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!
Thursday was King’s Day in the Netherlands, a holiday to celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Or to just enjoy a nice day off…
But the real fun happens the night before, as The Hague organises a festival called The Life I Live. I have written a few blog posts about it, including last year’s rainy celebration and the 2013 celebration (back when it was Queen’s night; the last one as Queen Beatrix addicted the throne the next day).
One of the many stages, set up at the Kerkplein (by the Grote Kerk)
Like last year, there was also an area set up for street art. This year’s theme must have been Mondriaan-inspired as there was a lot of primary colors in block formation.
A look at another side, which had just been started:
The third side:
And the last side – Marco’s favorite – a Mondriaan-inspired Transformer!:
Luckily the rain held off this year. It was cold – colder then even Christmas! – but bearable.
Here’s a look at part of the Valentine’s Day at Xenos (a discount store):
If you need candles or flowers, you’ll definitely in luck…!
I also took a picture of this cute snow globe. Inside you have the iconic Dutch clogs:
Not that we have much snow at the moment. After a week of cold, we have (relatively) warm temperatures, at least through the weekend. And of course, rain…
But we’re past January – it can only get warmer from here! In theory.
Random photo from Saturday, during the Chinese New Year festivities:
Tomorrow the city of The Hague and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Netherlands will be hosting the Chinese New Year celebrations. 2017 is the year of the rooster!
Program at City Hall:
- 11:00 Asian market at the atrium
- 11:30 Dragon dancing and fireworks at the Spuiplein
- 12:30 Opening ceremony and speeches at the atrium
- 13:00 Chinese music and dance at the atrium
- 18:00 End of program
Other areas of interest:
- 11:00 Chinese New Year’s Market at both Rabijn Maarsenplein and the parking lot behind Bijenkorf
- 13:00 Dragon and lion dance with fireworks at Chinatown (Gedempte Burgwal)
- 13:00 Presentations at the JoHo centre on the Paviljoensgracht about Chinese culture and traveling within China
- 18:00 End of program
One of my photos from the 2013 Chinese New Year celebrations
This past Saturday Marco, Roger and I celebrated the closing of 2016. As per our yearly tradition, after midnight we go outside for about an hour and check out the fireworks. This year it was quite foggy even before people started setting off fireworks, so it seemed like most people began their celebrations early in the night rather than waiting until midnight.
My favourite photo from that night had nothing to do with the fireworks – it was of the Christmas lights at a house. Although since the lights were red white and blue you could say they were celebrating their nationality:
While some of this fog was due to the fireworks, it really was a pretty foggy night
A bit of purple to brighten the night sky
Quality time with family and friends
Everyone seemed to have the fire “baskets” you see above. Not sure where they came from.
All in all, yet another fun year. 🙂
This year we are celebrating New Year’s Eve at Roger’s. One of the most important parts of that (besides hanging out with friends, of course!) is “gourmetten”. Below is a picture of all of the gourmetten foods Roger purchased for the evening, although we already know we won’t be able to eat everything.
“Gourmetten” is a Dutch tradition of frying meats and (to a lesser extent) vegetables on a small grill on the dinner table. You can see pictures of the gourmet grill in the 2015 New Year’s Eve blog post I made. Roger purchased a new grill for 2016, so I will try and take some photos of that in action. I can’t wait!
To celebrate the second day of Christmas in the Netherlands…
I was in Bijenkorf last week and noticed they put in their Christmas tree for the holidays. It’s so large (four floors high) that it is difficult to get a complete photograph of. But to give you an idea:
A look at the tree from below, standing on the ground floor
I love the blue theme!
And a look at the tree from above
Last year’s Christmas tree was a red and gold theme.
To celebrate the first day of Christmas here in the Netherlands, here is a look at the Christmas tree within De Passage:
The fun story being this tree – in 2013 there were rumours that the Christmas tree would no longer come back because it ruined the view of the incoming Apple Store, but it was still present in 2013 (the Apple Store wasn’t open yet) and luckily present in 2014 and 2015.
And here we are in 2016! (This year I heard from someone that it wasn’t that Apple wanted to ban the Christmas tree so it didn’t ruin the store view, but that they wanted to decorate it themselves but the other stores were against that. Makes sense, but probably just another rumor.)