Here is a beautiful photo from Reddit’s r/thenetherlands page:
The photo was taken in a tulip field north of Amsterdam.
Did you know the Dutch are obsessed with terraces? I blame the bad weather – we take every chance we can get the second the sun peeks out around the corner. See also dutchnews.nl’s article: What is the Dutch obsession with pavement cafes all about? Although the term “pavement café” is a bit weird.
Dutch are biggest consumers of meat substitutes in Europe from nltimes.nl. Although meat substitutes only count for 2.5% of the meat market according to the article. At the moment Marco and I don’t generally eat meat substitutes from the supermarket. We do eat a few vegan meals a week from FOAM, but that is mainly because it tastes so good. Otherwise we might replace meat with courgette (zucchini) or with peanuts for a bit of crunch. Marco does make a nice wok vegetable dish with hoisin sauce and peanuts…
In an attempt to hear even more Dutch during the day I’ve been listening to a lot more Dutch podcasts. I’ve still got my favorites that I have been listing to for years, including Echt Gebeurd (=Really happened, where people tell true stories of things they have experienced in front of an audience).
I also have public transportation themed podcasts in Dutch (Spoorcast, De Podcastcoupé, Luisterruit). Or some newer ones: Lang verhaal kort (Long story short) which produces a 5-7 minute episode every weekday about one important news item from that day. Or something completely different: Bankplakkers (literally someone who doesn’t get off the couch). It’s about pop culture and what to watch on all the various streaming services. That one is generally 50-70 minutes long, so I usually listen to it during work.
I also downloaded an audio book from the online library app (link in Dutch). I chose Matt Haig’s “How to stop time” in Dutch. It is about someone who looks like he is 41 years old but he has actually been alive for centuries. Based on the blurb I do think it will turn into a romance novel, which I’m not a fan of, but hopefully not too much.
And today’s read, about The Flower Bike Man in Amsterdam:
Marco received a surprise bouquet of flowers this afternoon from work. He and others from his group were recognized for the work they had done on a big project which is wrapping up.
Marco and I were pretty lucky. We actually threw out our few remaining vases late last year, planning to replace them at some point. Of course we never got around to it. (Neither of us really have a green thumb so we don’t usually have flowers around. I’ll be happy if it survives the week!) After some pondering, I noticed we had an empty lemonade dispenser with a tap (this one, from xenos.nl), so I quickly rinsed it out and used that. And it works perfectly! And it looks a bit cute if I say so myself.
It’s still not that warm yet in the Netherlands. Maybe 10C (50F), depending on the day? But you can still find color if you wander through the city centre. For example these flowers at the Rabbijn Maarsenplein (a plaza):
The heavy stone planters were added by the city sometime this month, as they weren’t there the last time I wandered through this area. (You can see the major shopping street Grote Marktstraat in the far distance.)
The chips brand Lay’s has three new flavors in the Netherlands: Subway teriyaki, KFC original recipe chicken and Pizza Hut Margherita (lays.nl). I haven’t seen the flavors “in the wild” yet, but it is only a matter of time. Starting in May if you buy a bag you can use it to get your second meal free at that restaurant. Lays is known for some weird flavors. One that managed to stick around permanently in this country was “baguette with herb butter” (stokbrood met kruidenboter).
In other news: Rotterdam, The Hague announce bid to host Tour de France start from nltimes.nl. The bid would either be for 2024 or 2025. Rotterdam would host the opening stage, with an additional stage from Rotterdam to The Hague. The previous time the Netherlands hosted a few stages was back in 2015, when Utrecht was the host twice.
And Fietsers weg uit de Grote Marktstraat? Dat kan, maar gaat ten koste van parkeerplekken from omroepwest.nl. (Removing cyclists from the Grote Marktstraat? That is possible, but it will come at the cost of parking). The city has determined that it is possible to remove cyclists from the shopping area of the Grote Marktstraat, the large shopping street in The Hague’s city centre. This is because cyclists can use the parellel streets of Gedempte Gracht and Gedempte Burgwal, but 54 parking spots would need to be removed in the latter street to make sure cyclists have enough room.
Of course, the article then goes on to say that there is a possibility that cyclists can cycle tvia the Grote Markstraat before 11:30 daily, when the shops open. But that just means people won’t know the difference and will keep cycling through the area no matter the time of day. Although the city did successfully manage to ban scooters from using the Grote Markstraart so I guess anything is possible… we shall see!
Unfortunately Keukenhof (English Wikipedia), one of the largest flower gardens in the world, won’t be able to open this year either. They have decided to post two short films a week instead so that people can see the work they put into getting the park ready.
The purple, yellow and white flowers bloom every year for a few weeks and always bring a bit of color to the area. Check out where Lange Voorhout is on Google Maps. It is around the corner from the Binnenhof, Tweede Kamer, and the Hofvijver (pond).
Last week my company’s Human Resources department mailed us a surprise gift:
The note says: “The month of November has started with its beautiful autumnal colors but also rain and storm. HR has prepared an enclosed gift which already looks ahead to springtime. We hope you will enjoy this small token!” Cute.
I heard from some colleagues that their gift didn’t even survive an hour in their kid-infested house…
Friday! For dinner Marco made slow cooker chili. The recipe was from my old Cuisinart slow cooker that I had back when I lived in the US. We haven’t made this recipe in ages, but I am glad we finally did. It makes plenty of leftovers so later in the weekend or early next week we will have chili with tortilla chips. Yummm.
It almost felt like a normal Friday evening (in a non-2020 year): for the first time a long time we had a Supernatural episode to watch. Like many TV shows, this one went on hiatus after the corona crisis started, with only 7 episodes to go in the final 14th season. Most of our normal TV shows have not returned yet, so we are watching more shows via Disney+ or Apple TV these days (if you’re a gamer, I highly recommend Apple TV’s Mythic Quest).
In corona news, the prime minister said they wait until Monday to see if the situation improves (nltimes.nl). Otherwise I expect a press conference on Tuesday. The good news is that the government said they would also be working on a roadmap for corona measures, so that it is more clear what measures could be expected in various scenarios. It definitely feels like the government always reacts, versus acts.
There have been some anti-lockdown and anti-corona law demonstrations in The Hague in the last few days (everyone comes to The Hague to protest, since this is where parliament is). There were 15 arrests on Wednesday evening and 80 arrests yesterday evening (!). I walked past parliament this morning and saw a few people with signs outside the Tweede Kamer, although they were just standing around and not actively protesting yet. They probably still needed to have their coffee.
On a lighter note… Keukenhof (a massive tulip garden not far from The Hague and only open a few months of the year) started planting tulip bulbs for the 2021 season. By Christmas they need to plant 7 million bulbs – yikes!
I mentioned Keukenhof a few times earlier this year because the park never even opened before the crisis hit. Instead they created lots of videos and posted them to their website and YouTube, getting 22 million views (in a normal year they get about 1.5 million in person visits). If you want to see the videos they posted earlier this year, check out their YouTube channel and the “Keukenhof Virtually Open 2020” series.