Four working days into the new reality: a look at De Passage (“The Passage“), the oldest shopping centre in The Netherlands.
This was taken yesterday morning around 10:00. Quite empty, considering shops would normally start opening around then. In the far distance, not quite viewable, is the entrance to Bijenkorf. Yesterday they announced that they would be closing all stores in The Netherlands for the foreseeable future (article – scroll for English). The day before that, Ikea closed all of their physical stores. They did this out of necessity, since so many customers were coming to the stores due to everything else being closed (article in Dutch).
The prime minister announced during an evening press conference that visitors would no longer be welcome at nursing homes (article in Dutch). Exceptions would be made for residents who are expected to pass away soon. There are also warnings from the Dutch healthcare system expects at least 500 to 1,000 patients in the ICU next week. As of today there are 210 in the ICU. Therefore they have begun moving some of those patients to other hospitals, freeing up beds in the harder hit parts of the country (article in Dutch).
A group of students have also begun providing unofficial translations of the Dutch public broadcast NOS, in an aptly named Facebook group NOS in English.
And here we are in 2016! (This year I heard from someone that it wasn’t that Apple wanted to ban the Christmas tree so it didn’t ruin the store view, but that they wanted to decorate it themselves but the other stores were against that. Makes sense, but probably just another rumor.)
Marco and I were walking through the Passage yesterday and noticed that the Christmas tree was back again this year. This is sort of a surprise because when Apple moved into the spot a few years ago, they stated in their contract that the Christmas tree (which had been there for years) was no longer allowed. The first and second years the Christmas tree did appear because the Apple store wasn’t open yet. However, the Apple store opened over the summer, so no more Christmas tree, right?
It’s not too much longer before the addition to De Passage is open… That is a shopping area that connects a few important shopping streets together. It’s been quite annoying to have it under construction as of late, since that meant having to walk a detour to get where you needed to go.
But as of 18 September, it will be open again! Above you can see someone hard at work on the finishing touches. In the distance is De Bijenkorf (a retail store). I also have a lovely image of De Bijenkorf at Christmas time.
Over the last week or so I’ve seen a lot of Christmas trees around The Hague. One tree that I was not expecting to see was in De Passage. It’s not the best picture but it’s not a small tree either! (The black wall in the background is the construction area before the Apple store).
This was unexpected because of the agreement between a not-yet-opened Apple store and De Passage. In the contract between Apple and the shopping area, it was stipulated that there would be no more Christmas tree in the center as it would block the view of the storefront. Of course, people were quite annoyed by this. But Marco and I found out a few days ago that the tree was back! Only for this year, as a consolation because the Apple store isn’t yet open.
I also found a smaller Christmas tree at Central Station in The Hague:
Good news for Marco – the rest of his Christmas presents just arrived (via Amazon UK/PostNL) so he will have a present filled Christmas this year! He was even nice and went downstairs to get the package from the mailman. Nothing like waiting until the afternoon of Christmas Eve, but I ordered things pretty late this year.