Posts Tagged With: COVID-19

Lockdown extension (Or: Three weeks longer)

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced that our lockdown would be extended for three weeks (nltimes.nl, in English), moving the end date from 19 January to 9 February. Lockdown in the Netherlands means that all non-essential stores are closed, restaurants and cafés are closed, ‘through traffic’ places like libraries, museums, and amusement parks are closed.

Schools have switched to online education as well, although some students are allowed at school if they are deemed “vulnerable” or need to prepare for exams. Secondary education schools (students 12 and older) who are in the classroom are now required to adhere to the 1.5 meters distance rule in all situations. Previously secondary education students did not have to keep distance with each other, only their teacher.

The government considered implementing a curfew, however they have decided to consult with the Outbreak Management Team first before taking that step. It could still happen, but I think the government is trying to gauge public reaction before going there, because it could backfire.

The news is not all bad, though. Here is a look at the number of corona cases (the red line is the 7 day average):

We had about 5,000 cases today, 500 less than yesterday. But, the decline is too slow and the hospital and ICU intakes are not showing that much of a decline. The threat of the British variant of the coronavirus also looms. During the press conference the Minister of Health said there were about 100 recorded cases of that variant, with about half of them in the township of Lansingerland, not that far from The Hague. The township is currently working on testing all of its residents over two years of age–the first area in the Netherlands to do so (article in Dutch at nos.nl).

And really, there was a time back in early October when we were panicking because we hit 5,000 cases, so why should we accept 5,000 cases as a good thing now? Let’s just hope the downward trend continues.

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A burst of blue wings (Or: Graffiti in the Raamstraat)

Check out this beautiful graffiti in the Raamstraat by the Bristol store and by the Rootz restaurant:

The first thing I noticed was the blue wings of the bird, but the face at the top is just as stunning honestly. It never stops amazing me how graffiti (and poetry) just randomly appears in this city. Here’s some owl graffiti Marco and I found last year and here is a corona-related poem that appeared in the same area as Bristol last year.

This morning also saw a milestone in the Netherlands: First person in the Netherlands vaccinated against Covid-19 at 8:43 a.m. from nltimes.nl. The recipient was a 39-year old nursing home worker who works in Veghel, a town in the southern part of the Netherlands. Veghel was also where the first registered case of coronavirus was found last year, so the choice of where to administer the first vaccination is also symbolic.

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Sushimex (Or: A new restaurant for those who can’t decide)

Do you want sushi? Do you want Mexican food?

If you answered “both”, why not try the new restaurant in The Hague’s city centre? Sushimex (indebuurt.nl, in Dutch) opened last month on the Korte Poten. The menu at thuisbezorgd.nl (in English) lists poké bowls, temaki, burritos, nachos, spring rolls, mozzarella sticks… it’s so crazy that I might just be interested.

The Dutch ministry of health has released their vacation plan:

Living in the Netherlands? Find out when you can get vaccinated against Covid-19, and where from nltimes.nl. Spoiler: As a healthy adult under the age of 60, I have to wait a while. The vaccination location in The Hague is actually at the parking lot of the ADO Den Haag football stadium (adodenhaag.nl, in Dutch), although I’m not sure if other locations will be available in our area later in the year.

It’s possible to get to the stadium with public transportation (and a 10 minute walk) or by car, at least. I know that because a group of us went to an ADO Den Haag game back in October 2017:

Start of the ADO Den Haag game, back in 2017. The opponent was Rotterdam Sparta. Back when crowds were allowed…
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Lange Poten on a Friday morning (Or: Lockdown edition)

Last Friday I took a photo of the Lange Poten street during lockdown:

As you can see it was pretty quiet. I believe the only store open on this street was Kruidvat, a pharmacy/general store (for those Americans among us, think Walgreens).

If you know a bit of Dutch, check out this YouTube video entitled: “#HoujeHaags – Have a Royal Winter“, about how Haagenaars (people from The Hague) have kept strong during 2020.

Christmas card boom, as PostNL processes 14 million cards a day from dutchnews.nl. On a normal day they process about 7 million cards. Crazy! I would like to think I helped out a bit with that surge.

Dutch scientists help find way to predict serious coronavirus cases, also from dutchnews.nl.

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Lost chances (Or: Coupon for Restaurant SET in The Hague)

Back when the first wave started in the spring, Marco, Roger and I ordered bento box take out from Restaurant SET here in The Hague. It was yummmmmy. We received two €10 coupons for use later in 2020:

It was an unexpected surprise! The coupons are valid for dine-in (everything except High Tea) through 31 December 2020.

Hmph. 31 December 2020? Opps. I guess we waited a bit too long there, since restaurants aren’t allowed to be open for dine-in at the moment. Regardless, the branches in The Hague and Rotterdam are completely closed anyway, with a potential date of reopening set for 19 January, if the lockdown ends on that date as scheduled.

Here is a look at the ice cream I ordered last year for my birthday:

Tell me you don’t think that is the cutest thing ever.

