Today is Sinterklaas in the Netherlands (Wikipedia: Dutch | English). Mostly celebrated by kids who receive small trinkets in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Everything culminates in tonight – Pakjesavond, or “Evening of presents” as a loose translation. It’s no secret that Sinterklaas is bigger than Christmas for kids, but it’s still weird to realise this coming from the US.
But – one tradition that you’re supposed to adhere to is not putting up the Christmas tree until the day after Sinterklaas leaves.
I am officially posting on my brand new computer! I picked it up on Wednesday night and it looks gorgeous. I have missed being able to easily make blog posts, and now it is even easier – turn on Bluetooth between my iPhone and MacBook, and I can transfer photos without any extra cables! Of course, the move to a Mac has been an interesting one, but that’s what I have Siri for, right? At least she knows where to find various settings…
(Speaking of which, it was very disconcerting to hear a male Siri! That was one of the first things I switched…)
I recently went into Bijenkorf (rather than just staring at their pretty Christmas trees outside) to have a look at their holiday section.
Below is a look at some of the Christmas trees on offer. This year (maybe for the first time since I moved here?, they did not have the large Christmas tree near the front of the store). In its place was a Piet hanging from the ceiling. I was not able to get a picture of it, unfortunately.
Say hello to the party tree!
Bijenkorf does like to colour-coordinate their Christmas trees!
A bit too pastel for my tastes, but I can see how others would like it.
Christmas items for purchase at Bijenkorf, The Hague
Until next time!
Last week I took some photos of the Christmas trees by the Bijenkorf (a department store). This week I was able to take a few photos of the lights along the Grote Markt street:
The new tear-shaped lights the city put in earlier this year look really nice!
Lights by the entrance:
And a look at the lights in the other direction, towards the movie theater and Primark:
Oh, and today a coworker brought in 12 oliebollen (sorta doughnut-y pastry that is usually made with raisins inside and covered in powdered sugar). They started selling those on November 1st… It is always something to look forward to!
Last week Bijenkorf (an upscale department store) put up their Christmas decorations. See for yourself:
They also put the lights up outside of the building (here is a photo from 2013).
In other news – I finally ordered a new computer! As you can see from this photo of a library book, I am switching from PC to Mac.
If you ignore that one semester in college using a Mac and QuarkXPress for a student job, it will be my first time using a Mac. And yes, it might be geeky but the book has been helpful explaining the differences in keys and in the dock at the bottom of the screen where all the program icons can be found.
Although I have a few more weeks to wait, the computer can’t come soon enough. I wanted to write this blog post on my netbook, but Chrome errored when I tried to open it. I restarted my computer but it has been stuck on a blue screen which says “getting Windows ready – don’t turn off your computer”. For a half hour. Heh…
Update: it came back after 45 minutes, although Chrome is still erroring. Oh well! That is a problem for another day.
Earlier in the month I was walking around the Grote Kerk area in The Hague when I came across holiday decorations at one of The Hague’s more popular restaurants, ‘t Goude Hooft. (Full disclosure: I’ve never been to this restaurant. I only know it as the restaurant where all of the outside seats face outwards, to view the trams and people walking past. It’s slightly eerie.)
You know you’re in The Hague (or the Netherlands in general) when you have advertisements at the bottom of the photo imploring bicyclists keep the entrance to buildings free/accessible. It is quite crowded in that area.
Merry Christmas all!
To celebrate the holidays, here is a photo of the card that Marco’s dad and his wife made and gave us:
(We’ve had it for a while but on the off chance that another relative reading this blog would get a copy, I decided to hold off on posting it.) At the bottom of the photo you can also see the box it came in.
Another Christmas-y photo – Roger made a tiramisu dessert in a wine glass for his family’s Christmas dinner. Here is the yummy result:
I can say Marco and I had the pleasure of being guinea pigs twice for this dessert so he could get it just-right for today’s big unveiling.
Today I briefly visited Bijenkorf, a department store, to take a picture of the tree they always have. This isn’t any tree… it stands 4 floors tall, with the base actually above the ground floor (so you could peek under the tree, technically). This was this year’s design:
And a close up of the design (the gold items are large, round boxes):
I must admit it does not really feel like Christmas eve. I think it has to do with the fact that I even worked today. Just a half day, though. I am not completely insane.
On Thursday I went to the Christmas market here in The Hague. It is by the Hofvijfer (Buitenhof), although tonight is the last night. And the craziest stall there? One selling ugly Christmas sweaters.
And here’s a look at the Christmas tree in De Passage:
I’ve written about the Christmas tree a few times, back when the Apple store’s impending arrival threatened its existence, and when it came back (unexpectedly). It’s come back in the two years since, so it looks like it is here to stay.
Two more nights, and then it is Christmas!
I realized this afternoon that it was the 3rd anniversary of my arriving in the Netherlands (18 December).
2012 post || 2013 post || 2014 post (n/a)
Three years already! Time has flown by. And each year seems warmer then the next. Silly global warming…
Here are some random Christmas photos. A stand for oliebollen:
Christmas lights at Bijenkorf, an upper end department store, in The Hague Centrum (see also last year’s post):
Christmas lights at The Hague, Spui (Centrum), by the movie theatre, across from V&D:
Christmas lights at Bijenkorf in Amsterdam:
Happy Friday, all!
Here is Marco and I’s Christmas tree this year:
And earlier today we were at his fathers. I spied something on the living room table which reminded me of the National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation movie:
i.e. The scene where the Clark’s family follow him into the woods to get a Christmas tree, walking through knee high snow and driving presumably hours to get there, only to realize they had no way to cut the tree down.
(the next scene shows them driving home, the huge tree bundled on top of the car, tree roots dangling at the end…)