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Blocks of color (Or: Mondriaan inspired art at The Hague’s train station)

Last month a group of friends and I went to Rotterdam for a WWE wrestling show at Ahoy in Rotterdam (I always have to resist the subconscious urge to call the the place ‘Chips Ahoy‘ after the cookie).

While waiting for a few friends getting coffee at Starbucks I took a photo of the Mondriaan inspired art at the train station; Den Haag Centraal.

Mondriaan colors at Den Haag Centraal (train station in The Hague)

And I still love the roof. Which looks even more awesome on a cloudy day.

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

Removing temptation (Or: Bus and tram benches being replaced in The Hague)

Back in March 2015 The Hague replaced the shelters at bus and tram stops. The best part of the new design in my opinion was the much prettier glass on the sides and top. The design also included new benches which have since become an issue for curious kids. Have a look and see if you can guess what the issue is:

Holes in the bus and tram shelter benches in The Hague

Yep. The holes (which are used to drain off rainwater) are just the right size for a curious kid to stick their finger in. It took around a year (August 2016) for the first curious kid to get a few fingers stuck in the bench but after that the incidents just kept coming this year. With the first child they decided to administer anesthesia on the spot and cut out the bench around the finger, but since then they have removed an entire section of the bench and transported the child to the hospital (with part of the bench still around his finger) to remove it there.

Last month it was decided that the benches would be replaced using the advertising money the shelter generates, but it was still at a cost of more than half a million. The benches now use slits rather than holes to let the rainwater escape. The replacement of the benches began on May 2nd and will take until mid-July. And guess what happened on May 2nd? Yep, another kid got his fingers caught!

Speaking of trams, a friend and I went to the remise or depot in Scheveningen to see (one of the places) where the trams are stored overnight. This is also where the workers start and end their shifts.

HTM remise in Scheveningen.jpg

Tram remise in Scheveningen

The tram above is being driven backwards into the remise. There’s a small grey box at the back of these older trams which tram drivers can use to “back the tram in”. That way they are facing the right direction when they need to leave in the morning. It’s only needed for the older types – the two types that have come since then are made to be driven from either direction during normal operation.

Categories: Scheveningen, The Hague, Transportation | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Art on the streets (Or: The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague)

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).

The Life I live festival 2017, Kerkplein in The Hague

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.

Street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague

A look at another side, which had just been started:

Street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague (2)The third side:

Street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague (3)

And the last side – Marco’s favorite – a Mondriaan-inspired Transformer!:

Transformers street art at The Life I Live festival 2017, The Hague

Luckily the rain held off this year. It was cold – colder then even Christmas! – but bearable.

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

Bus 72 in The Hague (Or: An outdated sign)

Just a sign I came across while wandering around The Hague:

Outdated bus 72 sign in 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!

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Coffee and apple pie (Or: Bagels & Beans)

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.

Cappuccino, mochaccino and apple pie at Bagels and Beans, The Hague

Marco’s cappuccino above and my mochaccino below

And a look at the apple crumble:

Apple crumble at Bagels & Beans, The Hague

 

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Instagram highlights (Or: A wall of cheesecake!)

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:

Wall of social media comments from customers, Cheesecake Company The Hague

A closer look reveals that it is Instagram photos:

Wall of social media comments from customers, Cheesecake Company The Hague - closeup

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):

White chocolate cappuccino by the Cheesecake Company, The Hague

And for a light, fresh flavor we chose lemon cheesecake:

Lemon cheesecake by the Cheesecake Company, The Hague

If you’re in the neighborhood, I highly recommend a visit!

Categories: Food, The Hague | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Countdown to Wednesday (Or: Dutch elections 2017)

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:

Dutch elections 2017 - potential parties to vote for

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:

Dutch elections 2017 - handout of 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.

Continue reading

Categories: Culture | Tags: | 2 Comments

Shopping in style (Or: The Haagse Bluf)

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.

haagse-bluf-in-the-hague-google-maps

This shopping space opened in 2001. Here’s a look at the entrance from Venestraat (by the corner of De Tuinen / Holland & Barrett):

haagse-bluf-entrance-at-venestraat-the-hague

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.

walkway-to-haagse-bluf-from-venestraat-the-hague

A somewhat faded sign for the shopping area

french-riviera-fountain-in-the-haagse-bluf-the-hague

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.

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

City maps and artifacts (Or: Grote Markt tram tunnel)

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.

overlooking-the-city-map-and-artifacts-at-grote-markt-tram-tunnel-the-hague

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.

1616-city-map-of-the-hague-recreation-at-grote-markt-tram-tunnel-stop

A look at the city map – with two HTM controllers walking away (controllers check to make sure you paid for your trip).

tram-tunnel-in-the-hague-as-shown-on-old-1616-city-map

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.

Continue reading

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

Colored blocks on the Hofvijver (Or: Mondriaan inspired creations)

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!

colored-boxes-on-the-hofvijver-mondriaan-in-the-hague

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 | Tags: | Leave a comment

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