Optical illusions and mind bending art (Or: The year of Escher)

The Hague announced that in 2023 The Hague will “be the city of Escher”. M. C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist born in June 1898, 125 years ago. To mark the occasion, exhibitions have been scheduled at the Escher museum and Kunstmusuem.

You probably know Escher from his impossible staircase (English Wikipedia) or his self-portrait in a reflecting sphere. One of my favorite jigsaw puzzles that I have worked on is Day and Night. I am really looking forward to when I can do that puzzle again.

The Hague’s city hall currently has a huge display honoring the artist:

It reminds me of the tribute they made in the same spot for the Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan back in 2017.

In 2023, The Hague will be the city of Escher (from the official website of The Hague)

The exhibit “Escher – Other World” is being held at the Kunstmuseum through 10 September 2023.

The Escher exhibition” is being held at the Escher Museum through 1 October 2023.

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Almost time to vote (Or: Provincial Council and Water Board elections)

On March 15, the elections for the provincial council and for the water board will be held. As a foreigner I can only vote for the water board. But a vote for the water board is also an important vote. As you probably know, one third of the Netherlands is under sea level and a large chunk of it is prone to flooding. Each of the 20 municipalities has its own water board, and they can decide things like how water should be used recreationally, what the policy is for low income residents, what investments should be made in nature, etc.

Okay, I am going to admit that it still sounds a bit boring, but it is still a useful thing to do and it only takes a few minutes to vote! (Unless perhaps you choose to vote at iconic locations like the Tweede Kamer or the Kunstmuseum, where the line might get a bit longer. You can even vote in the Amare in the city centre this year. Go for it if you have the time. If you’re registered in The Hague you can choose the location you want to vote at.)

Why you should vote for your local water board? A dijkgraaf explains all from

Voter information from The Hague’s official website, in English

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A slightly warmer weekend (Or: Temporary moments of spring)

I have to admit it was nice yesterday to wear a lighter jacket and not my winter jacket. The Netherlands is a bit warmer this week, around 9-11C (48-51F). And we haven’t gotten much rain lately at all, especially not in comparison to last month (see also Netherlands on track for the rainiest January ever at

Since my mention last week of the Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum, I also saw this letter posted on The Guardian’s website: Illuminating Johannes Vermeer’s use of the camera obscura. It reminded me of an episode from one of my favorite podcasts, Everything Everywhere Daily, where the host discussed whether or not Vermeer used this technology. I like the podcast because there are short episodes coming out of every day about every topic under the sun. Each episode is about 10-15 minutes. If you want an even crazier episode you should try Saint Olga of Kiev: The Patron Saint of Vengeance.

Vermeer’s “A woman asleep”, on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Roger, Marco and I saw it when we were in New York City last November. Read more at their website.

Oh, and in other news – I am having way too much fun playing the newly released Hogwarts Legacy on PlayStation. It is a lot of fun to run around and get collectibles and gear. More fun than actually doing the storyline, perhaps…

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“Chance of a lifetime” Vermeer exhibition (Or: On display at the Rijksmuseum)

If you enjoy the paintings by Johannes Vermeer, then you should consider going to the Rijksmuseum to see the latest exhibition. It will run from 10 February through 4 June. What makes this exhibition special, you might ask? It will feature 28 of Vermeer’s paintings. Considering he only has about 40 paintings credited to him, this is a lot of Vermeer in one museum. The Rijksmuseum was able to get other museums to lend their paintings for the exhibition. For example, it will feature the “Girl with the Pearl Earring” which is normally in The Hague’s Mauritshuis. It will be on loan through the end of March. Other paintings include “Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window” from Dresden and “The Mistress and the Maid” from the Frick collection in New York. Paintings are also on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre.

If you want to book tickets, see the Rijksmuseum website. You need to pick a date and start time.

See also ‘Chance of a lifetime’ Vermeer exhibition to open in Amsterdam at

Above: Girl reading a letter by an open window. See also:

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A new Dutch reading board (Or: This one is a bit tastier)

At some point last month Marco and I were at a store and spotted a different type of reading board. Dutch reading boards have been used for over a century to teach kids how to read. It shows all of the commonly used consonants, vowels and diphthongs in the Dutch language, with words and pictures like aap, noot or mies (ape, nut, word for a woman or kat). See also the photos at this Dutch Wikipedia page. You can also read more about the history of Dutch reading boards (link in English).

Or you can just admire the reading board that Marco and I spotted that is crafted especially for men, apparently:

Leesplank voor kerels = reading board for men.

And here is a random link of the day: in 51 places in The Hague you can take an umbrella / leave an umbrella for free (article in Dutch at

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Sweet treats (Or: Van Delft store in The Hague)

Earlier this month Marco and I visited the Van Delft store in The Hague. They are well-known for their stroopwafels, kruidnoten and pepernoten.

Here is a look at their store setup this year:

Above: a look at some of the kruidnoten flavors they have on sale.

A close up look. Think of flavors like intense orange, disco dip, white chocolate, dark roasted coffee, etc. I bought a bag of the dark roasted coffee flavor. Yum! Of course, kruidnoten are a treat for Sinterklaas (5 December) so they aren’t being sold at the moment.

In other news

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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 (, 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).

Continue reading
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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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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 (, 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 (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 (, 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 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 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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