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.

Categories: Holidays, Shopping | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Gibberish (Or: Riding the HTM tram)

I’m a big fan of public transportation and love reading everything about HTM trams, so I just had to share the photo I made about the check-in/check-out machine in one of the local trams:

For years these machines display gibberish about 50% of the time. The machine should read IN/UIT- CHECKEN at this moment, which it… mostly… does. But about 15 seconds prior ‘CHECKEN’ was actually ‘SLURKEN’. I’m not sure why exactly, but one letter randomly changes here and there and random symbols appear on the sides.

Maybe it’s all just a big puzzle we are supposed to figure out.

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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.

Categories: Food, Holidays, Working & Volunteering | Tags: | Leave a comment

No bikes allowed (Or: Christmas shopping in The Hague city centre)

Okay, I’ll admit – I don’t have a bike in the Netherlands so I am a bit biased with this post. However I was thrilled to hear that the shopping street on the Grote Markt would be closed to bikes this weekend+Monday and next weekend+Monday (article in Dutch). On a normal day it is dangerous trying to cross the street to get to the shops, but during Christmas…? Forget about it.

I’ll be honest – tourists and those not from The Hague have no clue where they should walk, which just angers cyclists even more. And I don’t think most cyclists know that there’s no official bike path on that street and that they should be adjusting their biking based on the movements of the pedestrian, and not vice versa.

If you’re interested, you can watch a time lapse of them re-doing Grote Marktstraat back in 2015. I will admit the street is much more beautiful now than it was, but the old street made it much more obvious that you were crossing a bike path.

“Through traffic obstructed”

Oh, and it’s still extremely busy in the city centre even without the cyclists!

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Christmas lights at the Bijenkorf (Or: 2019)

It’s become a tradition – take a picture of the Christmas lights at Bijenkorf (a high-end department store – the name means beehive).

Here is 2019:

This year you have the addition of a digital advertisement board — which caused a bit of controversy when they were installed because of the noise and light pollution they caused. Things seemed to have died down since then, though.

Bijenkorf’s window displays are always a hit with the shopping crowd – each different than the last.

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Don't forget to drink your Oatly (Or: A Christmas Story reference)

The reference in the title is from the movie A Christmas Story where the main character finally gets a decoder ring and can finally decode this week’s secret message – and it turns out to be as boring as “Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine.” That’s a childhood shattered…

For the past few months The Hague and other Dutch cities have been inundated with lots and lots of advertisements for an oat drink called Oatly It is supposed to be a replacement for milk. I haven’t tried it yet.

The Randstad building in The Hague city centre, with the advertisement as cover for the scaffolding

But I did get a cool picture last month of a building-high advertisement for their product. One thing the company is known for is their catchy advertisements. For instance there’s a similarly large one elsewhere in The Netherlands with the line “Only the best oat drink ads get to hang out on this corner”. It feels like most of the advertisements are unique, as there are many different ones to spot throughout the city.

Another smart thing they did? Advertisement everywhere in the city for a few weeks and then go on discount at the local supermarkt to get everyone to try it. It’ll be interesting to see if the product sticks around.

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Jumbo City (Or: Competition in the city centre)

A new grocery store is moving in to the city centre! A Jumbo City grocery store will be opening on the Grote Marktstraat on 4 December, which means competition for the local Albert Heijn. A little competition never hurt anyone, though…

For the non-Dutch speaking among us: it’s pronounced Yumbo, not Jumbo.

The store will be opening in what was previously the Marks & Spencer was (which I still miss for its food options – never cared about the clothing lines).

Flyer for the opening of the store on Grote Markstraat

One cool thing: the inside of the flyer had a map of the store layout. You don’t see that too often, since stores prefer you wander around and see everything.

Finding your way

Hopefully it lasts. It’s not bad to have more grocery store options in the city centre. Although there is also a Jumbo by the Holland Spoor train station already, it is quite small and didn’t have the same inventory as other Jumbos do.

Categories: Everyday purchases, The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

New bus station (Or: Den Haag Centraal)

The bus station at Den Haag Centraal is now ready for use! There’s still a bit of construction going on, but passengers can use the new area.

Here is how it used to look:

Photo taken by Steven Lek and downloadable at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Den_Haag_Central_station_busplatform_2019.jpg

Note that the bus lanes are perpendicular from where passengers enter the area to catch a bus (so that the non-HTM buses tend to be all the way at the end, a bit of a walk).

And here is how it looks now:

This photo is taken from the entrance to the bus area. Now the bus lanes are parellel to the passenger, with large boards and information about departure times over each lane so that you can quickly see which bus lane you need to go to. There’s also a lot more light in the area, which is a huge contrast to the shadow-filled spaces the previous bus station had.

It’s definitely a welcome change to the previous version. If you have time and you’re in The Hague, go check it out!

Categories: The Hague, Transportation | 2 Comments

Graffiti all around (Or: Step in the Arena)

Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.

That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.

Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:

And finally, a claw crane game:

It was definitely a great spot to visit and one I can recommend (although it was about a 20-25 minute walk to get there).

Categories: Marco&Niki, The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

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.

Categories: Shopping, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

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