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New York City – Dutchified (Or: Ravensburger puzzle, 1000 pieces)

For Christmas I was gifted a Ravensburger puzzle from Roger. It was made from a good quality – even using “soft lock technology” apparently. I found it interesting that the puzzle used a dark blue backing instead of the light gray backing that most puzzles use.

Ravensburger puzzle - New York Cities of the World 1000 piecesThere were two minor weird things with this puzzle:

  1. There is a part of the actual puzzle that doesn’t match the box it came in. Look in the lower left with the lady in green – in the actual puzzle she leans over to the right, worried because the man behind her is choking on a herring. On the box, she panics a bit and falls backward because the seller is shoving a herring in her face.
  2. There was an extra puzzle piece that did not fit anywhere. The puzzle itself is done, and has no gaps. You can see it in the photo below, to the left of the actual puzzle.

Ravensburger Cities of the World New York close up

If you’re looking closely, you’ll notice that the puzzle itself is within a flat case. The exact model I have is Jumbo luxe puzzelkoffer – 1000 stukjes. It makes for really easy storage. There are two additional panels which are shown in the link which you can also use to store pieces on top of. When you are ready to store everything, you put the panels on top of the puzzle to create a tight fit so that none of the pieces move. You could even store the work-in-progress horizontally. I have successfully tested this but normally store it vertically.

I am of course already working on my next puzzle

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Voting at city hall (Or: Local elections 2018)

Today Marco and I visited city hall after work to vote for the local elections:

Voting sign in The Hague city hall

To the voting area!

The Hague has 286 places to vote if my math is correct. Unfortunately the Central Library wasn’t a place you could vote this year. You could vote in a special tram (link in Dutch) however. I would have loved that. But it’s not a tram line I’d ever take, and it was running as a normal tram at the time. Imagine missing your stop!

Line of voters at The Hague city hall, 2018

Pictured: about half of the line

It didn’t take us too long – about 10 minutes at the most to get to the front of the line.

Number of voters by hour, The Hague, 2018

Live updates of the percentage of voters who had already voted, by hour

Admittedly, the number of voters is lower than 4 years ago when it was 51% at the close of voting (9pm). As of 8:15pm now it is 45.2%. The results are not expected until around midnight, give or take.

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

First time voter in the Netherlands (Or: Local elections tomorrow)

Tomorrow most of the Netherlands goes to the polls for local elections. This will be the first time I can vote in the Netherlands! This is because I have lived in the Netherlands for five uninterrupted years.

Here is a picture of my stempas (voting card) with personal information greyed out:

Stempas or voting pass for The Hague, 2018

The card arrived in the mail a few weeks back, automatically. In the Netherlands every person is required to register with the municipality in the Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)  or the Personal Records Database. I did that within a few days of moving to the country. It records life’s big moments – birth, marriage, divorce, and death, along with address changes. The database is used to determine who can vote for what. (In my case, I can vote for the local elections but I will never be able to vote for anything higher unless I obtain Dutch citizenship.)

There are some good sites available for voters, both in English and in Dutch. In this case, I tend to seek out information in English due to the nature of what I am reading, but I also supplement it with information in Dutch. For example, DutchNews.nl has some information and links available for expat voters.

There are, of course, various polls available to see which party matches your interests the best. For example, Stemwijzer Den Haag (knowledge of Dutch required).

Finally, here’s a look at what the ballot looks like.

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Reester bunny (Or: Chocolate and eggs everywhere)

Today Marco and I went to Kelly’s Expat Shopping here in The Hague. It’s a great store for American and British food and a store I’ve blogged about before. The one thing I get almost every time is Ritz crackers. Yum! Snagged another box today…

I was quite amused by the “Reester bunny” you could buy:

Reese's chocolate bunny (Or Reester bunny)

Their Easter selection is pretty good when it comes to chocolate, I must admit. Lots of Cadbury eggs.

Pop or soda for 10 euros - 12 pack

Did you know it costs 10 euros for a 12 pack of pop/soda? And that’s a discounted price! Back home you could get it for 2/$5 during the right sale. Of course, that’s just how it goes when you’re an expat so far from home.

And here is a fun photo from the Albert Heijn XL on Elandstraat:

Chocolate easter eggs for sale at Albert Heijn XL, The HagueAnyone need any chocolate eggs? There are lots of flavors to choose from… But still, it doesn’t compare to the Reester bunny. Don’t you just want to nibble on those ears?

Categories: Food, Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Brooklyn (Or: Burgers and steaks!)

