The Netherlands is in a minor heatwave that will last for about 3 and a half days. High 80s, low 90s temperatures (Fahrenheit). That does not sound that hot, but for us poor souls without air conditioning (or an office to retreat to) – whew! I am warm. I didn’t have as much trouble yesterday, but today I am definitely feeling it. We have one more day of high temperatures tomorrow before the weather turns on Saturday, including a bit of rain.
From next week the corona statistics that RIVM (National Institute of Public Health) reports will be reported on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. Statistics include number of positive cases, hospital intakes and deaths. This is because the corona crisis is winding down. For now at least.
Kerkplein (“church plaza”) is a plaza by the Grote Kerk and the Old City Hall, the latter being where Marco and I were married in 2013 – very cool.
The church is the wall just on the right edge of the picture. In the distance is a terrace for the Anne and Max café, which Marco and I visited a few weeks ago. Spoiler: I can recommend it!
The photo above is looking across the Kerkplein towards a building across the street. The same flowers in the foreground were used in 2013. The city frequently puts out those red flowers – they even made an appearance in Marco and I’s wedding photos!
As always, if you are in this area I can recommend the Cheesecake Company which is just off the right edge of the above photo. Tasty!
As I mentioned a few days ago, the mayor of The Hague refused to allow a festival against corona restrictions to happen today (see article from nltimes.nl). This was because the expected attendance grew from 100 to 10,000 and the organization billed it more as an “event” than a demonstration, including having DJs along with speakers. And since events aren’t allowed right now, it was only logical that it would not be allowed.
But as you might expect, this doesn’t stop everyone from showing up. There were about 10 arrests earlier this morning, of a group who refused to leave when the police requested that they do so. Some of the sticking points include the fact that the city has held two Black Lives Matter festivals in the last few weeks and that the Netherlands was poised to sign a corona measures law to replace the current emergency ordinances we have in place that are due to expire soon. That law has since been delayed amid some controversy that it impedes on fundamental rights (it would have even given police power over situations in private housing). See also this article from dutchnews.nl.
Around lunchtime the number of demonstrators had increased to a few hundred and everyone was asked to leave the Malieveld, including people sunbathing or exercising. Most of the demonstrators moved to the edges of the Malieveld but did not leave. A few hours later there are a few thousand people at the demonstration. The mayor did allow them to demonstrate until 13:30, but considering he said that around 13:05 or 13:10, I can see why that annoyed a lot of people.
Duizenden betogers nemen Malieveld over, politie sluit Binnenhof en winkelgebied af from ad.nl. ‘Thousands of protestors take over Malieveld; police close off Binnenhof and the central shopping area’. However the number of protestors does vary by news site. The police also described the area as ‘tense’ a while ago while local news reporters said it was fairly relaxed. So it does depend on where you get are getting your sources from.
Closing the Binnenhof is fairly standard procedure to prevent demonstrators from going there, and I don’t think the shopping area is closed in the city centre, more that they are keeping a close eye on who is entering it to make sure demonstrators don’t enter. (As much as possible – there are reports of demonstrators with ‘stop the lockdown’ shirts and demonstrators handing out flowers to random shoppers.) Oh, and I also saw a photo of group of demonstrators with ‘free hugs’ shirts on, which is no doubt done on purpose in these corona times. I also saw on Twitter that people were being encouraged to celebrate Father’s Day by having a picnic on the Malieveld.
At this point (around 14:30), some people have begun to leave the area. However football supporters have arrived (see the tweet above) and the police are asking people not to go to the city centre anymore. There’s also at least one helicopter flying overhead. With that being said – demonstrations in the Netherlands are peaceful, and it makes sense that emotions will boil over in this situation, on both sides.
The local news site does have a live stream (for now) on YouTube. They do report that the connection is a bit spotty at times.
We’re now in mid-June which means the days are almost at their longest. This photo was taken just before 22:30 last night as the sun was setting:
I deliberately didn’t crop out the markings on the ground reminding people to keep their distance and to walk on the correct side of the street. It will be so weird to look at these photos in five years, I think.
I posted about this article recently, but this street is one of the twenty or so areas in the Netherlands which will have a lot of problems in the new ‘one and a half meters’ society – the street is way too narrow. See also ‘Haagse Spuistraat knelpunt bij anderhalve meter economie’ from omroepwest.nl
And here is an article with cats and trams! Sort of. Kat Simba gered na anderhalve week onder metrolijn E, also from omroepwest.nl. It tells the story of a cat that was trapped for about a week and a half under the track of metro line E. There’s a happy ending of course.
