Posts Tagged With: COVID-19

Looking down Spuistraat at night (Or: Everything’s closed)

We’re now in mid-June which means the days are almost at their longest. This photo was taken just before 22:30 last night as the sun was setting:

I deliberately didn’t crop out the markings on the ground reminding people to keep their distance and to walk on the correct side of the street. It will be so weird to look at these photos in five years, I think.

I posted about this article recently, but this street is one of the twenty or so areas in the Netherlands which will have a lot of problems in the new ‘one and a half meters’ society – the street is way too narrow. See also ‘Haagse Spuistraat knelpunt bij anderhalve meter economie’ from omroepwest.nl

And here is an article with cats and trams! Sort of. Kat Simba gered na anderhalve week onder metrolijn E, also from omroepwest.nl. It tells the story of a cat that was trapped for about a week and a half under the track of metro line E. There’s a happy ending of course.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Face masks in trams (Or: New experiences)

Before this weekend, the last time I was in a tram was 13 March. Three months ago. I would have considered that unheard of before this corona pandemic started.

However on Friday morning I took tram 17 to Rijswijk after the morning rush hour. I’ve ridden at that time before, so I fairly certain it would not be busy. And I was right – it wasn’t. (Whew.)

It wasn’t too special, except that I almost forgot to check in. It’s definitely been a while. Everyone wore a face mask as required. And boy, did I have to get used to wearing one! I was glad to not have my glasses on otherwise I would have to worry about them fogging up. But it was instantly warm and I instantly wanted to take it off. But I survived. I can’t imagine wearing one at every moment that you are outside, but I know a lot of countries require that.

I also took the tram on Saturday, this time tram 3, for the blood donation appointment I wrote about yesterday. That one was fairly empty at 08:20 when I went to the appointment, but was definitely busy when I came back around 09:45. It’s nothing compared to the pre-corona traffic, and was still at acceptable levels for social distancing, but it still felt weird.

In other news:

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Field outside of Rijswijk Station (Or: Okay, it’s tiny)

Here’s an interesting photo from just outside of Rijswijk train station. I’m not entirely sure what the wooden columns are supposed to represent, but hey, it’s a bit of green. With a church steeple in the background. But it’s tiny – even Google Maps doesn’t mark this area as green to represent a park.

In other news:

  • As you might know, the football European championships are delayed until 2021. The Dutch TV show Even tot hier had a short skit about the players being replaced this year by dogs for the EK hondenvoetbal (from Youtube, 2 and a half minutes long). Even if you don’t speak Dutch, it’s still a cute video because you get to watch dogs!
  • Dutch sign up to Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine from dutchnews.nl. The Netherlands (and Germany, Italy and France) have signed up to purchase up to 400 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this particular vaccine will work, but the thinking is that it’s better safe than sorry later. Other countries are welcome to join the group.
  • No summer holiday? Councillors propose ‘wild swimming’ in the river from dutchnews.nl. Yeah… no thanks.
Categories: Rijswijk | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Small Dutch streets (Or: A look down Korte Koediefstraat)

Today’s photo comes from the Korte Koediefstraat, or Short Cow thief street. No joke. I posted about the nearby Koediefstraat a few weeks back, if you want to read about why the street is called that.

In other news:

  • you can take part in Quarantinekunst or Quarantine art. Artists have been placing artwork in their windows or garden, visible from the public street. Non-artists have offered up their windows and gardens for someone else’s art to be put on display. You can also donate to the cause. See the map of where the pieces of art can currently be found.
  • 68,759 people have been tested for the corona virus so far under The Netherlands’ policy of now testing any resident who requests it. This period is from 1 June to 9 June (yesterday). Most test results come back in 48 hours, although the original promise was to have test results within 24 hours. About 2.1% of the tests have come back positive. See also the NOS live blog from today.
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Roses and plaques (Or: Along the Zuidwal)

Happy Tuesday everyone. At least it is not raining…

Here are a few more photos from my walk along the Zuidwal last week. There were some eye-catching roses decorating some of the houses along the canal:

There were also a high proportion of mobility scooters in this area. You can just see one in the background behind the flowers.

I also saw a plaque marking the former residence of a famous writer:

That writer was Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known by his pen name Multatuli (Wikipedia.com). He is best known as the writer of Max Havelaar, a 1860 novel which cast a negative light on the issues with colonialism in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. I’ll admit I haven’t read it yet as it doesn’t really fit with the type of reading I normally do.

