This area is also public, of course. Not many people end up on this side, though. The Ridderzaal is most well known for Prinsesdag (Little Prince Day, English Wikipedia) in September where the King gives a speech from the Ridderzaal. You can read more about the Ridderzaal at the English Wikipedia page.
First off, the Dutch court of appeals have ruled that the curfew is indeed legal (article from nltimes.nl in English). Not that it mattered, since the Dutch government also pushed through a curfew law “the legal way” while waiting for the appeal to be heard. For the moment the curfew lasts until 15 March, though the number of cases has been going up for over a week so it might not be lifted at that time.
Today I decided to take a walk past the Tweede Kamer (Dutch House of Representatives). This is actually a very ordinary action to do, as the Tweede Kamer is right in the centre of the city and a lot of it is publicly accessible.
At the moment I’m standing on the Plein, with the statue of Willem of Orange behind me to the right (I wrote a blog post about him last week), looking at the one of the entrances to the Tweede Kamer. You can see a few military police agents and vehicles – this is perfectly normal. There are always military police if the Tweede Kamer is in session.
For the photo above I zoomed in. I assume you are allowed to take pictures but it is seems kind of rude. At least this way you get a sense of how they look without being able to recognize them. Normally I (and everyone, really) walk right past them, with the only difference being in corona times I try to keep my distance a bit more to be polite. But it is a public area and a public street, so it is fine to be there.
I also noticed that there was going to be a press conference in the Binnenhof, although I didn’t stick around to hear what it was about. There were gates set up and public waiting.
Normally I would walk from left to right (through the pictured gate) but since there was a potential press conference about to start I took a rarely used entrance instead to avoid people. I blogged about it some time ago.
Press conferences happen pretty frequently, so I don’t pay much attention. I do try to keep my distance and make sure I am behind the cameras, since it is possible to accidentally end up on the 20:00 national news in the background of a shot if you are walking around The Hague’s city centre.
My suspicions about a possible press conference were confirmed when a Red Bee media van pulled up. Although to be honest I have never heard of that company.
While browsing through NOS when I got back I saw that the press conference was with the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, reminding restaurant owners that they would not be able to open terraces and would be fined €4,000 if they did so. They are closed under the current corona measures (article on nos.nl in Dutch). The original image of the minister giving the press conference was replaced with a more generic image later, however.
And that’s a normal walk through The Hague’s city centre. Happy Friday, all.
Marco took some photos yesterday of the Hofvijver (the pond outside the Dutch parliament) beginning to freeze over.
Cool photo, huh?
Here is a look at the Hofvijver from the side of parliament:
Technically you’re allowed to ice skate on the Hofvijver (and a lot of people do), but it does raise some security concerns.
To prevent people from getting too close to the parliament, the part of ice next to the buildings is always deliberately broken.
Of course, a lot of people went through the ice yesterday. Check out this article in Dutch from regio15.nl (including photos and a video): Meerdere mensen door ijs gezakt Den Haag. In the afternoon, someone went through the ice and was rescued. Shortly thereafter a few more people went through the ice, so the rest of the skaters were told to wait on the island in the middle. Eventually they were led away by the firemen, mostly using ladders. Today The Hague has put fencing around the Hofvijver to prevent people from ice skating, but that really hasn’t stopped most people.
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)