The Hague

Helping hand on a hot day (Or: French restaurant LaSalle)

The Netherlands has been in the grips of a record-setting heat wave this week, with at least five provinces reaching 40C (104F). Due to the fact that The Hague is so close to the North Sea, we didn’t quite reach those temperatures – for us it was more like 36-37C (96-98F).

However, most people don’t have air conditioning in their homes. Why would you, when temperatures like this only happen a few days of the year? Luckily public buildings and work places tend to be at least climate controlled. On days like this it is beneficial to go into work rather than being at home, where the temperatures inside can easily hit 84-86F.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this table outside of LaSalle, a French restaurant here in The Hague city centre:

Free water (for both you and your pet) at La Salle

The sign says ‘Pak maar!’ or ‘Help yourself!’. They even thoughtfully put out a water bowl for pets, either dogs on a leash or neighborhood cats.

You have to understand that water fountains are almost unheard of in this country, both indoor and outdoor. The city and water company Dunea are trying to increase the amount of free water spots in the country, but that takes time.

To see free water on a record setting day – Thursday it was 40.7C (105F) in Gilze en Rijen (Google Maps) – is a step in the right direction.

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Lady on the bench (Or: Statue in The Hague)

Not far from the Peace Palace you can find a lady sitting on a bench, watching the world go by. And not just any lady, but Anna Pavlovna of Russia, Queen Consort to the Netherlands back in the 18th century. She married Willam the II in 1816 and had five children. If you read the Wikipedia page you’ll notice how odd it is to have a statue here – apparently she wasn’t a fan of the Netherlands and preferred instead to be in what is now Belgium (or better yet, Russia). But okay, the statue itself is still very beautiful.

A bit dusty, but a very pretty statue. Added in 1999 by the Russian architect Alexander Taratynov.

A bit further along the path you come across the Peace Palace. I had a bit of luck that day in terms of weather – no grey skies that day. (Unlike today!)

Blue, blue, and a bit of red flowers…
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New Papa John’s location (Or: More pizza by The Fred)

“The Fred” or De Fred is a neighborhood in The Hague, a shortening of the street name Frederik Hendriklaan, where the heart of the neighborhood can be found.

Last Monday a new Papa John’s pizza location opened on The Fred. It’s the first one in The Hague, although there are already locations in nearby Delft and Zoetermeer. It’s originally from the United States.

Waiting in line for free pizza

And of course (like what Dunkin’ Donuts does with new locations) the first 100 visitors that day received a free pizza.

“Free pizza for the first 100 visitors — we ❤ The Hague”

I’m actually not much of a fan of Papa John’s pizza, although admittedly I haven’t had any in years. I’m more of a thick pizza/thick crust person. But some of my friends do like it, so to each their own!

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Rolled up ice cream (Or: Rrrollend food truck festival)

It’s that time of year again! The Rrrollend food truck festival has returned to The Hague. Today was the last day, although they will be back at Lange Voorhout from August 9th to the 11th.

The highlight of this excursion this time around was the rolled up ice cream (Wikipedia), which I have never had before. The food truck was manned by a team out of Rotterdam (Facebook). It is a semi-solid ice cream made of cream, milk and sugar. The trick is that it is placed on a cold surface (chilled to -20 degrees) while it is being worked on. Check out this photo from the Wikipedia page:

Photo from Wikipedia user Thomson200 

Once frozen, you can roll up the ice cream as shown above.

Our mango mix rolled up ice cream from Friday
Today’s forest fruit rolled up ice cream. The rolling up didn’t go as well, but it was just as delicious!
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Day of Remembrance (Or: Jewish monument of The Hague)

Today was a Holocaust Day of Remembrance in The Hague for the Jewish population. There was a small ceremony held in the city centre in the afternoon to remember those who were lost during WWII.

The Jewish monument in The Hague – at Rabbijn Maarsenplein, a Jewish neighborhood prior to WWII

You can read more about the monument at the official website (nl | en). Also something interesting: some of the flowers came from various embassies, including Germany, Austria, and Israel. Others came from citizens.

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Flowers in the sun (Or: A spring day)

Here are a few more photos from last weekend’s gorgeous sun:

The shape of the purple-pink flowers is especially eye-catching.
These bright red flowers are along the water by the Buitenhof
Flowers in the foreground, monument to Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach in the background.

The stone building on the right is the former American embassy of The Hague, which since moved further away from the city centre. The monument in the distance is to Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, a Dutch colonel back in the 18th century.

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Warm weather (Or: Who needs a jacket?)

Yesterday I had the day off so I went for a walk. The weather has been great for the Easter holiday: 70-75F with a ton of sun. One of the places I walked through is the Binnenhof, a place mentioned a lot on this blog. I like going there and watching the tourists, actually. It’s weird to live somewhere that tourists visit. So I go there and watch the families and friends excitedly taking photos of this and that…

Here is my photo, with the beautiful blue sky behind.

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Time to vote! (Or: 2019 provincial elections)

Today the Netherlands can vote for the 2019 provincial elections and for the local water authority (English Wikipedia link). The first election is also indirectly important because the provincial members elected today will vote for the Senate members in May.

Voting at The Hague’s city hall

There are many places to vote, including 68 train stations (link in Dutch) as well as in the two Dutch parliamentary buildings (Eerste Kamer, Tweede Kamer, or Senate and House of Representatives in English). It’s the first time the Senate has been open as a voting location. But for me, I like the city hall as it is quite photogenic.

As you might have guessed, “stem” means vote.

Personally I can only vote for the local water authority, as the provincial elections are only open to Dutch nationals. This makes sense. But it is still nice to be able to vote for the water authority and (back in March 2018) the local government.

Voting was very fast – when I arrived there was no line. Of course, I deliberately waited until a bit later in the morning. When I left a line had started to form, so it is simply a question of luck.

There was also an elections desk where you could go with questions and for voting-related arrangements. I realized later that this was the help desk in the weeks leading up to the election (therefore it was not in use today).

Not sure what that apple is doing on the ground. When I took the photo I hadn’t even seen it.

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To celebrate the good weather (Or: By Hofhouse)

Full disclosure: this picture was actually taken at the end of June last year, on a Friday. The weather was spectacular that day. It was taken at Hofhouse, here in The Hague. The only drawback is they aren’t open in the weekends, although that makes sense since they are reliant on the traffic to Central Station.

Marco and I enjoying a beer at the start of the weekend last year

This week’s weather has also been great, considering it is mid-February. The weekend and the last few days have been 15C-18C (about 60-65F). Of course, the weather gets colder after today, but still – we are still above average temperatures tomorrow.

And it’s not even March yet… kind of scary, when you think about it!

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Wrapped in fog (Or: Buitenhof in The Hague)

Last week I took a photo of the Buitenhof here in The Hague:

And a photo where the flags are less prominent:

It was a cold day that day. Whereas this past Saturday we had temperatures of almost 60F (15C), with similar temperatures expected this weekend. Time to sit outside for hours soaking in the sun!

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