Bring out your gold (Or: Inspection house in the Binnenhof)

One or the lesser known sites of the Binnenhof is the Goudsmids Keurhuis, which is a fancy way of saying Goldsmith inspection house.

The building was built in the first part of the 17th century (Dutch Wikipedia). All that remains is the facade you see in the photo; behind is office spaces. There is a bit of an embarrassment from centuries ago: the gold text has a typo. it reads t’ Goutsmits Keur Huys but even back then the apostrophe should come before the t, as an abbreviation for het or “the”. If you look at the photo on the linked Wikipedia page you can see just how cramped this building is, surrounded by buildings constructed in the 20th century.

In other news: if all goes well there will be a brief feeling of sun on your skin this weekend. Temperatures on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be between 25-29C or 77-84F. I know, I know, that sounds positively cool compared to some cities out there. But we take what we can get.

I also received an email from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (the National Library) that they have released a beta version of their new e-book/audio book app. Some of the main improvements over the old app are:

  • you can check out a book directly from within the app
  • the same app is contains both e-books and audio books
  • other advantages are listed on their website (note: page is in Dutch)

Google Play link: online Bibliotheek BETA

Apple app store link: online Bibliotheek

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Stone work (Or: A socially distanced Turfmarkt)

Today’s photo is of the newly installed social distancing measures in the Turfmarkt area. It extends from The Hague Centraal Station, down the Turfmarkt, to the beginning of the Spuiplein.

Keep in mind this photo was taken on Sunday morning when it is relatively quiet. Normally this place is bustling with visitors walking from the train station to the city centre and back. However since the corona crisis most of the ministry workers in the nearby buildings are working from home, so that has helped a bit with limiting the foot traffic.

What are your thoughts on the stone work in general? I personally like the diagonal lines. So much of The Hague is covered in brick – it is weird going to vacation in the United States and coming back to this. But I like it.

Did you hear about the red Ferrari that was salvaged from the bottom of the IJ? (article from dutchnews.nl). The IJ, pronounced “Eye”, is a major body of water in Amsterdam (Wikipedia). It’s right outside Amsterdam Centraal Station, so it’s hard to miss… if you take the right exit, that is.

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Skateboarders and muses (Or: Muzentoren in The Hague)

Today’s photo is of the Muzentoren in The Hague, about a five minute walk from The Hague’s Centraal Station. Muzentoren translates roughly to “Muses’ Tower”. It’s a relatively new building, made in 2001 according to the Dutch Wikipedia page.

The statue in front also has an interesting meaning, although my photo only shows half of it. It is called “Light and darkness”. The side you see is the light – standing up straight, looking straight ahead. On the other side is darkness (see this image from indebuurt.nl) where the other half sags down, looking dejected.

In other news… did you know it was a year ago yesterday that the Netherlands broke the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded? A city in the south of the Netherlands reached 40.7C or 105F. Yikes! Yesterday the average was around 17C or 63F. That’s a bit of a difference…

I still remember La Salle, a local French restaurant, putting out free water for anyone (including pets) that week.

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Terrace of green (Or: Grand Café at the Haagse Bluf)

Today’s photo is from the terrace at the Grand Café at the Haagse Bluf, where some colleagues and I had some socially distanced drinks recently.

It’s not the best photo in the world, but I didn’t want to get anyone in the photo. The restaurant/terrace is actually above the Haagse Bluf shopping area, so you’re looking down into it. It’s a pretty nice terrace and larger than you would expect considering its location in the city centre. Everywhere you look you see green – bushes, plants, wall vines, you name it.

Check out this article I read this morning from The Guardian: ‘We were the luckiest people in the world’: our month on the last lockdown cruise. Spoiler: no one gets corona on this cruise ship and the supplies don’t run out, so it’s more about how people spend their time on the ship, especially when some ports on their agenda do not allow them to dock. It is about how the last remaining group of passengers begin to band together to find news ways to pass the time.

For the most part it is a relaxing atmosphere, somewhat free of the pandemic raging around them. Example: a few days before they finally docked, they were reminded they should get their hair cut or their nails done on the ship, because who knows when they would be able to do so once they were back on dry land. Of course, the pandemic is still there, a slight tinge to everything going on around them on the ship. But it’s also outside of their world, for a time.

Anyway, I enjoyed the read. Have a good Saturday, everyone!

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Miniature shopping cart (Or: It’s so cute!)

Today I noticed a miniature shopping cart by the local Albert Heijn. It reminded me of the toy-sized groceries Albert Heijn was giving out with a valid purchase some years back. They were called keukenmini’s or kitchen miniatures.

Not much else here to say today, beyond this: have a lovely weekend and stay safe! And if you’re in the Netherlands, avoid those weekend raindrops.

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Miniature display (Or: Games workshop in The Hague)

Today’s photo is of the window display by Games Workshop, over on Schoolstraat.

