I’ve posted a few times about the small “alleyway” street that goes by the name Bagijnestraat, not far from the Tweede Kamer. My favorite post was about the art on a garage door last May. Actually, if you click on that blog post link you will see just how many bikes are cluttering up the alleyway… which is the subject of today’s post.
A few months ago Marco, Roger and I cut through this alleyway and we noticed the “no bikes here” signs for the first time. Each sign is in a different language. For example, here is Spanish (no bicicletas aquí):
But – kind of funny, here is the German sign (wo ist der bahnhof?):
That doesn’t say “no bikes here” in German. It actually says “Where is the train station?”. That is a reference to a 1985 short, satirical Dutch film by the same name (the actual skit is only 2 minutes). Read more at this vpro.nl link (in Dutch). It is a common joke between Marco, Roger and I: “wo ist der bahnhof? …do is der bahnhof.”(Where is the train station? There is the train station!) See also the 2 minute skit at YouTube in Dutch.
As you can see, there are also plaques with a poem in the alleyway. Here is the start:
If walls had ears / and streets could cry / then resonating in the Bagijntje [street] / is an endless story. Of course it sounds better in Dutch!
Apparently even the littlest bikes can be left out on the street. It is very Dutch, although I don’t see usually bikes this small on the street:
And in other news, the Netherlands have managed to mess things up again yet. Even with the delta variant starting to hit Europe, they decided to relax more measures than expected in late June, including only requiring face maks on public transportation and opening dance clubs without social distancing restrictions. To enter the dance club one needed to either be vaccinated or take a test that was not older than 40 hours. But one could be considered “vaccinated” if they received the J&J vaccine earlier in the day and went clubbing that night. And as you know, it takes a bit of time to build up some protection, especially against the Delta variant…
Check it out:
And really, I think the only reason today is lower is that it is Sunday. If we continue at this rate testing numbers will look like they have stabilized but in reality we have merely hit the maximum number of tests we can analyze per day.
Note: I don’t think it was the fault of anyone who visited dance clubs, especially not in the first weekend. Clubs have been closed for over a year, so of course people will be desperate to go there, especially with the carrot of not needing to social distance. And yes, the Dutch government is following the UK model where a higher amount of cases is okay provided the number of hospital admissions or deaths does not increase drastically. But it would have been a bit better if they could have waited an extra 4-6 weeks so that more people could get fully vaccinated.
It just means I am counting down the days until my second vaccine even more than before. Almost there!
I took a few photos of the canal by the Dennewegbrug. “Denneweg” is the street name and “brug” is Dutch for bridge.
And in other news, there was a demonstration today at Malieveld, not far from The Hague’s Centraal station. The name is Blijf van onze kinderen af, or “Stay away from our kids”. The article is from regio15.nl in Dutch, with lots of photos. including a photo at the end of one very smart ice cream seller who knows he will do good business here.
The reason for the demonstration? The Netherlands recently decided that 12 – 17 year olds can be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine if they wanted. 16 and 17 year olds can independently choose for the vaccine, while younger kids need their parents’ permission. The first shot would be given now and the second shot would follow during the first month of school. Appointments for anyone born in 2004 could be made since yesterday, with 2005, 2006 and so forth following next week.
This work week went by pretty fast, I must admit. This morning my company sent out an email about the “return to the office”. Spoiler: it won’t happen before 1 September at the earliest, although we were first told that date back around Christmas last year. Kudos to them for seeing how the future would play out. The new tidbit was that any return would be optional (and at the employee’s discretion) until at least December, when that part of the policy would be reviewed again. They were also considering what a future “work from home” policy would look like post corona. Previously it was possible to work from home one day a week, so we’ll see if they extend that to two days.
In other news: T-Mobile to refund people whose Eurovision votes were not counted from nltimes.nl. Casting your vote for the winner of the Eurovision contest last month meant sending a text message to a certain number. Unfortunately for some people in the Netherlands, they received a text message hours later saying that the event had already ended and they could no longer vote, meaning that the vote was held up somewhere and thus declared invalid.
