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.
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.)
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 nltimes.nl).
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…
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.
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:
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.
Bonfires are back on the beaches at Scheveningen and Duindorp from dutchnews.nl. This New Years Eve tradition was banned for two years after the 2018-2019 accident when the wind shifted and sparks rained down on the nearby neighborhoods. And then corona happened, which is a ban of a different sort. But the bonfires are not allowed to be bigger than 10x10x10 meters (33x33x33 feet). Which might sound like a lot, but the 2018-2019 bonfire was 48 meters tall (almost 160 feet).
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 (alamy.com, 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).
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).
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 (depassage.nl, 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.
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 prinsjesfestival.nl (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]).
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 (dutchnews.nl), 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 indebuurt.nl 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 indebuurt.nl 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.