The Netherlands is enjoying a rare dose of sun this weekend! And like all good Dutchies, this means going outside to a café or restaurant and baking under the sun for a few hours.
This afternoon Marco, Roger and I went to the Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague. Bevrijdingsdag, or Liberation Day, is celebrated on May 5 each year. The day commemorates the end of Nazi occupation during World War II. The day before, May 4, commemorates the Remembrance of the Dead.
One of the music stages at the festival
Another music stage, in the background. The woman in yellow is receiving a ‘Dutch kiss’ (the custom where you kiss each other on the cheek three times to say hello or goodbye).
Vrijheid = Freedom
And do you see what the letters are made of, above? Juliper beer crates! (Juliper is one of the sponsors of the event.)
Now if you excuse me, I will go back to basking in the sun…
The Netherlands celebrated the five year reign of Willem-Alexander Thursday night and Friday, with King’s Night and King’s Day. I can’t believe it has been that long. I still remember seeing the live, breaking news of Princess Beatrix abdicating the throne (video with English subtitles). I had barely been in the Netherlands a month, and was watching the news without having a clue what she was saying. There are no subtitles on live TV unfortunately…
First, we’ll start with the carnival at the Malieveld which is held every year around this day:
I could probably handle this ride.
Nope. Won’t be going on this one. It was pretty cool to watch though.
And then you had The Life I Live festival in The Hague, held every year on King’s night. A dozen or so music stages are set up throughout the city centre.
A smaller stage
Here is a much larger set up, at Het Plein (literally ‘the plaza’)
The fountain at Het Buitenhof, with the Ferris wheel from the previously mentioned carnival at the Maliveld in the background
And finally, a historic tram passing by during King’s Day on Friday
I still need to buy something orange for King’s Day. I’ve managed to not do that in the 5+ years I have been here. Related, amusing blog post about orange clothes and King’s Day: The King Size King’s Day T-Shirt blog post over at the Invading Holland blog.
Today Marco and I went to Kelly’s Expat Shopping here in The Hague. It’s a great store for American and British food and a store I’ve blogged about before. The one thing I get almost every time is Ritz crackers. Yum! Snagged another box today…
I was quite amused by the “Reester bunny” you could buy:
Their Easter selection is pretty good when it comes to chocolate, I must admit. Lots of Cadbury eggs.
Did you know it costs 10 euros for a 12 pack of pop/soda? And that’s a discounted price! Back home you could get it for 2/$5 during the right sale. Of course, that’s just how it goes when you’re an expat so far from home.
And here is a fun photo from the Albert Heijn XL on Elandstraat:
Anyone need any chocolate eggs? There are lots of flavors to choose from… But still, it doesn’t compare to the Reester bunny. Don’t you just want to nibble on those ears?
I was looking through my photos from last month and realized that I hadn’t posted my photos of Bijenkorf yet!
Holiday lights (the same every year, but always pretty!)
Bijenkorf does different window decorations every year. A lot of businesses in The Hague take part in holiday window displays (see the TINK competition).
And this one:
This year the Christmas tree was rather simple, at least compared to previous years:
It was of course as tall as ever – the base started at the top of the ground floor, with the peak reaching to floor 5. As evidenced by the escalators at the left…
Check out the Coke and Diet Coke can ornaments in the upper right. I especially like the slightly ‘frosty’ look. Cute!
I found a cool link on Youtube of last night’s fireworks, taken from above the city with a 4K drone. It lasts about 5 minutes and is not to be missed!
Here’s a look at our ‘Christmas table’ on the second day of Christmas:
Yes, we were streaming a fake fireplace through Hulu!
In the glass was a raspberry spoom (sorbet ice cream). Yum! The two bottles were purchased at The Hague’s Royal Christmas fair.
But seriously – go back and check out that video. It does a good job of showing how crazy the Netherlands can get at New Year’s Eve.
Recent photos that I took of Hop & Stork in De Passage, a covered shopping area in the heart of The Hague. The creations they can make with chocolate are just insane…
Dressed up and on your way to a fancy Christmas soirée…
A few days back I was doing some Christmas shopping at “The Fred” which is short for Frederick Hendriklaan, a street in the Statenkwartier neighborhood. There are a lot of international organizations and businesses in this part of The Hague.
Much to my delight, I saw some cute Christmas decorations:
There was also Pluto:
I never knew how popular Frozen was until I went to Disneyland Paris last month…
Apparently there was also Minnie Mouse and Goofy, but I missed those (news article in Dutch).
Today marks five years to the day since I arrived in the Netherlands. It is amazing how time files… Yesterday was otherwise a very typical December day:
- We visited the Christmas Fair at the Lange Voorhout
- We went grocery shopping at the local Albert Heijn (this one being of the “XL” variety over on Elandstraat)
- We baked cookies (see below)
- We started working on Christmas cards… we are really behind on the international cards this year!
To mark the occasion of “five years in the Netherlands” I made lemon cookies. You can find the recipe in Dutch over at OhMyFoodness. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make. The cookies turn out very lemony and chewy – just the way I like it!
Five years! I couldn’t bake five years ago if my life depended on it…
One of the best things about the upcoming holidays (besides finally having a few days off – the last public holiday was June 5th!) is breaking out the gourmet set for New Year’s Eve.
Gourmetten is awesome. You have a little grill that goes in the middle of the dinner table and you spend a few hours grilling meats, vegetables (onions, paprika), and other miscellaneous items like pineapple (yuuuum!).
To get a sense of what it is like, check out this blog post from 2015.
Marco and I visited SoLow a few times this month to look for Halloween supplies. The name of the store refers to their prices: they are, well, “so low”. But the best time to visit is in late September and in October, as they always have a good selection for Halloween costumes and decorations.
This evil clown definitely looks like he jumped right out of the set of Stephen King’s It…
Or the undead dog. Oddly enough, this was the only thing a little kid wanted to go near. She was deathly afraid of the other decorations that made noise and moved around, but nope. This one she just HAD to pet. Briefly…
Masks for every occasion.
Or a happy go lucky skeleton, if that is what you are looking for.
I’ve been pleased with how Halloween has grown as a holiday over here. It is still not nearly as popular as in the States, but there are more parties and opportunities for kids to get candy if they know where to go.
I think this year I might resurrect the blue fairy costume again. With a few pieces I bought this year from SoLow, of course!