Exiting lockdown: Relaxations implemented June 5, also from nltimes.nl. Tomorrow will see step 3 of 6 of the “re-opening” plan being activated. Steps 4 and 5 will take place (together) at the end of this month, if all goes well. Step 6 is removing the restriction of wearing face masks inside and keeping 1.5 meters distance. There is no official date for when step 6 will happen yet.
And here is an article from omroepwest.nl in Dutch: Kinderen krijgen verkeersparcours in Schilderswijk dankzij ‘positieve fllitspaal’. In other words, the neighborhood put up a speed meter in the area. There was a sign explaining that motorists sticking to the posted speed limit (50km/h) would cause a small automatic donation. The total amount of funds that could be raised was 1,000 euros. That goal was reached and the neighborhood decided to spend it on a traffic course for kids so that they could learn how to safely navigate in traffic as pedestrians or cyclists. (I do think Dutch kids learn how to cycle while still in the womb. At any rate, they learn to cycle at a very young age.)
The Grote Marktstraat is a very busy shopping street in city centre of The Hague – I blog about it sometimes. It is actually somewhat contentious because the city added a lane down the middle back in 2014 when this area was re-paved. The “street” was intended for emergency vehicles or local business vehicles (re-stocking the shops), although the later is restricted to the early morning hours. The “street” is a bit lower than the rest of the area, so bikers have used it as a bike path as well. Which makes sense. On the plus side it also meant that you only had to worry about getting run over when you were crossing this “street” since bikers and vehicles would stick to this area only.
Here is a photo of the area when it was under construction back in 2014 (but after the “bike path” was finished):
Even though the lane wasn’t painted red (what usually signals that it is a bike path in the Netherlands) it was definitely used as a bike path as soon as it opened.
Flash forward to this week, when the city has decided that “yes, it is a bike path (…for now), but pedestrians still have right of way”. (Yeah right, I don’t want to risk my life seeing if that is true!)
As you can see above, the notice that pedestrians have right of way has been painted into the area where bikes ride, in at least 5 spots. It’s actually a bit of an obstacle course until the paint dries, really…
In other news: Rotterdam, The Hague announce bid to host Tour de France start from nltimes.nl. The bid would either be for 2024 or 2025. Rotterdam would host the opening stage, with an additional stage from Rotterdam to The Hague. The previous time the Netherlands hosted a few stages was back in 2015, when Utrecht was the host twice.
And Fietsers weg uit de Grote Marktstraat? Dat kan, maar gaat ten koste van parkeerplekken from omroepwest.nl. (Removing cyclists from the Grote Marktstraat? That is possible, but it will come at the cost of parking). The city has determined that it is possible to remove cyclists from the shopping area of the Grote Marktstraat, the large shopping street in The Hague’s city centre. This is because cyclists can use the parellel streets of Gedempte Gracht and Gedempte Burgwal, but 54 parking spots would need to be removed in the latter street to make sure cyclists have enough room.
Of course, the article then goes on to say that there is a possibility that cyclists can cycle tvia the Grote Markstraat before 11:30 daily, when the shops open. But that just means people won’t know the difference and will keep cycling through the area no matter the time of day. Although the city did successfully manage to ban scooters from using the Grote Markstraart so I guess anything is possible… we shall see!
This is to be expected; people are working from home more often and most people won’t be going on holiday this year. I read somewhere that some people are purchasing multiple Christmas trees so that they have one for each room. The only rule I have is that we need to wait until November before we bring out the Christmas decorations. November 1st, that is…
Amsterdam to use flowers to stop cyclists chaining bikes to bridges from theguardian.com. Like it or not, bikes do get in the way often. And one of the places you will always, always see bikes is chained to a canal bridge. The worst part? It doesn’t just spoil the view, it also leaves less room for pedestrians which means they are more likely to walk in the road.
Personally I don’t remember having this issue in Amsterdam but I did experience it in Utrecht. I felt like I was walking in the street at least half of the time, which definitely wasn’t fun.
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.