This weekend was an open house at The Hague’s newest building, the Amare cultural complex (Amare.nl, in English). It was part of the UIT Festival (uitfestivaldenhaag.nl, in English), a festival which kicks off the 2021-22 cultural season in The Hague. Some of the events are in person, some of the events are virtual. The first events at Amare are planned for later this month, including events by Nederland dans theater’s “Skin of the mind” (ndt.nl, in English).
They have planted new (temporary) plants in front of the complex, opening up the space a bit for the opening day and removed part of the gates. It is so nice to have more space in this area again! The construction zone was taking up a lot of it (and still is, on the left side of the building).
Last week Marco took a few photos of the plants being added:
Side note: it is getting way too easy to use the British spelling for some phrases, like “centre” instead of “center”. Hmmm.
Below is a photo of the tourist tram riding through the centre (!) of the city. The Grote Kerk (literally “Big Church”) is off to the left, just out of the photo. I’ve posted a picture of this area a few times after its renovation a few years back. It looks a lot better with the greenery and stone walkways than it used to look.
Here is a photo of the church from the air (pre-renovation), from monumentenzorgdenhaag.nl. And here is information on the tourist tram, from denhaag.nl in English. Unfortunately it is a bit overpriced, but for tourists it could be nice.
I’ve posted a few times about the small “alleyway” street that goes by the name Bagijnestraat, not far from the Tweede Kamer. My favorite post was about the art on a garage door last May. Actually, if you click on that blog post link you will see just how many bikes are cluttering up the alleyway… which is the subject of today’s post.
A few months ago Marco, Roger and I cut through this alleyway and we noticed the “no bikes here” signs for the first time. Each sign is in a different language. For example, here is Spanish (no bicicletas aquí):
But – kind of funny, here is the German sign (wo ist der bahnhof?):
That doesn’t say “no bikes here” in German. It actually says “Where is the train station?”. That is a reference to a 1985 short, satirical Dutch film by the same name (the actual skit is only 2 minutes). Read more at this vpro.nl link (in Dutch). It is a common joke between Marco, Roger and I: “wo ist der bahnhof? …do is der bahnhof.”(Where is the train station? There is the train station!) See also the 2 minute skit at YouTube in Dutch.
As you can see, there are also plaques with a poem in the alleyway. Here is the start:
If walls had ears / and streets could cry / then resonating in the Bagijntje [street] / is an endless story. Of course it sounds better in Dutch!
Recently I visited Bleyenberg, a restaurant/rooftop bar/meeting spaces/office type combination. Oh, and apparently they have small, private karaoke spaces as well. Very Japanese like.
Here is a look at the city centre of The Hague from Bleyenberg’s rooftop:
Off in the distance is the Grote Markt terrace. The wide street below is the Grote Markt itself, and just under the glass railing you can see the statue of Haagse Harry.
In other news:
For the next two weeks there is a pop-up store at Leiden Centraal train station, featuring products made from recycled materials from NS, the national train service. The linked article is in Dutch from omroepwest.nl. Think of things like shoes or bags made from seat material or a bird cage made from an information board.
A fan of HTM (The Hague’s public transportation company) has purchased an old HTM bus (also in Dutch from omroepwest.nl). He doesn’t live in The Hague, but he remembers taking the bus often to see his grandmother. The bus now sits in his backyard and he is working on renovating it. Apparently his wife was less than thrilled when he said he wanted to purchase it…
The Grote Marktstraat is a very busy shopping street in city centre of The Hague – I blog about it sometimes. It is actually somewhat contentious because the city added a lane down the middle back in 2014 when this area was re-paved. The “street” was intended for emergency vehicles or local business vehicles (re-stocking the shops), although the later is restricted to the early morning hours. The “street” is a bit lower than the rest of the area, so bikers have used it as a bike path as well. Which makes sense. On the plus side it also meant that you only had to worry about getting run over when you were crossing this “street” since bikers and vehicles would stick to this area only.
Here is a photo of the area when it was under construction back in 2014 (but after the “bike path” was finished):
Even though the lane wasn’t painted red (what usually signals that it is a bike path in the Netherlands) it was definitely used as a bike path as soon as it opened.
Flash forward to this week, when the city has decided that “yes, it is a bike path (…for now), but pedestrians still have right of way”. (Yeah right, I don’t want to risk my life seeing if that is true!)
As you can see above, the notice that pedestrians have right of way has been painted into the area where bikes ride, in at least 5 spots. It’s actually a bit of an obstacle course until the paint dries, really…
Here is another piece of art found on the Achterom street:
I looked up the phrase “She belongs to no one but herself” and found this page for the “She project” at hansmahler.nl in English.
A while ago I posted about a poll that the city held to determine what stones would be used for the Spuiplein and in front of the city hall once the construction of the new cultural complex was complete. At the time I noted that most of the answers were “we don’t care, whatever is least slippery”. It is quite hard to walk there when it rains.
I did of course forget that a lot of skaters love that area because the current stones don’t have any grip. There is also a lot of echo in that area, so they might like the loud sound when their boards slam on the ground over and over again… Anyway, they are not pleased that it seems the city will be going for stones with more grip. Their wheels get stuck in the stone and the board doesn’t react the same way as before. Problem is that it is also an area a lot of people walk through to get from the city centre to the central station and vice versa, so it will be interesting to see what the city does.
The skaters will hold a “Save Spui” demonstration on Saturday, May 29 at 14:00. See also this article at omroepwest.nl in Dutch.
This graffiti can be found at the corner of Achterom and Kissemstraat, not far from The Passage. It is the same street where you can find the adorable cat graffiti. Or try this cat graffiti post. Because we can never have enough cats, right? (Actually, I’m more of a dog person.)
I don’t know if this graffiti has a title. But it definitely draws your eye as you walk past. The red hair is cleverly painted up until the edge of the wall, forcing you to glance down this side street to see all of it. It is almost impossible to miss.