In other news:

  • Do you have issues with wearing a face mask and glasses at the same time which causes your glasses to start to fog up? If your face mask has elastic bands, try crossing them over your ears first to tighten up the face mask a bit. See also this image from i.imgur.com which I found on Reddit. I’ve also heard you should try cleaning your glasses with dish soap and then drying them with a glasses-friendly cloth. That leaves a tiny layer a soap on your glasses which can usually protect against your glasses fogging up – though not always unfortunately.
  • Opinion sharply divided about using an app to trace coronavirus cases (dutchnews.nl). Considering there was a data leak in the Dutch COVID-19 website Infectieradar last week, I can see why people are a bit nervous to download it (when it becomes available)
  • HTM blij met staatssteun: ‘Tien miljoen euro verlies in plaats van zeventig miljoen’ (omroepwest.nl) – HTM [The Hague’s public transportation company] is happy with the government’s support: 10 million euros loss instead of 70 million. Government support of Dutch public transportation companies is required due to the government asking them to run their full schedule even when passenger numbers are down. In that way the government can be sure that there is enough space for passengers who are using public transportation during this time.
Categories: The Hague, Transportation | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What is your R number? (Or: Corona dashboard)

Last week the RIVM (Dutch ministry of Health) released a prototype of the Corona dashboard which can be found at coronadashboard.rijksoverheid.nl.

As you can see it shows things like ICU intakes and hospital intakes averaged over the last three days (6 and 8.7), number of infected persons per 100,000 residents (9.9) and the very well known R number, which is currently 0.87. There are also data points about nursing homes and a list of data points they are looking to add in the coming weeks.

In completely other news: sometimes trips to the grocery store can be very, very interesting. Today I wanted to grab a water bottle however there was already another customer there looking at multipack water bottles. Okay, he was right in front of what I needed, so I decided to wait. Even in non-corona times, it would have probably been perceived as rude, and it’s not like he would take that long right?

Wrong. After 2 minutes of semi-patient waiting I decided to look at my watch to start timing the rest of this experience. He had a pack of water in his basket already and he would grab another slightly different pack and look at the label. He would then put it into his basket and then pick up something else and look at the label of that water pack.

After the first minute someone else stopped and was clearly waiting to grab something from the water as well. After three minutes I did start to get a bit impatient, but tried to keep it from showing on my face. It must have been obvious that I was still standing there waiting, right? The other person was behind him on the other side of the aisle, so I could forgive him not seeing her. In the meantime about 15 people walked down the middle of the aisle, probably wondering what the heck the bottleneck was. But this was the last item I needed to get, and I was morbidly curious to see how this would play out.

After switching out the multipacks in his basket about 5 times, and staring at labels about 10 times, he finally picked one, grabbed the rest of his stuff and got a move on. The other customer politely waited for me to grab my water which I quickly did. Her and I shared a smile, neither believing what we had just experienced. I whispered fijne dag while deftly grabbing my water with my left hand. Total time it took him: 5+ minutes. Total time it took me: about half a second.

But now I have a good story for the blog, so it was worth the extra five or so minutes, right?

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Everyday purchases | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

An empty Malieveld (Or: Preparations for an anti-lockdown protest)

Earlier today I took a walk around the Malieveld, which you’ll know happens a few times a week. But this time there was an unexpected amount of police: a handful of police outside the area, another handful at the entrance, another 4 or 5 on bicycles, and another 5 or 6 in the far corner watching a stage being set up.

There wasn’t too much to see yet, but something was definitely about to happen. It turns out it was preparations for an anti-lockdown demonstration which would happen in the afternoon:

Of course, there’s not a lockdown as such, or at least not a lockdown like what other European countries have had. However they are also protesting against the 1.5 meters requirement that everyone has to follow.

The minister of Health is looking to create a new set of corona laws to replace the emergency ordinances each city has set up to deal with the corona crisis. The benefit of that is that the law would be the same throughout the country, versus differing based on what city you were in. But putting something in the law books does feel more tangible, more permanent. So it is easy to understand the angst that some citizens have over a crisis that might not go away next year, or even the year after, and the thought that this crisis has only taken away personal freedoms. (See also Nieuwe coronawet moet einde maken aan verwarring over maatregelen at rtlnieuws.nl).

