You know it is (almost) November when you see the oliebollen (English Wikipedia) stand pop up in the last few days of October, a sign of yummy things to come. Oliebollen are a donut-like treat that is popular this time of year. They are eaten en masse on New Year’s Eve. Marco and I usually make oliebollen every year. These days the stands are allowed to open from 1 November until the end of January.
As you can see they still have their preferred spot at the end of the Grote Markt street. They used to be closer to city hall but moved to this spot when construction for the Amare cultural centre started some years ago. Speaking of Amare–apparently the building will be getting a Spar grocery store (indebuurt.nl, in Dutch).
If you visit The Hague’s city centre in the afternoons, there is a good chance you will see some doggy-related sand art:
Of course, the person was still in the middle of sculpting so the dog looks more like he lost a lot of weight very, very quickly. Here is a close up:
See also: Bijna dagelijks ligt deze hond van zand op de Grote Marktstraat, maar waarom? (This dog of sand is lying on the Grote Markstraat almost every day. Why?) from indebuurt.nl in Dutch. Apparently this dog sand art is frequently seen in other Dutch cities and even London. Of course the sculptors hope you will drop a few coins into their bag as you walk past, and it seems like dogs are an easy thing to sculpt. If you stick around long enough you will also see puppies being formed. Or just click the news article above to see some sand puppies.
Look up in De Passage (The Passage) and you will see a few thousand hats floating above you.
The Hat Exhibition Chapeau! is being held in De Passage until mid-October (depassage.nl, article in English). As the story goes, a few years ago about 3,000 hats were found in a vacant space above the Ladies Paradise shop in De Passage. The shop itself closed around 1998-2000. The designer Pink Steenvoorden came up with the idea of hanging most of them from the ceiling for visitors to photograph.
If you will be around for Prinsjesdag, you can also take part in The Hague Hat Stroll 2022 on September 17. For more information see prinsjesfestival.nl (in Dutch). Everyone is asked to wear their prettiest hat. If you don’t have one, you can borrow one for the event from the supply of hats found in De Passage. The walk will go through The Hague’s Museumkwartier (the Museum Quarter [in English]).
Here is a look at some of the latest graffiti to pop up nearby the Amare cultural complex. This part of the area in front of the building is still under construction. (Amare is off to the left – you can just barely see the edge of it in the photo below.)
In other news:
Speaking of Amare, parts of the building are sinking by a few millimeters (dutchnews.nl), as first reported back in April of this year. The five concert halls each have their own foundation to prevent vibrations from concerts dragging down the whole structure. But a few of the halls are sinking enough that the doors no longer close properly (!). A construction company is currently working on raising the theatres by two centimeters (official website, in Dutch). The work is taking place during the summer break, with performances scheduled to resume in September.
The food court in Scheveningen is beta testing a new ‘order from the beach‘ option. You can order and pay with your phone. You will receive a text message once the food is ready. According to this indebuurt.nl news article (in Dutch), the system isn’t quite perfect yet.
De Lange Poten (a street in the city centre, where the American book centre is) is still being worked on since my last blog post. Apparently it will be even more closed off next week Monday through Friday, with the street completely closed on Tuesday. See also this indebuurt.nl article. Although I don’t see how you can completely close down a shopping street, so we’ll see.
The warm-for-the-Netherlands weather is almost gone. Hopefully we get some rain tomorrow to mark the occasion and help with our drought, but the rain estimates go down each day.
Here are two tram-related photos for you. First, a white Avenio tram:
Avenio is the newest type of tram available in The Hague. The big plus for this type of tram is that the there are no stairs to enter it – the door is at the same height as the platform. This is of course useful for people in wheelchairs, people with strollers, etc. Until this year the tram was black and red (see Dutch Wikipedia) but the white/red combination stands out more and is better for traffic safety. Each tram is being repainted as it comes in for a scheduled repair job, so it will take about a year for the black/red tram to disappear from The Hague’s streets.
This is a photo of the entrance to the tram tunnel which services the underground Grote Markt stop and the Spui stop. Trams coming in this direction are headed towards The Hague Central train station and trams going away from this direction are headed above ground, towards the Brouwersgracht stop.
While there isn’t a tram pictured, I thought the plants were nice to photograph. Perhaps I should take another photo in a few weeks to see if the trees still look green. About half of Europe is experiencing drought conditions at the moment. I hate to say it but we could use a bit of rain. Here is a map from the European Drought Observatory.
