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Up, up and away (Or: The Art of DC comics exhibition in Groningen)

While in Groningen Marco and I also visited the Art of DC comics exhibition (official website in English) at Forum Groningen. The forum is a multipurpose building which includes exhibition space, a cinema, a library, a café and more. It’s not a good place if you’re afraid of heights, though. It has about 7-8 floors and lots of escalators. And of course the escalators aren’t on top of each other, so when you’re on floor 5 going to floor 6, there’s 5 floors of nothingness directly below you. Hmph. You can get an idea of what I mean by checking this link (alamy.com, it’s an image bank site).

Here are some pictures of the costumes. You can see the difference in suits as the years pass – at first quite basic, and then more intricate suits as the years go by (actually, this image doesn’t even show the first superman suit they had on display).

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Oasis in the city centre (Or: Prinsentuin in Groningen)

Marco and I celebrated our wedding anniversary (19 September) a bit early this year by taking a trip to the north of The Netherlands to visit a city called Groningen. It was a pretty far journey by Dutch standards (2 hours and 40 minutes by train) although by American standards it could be considered a daily commute…?

One of the highlights of the visit was the Prinsentuin in the northern part of the city centre.

This garden was created in 1626 and includes a rose garden, herb garden and “berceaus” (a sort of tree tunnel where trees line both sides and are allowed to grow into each other, creating a tunnel).

Those tunnels are very handy when it begins to rain unexpectedly! If you were hiding in the tunnel you could (mostly) stay dry. This part of the garden gave me Secret Garden vibes (English Wikipedia).

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Rijswijk (Or: The evolution of In de Bogaard)

In de Bogaard is a shopping area in Rijswijk, not far from The Hague. Although I keep forgetting that the name changed from In de Bogaard to Bogaard stadscentrum (Bogaard city centre) last year. See also the Dutch Wikipedia page. It will always be In de Bogaard for me, much like Disneyland Paris is always Euro Disney to me, even though the name changed years before. Actually before I moved to the Netherlands, but Marco and I always used Euro Disney so the name stuck in my mind.

On that note, all the best to my parents who will be visiting Mickey in Florida in the near future. Have fun!

But I digress. The shopping centre in Rijswijk was in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Does anyone remember the green fountain water back in 2012? I do, and I have photographic proof. Yuck. These days that area has lovely landscaping and parks for kids to play in (see below). There’s a dedicated bike path cutting through the plaza, too. Not that I bike, but it always good to know where not to walk so I don’t get run over. That is important in this country.

The shopping area is behind and to the left; this photo looks away from it. But the new fountain isn’t green. The running water helps of course.

Here is one of the shopping streets. I thought it was amusing to look up and see umbrellas as decoration, considering it hadn’t rained for most of the summer. We’ve gotten a decent amount of rain this past week, though.

There are lots of plans for this area in the future. For example some of the shopping areas will be demolished to make room for housing and “green” areas like parks for residents. You can read more at the official website (in Dutch).

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The Streets of Chuck Deely (Or: The 2022 edition)

Chuck Deely was an American street musician who played in The Hague’s city centre for years. He was such a fixture that the mayor of The Hague gave him a ‘street license for life’ to play music in the city centre back in 2008. Unfortunately he passed away in early 2017 (previous blog post).

Tomorrow (Sunday afternoon) is The Streets of Chuck Deely festival (official website in Dutch) in The Hague’s city centre, from 13:00 to 17:00. Check out the band line up. There are 10 mini stages set up around the city centre. Most bands will perform twice.

Mini stature of Chuck Deely (near The Hague Central Station)
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Transportation (Or: Trains, trams and… shopping carts?)

It’s a random news day, I think.

The major train provider (NS) is in the middle of a strike. There are 5 days where workers will strike. Today was day 1, in the north of the country. Friday is this area’s turn (The Hague, Leiden, Rotterdam, etc.). There are three more regions set to strike next week, with national strikes possibly following in September. Hmmm.

Not to be outdone, there was also a news story about Scheveningen getting a new tram depot in a few years. This is needed because the newer Avenio trams (Dutch Wikipedia) are wider and don’t fit in the current depot.

And, as the final form of transportation:

Albert Heijn (a Dutch grocery store chain) has been using a coin deposit system to unlock carts since the mid ’80s. As you might expect, this was to prevent carts from going missing. But this system was suspended in the last few years due to corona and Albert Heijn noticed that even without the system the number of “missing” carts did not go increase. So they decided to scrape it entirely. Personally I am not really affected since I don’t have a car. No car = limited carrying capacity = shopping basket for me.

That was also the rule I lived by in the States, since I didn’t have a car there either. Did you know “never having to learn to drive” was in the “pro” column when we were debating if I move to the Netherlands or if Marco moves to the States, way back when? Yep, I hate driving that much.

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Chapeau! (Or: Hats exhibition in De Passage)

Look up in De Passage (The Passage) and you will see a few thousand hats floating above you.

The Hat Exhibition Chapeau! is being held in De Passage until mid-October (depassage.nl, article in English). As the story goes, a few years ago about 3,000 hats were found in a vacant space above the Ladies Paradise shop in De Passage. The shop itself closed around 1998-2000. The designer Pink Steenvoorden came up with the idea of hanging most of them from the ceiling for visitors to photograph.

You can view a picture of the interior of the shop at The Hague’s city archive.

