopping area’. However the number of protestors does vary by news site. The police also described the area as ‘tense’ a while ago while local news reporters said it was fairly relaxed. So it does depend on where you get are getting your sources from.

Closing the Binnenhof is fairly standard procedure to prevent demonstrators from going there, and I don’t think the shopping area is closed in the city centre, more that they are keeping a close eye on who is entering it to make sure demonstrators don’t enter. (As much as possible – there are reports of demonstrators with ‘stop the lockdown’ shirts and demonstrators handing out flowers to random shoppers.) Oh, and I also saw a photo of group of demonstrators with ‘free hugs’ shirts on, which is no doubt done on purpose in these corona times. I also saw on Twitter that people were being encouraged to celebrate Father’s Day by having a picnic on the Malieveld.

At this point (around 14:30), some people have begun to leave the area. However football supporters have arrived (see the tweet above) and the police are asking people not to go to the city centre anymore. There’s also at least one helicopter flying overhead. With that being said – demonstrations in the Netherlands are peaceful, and it makes sense that emotions will boil over in this situation, on both sides.

The local news site does have a live stream (for now) on YouTube. They do report that the connection is a bit spotty at times.

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Viaduct art (Or: Hofvijfer mural by Centraal Station)

Have you seen the murals by the entrance to the Centraal Station yet? There are murals painted on both sides of the tram viaduct (used by trams 2, 3, 4 and 6) which you can view from the tram stops outside of the station.

Check out this mural of the nearby Hofvijver:

As I walking into the kitchen this morning to start breakfast I heard a loud BAM! A bird flew against our back window, or at least the door frame between the two windows. Either way, I found it lying on its back twitching, rolling from side to side in an attempt to get up. But it was pretty obvious it wasn’t going to last long; within 5-10 minutes it was dead.

After waiting the appropriate time to make sure it was dead (and admiring an unexpectedly beautiful patch of blue on its wings), Marco carefully used a broom to push it into a box and place it into the waiting garbage bag (which is itself was put into a second garbage bag). We disposed of it in one of the public trash containers on the street.

And that is our tale of “…at least the window didn’t break…”

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Modern stone (Or: Primark building in The Hague)

One of my favorite additions to The Hague in the last five years is the building that houses Primark. Primark is a budget department store which attracts customers in droves (I used to see tourists walk past holding 4 or 5 bags each). I took another photo of the building recently:

I love the color of the stone and the angles of the apartments above. And of course the blue skies definitely help.

In other news:

  • There’s a chance of a heat wave next week, with temperatures expected to be around 30C or 86F on Wednesday and Thursday. I know some of my American readers would go “Pffft! That’s nothing!” but keep in mind air conditioning is pretty rare in the Netherlands. And a lot of people are now working from home, so no office climate control for us! Time to break out the big fan.
  • The Hague forbids weekend protest festival against Covid restrictions from nltimes.nl. This was another group who wanted to protest at Malieveld. Originally there were supposed to be 100 attendees but then the organization decided to turn it into a ‘festival’ of sorts, altering speakers and DJs, so the expected attendance rose to 10,000. Considering festivals are banned at the moment, it’s no wonder that this demonstration was also banned. The decision was made by the mayor of The Hague this morning and the group then turned to the courts to get the ban overturned. The courts ruled earlier this evening that the ban could stay in place.
  • MOJO en Vodafone lanceren streamingplatform largerthan.live from vodafoneziggo.nl. MOJO (a ticket seller) and Vodafone (an internet and phone company) are together launching a streaming platform so that those with a virtual ticket can watch certain performances live from the Ziggo dome in Amsterdam. Fans can watch from their mobile devices or broadcast to the tv. They can also choose what camera angle they want. The most interesting point: at the moment the two companies say the streaming opportunities will continue even after things get back to normal. That could be interesting.
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Looking down Spuistraat at night (Or: Everything’s closed)

We’re now in mid-June which means the days are almost at their longest. This photo was taken just before 22:30 last night as the sun was setting:

I deliberately didn’t crop out the markings on the ground reminding people to keep their distance and to walk on the correct side of the street. It will be so weird to look at these photos in five years, I think.

I posted about this article recently, but this street is one of the twenty or so areas in the Netherlands which will have a lot of problems in the new ‘one and a half meters’ society – the street is way too narrow. See also ‘Haagse Spuistraat knelpunt bij anderhalve meter economie’ from omroepwest.nl

And here is an article with cats and trams! Sort of. Kat Simba gered na anderhalve week onder metrolijn E, also from omroepwest.nl. It tells the story of a cat that was trapped for about a week and a half under the track of metro line E. There’s a happy ending of course.

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Terraces on the way to Den Haag HS (Or: Blue skies)

The grey skies briefly disappeared this afternoon. It gave me a great opportunity to take a picture of the terraces near the Holland Spoor (HS) train station.

