Culture

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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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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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.

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Orange sugar (Or: King’s Day in the Netherlands)

King’s Day is next Tuesday which means a lovely day off. That’s about the only advantage these days, since the usual King’s Night parties (the evening before) and the King’s Day market can’t take place this year due to the pandemic. But who am I kidding? I probably haven’t gone to a King’s Night party in the last 5 years (back when it used to be Queen’s Night, before she abdicated and gave the throne to her son).

It also means you see a lot of toxic orange baked goods at the grocery stores.

On the left in the back you have soesjes (profiterole according to the English Wikipedia). Those are pastries filled with cream. In the middle you have tompouce, which is just called tompouce over at the English Wikipedia because it is a Dutch/Belgium pastry. My sweet tooth doesn’t usually show itself so I don’t eat this kind of stuff that often anymore. The best tompouce I ever had was from Hema with a lime flavor, putting it a bit more on the sour spectrum than the sweet spectrum. But tompouces are tricky to eat, more like overstuffed hamburgers. If you bite wrong the cream in the middle squirts out in the back.

On the right you have a schnitte. I had no idea what this was. I told Marco and Roger this and they looked at me a bit incredulously. Apparently its a two or three layer cake with whipped cream between the layers, or sometimes jam. Marco said that Viennetta ice cream (English Wikipedia) could also be an example of an ice cream schnitte.

Viennetta was actually a possibility last week for celebrating my birthday, but we went for cheesecake instead. I will always consider Viennetta a luxury, since that is how I viewed it as a kid. With the commercial where the group would enjoy the ice cream in clear, tall glasses (obligatory YouTube link)…

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Thorbecke monument (Or: 2021 adds a face mask)

The Thorbecke monument on the Lange Voorhout has recently received a new addition:

Interesting that only one of them is wearing a face mask…

This monument is actually made up of two parts: the modern stainless steel part (pictured above) and a marble part (not pictured) where J.R. Thorbecke, a 19th century Dutch statesman is actually shown. The two parts are supposed to represent the 19th century Thorbecke’s influence on our times. See also this page from angloinfo.com for more information in English.

In other news – what does the main train provider (NS) do when storks (a protected species in the Netherlands) build their nest above the train tracks? Answer: not much once the eggs are laid. Ooievaarsnest op bovenleidingportaal vormt brandgevaar, maar mag niet weggehaald worden from omroepwest.nl in Dutch. The same thing happened in 2020 in a different part of the Netherlands (article from dutchnews.nl in English).

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Stone work by the Binnenhof (Or: Art at every corner)

Here is a look at one of the stone decorations in the Binnenhof:

You know the Netherlands has a lot of rain when even the art references it. (I kid, I kid. It doesn’t rain THAT much.)

And a zoomed out photo:

Unfortunately Binnenhof will be undergoing renovations later this year that are projected to last 5 years (article from nu.nl in Dutch). Five years of not being able to walk in this area seems rather long. The other option was to do the construction in stages so that the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) wouldn’t have to temporarily move elsewhere. While that option might have been cheaper it would have meant construction would last 12 years…

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Fleeting – Scents in Colour (Or: Upcoming exhibition at the Mauritshuis museum)

The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague will be unveiling a new exhibition as soon as it is allowed to open its doors again. The exhibition will run through 29 August. The name of the exhibition is Fleeting – Scents in Colour (mauritshuis.nl, in English). According to the Dutch website nu.nl scent dispensers will be available at 8 paintings to allow visitors to “smell” the scene, as it were. The dispensers will be foot activated. The smells range from pleasant (spices, tobacco, coffee and teas from faraway lands) to not-so-pleasant (foul-smelling canals and unpleasant body odors).

It’s an interesting way to make museum visits even more interactive. There is also a book available at the Mauritishuis webshop, in either English or Dutch. The nu.nl article also mentions that the museum is working on packaging the scents so that you can experience the scents from home while visiting the exhibition virtually.

In other news: Foutje herder veroorzaakt babyboom bij schaapskudde Balloo: ‘Nu al 20 lammetjes’ from nos.nl in Dutch. (Herder’s mistake causes babyboom in a flock of sheep: ‘There are already 20 lambs’). In short, a young ram was allowed to stay with his mother too long because he was still nursing. In the meantime he managed to get very frisky before the herder noticed. Since then twenty lambs were born. Since the ram is black, and all of the offspring are black, it was quite obvious to see who the culprit was…

DUO maakt printfout met brieven: burgerservicenummers op straat, from nu.nl in Dutch. (DUO makes a printing error with letters: BSNs accidentally visible). DUO is an government which helps students with financing. They recently printed letters with the burger service number (think social security number for Americans) visible in the address portion of the envelope – that is, visible without even opening the letter. Opps? Up to 1,700 students could be affected although the number is likely to be much less than that as some letters in the batches were fine.

