Posts Tagged With: Centrum

Cleanup in the city centre (Or: The end of the Volvo Ocean Race)

A photo from a few days ago. A large city truck stopped to grab one of the billboards advertising for the Volvo Ocean Race which ended in June:

Removing billboards for the Volvo Ocean Race in The Hague

This year the race ended in The Hague, so the city made it part of Scheveningen’s Feest aan Zee (Seaside Celebrations). This annual programme marks the 200th anniversary of Scheveningen’s founding.

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Shopping in style (Or: The Haagse Bluf)

The shopping area ‘Haagse Blue’ is a sort of courtyard in the center of The Hague, enclosed by four streets: Dagelijkse Groenmarkt, Venestraat, Vlamingstraat and the Nieuwstraat.

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This shopping space opened in 2001. Here’s a look at the entrance from Venestraat (by the corner of De Tuinen / Holland & Barrett):

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Blue signs mark the entrance, but if you don’t know about it, it can be easy to miss. The entrance by Dagelijks Groenmarkt (and the Grote Kerk) is easier to spot.

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A somewhat faded sign for the shopping area

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Fountain from the French Riviera; behind it is the tea-and-coffee company Kaldi. I’ll always remember them fondly for the one day they had iced chai latte! It was so delicious.

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Art in The Hague (Or: The Ball Gown)

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.

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Achterom – cutting through the Passage.

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The alleyway first winds right

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…and then left. In the distance is the corner of Achterom and Kettingstraat (“Necklace street”) where the Ball Gown artwork can be found

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Map of how Acterom (here the white line) crosses De Passage. The red star marks the corner where the Ball Gown can be found.

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City maps and artifacts (Or: Grote Markt tram tunnel)

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.

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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.

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A look at the city map – with two HTM controllers walking away (controllers check to make sure you paid for your trip).

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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.

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One street (Or: Chinatown gates in The Hague)

The Hague’s Chinatown can be found close to The Hague’s city center:

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Google Maps – Chinatown, The Hague. The two busiest streets are Gempte Burgwal and Wagenstraat.

The highlight of this area is the two Chinatown gates:

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Chinatown gate by Stille Veerkade. If you are coming from the Holland Spoor train station, you’ll probably take Stationsweg to get to the city center. You would then pass through these gates. Continue through Wagenstraat to reach the heart of the city. 

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Chinatown gate by Gedempte Burgwal – most would see this gate as it lies close to the Grote Markstraat shopping area

The gates of Chinatown are an interesting subject. If you list to podcasts I definitely recommend 99% Invisible’s podcast episode on Pagodas and Dragon Gates, which talks about Chinatown in San Francisco. Before the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Chinatown was much like any other part of the city, in terms of its architecture. After the earthquake there was talk of moving Chinatown into a different part of the city and using the prime real estate for something else. At least until Chinese leaders threatened to leave if this happened. So the city decided to keep Chinatown where it was and had the opportunity to rebuild Chinatown in a new style. The gates and pagodas were what the architect envisioned, but though it did not represent how China actually looked. But this image of China was very popular with tourists, and this version of Chinatown spread throughout the US.

The Hague’s Chinatown was previously a Jewish neighbourhood before WWII. After the war, the area remained for the most part vacant as only 2,000 of the 17,000 Jews returned to the city. In the 1970s the city designed to revamp this area into Chinatown, along with the nearby Rabbijn Maarsenplein which also has Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants (I highly recommend Little V).

While the gates are definitely a good photo opportunity, the best time to visit the district is during the Chinese New Year festival (post from 2013). But there are a lot of restaurants and a few souvenir shops on this street even if you aren’t visiting during the festival!

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Unexpectedly expected (Or: The passing of Chuck Deely)

I found out tonight that Chuck Deely passed away Monday night. And who is he? A street musician that played outside of Central Station as well as in the Grote Markt (by C&A or sometimes by Bijenkorf). He’s actually an American, born in 1954 in Detroit. The story goes that he moved here for love many years back, but it didn’t work out. He stayed, playing music on the streets to pay the rent.

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photo from denhaagfm.nl

I didn’t know him personally, having only donated a few euros to him occasionally. The last time I donated was last month, and I overheard him telling someone else that he was not feeling well. Apparently he was hospitalized shortly after that, and then again in January.

It was always fun to hear the songs he was playing and Marco would sometimes stop to listen to his guitar solos. Music isn’t my strong suit so half the time I would end up asking Marco what Chuck was playing now. My favorite song he’d play was Hotel California by The Eagles.

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year
You can find it here

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Flowers outside of the Hema/Albert Heijn, one of the spots he would play at

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Newspaper article taped to the wall, above the flowers

There is currently an unofficial Facebook action to build a monument in his honor somewhere in the Grote Markt, but only time will tell if that happens (or what exactly the monument would look like).

It is weird – I’ve only been here four years but I can’t imagine not seeing him or hearing his music anymore. Thanks for the tunes, Chuck!

Edited Sunday 29 January to add pictures of the memorial at Central Station:

These pictures were taken last Sunday, January 22:

flowers-for-chuck-deely-central-station

And a close-up of the mini guitar (on the right side of the above picture):

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Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Lights illuminating the church (Or: Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague)

Marco and I were walking past the Nieuwe Kerk (translation = New Church) when we noticed the lights illuminating it – blue, white and red:

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I am not sure what the exact reason was even after looking through Google, but we decided to take a picture anyway. Especially with the Christmas lights around the plants! I can’t believe it is almost Christmas…

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Remnants of theater (Or: Dr. Anton Philipszaal)

Back in December I showed a picture of the tearing down of the Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague. Remarkably, there’s still a small piece of the building left:

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Marco and I were on the way to Lebkov by Centraal Station for some coffee. We ended up with iced cappuccinos – yum! Since it’s a nice summer day (but not THAT nice of a summer, the Dutch meteologists say…)

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And a look at their logo:

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Oh, and one final fun fact – as usual, Sinterklaas candy is already popping up in stores. It’s only August people! 🙂

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Dr. Anton Philipszaal (Or: The building is almost gone)

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Dr. Anton Philipszaal is almost completely erased. A few days ago they were knocking down the iconic red roof. And now…

Dr Anton Philipszaal - almost torn down 2015

It is crazy how fast it goes. Only the black windows on the left side of the building are left.

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Dr Anton Philipszaal (Or: Tearing it down)

This afternoon I was out and about in the Centrum I noticed that the tearing down of Dr. Anton Philipszaal (a concert hall and theatre) was beginning in earnest. They have begun to tear down the red part of the roof:

Dr Anton Philipszaal being torn down 2015

The hall was first built in 1987 and is slated to be replaced in 2019 with a new culture center. Until then the theatre has moved to a temporary location on the Scheveningen beach, Zuidstrandtheatre.

And of course you have the tram work in the foreground. That project started in April of last year and will hopefully be done this summer. Once done the newer trams should be able to ride over the rails.

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