And since it is a bit hard to see, here’s a close up of some of the miniatures:

Suddenly I have the urge to watch the Lord of the Rings movies again…

In other news:

  • Calls grow for facemasks in all Dutch public space to stop coronavirus spreading from dutchnews.nl. The mayor of Rotterdam is asking for more research to be done into whether or not the Netherlands should require facemarks at a national level, and how the laws could be put into place if needed. That way if the situation doesn’t get better it would be an easier transition, in theory. I don’t want to wear a face mask everywhere outside (who does, really?), but I can see the benefits. Therefore, if it was a requirement I would do so. One of the criticisms against it is that people will think they no longer need to socially distance if they are wearing face masks.
  • Amsterdam to get first post-pandemic drive-in movie theater from nltimes.nl. This is almost enough reason for me to want a car (but not really, never, no thanks). But it’s a cool idea in general and I hope it sticks around.
Categories: Everyday purchases | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The Hague’s Grote Markt (Or: Rootz and bikes)

Today’s photo is of the Rootz restaurant on the Grote Markt, in the heart of The Hague’s city centre:

What do I always notice first? The red and white shutters as they are very European looking. The signs at the bottom of the photo point to the entrance (ingang) and the telephone number for reservations (reserveren?). The restaurant is quite careful to say that you don’t need a reservation for the terrace and (if there is space available) you don’t need a reservation to sit in the restaurant inside. After passing all of the health questions, of course.

I’ve never ate at this Rootz, only at the Scheveningen location near the beach. Unfortunately that location closed some years back. It was a great place for beer choices, though the menu itself didn’t have a lot of options that appealed to me.

Speaking of the Grote Markt, I read an article at Omroep West: Fietsers niet meer welkom in groot deel centrum Den Haag (bicyclists won’t be welcome in a big part of The Hague’s city centre). However this change doesn’t go into effect until October and doesn’t cover the Grote Markt street itself quite yet. There’s a separate review about what to do with the largest shopping street. Starting from October, most of the smaller streets will be closed to bicyclists from 11:30 until shops close. There are still a few streets that will always welcome bicyclists, though.

The streets marked with dark blue and yellow lines will still allow bike traffic 24/7. All other streets in the shaded green area will be closed to bicyclists from 11:30 in the morning.

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Willem II on horseback (Or: A statue reborn?)

Today’s photo is of the Willem II statue by the Buitenhof:

There’s some interesting tidbits with this statue.

  • Before 1924 a different statue of Willem II was in this spot (link to Dutch Wikipedia). For unknown reasons The Hague government wanted to instead install a replica of a statue found in Luxemborg: still Willem II, but on horseback. The original statue at the Buitenhof was sold to Tilburg for 1000 gulden (the equivalent of about 7,500 to 8,000 euros today). This replacement is recorded at the base of the statue in the photo above.
  • In the early 1990’s The Hague government wanted to install a “freedom carillon” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II. The bells would have either been placed quite close to the statue or in the statue’s very spot. Part of the problem was that the bells would have been 25 meters (82 feet) high, which might have been too jarring in that area. Momumentenzorg Den Haag has some scans of news articles from the 1990’s covering the situation, if you speak Dutch. But in the end the plans for the “freedom carillon” were thrown out (article from cobouw.nl).

As expected, the weekly coronavirus numbers from the RIVM were a bit high: about twice as many cases as last week (987 compared to 534), 19 hospitalizations and 7 deaths. But not all of those were numbers from the past 7 days, at least.

Outside of that, it’s mainly keeping on top of work during the day and relaxing at night. But the work days do go by quick, at least!

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Dinner time! (Or: Beef strips and broccoli)

One thing you may or may not know about me is I don’t cook that often – or at least, not that often out of my comfort zone. I’m more the chef’s assistent in the kitchen and that is fine with me.

In a moment of rushing around with work this morning I suggested an idea to Marco – beefs strips and broccoli. But then as it turns out, he had to work late, which meant it fell to me to start the dinner. And I did awesomely! (But thankfully he came home in the second half and gave some advice and help.)

So let’s see, in the bowl you have: beef strips, broccoli, rice, red peppers (yum!), fresh garlic, fresh ginger and 4 tablespoons of soy sauce. It was nice and spicy thanks to the peppers, especially at the end. The broccoli and rice still had a bit of crunch to it, giving it a nice texture. I’m quite proud of it.

In other news:

  • All mink farms will be culled proactively if coronavirus infections continue from nltimes.nl. I’m not sure if others countries are having trouble with mink, but here in the Netherlands we have a lot of cases of humans infecting mink. Every time that happens the entire farm is culled. (Originally the ruling was that mink farms would only be allowed until 2025 due to ethical reasons, but this new development might cause the government to buy them out sooner.)
  • Coronavirus daily infections rise, while concerns raised about accuracy of ‘dashboard’ from dutchnews.nl. Something to keep a close eye in the coming weeks – the latest relaxation of corona measures was on 1 July and there is a noticeable increase in cases since then. Now that the Dutch health ministry (RIVM) only reports cases on a weekly basis, one must look at the corona dashboard to see what the daily figures are. But there is also concern that the dashboard is not as correct as it could be.
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Ready and waiting (Or: The Hague’s tourist tram)

Yesterday I spotted the local tourist tram at the start of its route, by the Grote Kerk:

The tourist tram rides between The Hague city centre and Scheveningen (route at touristtram.nl). This green and yellow tram was in use in the 1950s.

Occasionally they appear in the news due to minor accidents, including one incident where it destroyed part of a wall. Opps! Or an accident where the brakes stopped working, so it hit another tram from behind at the busy Spui stop (both articles from regio15.nl).

If you would like to see more photos of this tram type, check out Wikimedia Commons.

And that’s your tram info for the day. Enjoy!

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