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Englandspiel (Or: A plaque in the Binnenhof)

A few months back I talked about the shortcut you could take to get in and out of the Binnenhof. In that area you can also find a plaque about the Englandspiel (English Wikipedia), a German counterintelligence operation held during World War II. The German forces captured nearly all of the British and Dutch allies, executing 50 of them.

Marco took this photo last week, hence the flowers for Remembrance Day on May 4.

The topo of the plaque reads “They leapt to death for our freedom”.

In other news, Ajax (the Dutch football champions) posted this video on Twitter. They melted the championship trophy into 42,000 stars to give to each of their season ticket holders as a thanks for their support over the last season. Each star weighed 3.45 grams.

Read more at nltimes.nl: Ajax melts championship dish, awards a piece to season ticket holders

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When does air equal water? (Or: A riddle for you)

Last week Marco picked up some pancake mix from the local grocery store, Albert Heijn. The brand was Pondan, an Indonesian company.

I was slightly confused when I looked at the back of packaging to see what extra ingredients were needed (top left with the red arrow):

What? I need 100ml air? How does that work?

And then my brain kicked in and my eyes started working. Air in Indonesian is water in English. How confusing!

But I must admit I love the fact that most packaging is not just in Dutch. Usually you see Dutch and French, because the two main languages in Belgium are Dutch and French. My contact solution bottle has 10+ languages on it. It’s so different from packaging in the United States. For logical reasons of course, but it still is something that makes me pause sometimes.

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Fridays and lattes (Or: Turmeric in your coffee?)

Today’s photo is of a turmeric latte that Marco ordered last week at FOAM restaurant in The Hague. Check out the vibrant colors:

And of course I had to be boring and order a sparkling water. Next time I will look at the menu faster, but I was busy taking a photo of the “this table is reserved” spoon!

In other news: Naturalis (a museum in Leiden) was named as the European museum of the year for 2021 (naturalis.nl, in English). I have never been there, but considering Leiden is only 15-20 minutes away by train, perhaps I should consider it. Once things calm down a bit, of course… One of their most prized assets is the T-Rex skeleton named Trix.

Netherlands in 9th for EU Covid vaccines; 6.1 million shots estimated from notices.nl. But keep in mind the Dutch minister of health wants to be administering 2.5 million vaccinations per week by the end of this month (!). Hospitals will be responsible for up to 500,000 shots per week (article from nos.nl in Dutch). This was always part of the plan but it will be interesting to see if they get enough workers to be able to pull this off.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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My favorite color scheme (Or: Water pitcher by Blokker)

You know how as you get older you want to purchase new cups, plates or bowls because they look pretty? But you realize that would be silly because you have perfectly fine tableware at home (especially tableware that you also think is pretty)? And then you don’t buy it, because it isn’t logical to buy yet another cup just because it looks pretty.

If I could start over (and no Marco, I don’t want to start over! I like what we have too!), I would go with this color scheme:

It is a water pitcher by Blokker. I have no interest in buying a water pitcher, but I’ve seen this color theme with cups at other stores. Every time I see it, I love it.

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Fun in the sun (Or: Eating on the terrace)

On Sunday Marco and I spontaneously booked a reservation for FOAM restaurant here in The Hague. That’s the same restaurant where we get FOAM at home meals on Fridays. I had resisted making an appointment earlier in the week as it was forecasted to rain, but the sun was out in full force Sunday morning so I said we should give it a try. We got a seat on the terrace outside at the front of the restaurant. (Here in the Netherlands you are currently only allowed to eat outside on a restaurant terrace, not inside the restaurant.)

Of course even with beautiful blue skies we managed to get a short burst of rain twice. We looked up and realized there was a tiny grey cloud amidst a sea of blue and white. It was pretty strange. Luckily everything was dry again after a few minutes.

I just loved the ‘this table is reserved’ spoon so I had to take a picture of that:

I decided to have a flatbread with white bean hummus, parsley pesto, red cabbage, eggplant and more. Here is a look before I snapped up the last bite:

And Marco had a ‘no queso quesadilla’ with black beans, sweet potato and a spicy tomato jam:

I do think that might be the next thing I try on the lunch menu. The next time the sun decides to show itself!

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Plein 1813 (Or: A lovely view from tram 1)

Plein 1813 is a monument commemorating the victory over Napoleon (denhaag.com, in English) and the end of the French era in the Netherlands. It’s a beautiful monument, surrounded by seasonal flowers that are replanted throughout the year in different colors. Traffic flows around both sides of the monument, providing a lovely view if you are taking tram 1 to Scheveningen.

Here is how it looks from Google Maps:

You have to love the symmetry.

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Early morning shopping (Or: It still feels weird)

Early morning shopping was on the menu today. Early morning being in the city centre around 09:00, when shops were just opening and practically deserted. I didn’t go to any “popular” stores as that would be the epitome of silly. For example, here was the line at Primark around 09:30:

Note that this is a double line that starts on the left side, goes to the right, snakes down the side of the building and wraps back around to the entrance (the door directly in the picture is the exit in corona times). But it won’t be the first or last time I take a photo of the line outside of Primark. It is always crazy long.

I went to Blokker and Xenos – both were practically empty. I then went to Hema, which was a bit busy but doable. I did take a photo of the smartphone cases at Hema as I thought it was a cute display idea:

Those hands would also make for great models for drawing.

I did end up buying a few minor things – a few dish cloths, a new loofah, a spicy ginger tea and a small bag of jelly beans for Marco – but nothing too special. But still, it was weird to be back in “non-essential” stores again. Oh, and I randomly saw a coworker who I’ve spoken with once (!) in the last year. That was strange too. We had a short conversation in Dutch and then parted ways again.

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Orange, orange, orange (Or: Cheese and nuts for King’s Day)

Over the weekend the intercom unexpectedly buzzed. It turned out to be a surprise package from work. Inside were gifts to celebrate King’s Day with.

Think of things like a toxically orange lei (you can just see it hidden behind the orange ballons), nuts, cheese blocks, Valencian orange tonic water, and a game of tic tac toe with wooden blocks. Oh, and an elderberry syrup mixture to stir into your water.

The two drinks were Aperol Spritz, an Italian drink (aperol, sparkling water and prosecco). They actually weren’t part of the package. I still had leftover aperol spritz from last year when I celebrated King’s Day with my coworkers! Virtually, of course. Luckily the bottle is now empty. It’s an okay drink… once a year?

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Way more people than usual (Or: Even Google can’t handle it)

Today was the first day of relaxations for corona measures. Think of things like:

  • The curfew has been lifted.
  • Restaurant terraces are allowed to open from 12:00-18:00 daily.
  • Appointments are no longer required for shopping at non-essential stores.

Some stores (especially Ikea and Primark) have been bombed with an influx of clients due to the restrictions being lifted today. Primark is a discount clothing store – it is quite easy to find a T-shirt there for €2-3.

Enter Google trying to tell you exactly how busy it was by the Ikea in Delft (screenshot was around lunchtime):

Check out that red bar on the left. It can’t even fit on the graph. I checked 10 minutes before they closed and it still looked like that, although it didn’t dip quite as far below the graph. But that could be because they were closing in 10 minutes…

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King’s Day 2021 (Or: A sea of orange)

When Marco and I took a walk this afternoon we spotted these flowers by the Hofvijver (English Wikipedia):

Fitting, since today is King’s Day (also Wikipedia), a Dutch national holiday.

Who else remembers that Koningsdag (=King’s Day) was called Woningsdag last year? Woning = home, so it was a play on King’s Day reminding people to celebrate from home due to the pandemic.

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

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