Posts Tagged With: Centrum

Prime location (Or: MediaMarkt is really in the city centre now)

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.

Categories: Everyday purchases, The Hague | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Naked tram rails (Or: A look at tram 16’s construction)

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.

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Changing of the flags (Or: The end of the Invictus Games)

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…

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A day to sell all of your stuff (Or: King’s Day)

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.).

Lots of color here too!

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The Life I Live festival 2022 (Or: King’s Night in The Hague)

Tonight is the 10th anniversary of The Life I Live festival. Note: their website is definitely experiencing server capacity issues, so it is a bit hit or miss to visit it right now.

The last edition was of course in 2019. It is held in The Hague’s city centre, with musical acts spread out over about 8-10 stages. The opener this year was the Ukrainian band Go_A. Last year they participated in the Eurovision Song festival held in Rotterdam. This year the band got special permission from the Ukrainian government to travel to The Hague to perform (as technically Ukrainian men are not supposed to leave Ukraine right now).

This stage was at the Lange Voorhout not far from the Escher museum and Hotel Des Indes.

This smaller stage was on the opposite end of the Lange Voorhout, featuring the band Kuzko. I didn’t stay long, but they really brought the bass! It was a weird feeling to feel the bass after not going to any concerts the last two years.

King’s Night (and more accurately King’s Day) is a holiday to celebrate the birth of the Dutch King Willem Alexander who turns 55 tomorrow. The joke “Max komt misschien later…” is a joke that Max Verstappen, the 2021 F1 world champion, might stop by here later. Hmm.

(Man, I still remember when it was weird to see Willem Alexander with a beard!)

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Categories: Culture, Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

One big advertisement (Or: Disney+ in The Hague’s city centre)

As most big cities know, construction never ends. At the moment a building not far from the Binnenhof is getting work on done on its facade. (Right in that area is an Albert Heijn. You can just see the blue flags marking the entrance. Good luck getting around in that area to get inside.)

But where construction is, companies see opportunities:

A huge Disney+ advertisement spanning the entire building. At least it looks less unsightly than seeing bare scaffolding!

In other news:

  • The fireworks festival that is held in Scheveningen every year will be changed slightly this year, with fireworks being set off at four different locations along the coastline. You can read about it at denhaagfm.nl in Dutch. The fireworks would be set off at Zwarte Pad, the Pier, by the Keizerstraat and by the Pier. This should hopefully help spread the crowds out, a boon for restaurants in the area, although it will do nothing to solve the issues with public transportation (2018 article at denhaagcentraal.nl – check out the photo).
  • The pier in Scheveningen either needs to be completely replaced or repaired before 2025 (omroepwest.nl in Dutch). There are safety issues with the construction with the concrete under the pier and the floor. At the moment it seems that the most likely option is that the pier will be replaced, as repairing would actually cost more money.
Pier in 2017 (with the beach tents removed for the winter)
Inside the pier in 2017. My opinion: very narrow and very crowded.
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All the colors of the rainbow (Or: Macarons in De Passage)

While walking through De Passage last week I noticed a colorful sight by restaurant De Luca:

It was early in the morning so it wasn’t quite open yet. Which just meant I had a great opportunity to take a few photos.

And here is a close up:

Check out those prizes! €2.50 for 1 macaron, €25 for a box of 12. These are definitely seen as a luxury treat. If you are less picky you can go to the local Albert Heijn and get a box of 12 macarons for €5. Hmm. I am sure that is heresy to some folks, though.

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The Hague Info Store (Or: New store at The Hague Central)

A few months back the tourist information store (denhaag.com in English) moved from the ground floor of The Hague public library’s main branch to The Hague Central train station.

The tourist office now goes by the name “The Hague Info Store”. Oddly enough, they do also use (THIS) as an official acronym which I find a bit silly.

You can find the store around the corner from the playable piano. (Who knew there is a website which tracks publicly playable pianos throughout the world? See also pianos.pub/location/netherlands.)

They have a few Lego-like sets under the brand “Brickworld designs”.

The Hague specific souvenirs…

Dutch souvenirs.

You can also have a look at their webshop (souvenirdenhaag.nl, available in Dutch).

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Lockdown measures relaxed (Or: Let’s all go to the lobby?)

The Netherlands relaxed some of their lockdown measures last night, with restaurants, cafés, movie theatres, museums, zoos and more allowed to be open again from 05:00 to 22:00. Stores are also now open until 22:00 (during the last lockdown they needed to close at 17:00).

As you can expect the latest relaxation of measures led to a huge demand for tickets to the latest Spiderman film (which only ran for three days here in The Netherlands before the lockdown started last month). Right after last night’s press conference (or perhaps while it was still going on) people flooded Pathé‘s website to order tickets. The virtual queue was over an hour long (!).

List of lockdown changes at the Dutch government’s website in English.

Above: a random photo of De Passage, a covered shopping area and also an important passage to get from point A to B. Usually it is crowded, so I always feel lucky to get a photo of it with no one else in the shot (this time I lucked out because it was fairly early in the morning and the stores hadn’t opened yet).

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In the mist (Or: Grote Marktstraat with opened shops)

Here is a look at the Grote Marktstraat in The Hague’s city centre:

Off in the distance you can see a bit of mist. It was a bit cold, but not raining for once. Today was the first day that non-essentials shops are allowed to be open again, until 17:00. Corona cases are on the rise (the average is now around 31,000 cases a day) but hospitalizations seem to be okay for the moment. We will see.

Unfortunately restaurants and cafés will have to wait just a bit longer; they are still only open for takeout and delivery. The government said they would review the decision in about 10 days.

I did take advantage of the shops being open to buy the most boring stuff ever from Blokker – dish towels and descaler for the coffee machine. Quite boring indeed.

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