In other news:

  • Amsterdam plants mini-gardens around bins in drive to cut littering from theguardian.com – in the Netherlands you generally have either trash pick up once a week or your street has underground trash containers like those pictured in the article. The main drawback to underground containers is the likelihood that people will simply leave their trash next to the container if it is already full.
  • Verzorgingshuis ‘Het Uiterjoon’ wint het vaatje Hollandse Nieuwe from omroepwest.nl – the first herring catch of the year is always a big deal in the Netherlands, especially in Scheveningen with Vlaggertjesdag (Flag Day). Originally it marked the day fishing ships left Scheveningen to catch herring, but these days it marks when that season’s herring can legally be sold. Normally the first barrel of about 45 herring is sold at auction with the proceeds going to charity and then the following day the sale of herring is allowed nationwide. To give you an example of the prices, in 2012 the first barrel was auctioned for €95,000. However, due to the corona crisis the first two barrels were instead given away – one barrel went to a German hospital for their assistance with coordinating ICU patients (article in Dutch from duitslandinstituut.nl). The other barrel went to a Dutch nursing home, which you can read about in the original article above.
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Flowers alongside a canal (Or: Maliestraat)

Here’s a cute photo for today:

This is a canal at Maliestraat which is not far from – some of you might guess this – Malieveld. It was a bit of a grey day, just like today. A bit of rain here, a bit of rain there. Not enough to bring out your umbrella.

In other news:

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Small Dutch streets (Or: A look down Korte Koediefstraat)

Today’s photo comes from the Korte Koediefstraat, or Short Cow thief street. No joke. I posted about the nearby Koediefstraat a few weeks back, if you want to read about why the street is called that.

In other news:

  • you can take part in Quarantinekunst or Quarantine art. Artists have been placing artwork in their windows or garden, visible from the public street. Non-artists have offered up their windows and gardens for someone else’s art to be put on display. You can also donate to the cause. See the map of where the pieces of art can currently be found.
  • 68,759 people have been tested for the corona virus so far under The Netherlands’ policy of now testing any resident who requests it. This period is from 1 June to 9 June (yesterday). Most test results come back in 48 hours, although the original promise was to have test results within 24 hours. About 2.1% of the tests have come back positive. See also the NOS live blog from today.
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Roses and plaques (Or: Along the Zuidwal)

Happy Tuesday everyone. At least it is not raining…

Here are a few more photos from my walk along the Zuidwal last week. There were some eye-catching roses decorating some of the houses along the canal:

There were also a high proportion of mobility scooters in this area. You can just see one in the background behind the flowers.

I also saw a plaque marking the former residence of a famous writer:

That writer was Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known by his pen name Multatuli (Wikipedia.com). He is best known as the writer of Max Havelaar, a 1860 novel which cast a negative light on the issues with colonialism in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. I’ll admit I haven’t read it yet as it doesn’t really fit with the type of reading I normally do.

In other news:

  • Do you have issues with wearing a face mask and glasses at the same time which causes your glasses to start to fog up? If your face mask has elastic bands, try crossing them over your ears first to tighten up the face mask a bit. See also this image from i.imgur.com which I found on Reddit. I’ve also heard you should try cleaning your glasses with dish soap and then drying them with a glasses-friendly cloth. That leaves a tiny layer a soap on your glasses which can usually protect against your glasses fogging up – though not always unfortunately.
  • Opinion sharply divided about using an app to trace coronavirus cases (dutchnews.nl). Considering there was a data leak in the Dutch COVID-19 website Infectieradar last week, I can see why people are a bit nervous to download it (when it becomes available)
  • HTM blij met staatssteun: ‘Tien miljoen euro verlies in plaats van zeventig miljoen’ (omroepwest.nl) – HTM [The Hague’s public transportation company] is happy with the government’s support: 10 million euros loss instead of 70 million. Government support of Dutch public transportation companies is required due to the government asking them to run their full schedule even when passenger numbers are down. In that way the government can be sure that there is enough space for passengers who are using public transportation during this time.
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Archways (Or: Looking towards the Muzenstraat)

Earlier today Marco and I went for a short, quick walk. One of the places we walked through was the Muzenplein (translated to something like ‘Plaza of muses’).

The archway is what caught my eye. In the distance you see Muzenstraat (‘Street of Muses’). I like the use of browns and cyans in the building facades.

In other news:

  • Strandrobot raapt peuken op in Scheveningen: Gemeente Den Haag is eerste klant from ad.nl – Beach robot picks up cigarette butts in Scheveningen: The Hague government is the first customer
  • Tim Akkerman geeft toch geen concert in een vliegtuig from ad.nl – Tim Akkerman won’t be giving a concert in an airplane after all. The singer from the band The Ivy League was not happy with the Dutch prime minister saying vacations to some other European countries could restart from 15 June – with every airplane seat filled – while Dutch musicians are still not allowed to give open air concerts. He said he would rent out a large plane that would stay on the ground and give a concert for 500 fans. In the end, it looked like he was just trying to wake up the government a bit to their illogical thinking
  • Vrouw rijdt met brandende auto naar tankstation langs A1 from nos.nl – Woman drives her burning car to a gas station off the A1 highway. What the? Luckily gas station workers saw her coming and hit the emergency shutoff button just in time.
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