There were also a high proportion of mobility scooters in this area. You can just see one in the background behind the flowers.
I also saw a plaque marking the former residence of a famous writer:
That writer was Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known by his pen name Multatuli (Wikipedia.com). He is best known as the writer of Max Havelaar, a 1860 novel which cast a negative light on the issues with colonialism in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. I’ll admit I haven’t read it yet as it doesn’t really fit with the type of reading I normally do.
In other news:
Do you have issues with wearing a face mask and glasses at the same time which causes your glasses to start to fog up? If your face mask has elastic bands, try crossing them over your ears first to tighten up the face mask a bit. See also this image from i.imgur.com which I found on Reddit. I’ve also heard you should try cleaning your glasses with dish soap and then drying them with a glasses-friendly cloth. That leaves a tiny layer a soap on your glasses which can usually protect against your glasses fogging up – though not always unfortunately.
HTM blij met staatssteun: ‘Tien miljoen euro verlies in plaats van zeventig miljoen’ (omroepwest.nl) – HTM [The Hague’s public transportation company] is happy with the government’s support: 10 million euros loss instead of 70 million. Government support of Dutch public transportation companies is required due to the government asking them to run their full schedule even when passenger numbers are down. In that way the government can be sure that there is enough space for passengers who are using public transportation during this time.
Tim Akkerman geeft toch geen concert in een vliegtuig from ad.nl – Tim Akkerman won’t be giving a concert in an airplane after all. The singer from the band The Ivy League was not happy with the Dutch prime minister saying vacations to some other European countries could restart from 15 June – with every airplane seat filled – while Dutch musicians are still not allowed to give open air concerts. He said he would rent out a large plane that would stay on the ground and give a concert for 500 fans. In the end, it looked like he was just trying to wake up the government a bit to their illogical thinking
Last week Marco and I noticed another poem hanging on the wall of one of the buildings in the city centre:
It’s also on the Grote Markt, across the street from MediaMarkt at the Lust poffertjes restaurant (Instagram | Facebook). In English it reads:
A while ago there was war and occupation here
Even so peace, freedom and joy returned
The sun always came back from behind the clouds
This will happen again now, we don’t know when
but it will happen for sure
We live in the now
With the joy from before
And the hope for tomorrow
The sun will come again
Here is another random piece of art which I spotted at the end of a side street in The Hague:
And of course since it is the Netherlands you get to see a lot of bikes on each side of the alleyway. This is Bagijnestraat, a small side street off of the popular Lange Poten street, which includes stores, cafés and even the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives).
I’ve always wanted to write a blog post about this street!
Every time I walk past this street I have to laugh, but it seems so silly. The name of the street is Koediefstraat, which translates to Cow thief street. Hahaha. I’ll admit I had images of someone dragging an unwilling cow down this street while being chased by an unhappy army of Dutchies wielding pitchforks. But alas, the reason is a bit different.
If you go to the Haags Gemeentearchief website (The Hague city archive) and search for Koediefstraat, you’ll get two results for from the Straatnamencollectie, or the street name collection. The street had a few different names in the last 500+ years. One was Kromme Poten or Crooked legs but I’m not sure why. It was also named Wijnstraat or Wine street for a while due to the winery in the area. Another name was Burenstraat which was a reference to someone living in the area in the 1650s: Jacob van Buuren.
But the current name, Koediefstraat is likely a reference to Adriaan Janszoon Colijn whose nickname was Coedyff, which had a similar pronunciation to Koedief.
Also interesting to note: the painting on the side of the wall appeared recently; I don’t remember seeing it before. It caught my eye and reminded me that I wanted to do a blog post over the street name. There was no trace of it on Google Maps, whose most recent image was from June 2018.
Here is a photo of the street Herengracht in The Hague, not far from Centraal Station.
If you keep walking, you’ll come to the Korte Poten street, with the American Book Centre (or the “ABC store”, as some call it). They are open for limited browsing and order collection only. In the same area on your left is the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives in English, literally “the second room”). And just a bit farther is the Centrum tram/bus stop which is of course a ghost town these days.