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Jumbo City (Or: Competition in the city centre)

A new grocery store is moving in to the city centre! A Jumbo City grocery store will be opening on the Grote Marktstraat on 4 December, which means competition for the local Albert Heijn. A little competition never hurt anyone, though…

For the non-Dutch speaking among us: it’s pronounced Yumbo, not Jumbo.

The store will be opening in what was previously the Marks & Spencer was (which I still miss for its food options – never cared about the clothing lines).

Flyer for the opening of the store on Grote Markstraat

One cool thing: the inside of the flyer had a map of the store layout. You don’t see that too often, since stores prefer you wander around and see everything.

Finding your way

Hopefully it lasts. It’s not bad to have more grocery store options in the city centre. Although there is also a Jumbo by the Holland Spoor train station already, it is quite small and didn’t have the same inventory as other Jumbos do.

Categories: Everyday purchases, The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

New bus station (Or: Den Haag Centraal)

The bus station at Den Haag Centraal is now ready for use! There’s still a bit of construction going on, but passengers can use the new area.

Here is how it used to look:

Photo taken by Steven Lek and downloadable at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Den_Haag_Central_station_busplatform_2019.jpg

Note that the bus lanes are perpendicular from where passengers enter the area to catch a bus (so that the non-HTM buses tend to be all the way at the end, a bit of a walk).

And here is how it looks now:

This photo is taken from the entrance to the bus area. Now the bus lanes are parellel to the passenger, with large boards and information about departure times over each lane so that you can quickly see which bus lane you need to go to. There’s also a lot more light in the area, which is a huge contrast to the shadow-filled spaces the previous bus station had.

It’s definitely a welcome change to the previous version. If you have time and you’re in The Hague, go check it out!

Categories: The Hague, Transportation | 2 Comments

Graffiti all around (Or: Step in the Arena)

Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.

That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.

Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:

And finally, a claw crane game:

It was definitely a great spot to visit and one I can recommend (although it was about a 20-25 minute walk to get there).

Categories: Marco&Niki, The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

Cleaning day (Or: Hard to reach places)

Well, even those windows need to be washed.

An early morning photo from the inside of De Passage (Dutch Wikipedia article) while the windows were being cleaned.

This covered shopping area was first opened in 1885, making it the oldest shopping centre still in use in the Netherlands.

Categories: Shopping, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

Cinnamon (Or: Limited edition coke flavors)

Spotted at the local Albert Heijn a few weeks back:

Neither Marco nor I wanted to try the flavor, as it does sound a bit weird. But I always enjoy taking photos of the weird drink flavors companies up with (or weird potato chip flavors, in the case of Lay’s).

Categories: Everyday purchases, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

In plain sight (Or: Squatting in Amsterdam)

On Friday Roger, Marco and I went to Amsterdam to see a performance of The Book of Mormon musical. Along the way we spotted a building that definitely wanted to be noticed:

“Kraken” is the Dutch translation of squatting, or taking over a building or residence currently not in use. Squatting in the Netherlands goes back to the 60s (Wikipedia). “Kraken gaat door” means that the squatting hasn’t stopped, regardless of the action the government takes against them.

The musical was held at Amsterdam’s Carré theatre. It’s a beautiful theatre, though a bit disconcerting if you have a fear of heights.

I was thinking about how cool that backdrop would be as a background on my iPhone.

And above is a look at the seating, although I have been at places with even steeper seating arrangements. The best part was that the row in front of you was rather far down, so you don’t have to worry about someone tall in sitting in front of you.

Categories: Amsterdam, Culture | Leave a comment

High wind causes detour (Or: Danger of falling glass)

For the last few months the walkway between the train station The Hague Central and the city centre is closed whenever there are high winds (article in Dutch). Pedestrians must take a short 5 minute detour via the Bezuidenhoutseweg towards Herengracht.

This measure is taken whenever the wind speed is over 50-60km or 30-37 mph. The reason? Four windows broke in June and July in the Dutch ministries office building pictured below, although at the time summer heat was considered the reason. It is not that big a deal, since it’s for everyone’s safety. Still – sometimes you just want to get home. Especially when it’s dark and late.