DUO said that the numbers were printed a bit too high on the paper. They are now investigating whether the numbers need to be on the letter in the first place. It does seem like a good idea to leave them off…

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Year in Search (Or: Google’s 2020 trends)

Google has released their 2020 “Year in Search” page. You can see what trended worldwide or you can see what trended per country (the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom…). One interesting thing is that the trend categories differ per country. For instance the US has a category for games but the Netherlands doesn’t.

Here are the top 5 search terms for the Netherlands:

  1. Coronavirus
  2. RIVM (Dutch Health institute)
  3. Verkiezingen Amerika (US Election)
  4. Coronavirus Nederland
  5. Snappet (apparently this is education learning platform for elementary students, so digital learning)

The second most popular Why? question was Waarom hamsteren we wc papier? or Why do we horde toilet paper? This was apparently so popular back in March and April that it took the second spot, beaten only by Waarom zijn cornflakes uitgevonden? or Why were cornflakes discovered? (?!? Okay.) (On second thought: don’t Google it unless you want a trip to Bizzaro World.)

In other news: every year a Dutch radio channel plays the Top 2000 (Wikipedia) to mark the end of the year. In late November/early December the Dutch vote on their favorite songs and those votes help determine the list. Between Christmas and New Years the radio channel plays those songs. It was first done in 1999 to mark the transition to 2000; it proved so popular that it became a yearly event. This year it will start at midnight on Christmas Day (that is, the first second of Christmas) so that the radio show has an additional eight hours to play the full-length album versions of some songs.

Fun fact: since 1999 there have been only four occasions where Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody did not take the #1 spot. 2020 will be one of those years, with the Dutch country singer Danny Vera taking the top spot with his song Roller Coaster (YouTube).

Dutch country singer Danny Vera dethrones Queen in Top 2000 records from dutchnews.nl

Oh, but don’t feel too bad for Bohemian Rhapsody as it is still ranked #2.

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Portbello burger (Or: Another treat from FOAM)

Have a look at what Marco and I had on Friday evening (the fries were self supplied):

Doesn’t that look delicious? That was one of the FOAM @ home options last Friday (Facebook link). The best part? The burger was actually a giant portbello mushroom. The rest of the ingredients were Asian inspired (an Asian guacamole, shredded carrots, and a coleslaw).

The bread rolls were from Lekkerbrood (Facebook link again) which translates to “Tasty bread”. And that it was.

Mysterie: Daarom staan er geen prullenbakken op het Binnenhof from indebuurt.nl. Mystery: Why are there no trash containers at the Binnenhof? Okay, I’ll admit I knew the answer before even clicking on the link – Binnenhof is s a complex of parliamentary buildings. There are no trash containers there for safety reasons; who knows what someone would stuff in them. (For the record, I’ve almost never seen the Binnenhof that dirty.)

Mauritshuis becomes first gigapixel museum in the world at dutchnews.nl. The Mauritshuis, a museum in The Hague which houses Vermeer’s Girl with a pearl earring (and many, many other treasures), now offers its entire collection in Gigapixel sized images so that you can zoom in to impossible depth. Read more about the Second Canvas app which makes this possible over on the official website of Mauritshuis. With that being said, the reviews are a bit mixed over on Apple’s app store, so have a look and decide for yourself if it is worth the (small) price. Hopefully it will receive many updates with additional content.

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More cancellations (Or: No Elfstedentocht this year)

The Elfstedentocht is an 11 city ice staking race. The length is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) and is held in the north of the Netherlands in the Friesland province. It can most accurately be described as “the event that stops the Netherlands”. Or it would be, if the weather would cooperate. As you might expect, the race can only be held if the ice is thick enough along the entire course. The last time that happened was 1997. There was a glimmer of hope in 2012, but it didn’t work out. This event averages about 2 million spectators.

About a month ago Marco and I looked at each other and thought of the worst possibility ever: that the weather would finally cooperate and there would be an Elfstedentocht… and the coronavirus.

Well, the organization responsible for the event saw the chaos that was about to come and reported that no matter what, there would be no Elfstedentocht. As dutchnews.nl reports: Elfstedentocht cancelled because of…coronavirus, oh, and the weather. (Since the prospectives of ice don’t look good anyway.)

And here is a fun one:

The city carillonneur played “Paint it Black” from The Rolling Stones on the church bells in Groningen (also in the north of the Netherlands). This is something he does often, but because Mick Jagger saw the video and placed it on his Instagram with 2 million followers, the video quickly went viral. You can read more in Dutch over at nos.nl: Groningse stadsbeiaardier klinkt wereldwijd met Paint it black van The Rolling Stones.

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