This is to be expected; people are working from home more often and most people won’t be going on holiday this year. I read somewhere that some people are purchasing multiple Christmas trees so that they have one for each room. The only rule I have is that we need to wait until November before we bring out the Christmas decorations. November 1st, that is…
Amsterdam to use flowers to stop cyclists chaining bikes to bridges from theguardian.com. Like it or not, bikes do get in the way often. And one of the places you will always, always see bikes is chained to a canal bridge. The worst part? It doesn’t just spoil the view, it also leaves less room for pedestrians which means they are more likely to walk in the road.
Personally I don’t remember having this issue in Amsterdam but I did experience it in Utrecht. I felt like I was walking in the street at least half of the time, which definitely wasn’t fun.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, normally it is perfectly fine in the Netherlands to have alcohol outside (both in your possession and to consume it). Of course, there are some exceptions – the decision is made by each city and written into their rules. But the Dutch government said yesterday that during the partial lockdown you are not allowed to buy alcohol after 20:00 and you can be fined for having it in your possession or consuming it outside after 20:00.
Originally the same rule applied to soft drugs (5 grams or less of marijuana, weed, that kind of stuff) during the partial lockdown, but various news outlets are now reporting that the rule has been lifted for soft drugs because it contradicts the already existing rule about soft drug use. So it is again legal to have and use a (very small) amount of soft drugs after 20:00, but not drink alcohol outside. See also this article in Dutch from parool.nl. This country is a bit weird sometimes!
And for something light-hearted: Lichtjesavond Delft gaat door met thuispakket en live-uitzending from omroepwest.nl. In other words, Delft’s December light festival will go ahead without spectators, but it will be shown live on TV. The festival is where a few thousand lights on a Christmas tree are turned on at the same moment. Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Oh, and if you really want to get into the spirit you can order an extra package with local products, chocolate milk, a game to play after the broadcast, etc.
Another “Wow. Is it that time already?” type posts. Next week’s Albert Heijn discount flyer includes discounts on meat for gourmetten. In October. Does anyone remember if that is actually normal?
Like my post about the Christmas display at the CASA store, I am not against this. However, gourmetten is a social activity so you’re more likely to invite people over to your house. Which doesn’t sound that good in corona times.
But, one step back: there’s no good translation of gourmetten in English, but it is sort of like an indoors barbecue. You have a special grill or baking plate which you place in the centre of the table. You can grill almost anything you want (meat, fish, veggie meat, bell peppers, mushrooms, pineapples…). Generally the meat goes on the top. There are also 6 to 8 slots underneath with ‘little pans’ where you put the more fragile stuff like veggies and mushrooms, or even pancake batter to make pancakes. Add some baguette bread with butter and other toppings and you are set for the evening. But generally gourmetten is very popular at Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, not in October. (Or sometimes you can request it for your birthday. I think I did that one year!)
As noted in an earlier blog post, I stopped by the oliebollen stand in the city centre today (in the area of Blokker and Xenos). Luckily the stand is big enough for good social distancing – there are two lines in the middle, with exits on either side. I didn’t have too wait that long either. I ordered two oliebollen and four krentenbollen (oliebollen with raisins). The two regular ones are for me and the four krentenbollen are for Marco and Roger.
Preparing the goods… bag of oliebollen with a canister of powdered sugar. And here’s a look at the oliebollen with some coffee:
Not the best pictures in the world but you get the idea. The one on the left is a krentenbol and the one on the right is an oliebol. Normally we douse them with even more powdered sugar, but not this time. The dough itself is pretty sweet anyway.
The reason we can have oliebollen already is because The Hague (along with a few of the other larger Dutch cities) decided that oliebollen stands would be allowed to open a month earlier, from 1 October, rather than the usual 1 November. This is to help combat the loss of revenue due to all of the cancelled festivals this year, where oliebollen is also traditionally sold. Oliebollen sales will peak around New Year’s Eve (the busiest day of the year), although some stands will stay open through the end of January.
Over the weekend I went to Xenos, a local store, to purchase additional face masks. That particular mission was successful, luckily. I also spent a few minutes staring at all of the holiday displays in the store. Halloween, Sinterklaas (December 5) and Christmas all in one day. I’m sure if they celebrated Thanksgiving in this country you would have seen turkeys as well.
It’s almost time for Halloween! Here is one of the two display stands at Hema:
I have mentioned before that Halloween isn’t that big in the Netherlands. It’s slowly gaining in popularity but trick or treating for candy isn’t a huge thing. Of course there is some trick or treating (I know some international schools do promote it) but it’s not as big with Dutch children as far as I’m aware. SoLow has a great collection of costumes and decorations if you’re interested. Xenos usually has a small collection as well.
As most of my readers are aware, it’s not going that great with Europe in terms of the corona virus. The same is true here in the Netherlands as we’ve been breaking records left and right. Number of cases, hospital intakes, ICU intakes, deaths… It definitely seems like the “second wave” has started. Today we registered 2,552 cases. Various experts (but not the government, yet) are saying a lockdown will be coming if the number of cases can’t be slowed. For instance the chairman of the Dutch Union of the Intensive Care Diederik Gommers said this during an interview with Radio 538 (article in Dutch). You can also see the weekly numbers at RIVM.nl in English, updated two days ago.
Okay. I’ll admit Halloween is not that big in the Netherlands. Each year you see one or two more stores with a small selection of items. And why am I thinking of Halloween you ask? Marco took some photos of a new Halloween display at the local Xenos:
Of course the best part of Halloween is the candy, but Marco said those display shelves were still empty and hadn’t been filled yet. Here’s hoping it happens soon!
And thanks to the Halloween display I’m transported back to our 2017 Disneyland Paris trip (Marco, Roger and I) where Frontierland was decorated in the style of the Pixar film Coco for Halloween:
Here’s a “Hmm. I never thought of that.” link for you:
Marco spotted some kruidnoten (Wikipedia) by the local Albert Heijn today. If you’re keeping track, today is 31 August. Traditionally they appear in the grocery stories by 1 September, although we spotted them on 23 August back in 2018. So we seem to be on track this year.
Marco was sweet and bought some gevulde speculaas(Albert Heijn recipe) for us. It is speculaas cookies filled with almond paste. Yum yum yum.
Of course you can’t blame anyone for wanting to skip to Christmas (and New Year’s, and 2021…) in these crazy times. Give me a shout when you put up your Christmas tree. Good riddance to 2020, I say!
As you all know, Monday was King’s Day here in The Netherlands. A day that is typically celebrated by all things orange. And even though this year was a bit more subdued, we still got into the spirit. Pun intended?
During one of my work team meetings last week it was suggested that we do an Aperol Spritz competition in honor of King’s Day, and that we send in our photos. While I did not lift my drink at 16:00 for the Nationale Toost (National toast) yesterday, Marco and I did make the drinks later in the evening.
Note: the recipe calls for a slice of orange as garnish, but you make do with what you have (you can never have too many limes!). Otherwise it is 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and one part soda water. And in our case a special King’s Day cookie which I refer to as a “sugar bomb”.
Aperol Spritz is apparently an Italian drink suitable for days when you can sit on the terrace. We’re heading into a very rainy week, so it will have to be an inside drink for the foreseeable future. But at least King’s Day 2020 was celebrated with a touch of orange!