Thursday was King’s Day in the Netherlands, a holiday to celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Or to just enjoy a nice day off…
But the real fun happens the night before, as The Hague organises a festival called The Life I Live. I have written a few blog posts about it, including last year’s rainy celebration and the 2013 celebration (back when it was Queen’s night; the last one as Queen Beatrix addicted the throne the next day).
One of the many stages, set up at the Kerkplein (by the Grote Kerk)
Like last year, there was also an area set up for street art. This year’s theme must have been Mondriaan-inspired as there was a lot of primary colors in block formation.
A look at another side, which had just been started:
The third side:
And the last side – Marco’s favorite – a Mondriaan-inspired Transformer!:
Luckily the rain held off this year. It was cold – colder then even Christmas! – but bearable.
Just a sign I came across while wandering around The Hague:
Let op! spelende kinderen = Caution! Children playing
It looks like the kids spent their entire time outside throwing a ball at that particular sign, considering how dented it is…
Underneath you have a sign for bus 72, a temporary bus stop. It goes on to say that bus 72 replaces tram 6 and tram 12 for certain areas of the city during ‘wintery conditions’. Luckily we are now in April, so I assume we won’t be having any more ‘wintery conditions’.
Take down the sign and bring on spring!
I was looking through my phone recently and I came across a few photos that I had taken earlier in the year when Marco and I went to Bagels & Beans here in The Hague. The first time I had ever had a mochaccino… it was pretty tasty! I generally go for black coffee, but this choice was not to be ignored.
Marco’s cappuccino above and my mochaccino below
And a look at the apple crumble:
A month or two ago Marco and I went to The Cheesecake Company on Torenstraat here in The Hague for — you guessed it — cheesecake. It’s not the first time I’ve blogged about them and it won’t be the last. Marco and I even choose this cheesecake for our wedding cake, it’s that good.
During this visit I just had to take a photo of the “wall of cheesecake” that is prominently displayed:
A closer look reveals that it is Instagram photos:
It’s a really clever idea to bring a bit of color to the shop, as well as advertise what you make and your Instagram account in general.
It had been a while since we visited so we took our usual white chocolate cappuccino cheesecake (this was the flavor we chose to ceremonially “cut into” at our wedding):
And for a light, fresh flavor we chose lemon cheesecake:
If you’re in the neighborhood, I highly recommend a visit!
On Wednesday the Netherlands will have their parliamentary elections. The primary parties include VVD (liberal), PvDA (labor), PVV (far right), CDA (Christian Democrats) and more — way more. The Netherlands has many choices about who they want to vote for. The parties are so fragmented that no one party can lead – even if you get the majority, you still need to form a coalition with at least one other party to get a government going. Forming a coalition can take up to three months at times! Unfortunately for me I can’t vote – you need to be a Dutch citizen to vote in these elections.
Check out a a list of parties here:
A list of about 10 or so parties (from left to right) with the various members in each listed from top to bottom
This huge piece of paper is mailed to each household. On the back it lists places to vote:
Locations where you can vote – though you are not required to vote in at a fixed location
What makes this election interesting is the inclusion of Geert Wilders, who is more aptly known as “the Dutch Trump”. His party (PVV, of which he is the only official member) advocates for the Netherlands leaving the EU in a sort nexit. He would have the country spend more on defense and less on wind power and foreign aid. He is also very anti-immigration. The Guardian has a very nice article covering the Dutch election and why it is so important – not just for the Netherlands but also for the EU.
The shopping area ‘Haagse Blue’ is a sort of courtyard in the center of The Hague, enclosed by four streets: Dagelijkse Groenmarkt, Venestraat, Vlamingstraat and the Nieuwstraat.
This shopping space opened in 2001. Here’s a look at the entrance from Venestraat (by the corner of De Tuinen / Holland & Barrett):
Blue signs mark the entrance, but if you don’t know about it, it can be easy to miss. The entrance by Dagelijks Groenmarkt (and the Grote Kerk) is easier to spot.
A somewhat faded sign for the shopping area
Fountain from the French Riviera; behind it is the tea-and-coffee company Kaldi. I’ll always remember them fondly for the one day they had iced chai latte! It was so delicious.
Last week Marco and I visited the Grote Markt tram stop for a hidden gem: a 1616 city map recreated in the floor tiles and glass display cases of artifacts uncovered while constructing the tram tunnel.
The Grote Markt and Spui tram stops are found underground in the center of the city and service lines 2, 3, 4 and 6. The tram tunnel was a solution to the overcrowding of trams and cars above ground – once the tunnel was complete, the trams moved underground and cars were banned. These days only pedestrians and bikes are allowed. Of course, various problems caused the tunnel’s opening to be delayed 4 years and the cost was €100 million more than planned, but it did eventually open with much fanfare.
Looking at the area from above (from the bridge which spans both platforms)
If you want to see the recreated city map and the artefacts, visit the Grote Markt tram stop (the entrance is by the statue of Haagse Harry!). Take the stairs underground and you’ll find yourself by a bridge above the platforms. Look left and you’ll see the city map in the ground on the same side you came in on.
A look at the city map – with two HTM controllers walking away (controllers check to make sure you paid for your trip).
The 1616 map is also recreated on the wall, with the area where the tunnel would be built highlighted. During the tunnel’s construction, the surveyors were pleased to see how accurate the 1616 map was for stating where foundations and walls could be found.
Over the weekend I posted about the side of the city hall in The Hague being turned into the largest Mondriaan design in the world. This was to honour the 100th anniversary of the art movement De Stijl.
But the city did not stop there… they also put in colored blocks on the Hofvijver!
Marco and I were remarked that it looked like a video game… just try and jump between them, with rules like ‘blue blocks last 4 seconds’ and ‘yellow blocks last 2 seconds’ before falling into the water. Just to keep you on your toes, of course!
Categories: Culture, The Hague
Marco and I had a few guests over on Monday night so he decided to make key lime pie:
It’s a great treat – not too sugary, and a hint of sourness from the lime and the raspberry smear (as well as the frozen raspberry stick on top). The pie crust is from Kelly’s expat shop.
The city hall of The Hague has been repainted in the colours of Piet Mondriaan! Check out the photo I took this morning:
Pretty cool, right? The artwork is celebrating 100 years of the De Stijl art movement, which was founded in 1917 in Amsterdam. Piet Mondriaan (or ‘Mondrian’ after he dropped one of the a’s in his name) was well-known for his work with primary colors together with the colors black and white.
In the coming weeks other buildings will receive the same treatment, including the nearby Pathé Spui movie theatre, the Bilderberg hotel in Scheveningen and the Hofvijver in the center of the city.
If you are interested in seeing Mondriaan’s art, head over to the Gemeentemuseum (= city museum). With over 300 pieces, they have the largest Mondriaan collection in the world. They were closed today to prepare for the new De Stijl exhibit. They will reopen tomorrow, with tomorrow (only) featuring free entry to see the exhibit. If you have time you should check it out!
Categories: Culture, The Hague