Marco, Roger and I visited Brooklyn burgers and steaks in Scheveningen a few weeks back. Marco had a Mexican burger and I had a classic burger.

Check out Roger’s New York strip steak:

Steak at Brooklyn burgers and steaks, Scheveningen

He approved!

And here’s my apple pie with powdered sugar on top:

Apple pie at Brooklyn burger and steaks, Scheveningen.jpg

Interesting thing about this apple pie… I actually didn’t want it, but I got tripped up with my Dutch. I wanted to say “bakje koffie” (small cup of coffee) but instead said “gebakje koffie”. Gebak is the word for dessert/pastry. Since Marco and Roger had both ordered apple pie and coffee before me, that’s what she thought I wanted. Opps. It was good though! I just had to make room…

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End of the weekend (Or: Oh no! Watch out!)

Sign at MingleMush, the food hall I blogged about a few months back:

Sign at MingleMush in The Hague - stressed people

Loosely translated as: “Doe voorzichtig! Je gaat naar buiten waar iedereen gestrest is. Red jezelf en blijf met ons!”

Silly Mondays…

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One very windy day (Or: Last week’s wind storm)

On Thursday Europe was hit with a “wind storm”, which sounds a lot wussier than it actually was. Not much rain, but it still managed to bring the country to a halt for the day. The good (or bad) news was that the peak of the storm was around 11am, which meant that most people were able to get into work. But getting home was another matter entirely…

By about 10 or 10:30am The Hague tram system was shut down. Not surprising, since about 15 minutes before the shutdown someone tweeted a photo of a tram shelter’s roof after it flew off in the wind. Two glass panels actually – the second one is behind the right tram shelter. (Here’s a look at a tram stop roof in better times.) The buses shut down about 15 minutes after the trams.

The Washington Post has an article with a collection of photos and videos from the storm (including the person flying across the plaza in Den Bosch, which every Dutch person has seen at least once now, and the guy too stubborn to let go of his bike in The Hague).

The only picture I have of the day is someone standing in the glass at a tram stop that night:

Broken glass at tram stop, The Hague

 

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Zuurkool (Or: A typical winter meal)

About once a year Marco and I ask his mom to bring over zuurkool, which is similar to the German sauerkraut. We can add this to the list of things I would have hated as a kid!

First, start with smoked sausage from Hema:

Smoked sausage from Hema\

Cook that in water for 15-20 minutes.

Then add the zuurkool, which literally translates to ‘sour cabbage’. In this case the zuurkool is combined with potatoes and smashed until there is nothing left to smash. Sounds delicious, right?

Dutch zuurkool (or sauerkraut)

Then add gravy. Bonus points if you can show off your Dutch heritage by successfully building a dam so that the gravy doesn’t leak out.

it’s hard to describe the taste… sour. Slightly off. But exactly what I want, once a year on a cold winter’s day.

Categories: Culture, Food | 4 Comments

Bijenkorf in The Hague (Or: Holiday decorations, 2017)

I was looking through my photos from last month and realized that I hadn’t posted my photos of Bijenkorf yet!

Christmas lights Bijenkorf, The Hague, 2017

Holiday lights (the same every year, but always pretty!)

Bijenkorf does different window decorations every year. A lot of businesses in The Hague take part in holiday window displays (see the TINK competition).

Christmas window display, Bijenkorf, The Hague (2)

And this one:

Christmas window display, Bijenkorf, The Hague (1)

This year the Christmas tree was rather simple, at least compared to previous years:

Christmas tree, Bijenkorf, The Hague 2017

It was of course as tall as ever – the base started at the top of the ground floor, with the peak reaching to floor 5. As evidenced by the escalators at the left…

Christmas ornaments, Bijenkorf, The Hague, 2017

Check out the Coke and Diet Coke can ornaments in the upper right. I especially like the slightly ‘frosty’ look. Cute!

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Fireworks! (Or: The Hague exploded last night)

I found a cool link on Youtube of last night’s fireworks, taken from above the city with a 4K drone. It lasts about 5 minutes and is not to be missed!

Here’s a look at our ‘Christmas table’ on the second day of Christmas:

Christmas table 2017.jpg

Yes, we were streaming a fake fireplace through Hulu!

In the glass was a raspberry spoom (sorbet ice cream). Yum! The two bottles were purchased at The Hague’s Royal Christmas fair.

But seriously – go back and check out that video. It does a good job of showing how crazy the Netherlands can get at New Year’s Eve.

Categories: Food, Holidays | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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