Shopping

Let’s all go to Primark (Or: Unbelievable lines)

Okay, admittedly this photo was taken last Sunday, late in the afternoon. The Hague city centre gets busy at those times, even on the best of the days. Throw in some coronavirus and you have a recipe for pedestrian congestion.

Let’s see… about 50 people that we can see waiting to get inside the local Primark (a discount clothing store), probably another 20-25 around the corner. Admittedly, it is a double line which makes it look twice even more crowded.

And here I used to joke that people were insane when they would walk around the city with four fully loaded Primark bags. It really is a discount clothing store – I think I got a shirt there for 2 and a half euros once. Oh, and a very awesome Christmas ornament that I probably don’t have a photo of. But trust me, it was cute.

But probably not worth waiting in line for with 75 others.

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The Passage in The Hague (Or: Warnings about keeping your distance)

Last week Marco and I went through The Passage, which serves as both a passage between shopping areas in the city centre as well as being a shopping area in its own right.

There were stickers in the ground reminding visitors to keep appropriate distance from one another:

These signs weren’t that big, but they were big enough to catch your eye for sure. What I was less impressed with was the attempt to create one-way walking areas near the entrances to The Passage, as the arrows were tiny, hard to see and easily ignored. In fact, I watched two people walk right over them in the wrong direction, not a care in the world.

I do think the one way arrows will need to be ‘improved’ in the coming weeks as this part only gets busier and busier. They should have been more of them, with clearer lines in the floor. Also perhaps a dividing line that went straight down the middle for the entirety of the shopping area. But we will see how it works out in the coming weeks and months.

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TV measurement lines (Or: Coolblue in The Hague)

Over the weekend Marco and I went to the Coolblue store in The Hague. Coolblue specializes in consumer electronics and only had an online presence — that is, until a few years ago when they started opening a few physical stores in The Netherlands.

I would describe it like an electronics store crossed with an Apple store – sure, they sell stuff but they also want to show off their stuff and let you browse around. The store has a minimalist feel, with a lot of empty space. And you can even get free tea and coffee. Generally I go to the online store to browse, and I only visit the physical store if I know exactly what I want. I haven’t tried the free tea or coffee quite yet. If I do I’ll let you know how it tastes.

But last weekend I had to take a photo of the floor.

Yeah – you heard me, the floor.

In the television department they have guides showing you how large each tv size is. They even thoughtfully provided a centimeter guide as well (which is logical since televisions are of course listed in cm here). I’m not quite sure how helpful the guidelines are—I think it would have been better to put each measurement next to each other and start from the same spot—but the thought is there.

I can just imagine someone grabbing a television off the display and dragging it to the guide area to double check that the television they were looking at was indeed 50 inches. Leaving scratch marks in the floor along the way…

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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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Cleaning day (Or: Hard to reach places)

Well, even those windows need to be washed.

An early morning photo from the inside of De Passage (Dutch Wikipedia article) while the windows were being cleaned.

This covered shopping area was first opened in 1885, making it the oldest shopping centre still in use in the Netherlands.

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A day out (Or: Hoog Catharijne mall in Utrecht)

A few weeks ago Marco and I went to Utrecht for half a day. It’s about a 45 minute train ride – when the trains ride properly anyway. There were some issues that day, so I think it took about an hour and a half to get there. Opps! It’s a city in the middle of the Netherlands with about 350,000 residents.

The main reason for this trip was to visit the Hoog Catharijne mall, which has probably been under renovation for years. At least it seemed that way. I don’t think it is completely done, but the parts that are done look really good. Check it out:

The area between the mall (pictured) and the station (behind us) is semi-covered by the artistic roof above, although Marco says it doesn’t help 100% when it rains on a windy day. Ha!
Inside the mall – looking down on one of the wings. The pretty big for Dutch standards (about 42,000 square meters) but American malls are generally larger.

And just outside the mall in one of the canals is a piece of art: a whale made of plastic. Of course, a statement on plastic in the oceans.

And a close-up look at the whale from the front:

In the background you can see the mall

It’s a nice day trip, especially when you a combine it with a tour of the older parts of the city (which we did a few years back).

Categories: Marco&Niki, Shopping, Utrecht | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Delft blauw in The Hague (Or: Mini statues)

The Delft blauw craze will never quite go away. Recently I was visiting Frederik Hendriklaan or the Fred, as the locals call it. I stepped inside Kaatje aan de Rein (Facebook page), a gift shop.

I had to think of my mother-in-law when I spotted these tiny creatures, made in the style of Delft blauw:

They are similar to the two playing cats she purchased at the Gemeentemuseum, a local museum here in The Hague. You can see a picture of the two cats here.

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For the creative ones (Or: Lego display at Intertoys)

Last month I spotted a Lego display at Intertoys here in The Hague. As you might expect, Intertoys is a (chain) toy store.

There’s always an unexpected animal lying in wait to trip you…
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Christmas at Media Markt (Or: An inviting tree at the entrance)

A photo of the Christmas tree at the local Media Markt here in The Hague:

Media Markt is “the” electronics store of the Netherlands, a chain that started in Germany. According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest electronics retailer here in Europe, and the second largest worldwide after America’s Best Buy. The one thing to get used to is that most or all of the stores are franchises, so the price might differ between stores.

Media Markt is also known as the place to go during the BTW-vrij week, which usually happens around the end of January. BTW-vrij = Media Markt deducts the taxes from the price so you don’t have to pay it.

Merry (2nd day of) Christmas!

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A pile of wine bottles neatly left behind (Or: No deposit on them I assume)

Captured at Albert Heijn, the local grocery store:

Lots and lots of wine bottles… someone must have had a party! This is by the bottle return area (the bottom part pictured here is for returning a beer crate), so I assume wine bottles don’t have a deposit on them. I am not much of a wine drinker (besides the occasional prosecco) so I’m not sure.

Still, kudos to them for leaving them behind without making a mess. Although it does mean work for Albert Heijn to get rid of them.

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