Posts Tagged With: Centrum

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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Riots against corona measures (Or: Another press conference)

As expected, things are getting worse before they get better in the Netherlands. For instance, our previous record was around 13,000 infections in a day, back in December 2020. We leapfrogged over that record last Thursday – clocking in at 16,300 infections (!), a jump of more than 3,300 in one day. The numbers will start getting limited by our current test capacity soon.

There was another press conference on Friday, with more measures added (official government website in English). Consider it a partial lockdown. We’re back to ‘work at home unless impossible’, with non-essential stores closing at 18:00 and essential stores like supermarkets and pet stores closing at 20:00. Cafés and restaurants also need to close their doors at 20:00. This will last until early December. Part of me thinks the government went straight for three weeks to ensure that stores would be closed in the evenings for Black Friday, which was definitely the start of our wave last year. At the moment there is no curfew, though.

The government also said that they were looked into a 2G approach versus the 3G approach we currently have for some things. The “G” comes from the Dutch verbs gevaccineerd, genezen of getest (vaccinated, healed or tested). The current measures are in place to give the government time to change the law to allow for 2G (vaccinated or healed) without the possibilities of getting tested to enter certain areas anymore. Although it also feels like the government is shifting some of the responsibility by stating that certain professions can go for either 2G and not have assigned seating or 3G with assigned seating.

As you can imagine this is a bit of a sensitive subject in The Netherlands. A few hundred people (or a bit more) decided to protest outside of the building where the press conference was held while it was being broadcast. And of course some people come with the intent to damage stuff, not just protest. You can see lots of images of the protest over at regio15.nl, in Dutch. For some reason people decided to vandalize a café (photo taken by me yesterday):

The owner figured something would happen and had moved all furniture inside by 15:00 on Friday, but that didn’t stop the vandalism. The damage for the glass wind screens was estimated at a few hundred euros, whereas the damage for the building’s window was around 10,000 euros (omroepwest.nl in Dutch). And how did rioters cause that damage, you ask?

Why, they literally pulled bricks out of the sidewalk, of course. Oh, and they also threw bricks and fireworks at the police. Who eventually turned a water cannon on them to get them to leave (see also the regio15.nl article linked above). Five people were arrested.

As usually happens in 2021, there is already a virtual donation started for the café owner (omroepwest.nl, in Dutch).

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Chess tournaments (Or: Spotted at Rabbijn Maarsenplein)

Last weekend I spotted a chess tournament in full swing at Rabbijn Maarsenplein. How pre-corona!

I didn’t have time to stick around, unfortunately. But it had definitely drawn a big crowd (especially on the other side of the tables).

And in other news:

Dutch scientists may have solved mystery of why some twins are identical from theguardian.com

Campaigners head to court to have cats kept indoors from dutchnews.nl (due to how many protected bird species and other small creatures are killed each year).

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Open house by Amare (Or: Also, new greenery)

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:

And an hour later it already looked like this:

Quick work! And even a radio for some tunes.

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Through the centre of The Hague (Or: Tourist tram)

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.

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Architecture in the city centre (Or: Peek & Cloppenburg)

I took this photo recently of the building facade by the clothing store Peek & Cloppenburg (official website in Dutch).

This is quite typical of buildings in the Netherlands – and usually the architecture is from long ago, predating the current store at the location by decades. However, in this case the architecture was indeed designed for the Peek & Cloppenburg building (monumentenzorgdenhaag.nl, in Dutch). That article mentions that it was designed to be a counterweight to the architecture of Bijenkorf across the street (denhaag.nl, in English).

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Shortcuts (Or: Through a small alleyway)

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!

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On the rooftop (Or: View from Bleyenberg)

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…

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Through the fences (Or: Amare cultural complex)

The Amare cultural complex is looking pretty good indeed. Most of the construction walls are down, making it much easier to see the progress. Here is a photo I took last weekend:

Officially the building was supposed to be turned over to its tenants on 1 July, however the tenants refused to receive it yet (article from omroepwest.nl in Dutch). However, the following day they clarified and said there was no panic and that they just needed to get the final details ready (also from omroepwest.nl).

Almost there…

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