Holidays

Aperol Spritz (Or: A drink fit for a king)

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!

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King’s Day changes (Or: Celebrations now dubbed “Woningsdag”)

The National Association of King’s Day organizers announced today that Koningsdag (King’s Day) will become Woningsdag (Home Day) this year. Even if you don’t speak Dutch you can see the subtle change in the word to encourage people to stay at home while celebrating Koningsdag.

King’s Day is a day of birthday celebration for King Willem-Alexander who is turning 53 this year. It is a nationally recognized holiday where (most) people don’t need to go in to work. Previously the holiday was known as Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day until Princess Beatrix abdicated the throne in 2013. She also celebrated the day in April, in honor of her mother. Probably a good thing for us as Princess Beatrix was born in late January – brrrr.

Here are some of the activities planned for the Woningsdag later this month:

  • hanging Dutch flags outside (both for the king on his birthday and for each other)
  • bell ringing between 09:45-10:00 throughout the country
  • singing of the national anthem at 10:00
  • NOS (the national broadcaster) will air a program at 10:10 looking at previous King’s Day events
  • a digital market for clothes in the afternoon. I have no idea how they will make that work – but the Dutchies are well known for their King’s Day flea markets. See also:
an old photo from Queen’s Day 2012
  • The king will read some of the digital letters written to him by children
  • At 16:00 there will be a toast to the king in which everyone can participate (woo! alcohol at 16:00!)
  • In the evening NOS (the national broadcaster) will air a program looking at how Woningsdag was celebrated throughout the country

For more information, see:

Koningsdag wordt Woningsdag met digitale kleedjesmarkt en thuistoost (nu.nl)

Kings Day will be celebrated at home this year, with church bells and a toast (dutchnews.nl)

Corona maakt van Koningsdag dit jaar Woningsdag (nos.nl)

Hmm. Right now a Google search for Woningsdag returns just under 8,000 hits. Let’s see how that increases in the next few weeks…

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Easter 2020 (Or: A bit smaller and closer to home)

Happy Easter, everyone! It’s a quiet holiday – we’ve opened the windows nice and wide today to get that spring breeze circulating through the apartment. This year Marco and I ordered Easter Brunch from a local restaurant, FOAM Catering. You can find them at Frederikstraat 44.

We were tempted after Marco saw the menu on Facebook:

We went with the meal and added one massive chocolate chip cookie and one banana bread muffin to the spoils. Check it out:

From left to right we have the massive chocolate chip cookie, and then next to that the banana bread muffin (sort of hidden). In the box above we have the two sandwiches – BLTA (tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado – YUMMM!) and the wakame baguette with scrambled tofu, chives and tomato. I can easily say it is the best tofu I’ve ever had. It was great and did actually look like scrambled eggs. You can see the scrambled tofu container in the lower right, as you needed to warm it up separately and then add it to the sandwich.

Underneath the sign “Like our food?” is the mango jalapeño gazpacho, my second favorite item after the BLTA sandwich. It wasn’t that spicy, and the mango wasn’t too sweet. To the right is the scrambled tofu, as earlier mentioned. In the box on the far right is the coconut power balls and underneath the two brownies. Sweets wise we kept it at the coconut power balls, which were unbelievably tasty. We saved them until last and had them with a cup of coffee. The two closed containers in the far back are the extra scrambled tofu and gazpacho.

If you’re in The Hague I would definitely recommend this restaurant – it was well worth the price and we’re already planning our next visit. And without this experience I wouldn’t have ever known tempeh bacon existed, so that’s a definite win.

Stay safe, everyone!

Categories: Food, Holidays | Tags: | 2 Comments

Chocolate eggs by Hema (Or: Stroopwafel flavor, anyone?)

It feels like a lifetime ago, but a few weeks ago (13 March) I was browsing in Hema. I could not resist snapping a few photos of their chocolate egg collection:

Some of the flavors included dark chocolate banana cream, white chocolate matcha lemon, milk chocolate cookies and cream (that one was almost empty), milk chocolate orange, milk chocolate coconut, milk chocolate peanut butter… I definitely learned that everyone’s favorite flavor is milk chocolate, not dark chocolate.

There was also a display near one of the entrances.

But the best (and most Dutch) flavor was…

You guessed it… Stroopwafel flavored chocolate eggs!

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A sea of red paper (Or: Chinese New Year)

Happy Chinese New Year! Yesterday The Hague and countless other cities across the world celebrated the holiday, signaling the start of the year of the rat.

Most amusing for me was the sea of red paper left behind from the parade:

Just one sea of red amongst many. You saw them about every 30 feet.

New Year celebrations – Chinese or otherwise – are always a good excuse to set off some fireworks.

And here’s a look at one of the mini parades, led by a group from Nijmegen:

And another photo:

Dragon!

I don’t know… the year of the rat? But they are the first zodiac animal, and are seen as a sign of wealth in the Chinese culture. So there is that! If this is your zodiac sign, be proud of your ratliness (note: I made that word up).

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Fireworks over The Hague (Or: Happy New Year!)

The Netherlands has survived its night of fireworks. We did see one drunk guy (still holding his bottle of alcohol) walk up to a police car waiting at a stop light and talk to police agent for a few minutes. Maybe he was simply wishing them a happy New Year, who knows. By the time we crossed the street the police car was on the move again.

There is also a YouTube video available from user VerdierMedia PuntNL where he/she uses a drone to capture the fireworks over The Hague last night. Check it out!

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Sugar and all things sweet (Or: New Year’s oliebollen)

Marco and I made oliebollen yesterday! (Or: I supervised while he did almost all of the work.)

Yum yum yum. With a touch of powdered sugar on top. A New Year’s Eve treat.

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Purple and gold (Or: Christmas tree in De Passage)

Here’s a look at this year’s Christmas tree in De Passage (The passage):

And a close up of the Christmas ornaments:

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Christmas at Bijenkorf, The Hague (Or: 2019 edition)

Last week a colleague and I had some extra time on our hands after work so we decided to check out the Christmas section at Bijenkorf in The Hague. Here are some of the photos I took:

The gingerbread houses look so yummy!
A look at the Christmas tree theme this year
A beautiful (if slightly busy/crowded) table setting
More Christmas items, and ornaments for sale in the background

I always check out the Christmas section at Bijenkorf – they make some wonderful items. They come in different sizes and styles, so there is something for (almost) everyone.

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Decorated Christmas cookies (Or: Bring on the holidays)

Check out the Christmas cookies that my colleague decorated on Friday. They were decorated during a themed ‘Ugly Christmas sweater’ event:

And they are just as tasty as they look! I had part of the one in the upper right – peanut butter and all spice, if I remember correctly.

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