Saved by art (Or: Derailed metro car)

Have you read about this one yet? I have never seen something so cool (which I only feel comfortable saying because no one was injured):

This happened late on Sunday night into Monday, just after midnight. The metro went straight through the stop blocks at the final stop, crashing off the platform, landing on a whale’s tail. (Don’t believe the rumor that the artwork is called “Saved by the Whale’s Tail”, as cool as that would be. The actual name is “Whale tails”.) The artwork was installed in 2002 and is a reference to the metro’s tail track.

I give the dismount a perfect 10. More news articles:

Subway crashes through stop block; Hangs precariously off artwork 10-meters up from

Whale tail sculpture stops Rotterdam metro train from crashing into water from

Verbazing bij kunstenaar na metro-ongeluk: ‘Gedacht dat het zou instorten’ from (Surprise by artist after metro accident: ‘I thought it would collapse’). The construction is reinforced polyester, so I can see why he would think that!

The artist also says in this article that he wanted to go a different direction, however he decided to stick with the whale tail because residents in the area reminded him that he had promised them a whale tail (or two).

And because of that the driver is still alive today.

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Swans and ducks by Koekamp (Or: November has arrived)

Yesterday I went to Malieveld, the first time in a few months. The last time I was there it was summer and oh so nice and warm… but I chose to avoid it for a while because of the carnival taking up most of the area.

On the way to Malieveld I passed by Koekamp, a small park with deer, swan and ducks. This time I saw more swans then I ever have:

In the background joggers and cyclists rush past. I also saw a swan chasing after two poor ducks for whatever reason. Maybe they stole its lunch?

It’s definitely fall now. Leaves are falling off the trees in buckets, with a cold breeze and spitting rain (motregen in Dutch).

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Bijenkorf 2020 Christmas displays (Or: A piece of normal)

Marco and I decided to risk it and go to Xenos and Bijenkorf (a high end department store) today. It was probably the first time I stepped foot in Bijenkorf this year. And actually it wasn’t too bad. I thought it it would be really busy, especially on a Sunday afternoon, but Xenos was actually busier.

Bijenkorf had an interesting setup for the escalators: pieces of cardboard taped to the side of the escalator which reminded you to stand on the other side (as far away as possible from the opposite escalator). While they are taped securely to the elevator it was done in such a way that someone standing on the wrong side won’t rip them out. I didn’t take a photo, however.

The good news is that the Christmas section isn’t that busy on November 1st. Who knew?

“At the North Pole” display
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Vegan food by FOAM (Or: A delicious brunch)

Today Marco, Roger and I ordered brunch from the FOAM restaurant in The Hague (over on Frederikstraat). It was a special brunch offer which you could pick up between 10:00 and 14:00 today. Roger was kind enough to bike there to pick it up before biking over to our place.

Check out the color on those wraps! Here is a list of what we received for this brunch box deal (two portions per box):

  • 1 They don’t carrot about us juice⁠
  • 1 fresh orange juice⁠
  • 2 small soups (“cheesey” vegetable)
  • 2 small wraps with curried quinoa and veggies⁠
  • 2 small BLTA’s⁠ (tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado)
  • 2 small oatmeal pancakes⁠ with maple syrup
  • 2 chocolate-coffee desserts
  • 2 peanut butter blondies⁠

My favorite was (again) the BLTA’s on flatbread. My second favorite was the chocolate-coffee dessert although it was quite rich. But deliiiiicious.

We split the leftovers; I’m looking forward to trying the peanut butter blondie tonight. Yummmm. Give it a try if you are in the area!

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Attack of the birds (Or: That poor tree)

The birds were back this afternoon, and this time they stayed for almost an hour. Fun fact: it actually sounds more like a low, distant rumble when you have hundreds of birds chirping outside your back door.

I don’t think you can fit any additional birds in that tree. And that was actually the smaller tree. The birds also claimed a much larger tree next to this one as their own, but it was less photogenic.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | 2 Comments

Rainy days (Or: Soundtrack against the window)

It is another rainy day, although that seems to matter less when you are working from home. Luckily it was dry when I went out this morning to do some grocery shopping. Otherwise it is a pretty quiet Thursday and we’re just counting the days (or day) until the weekend.