If you will be around for Prinsjesdag, you can also take part in The Hague Hat Stroll 2022 on September 17. For more information see prinsjesfestival.nl (in Dutch). Everyone is asked to wear their prettiest hat. If you don’t have one, you can borrow one for the event from the supply of hats found in De Passage. The walk will go through The Hague’s Museumkwartier (the Museum Quarter [in English]).

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Graffiti by Amare (Or: Color in the city centre)

Here is a look at some of the latest graffiti to pop up nearby the Amare cultural complex. This part of the area in front of the building is still under construction. (Amare is off to the left – you can just barely see the edge of it in the photo below.)

In other news:

  • Speaking of Amare, parts of the building are sinking by a few millimeters (dutchnews.nl), as first reported back in April of this year. The five concert halls each have their own foundation to prevent vibrations from concerts dragging down the whole structure. But a few of the halls are sinking enough that the doors no longer close properly (!). A construction company is currently working on raising the theatres by two centimeters (official website, in Dutch). The work is taking place during the summer break, with performances scheduled to resume in September.
  • The food court in Scheveningen is beta testing a new ‘order from the beach‘ option. You can order and pay with your phone. You will receive a text message once the food is ready. According to this indebuurt.nl news article (in Dutch), the system isn’t quite perfect yet.
  • De Lange Poten (a street in the city centre, where the American book centre is) is still being worked on since my last blog post. Apparently it will be even more closed off next week Monday through Friday, with the street completely closed on Tuesday. See also this indebuurt.nl article. Although I don’t see how you can completely close down a shopping street, so we’ll see.
  • The warm-for-the-Netherlands weather is almost gone. Hopefully we get some rain tomorrow to mark the occasion and help with our drought, but the rain estimates go down each day.
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Trams in The Hague (Or: Colors and tunnels)

Here are two tram-related photos for you. First, a white Avenio tram:

Avenio is the newest type of tram available in The Hague. The big plus for this type of tram is that the there are no stairs to enter it – the door is at the same height as the platform. This is of course useful for people in wheelchairs, people with strollers, etc. Until this year the tram was black and red (see Dutch Wikipedia) but the white/red combination stands out more and is better for traffic safety. Each tram is being repainted as it comes in for a scheduled repair job, so it will take about a year for the black/red tram to disappear from The Hague’s streets.

This is a photo of the entrance to the tram tunnel which services the underground Grote Markt stop and the Spui stop. Trams coming in this direction are headed towards The Hague Central train station and trams going away from this direction are headed above ground, towards the Brouwersgracht stop.

While there isn’t a tram pictured, I thought the plants were nice to photograph. Perhaps I should take another photo in a few weeks to see if the trees still look green. About half of Europe is experiencing drought conditions at the moment. I hate to say it but we could use a bit of rain. Here is a map from the European Drought Observatory.

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

Vroom vroom (Or: Louwman museum in The Hague)

Today Marco and I visited the Louwman museum in The Hague. I scheduled this as a surprise for Marco a few weeks back. Consider it a late birthday present. The museum’s collection started in 1934 and the museum has been in its current location since 2010.

On the one hand, it is kind of funny that I wanted to go to a car museum as 1) I don’t have a driver’s license 2) I don’t like riding in cars, even as a passenger 3) if I hear someone got a new car the first (and only) thing I ask is “What color is it?”.

The museum starts with horse drawn carriages and old cars like the one above. Otherwise known as death traps. An honorable mention not pictured in this blog is the Sunbeam-Mabley Motor Sociable. The driver sat in the back (on the right side of the photo) and the passengers sat in front of him (!), but facing sideways. The wheels were also deliberately not aligned, which made skidding less of a risk but falling over more of a risk. Hmmmm.

The car above is the reason why we visited the museum. They have an F1 legends exhibition on the ground floor. On its own I don’t think the exhibition was worth visiting (it features 8 cars on loan) but coupled with a visit to the museum itself it is worth it. The cars on display took part in the Dutch Grand Prix between 1948 and 1970. The exhibit runs through September 4, coincidentally the day of the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort. The car above is Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 which won the Dutch Grand Prix in 1965.

The museum also had a display of car related toys (above). They also have a sizable display of art, including posters, sculptures, cigarette cases, miniatures and other memorabilia.

Here is a lovely blue car with wicker seats, because why not? Read more here. Another wacky example is the swan car and the boat car (not seaworthy, unfortunately).

Above is a 1965 Ferrari owned by the Dutch Prince Bernhard. The prince specifically requested the metallic paint color “Verde Pino”. It is a beautiful color, and apparently the car goes fast too (the name of the car being Superfast Speziale).

You can browse through the rest of the cars by checking out their online car collection.

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Traveling by boat (Or: A day trip to Amsterdam)

Last week Marco and I traveled to Amsterdam to see my sister-in-law, who was in town for work. One of the activities we did was a canal tour by boat:

A random bridge along the way. The weather was great, as you can see. Blue skies and lots and lots of sun. I of course forgot to bring sunscreen but hey, what can you do (except be smarter next time). We also had lovely weather this weekend, although today’s weather definitely colder with a hint of rain here and there.

And one of the random house boats we saw along the way. It’s definitely not my thing to live on one of those, but to each their own. The flowers were a nice touch.

Speaking of flowers: a lovely, flower covered bike. It definitely demands your attention.

And finally, a bowl of yoghurt for me and a small plate of poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes) for my sister-in-law. This was a restaurant very much themed towards tourists – I think there were about 15 orange clogs hanging from the wall. (Both pages link to English Wikipedia.)

All in all a fun day. I miss the sun already!

Categories: Food, Friends&Family, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

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