This was the scene again Friday night, so I decided to take a photo. It’s probably a thankless job, telling annoyed tourists that they have to walk around…

Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

Horses and trumpets (Or: Practicing for Prinsjesdag)

Last Sunday Marco and I were enjoying coffee at the central library when we saw a commotion outside the window. The police were practicing with the royal horses in advance of Prinsjesdag (held last Tuesday), with the route going past the library.

The final day of practice is traditionally held the day before the event, with the horses being trained on the beaches of Scheveningen. The horses have to navigate loud crowds, fireworks, sudden movements, etc., as preparation for the ceremony.

Categories: Culture, Holidays, The Hague | Leave a comment

Disney+ (Or: Dutchies are the guinea pigs)

Marco and I are now guinea pigs!

As of a few days ago, Disney+ is available in the Netherlands as a free trial. (Yay!) Officially it launches in the US, Canada and the Netherlands on 12 November, but Dutchies are able to sign up for free to test out the service for two months. Of course, the catch is that if you don’t unsubscribe before 12 November you pay the subscription fee automatically. Either €6,99/month or €70/year.

Marco and I signed up today. We first tried to sign up on our Apple TV, however the payment options were limited (only iTunes?) and there was no option to choose a yearly subscription. Therefore we instead completed the account setup via the website and then simply logged in on the Apple TV after the account was set up.

Since it is a free trial all of the extra “releasing on 12 November” type content isn’t there yet, however there is plenty of existing content from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic to choose from. Way more than I could name here, except I’ll list some nostalgic films: Cool Runnings, Three Musketeers, Escape to Witch Mountain, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Dad told me I wore out my VHS tape with that last one… I can see that.

There was one thing I noticed while watching some Pixar shorts (5-6 minutes each): anything with written words was translated into Dutch. See here:

The banner across the front door says Welkom Eerstejaars! or in English: Welcome Freshmen! The short was about a college party with the Monsters’ Inc. crew. There were no subtitles and no Dutch in the credits at the end, but there was still Dutch in this scene. I think it is a Pixar thing though – I can remember that Finding Dory also translated the signs in the movie into Dutch. I find it amusing for sure.

Otherwise: how cool is it to have all of this cool content at our fingertips? And to be the first country to get it? Ha!

Categories: Everyday purchases | 2 Comments

TGI Fridays (Or: Another American restaurant invades)

Last April a new restaurant opened in The Netherlands: TGI Fridays. It’s an American restaurant chain that has over 500 locations in the United States with an additional 300+ locations outside of the United States. Since April 2018, one of those locations is here in the Netherlands. In the Hoog Catharijne mall in Utrecht, to be precise.

In case you are wondering, the name comes from the American phrase “Thank God it’s Friday”, which is also often shortened to “T.G.I.F.”.

Marco and I visited the mall last month and we ended the evening with dinner at TGI Fridays. Yum!

My mini burgers and fries
Marco’s wing platter

As usual the only sticking point was never knowing what language to speak: when we came in, the hostess (person who greets you and takes you to your seat) spoke English. The first waiter spoke Dutch and the second waiter spoke English. Hmmm… That happens a lot, though. Must be something to do with mine American accent (haha). Although I also had the impression that some of the staff only spoke English.

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream and coffee

For dessert, Marco and I split warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream, which went well with my coffee. I really enjoyed the ice cream; it was frozen enough that it didn’t melt instantly.

Overall the food was good and I loved the decor. For instance, take a look at the chair in the background of the dessert photo – it’s covered in American flags and other American trinkets. Anywhere else and it would look tacky, but it works here.

Marco also noted at the end that they used an American style “receipt/check book”, which included a slot for a credit card which sticks out over the edge of the book. That way the waiter knows there is a credit card inside when the book is closed. See also this link (Amazon.com).

Categories: Food, Utrecht | Tags: | 2 Comments

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