Okay, I’ll admit – I don’t have a bike in the Netherlands so I am a bit biased with this post. However I was thrilled to hear that the shopping street on the Grote Markt would be closed to bikes this weekend+Monday and next weekend+Monday (article in Dutch). On a normal day it is dangerous trying to cross the street to get to the shops, but during Christmas…? Forget about it.
I’ll be honest – tourists and those not from The Hague have no clue where they should walk, which just angers cyclists even more. And I don’t think most cyclists know that there’s no official bike path on that street and that they should be adjusting their biking based on the movements of the pedestrian, and not vice versa.
If you’re interested, you can watch a time lapse of them re-doing Grote Marktstraat back in 2015. I will admit the street is much more beautiful now than it was, but the old street made it much more obvious that you were crossing a bike path.
Oh, and it’s still extremely busy in the city centre even without the cyclists!
The reference in the title is from the movie A ChristmasStory where the main character finally gets a decoder ring and can finally decode this week’s secret message – and it turns out to be as boring as “Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine.” That’s a childhood shattered…
For the past few months The Hague and other Dutch cities have been inundated with lots and lots of advertisements for an oat drink called Oatly It is supposed to be a replacement for milk. I haven’t tried it yet.
But I did get a cool picture last month of a building-high advertisement for their product. One thing the company is known for is their catchy advertisements. For instance there’s a similarly large one elsewhere in The Netherlands with the line “Only the best oat drink ads get to hang out on this corner”. It feels like most of the advertisements are unique, as there are many different ones to spot throughout the city.
Another smart thing they did? Advertisement everywhere in the city for a few weeks and then go on discount at the local supermarkt to get everyone to try it. It’ll be interesting to see if the product sticks around.
This afternoon the city centre will be hosting a festival in honor of the street musician Chuck Deely who passed away in January 2017 (where has the time gone, really?).
The festival will be held from 12:00-18:00 in the Grote Markt street. The description says “musicians will be at every street corner”. From 18:00 the musical arts will move to the big stage at the Grote Markt, ending around midnight.
Today was a Holocaust Day of Remembrance in The Hague for the Jewish population. There was a small ceremony held in the city centre in the afternoon to remember those who were lost during WWII.
You can read more about the monument at the official website (nl | en). Also something interesting: some of the flowers came from various embassies, including Germany, Austria, and Israel. Others came from citizens.
Public service announcement: please note the very awesome and tasty oliebollenkraam on the Spuiplein (which has its own Facebook page!) looks to have relocated to the Grote Markt this year:
This is because of all the construction at the Spuiplein (article in Dutch, with photo), which seems to take over more and more space every week.
The Facebook page for the oliebollen stand says it should open on November 2nd. This is a very popular place to buy oliebollen. Oliebollen (literally “oil balls”) are sort of like donut balls, without any holes. They are typically served with raisins inside, unless you are a heretic like me that eats them plain. Here’s a look at how long the line gets on New Year’s Eve, back in 2014. This stand is popular! Or check out this 1 minute video.
And for the public transportation aficionados reading this (haha), the bus driving past is the old model – it is bus 61, which is a temporary line to take over tram 1 at least through the end of the year. They are busy doing work on the Scheveningseweg.
Near the Passage there is a small alleyway called Achterom which translates to “Around the back”. It refers to the fact that this small alleyway was once the alternative entrance to the Buitenhof. The street followed The Haagse Beek (a creek or brook) and the walls of the Buitenhof.
Achterom – cutting through the Passage.
The alleyway first winds right
…and then left. In the distance is the corner of Achterom and Kettingstraat (“Necklace street”) where the Ball Gown artwork can be found
Map of how Acterom (here the white line) crosses De Passage. The red star marks the corner where the Ball Gown can be found.
Last week Marco and I visited the Grote Markt tram stop for a hidden gem: a 1616 city map recreated in the floor tiles and glass display cases of artifacts uncovered while constructing the tram tunnel.
The Grote Markt and Spui tram stops are found underground in the center of the city and service lines 2, 3, 4 and 6. The tram tunnel was a solution to the overcrowding of trams and cars above ground – once the tunnel was complete, the trams moved underground and cars were banned. These days only pedestrians and bikes are allowed. Of course, various problems caused the tunnel’s opening to be delayed 4 years and the cost was €100 million more than planned, but it did eventually open with much fanfare.
Looking at the area from above (from the bridge which spans both platforms)
If you want to see the recreated city map and the artefacts, visit the Grote Markt tram stop (the entrance is by the statue of Haagse Harry!). Take the stairs underground and you’ll find yourself by a bridge above the platforms. Look left and you’ll see the city map in the ground on the same side you came in on.
A look at the city map – with two HTM controllers walking away (controllers check to make sure you paid for your trip).
The 1616 map is also recreated on the wall, with the area where the tunnel would be built highlighted. During the tunnel’s construction, the surveyors were pleased to see how accurate the 1616 map was for stating where foundations and walls could be found.