Here are some of the stories that I’ve seen in the news lately:

  • Coronavirus reporting again hit by IT issues but growth does seem to have slowed by The issues occurred twice in the past week, meaning that the number of cases reported was inaccurate. They aren’t missing any data, it just comes a day or two later than it should. The last few days the number of cases has only risen by a little bit (we’re just over 10,000). What really matters, however, is getting the hospital intakes down so that more people leave the hospital than enter it. And we are not quite there yet.
  • Pumpkin sales up but Halloween celebrations squashed, also from As noted previously, Halloween is not as big a tradition over here, but Amsterdam has still sent out warnings that trick or treating should not take place this year.
  • Rembrandt’s Night Watch to be 3D-scanned before restoration from The restoration is not happening behind closed doors (although it is behind glass). The team has spent most of this year investigating the painting and they will hopefully begin the restoration process earlier next year. You can also view the painting interactively online with the Rijksmuseum’s Experience the Night Watch tour.
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Christmas displays (Or: The view at CASA)

CASA is a home goods store on the Grote Marktstraat. I decided to take a few photos of their Christmas display for you:

And here’s a look from the escalator:

I don’t think it will be that much longer before we put up our Christmas tree. We’re home a lot these days, so why not make it extra festive?

In other news:

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At least we still have coffee (Or: Sign in The Hague)

Check out this sign (just outside De Passage shopping area):

You do have to admire the drawing skills. Better than I can do, that’s for sure. And of course I am writing this while drinking coffee. ☕️

So, minor updates:

  • Weekly numbers for week 43 (21 – 27 October) are available at in English
  • we are in the middle of our ‘partial lockdown’ (which is now planned to last until at least the beginning of December, article in English from
  • we have seen a few days where the number of cases have only increased slightly, but I don’t trust it yet. We won’t see the effect of the partial lockdown until the end of this week at the earliest
  • For the most part things still look fairly negative, with one bright spot being that the R number is now around 1.16 occurring to the most recent reliable data).

And, expected news: my coworkers and I received an email today saying that working from home has been extended until April 2021. Previously it was January 2021.

On the one hand, that’s crazy. On the other hand, after seeing how the last few months have gone, I don’t think any of us expected to be back in the office in January.

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Woonplaatsguesser game (Or: Where is that town again?)

Last week Thursday someone from The Hague made an online game, placing a link on Twitter. The game? Guess where the Dutch township/municipality (gemeente) or place of residence (woonplaats) lies on the map. Gemeente is the default option. The closer you are, the more points you get. There are 10 rounds.

I am not so good at this – I’d say my best score was 350. I keep guessing all the way in the north and it’s all the way in the south or vice versa. Hmph.

Hagenaar ontwikkelt razendpopulair spel: ‘Het is al 615.000 keer gespeeld’ (Person from The Hague creates an insanely popular game: ‘It has been downloaded 615,000 times.’) And that was only the first 24 hours.

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99 percent invisible podcast (Or: Dutch references)

I was catching up on some episodes of the 99% invisible podcast last week (also known as 99pi). It’s quite informative, although I must admit that I like it because the host, Roman Mars, has such a soothing voice. What can I say – some people just sound really good on radio.

One of the episodes I listened to last week was Mini-stories 8, an episode of, you guessed it, mini stories. They usually broadcast a few of those at the end of the year around the holidays. One of the mini stories was entitled “The Forever Bond“. Bonds are something governments or companies offer in exchange for a loan from you. Over time the bonds pay interest, usually maturing over 30 years, meaning that if you’re patient you’ll make a bit of money on the side.

But there are also “perpetual bonds”, which never mature and always create interest for the holder. Those are quite rare. The oldest one still paying interest is a 1648 bond from a Dutch water authority to help pay for the construction of a pier. It is written on goatskin and now owned by Yale University.

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