As usual, like most cities, The Hague is under perpetual construction. Check out this photo:
I know it is perfectly safe, but that still doesn’t mean I want to walk over that board to enter any of those stores. This is was by the Lange Poten (street) in the city centre. The entire street was dug up exposing the cables underneath.
It was only like this a few days before they filled it back in with sand, though. So the crisis has been averted: so far as I can tell no one fell in while the street was open. This time!
Last week MediaMarkt moved about 300 meters. Still on Grote Marktstraat, but now it is even closer to the city centre action. MediaMarkt is like a Dutch Best Buy, for my American readers. The new location is in the building which used to house the V&D clothing store (1969-2015) and the Canadian store Hudson’s Bay (2017-2019). Hopefully MediaMarkt has more luck than those two stores did…
It is definitely a prime location, even better than the previous one which was near the end of the Grote Markstraat shopping area. And what picture isn’t accentuated with someone cycling past?
This image is kind of funny – I hadn’t realized the girl in the middle was basically filming herself with MediaMarkt in the background. Maybe she was streaming it to YouTube? Especially with how she is holding her free hand by her face.
I definitely won’t miss the old MediaMarkt location, with its old grimy carpet and horrible stairs. It was either take the horrible stairs or wait for the slowww elevator. Either way, you lost. There’s no carpet in this new location and there are escalators if you want to go to the upper floor. That alone makes it a win in my book.
This year the tram tracks for tram 16 are being re-done to allow for the new Avenio tram (htm.nl, in English). The Avenio tram is wider so almost the entire track needs to be re-done to accommodate this.
This area is not far from the Buitenhof / Hofvijfer / Dutch parliament. You can see the parliament buildings in the background on the right side. Due to the construction tram 16 is currently taking the route of tram 1 on its way to Statenkwartier. You can read more about the construction over at denhaag.nl in English. The end of the route, Statenkwartier, will be tackled in the second half of this year. At that point tram 16 will ride over the route of tram 3 for part of its journey. The expectation is that everything will be done by March 2023.
For the most part I am a fan of Avenio trams, especially as they are level with the ground so you don’t need to go up or down a few stairs like you do with the old trams. (That came in handy once when I bought something heavy. Distance wise I could have easily walked home but due to how heavy it was I decided to take one of the Avenio trams to get closer to my house.) It is of course also helpful if you have a stroller or luggage.
The only thing I don’t like about the Avenio trams is that both sides are two seaters. The old trams are a bit narrower and have 2 seaters on the left side and single seaters on the right. When I am traveling alone I always go for a single seat or I stand.
The color of the Avenio tram (omroepwest.nl in Dutch) will slowly be changing from red-black to white-red between now and the end of 2023. As each tram comes in for maintenance it will be updated. I did see one in the wild already last month but I didn’t have time to take a photo. The Hague’s public transportation company HTM is doing this because it is easier to see white-red than it is black-red, so it is a bit safer for traffic.
The Hague was host to the 2020 Invictus Games (English Wikipedia) last month. Like so many things, it was postponed for two years due to Covid-19. The Invictus Games are for injured, wounded or ill military personnel (active or veteran). It ran from April 16 through April 2022 with about 500 athletes from 17 countries competing.
I noticed today that they were taking down the Invictus Games flags from the Buitenhof:
Here it is from another angle, where you can see the provincial flags better:
In total there are 12 flags for the Dutch provinces and 1 flag for The Hague. In the background is the outside of the Binnenhof (English Wikipedia). It is currently closed for renovation. At the moment they are hoping to finishing the renovations by the end of 2026. We’ll see…
So last time I talked about King’s Night, which is when you go to music festivals, drink overpriced beer, and dance like a maniac. Oh, and try to avoid being pickpocketed–apparently the police found a 13 year old and 20 year old with a bag full of 21 stolen telephones on King’s Day (article in Dutch over at omroepwest.nl). Sheesh.
In contrast, King’s Day itself is about selling cheap stuff. This is the one day a year it is legal for anyone to sell their old furniture, toys, books, you name it. Well, anything except food. Almost all cities ban that. I didn’t get any photos of these vrijmarkten (free markets) this year, but check out my post from way back in 2012 (!). Back when it was Queen’s Day, before she abdicated the throne and became Princess Beatrix. Marco took those photos for me since I was till living in America back then.
One thing I did get photos of was the flower sale at the Lange Voorhout. It was quite colorful, and not just because of the flowers:
These juichcapes (cheer capes) were sold by the grocery chain Jumbo last summer when there were a lot of high profile sporting events going on (Tour de France, Dutch Grand Prix, UEFA Euro Cup, etc.).