There’s even the question of personal data being illegally used – right now in the Netherlands you need to make a reservation to eat inside a restaurant, and undergo a health check when you enter. What if that information later falls into the wrong hands? Speaking of which: Lek in RIVM-coronasite: gegevens van gebruikers makkelijk in te zien at nos.nl – there is apparently a significant data leak at a website run by the Dutch ministry of Health. The website allows Dutch residents to report if they have had corona-like symptoms in the last week. Opps.

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Follow the arrows (Or: Venestraat and The Passage)

Over the last few weeks more and more streets have received directional arrows to let people know which side of the street to walk on.

Above is the Venestraat, one of the shopping streets in the city centre. It’s a bit wider than the nearby Spuistraat, which has been named one of the 20 possible areas of concern in the new ‘one and a half meters community’ we find ourselves in (omroepwest.nl, article in Dutch).

Above is a look at The Passage, which has improved its one way traffic markers in the last month or so. When I last blogged about them in mid-May there were only tiny arrows at the entrance, much smaller than those you see above. So there have definitely been some improvements in The Passage.

In other news – after many months of sunshine and mockingly good weather, it has finally begun to rain. Technically parts of The Netherlands are experiencing drought-like conditions (nltimes.nl), so I suppose it’s probably a good thing. Even though we’d need more than a few days to fix that.

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Sneaky sneaky (Or: Shortcut through the Binnenhof)

Yesterday I went for a walk, part of which included the Binnenhof. But this time I took a different route than tourists normally take:

As you can see there’s a small pathway between the two buildings which you can use to get in and out of the Binnenhof area. It’s quite small and easily missed, even as a local. But if you do take the path, you’ll notice that there are windows that allow you to peek into the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives):

It’s nothing too special, except that I’m sure I’ve seen that room countless times on the national news (generally for interviews or occasionally when a member of the Tweede Kamer is desperately trying to avoid journalists and quickly escape up the escalator).

In other news:

  • There are now only 113 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, with 481 patients outside of the ICU (lcps.nu, article in Dutch). That’s very different from when I blogged about ICU beds back in late March when we had almost 1,000 patients. At the highest there were over 1,400 patients including 46 in Germany (nu.nl, article in Dutch). And speaking of Germany, the very last Dutch patient finally left a German ICU yesterday. Crazy.
  • During a press conference last night the Dutch prime minister announced that it would be possible to travel to certain other European countries from 15 June for vacation. Countries like Germany, Belguim, Italy and Croatia (nos.nl, article in Dutch). If you’re willing to risk it, of course… but everyone’s economies need a bit of help, that’s for sure.
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The clock strikes 12 (Or: Bustling terraces in The Hague)

Today’s the day! As of 12:00 in The Netherlands, cafés and restaurants could again open their doors for both inside service and service on the terrace, with the former requiring reservations. I’ll admit my curiosity got the better of me so I set out to get some photos for the blog.

I suspected that the city centre would be rather busy so I took an alternative route to get around in the beginning. However in the end I found it was easy enough to move around safely due to the ban on cyclists this weekend on the Grote Markt street.

First up we have the Grote Markt plaza, which I was most curious about:

I’ll admit I really like what this area has done. They’ve kept it rather inviting and it is easy to see where there is a free table. The separate entrance and exit is clearly labeled and they even have colored flags placed down the aisle of the exit area, although it’s a bit hard to see in this photo.

Next we have a look at the terrace by ‘t Goude Hooft, a fancy restaurant/hotel combo:

And finally here is a look at the plein by the Buitenhof. Surprisingly there was still a lot of space left here, although the area pictured is a self-serve bar that has very limited food options. I’m always a fan of this place since you need to pay right away. That means you are never stuck at the end trying to flag down the waiter to get the bill. But I digress…

Two other interesting things I saw but did not take a photo of: six tourists on segways around the Binnenhof area. It was weird to see segways at all, let alone in these times, but they were speaking Dutch so they weren’t foreigners. The other interesting thing was a tiny, one person van with a loud speaker strapped to the top, from which they were broadcasting music quite loudly while driving around. Most likely to get everyone in the festive mood. The side of the van said “Hou je Haags”, an expression I blogged about a while back.

Did you realize we are now in June? Crazy. Bring on a (safe) summer! ☀️

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Food, The Hague | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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