Today I took a walk in the area of Buitenhof and Plaats (English Wikipedia and Dutch Wikipedia, respectively). The city is currently in the middle of a two year redesign of the “Plaats” area (which literally translates to “Place”).
I must admit I was slightly confused by new stone walkway area extending from the pedestrian area into the road (and bike path):
It’s a bit hard to see with the wet stone, but the entire area is now the same height, with the road and bike path disappearing. Here is a look from a bit further away:
But that is the city’s plan for the area. The official page which mentions the work that is going on and how long it lasts (denhaag.nl, in Dutch) states: “Hiervoor wordt het straatniveau overal gelijkgemaakt en […] de route langs de Hofvijver blijft wel te gebruiken voor taxi’s en bestemmingsverkeer (bijvoorbeeld om winkels te bevoorraden, parkeergarages te bereiken of te laden en te lossen).” Or, in English: The street will be made the same height in all places and the street pictured above will only be opened to taxis or local traffic (to supply stores, to reach parking garages or to unload or load supplies).”
Therefore at some point there will be fewer cars in the area so it will be less of an issue. But it looks a bit weird at the moment.
However, why do they have to use stones that don’t dry as quickly? You can see the difference in the second photo, with the old stones already drying after the latest rainfall (which makes them less slippery).
It will be interesting to see how it looks once the construction finally finishes later this spring.
Have a look at what Marco and I had on Friday evening (the fries were self supplied):
Doesn’t that look delicious? That was one of the FOAM @ home options last Friday (Facebook link). The best part? The burger was actually a giant portbello mushroom. The rest of the ingredients were Asian inspired (an Asian guacamole, shredded carrots, and a coleslaw).
The bread rolls were from Lekkerbrood (Facebook link again) which translates to “Tasty bread”. And that it was.
Mysterie: Daarom staan er geen prullenbakken op het Binnenhof from indebuurt.nl. Mystery: Why are there no trash containers at the Binnenhof? Okay, I’ll admit I knew the answer before even clicking on the link – Binnenhof is s a complex of parliamentary buildings. There are no trash containers there for safety reasons; who knows what someone would stuff in them. (For the record, I’ve almost never seen the Binnenhof that dirty.)
After what felt like three straight weeks of rain, we finally had a few (relatively) dry weeks. However, autumn definitely snuck in while no one was looking.
This photo is of the Binnenhof, exiting out onto the Plein (where the statue of Willem van Oranje is, and where demonstrators love to congregate outside the Tweede Kamer). That’s the Dutch House of Representatives. The only thing that is missing is red and orange leaves, to bring out the autumnal colors even more.
I am looking forward to an extra hour of sleep tomorrow morning. Daylight savings ends. Bring on the even darker mornings… we’re working from home anyway.
This evening I took a photo of hooligans trespassing on the grounds of Buitenhof. I assume they took a swim to get there since they were wearing swim trunks. Ew. You couldn’t pay me to get in that water.
The photo isn’t of the best quality – this was at 10x zoom considering how far away they were. Can you spot the security guard to the right of the two gentleman, in the shadow of the tree? You can just see the white of his dress shirt. There were also 10 to 15 police agents in the area within a few minutes, including one mounted police officer trotting past. But I didn’t stick around to see how it ended.
During one of my walks I noticed a Catholic church; the deep red door drew my eye first before I noticed the mosaic above it. (And no Dutch photo is complete without a random sighting of a bike as well.)
According to Google Maps this is the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua. Here’s a close up of the mosaic pattern (a priest wearing brown robes and holding a staff):
In other news, imagine my surprise yesterday when a coworker sent along a meeting invite for next week Monday. The meeting is actually a social invite to mark 150 days of lockdown. I was so shocked that I googled it – yes, next Monday will be 150 days since we were last in the office. Crazy!
Earlier this week Marco took this photo of the Buitenhof for me. What do you think?
Of course you probably notice the flowers first, but the clouds above do deserve a glance as well. A touch of gray.
There was a press conference earlier this evening. The main topic was whether or not there be a country-wide requirement to wear a face mask at all times when outside. At the moment you are only required to wear a face mask when using public transportation.
And another article, this one from Omroep West: Terrassen mogen uur langer open tijdens warme Haagse nachten. It’s an article about how terraces can stay open longer during the summer if the temperature is over 25C/77F Thursday through Sunday. The city government will look at the upcoming weekend’s temperature every Thursday and announce if terraces can be open longer that weekend. ☀️
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)
Yesterday I went for a walk, part of which included the Binnenhof. But this time I took a different route than tourists normally take:
As you can see there’s a small pathway between the two buildings which you can use to get in and out of the Binnenhof area. It’s quite small and easily missed, even as a local. But if you do take the path, you’ll notice that there are windows that allow you to peek into the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives):
It’s nothing too special, except that I’m sure I’ve seen that room countless times on the national news (generally for interviews or occasionally when a member of the Tweede Kamer is desperately trying to avoid journalists and quickly escape up the escalator).
In other news:
There are now only 113 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, with 481 patients outside of the ICU (lcps.nu, article in Dutch). That’s very different from when I blogged about ICU beds back in late March when we had almost 1,000 patients. At the highest there were over 1,400 patients including 46 in Germany (nu.nl, article in Dutch). And speaking of Germany, the very last Dutch patient finally left a German ICU yesterday. Crazy.
During a press conference last night the Dutch prime minister announced that it would be possible to travel to certain other European countries from 15 June for vacation. Countries like Germany, Belguim, Italy and Croatia (nos.nl, article in Dutch). If you’re willing to risk it, of course… but everyone’s economies need a bit of help, that’s for sure.
A few weeks ago I took this photo of the Ridderzaal in the Binnenhof:
I believe this was the day Marco and I went for a walk and stopped briefly to bask in the sun. The clouds definitely caught my eye. But I didn’t notice until today that the Ridderzaal’s left tower looks slightly different than the right tower. Hmm. But maybe it was always that way? At least it looks to be that way since before World War I – check out this postcard on the Wikipedia article page. Also cool: back then the tram rode right along the building, on the left side of my photo above.
The Ridderzaal was built in the 13th century. It’s crazy to get random reminders about how old European countries are compared to the US. And what photo wouldn’t be complete with a few folks eating and a seagull patiently waiting hoping for some handouts (left side by the bench)?
Here is a look at the Buitenhof from the other side, facing Plaats (“Place”, a plaza in the city centre). Read more about the plaza at the Dutch Wikipedia article with Google translate active. That page includes an image of Johan de Witt’s statue, a politician who was murdered in the 17th century. According to one legend the statue points to the ground to show the spot he was murdered…
What drew my eye when taking this picture was the two different shades of green for the trees on the island in the middle of the Buitenhof.
Random link of the day: a group of business owners from the city of Utrecht have created a YouTube video celebrating the opening of hotels, restaurants and cafés this coming Monday:
The song is Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life, with a different text.
And today it was announced that the long anticipated Formula 1 race coming to Zandvoort is officially cancelled (article from dutchtimes.nl). The reason? It was going to be the first F1 race in The Netherlands since 1985 and the track organizers didn’t want to race without fans being able to come and experience it. (I think the real reason is there is no possible way they could keep the fans away, regardless of what they did.)