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Rotating girls with pearl earrings (Or: Mauritshuis at Christmas time)

I was able to get a few photos of the Mauritshuis museum during a short walk this week. What do you think of the Christmas tree?

Mauritshuis is most known for Vermeer’s The Girl with a Pearl Earring. You can see a homage to this behind the right pillar in the image – but it is not exactly the painting, either. It is a digital display where the head and outfit change slightly every few seconds.

As you can see above, now the photo is of someone else with a blue cap instead of a headscarf.

You can also visit the museum virtually via this link (it is like Google Map’s Street View).

And a fun bit of news, an article from indebuurt.nl about the many face masks The Hague’s new mayor wears: De vele verschillende mondkapjes van de Haagse burgemeester Jan van Zanen.

Page 1: a face mask with The Hague’s yellow and green colors. Page 2: a face mask with a The Girl with a Pearl Earring design. Page 3: a face mask from Museon, a science and culture museum in The Hague. Page 4: a face mask from HTM, The Hague’s public transportation company. Page 5: a face mask from a local soccer club. Page 6: a face mask with a depiction of Haagse Harry. Page 7: no idea, really.

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The Passage during lockdown (Or: Christmas tree, 2020 edition)

On my way to the grocery store this morning I took some photos of this year’s Christmas tree in the Passage:

A new detail this year is the plants down the middle, to help remind people to stay on the right side while walking. It will be interesting to see if the plants are still around next year at this time, or if they really were just temporary during the Covid-19 crisis…

And here is a close up look. I found it a bit weird to be walking past stores today. For the most part everything was closed, but it felt more like a Sunday rather than closed for five weeks. Most of the stores had their lights on and there were not many signs in the windows saying they would be closed for a longer period of time.

Strangely enough when I walked past Peek & Cloppenburg (a clothing store), they did seem to be open. However maybe I saw incorrectly. The lights were on, the doors were wide open, and there were a few people going through the sweaters… so who knows.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Lockdown, before and after (Or: Photos of The Hague’s city centre)

The Dutch website indebuurt.nl (in the neighborhood) usually has a photo series called Toen & Nu or Then & Now. Today’s photo series only showed a difference of four days, but it was an important four days: 13 December and 16 December. In other words, before and after the five week lockdown came into effect.

Toen & Nu: Foto’s van het Haagse centrum voor en tijdens de lockdown

Is it bad that my first thought was “Oh! Glad to see the oliebollenkraam is still open.”? Maybe a bit.

Above is one of our Christmas decorations – the hanging gingerbread men. It was another Royal Christmas Fair purchase from a few years ago.

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Essential? Non-essential? (Or: What are we again?)

The discussion about who can stay open during the lockdown and who must close continued today. Hema, a general merchandise retail store, decided to open today. Only essential items like food, baby clothes and toiletries were available. The original government ruling said that if it at least 30% of the items sold were essential, then that part of the store with essential items could remain open. The rest of the inventory would be unavailable for sale. (If the store sold at least 70% essential items the entire store could remain open.) Because at least 30% of what Hema sells is essential they decided to open yesterday. Problem is, other chains including Action and Wibra then decided they would re-open from tomorrow. And those stores’ stock is even less essential than Hema’s in my opinion.

That meant the Dutch cabinet went back into discussions last night and this morning. The end result: the 30% ruling is now gone, so you need to sell at least 70% essential items to stay open.

Some large non-essential stores open despite lockdown; government to intervene from nltimes.nl

and then Tighter rules around essential stores that can open in lockdown, also from nltimes.nl.

Fotoseries: Stil in Den Haag op de eerste dag van de lockdown, or Photos: Silence in The Hague on the first day of the lockdown [Tuesday]. Photos 9 and 11 are a bit political, since the pink ‘soon available for renting’ signs have the Dutch prime minister and the Health minister’s name listed as the realtor (Rutte and De Jonge).

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Van Dale’s Word of the year (Or: Anderhalvemetersamenleving)

Only the Germans like their words longer…

Anderhalvemetersamenleving or 1-and-a-half-meters-society is Van Dale’s word of the year for 2020 (article from dutchnews.nl). Van Dale is a Dutch dictionary company. Anderhalvemetersamenleving took 30% of the vote, with 12,000 votes cast.

Here are a few interesting articles about the lockdown that are available in Dutch from nos.nl:

Hoe een telefoontje van Van Dissel alles veranderde – How a phone call from Van Dissel [Dutch virologist] changed everything. It’s an article about how we went from the press conference on the 8th to the hard lockdown announced last night. That’s less then a week if you are counting.

Niet-essentiële winkel mag open als die ten minste 30 procent essentiële artikelen verkocht – Non-essential stores can open if 30% of their items are essential. In that scenario they can only sell those essential items. If a store sells at least 70% essential items then they can sell everything. But that is, of course, a game of percentages…

Above is a picture taken in De Passage (a covered shopping area) in The Hague last weekend. I thought it was cute to see the stockings hiding behind the windows on the second floor, which isn’t accessible to shoppers.

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