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.
Today’s photo comes from Oog in ‘t Zeilstraat which literally translates to “Eye in the sail street”. A lot of Dutch phrases find their origin in the sea. Eye in the sail refers to the sailor up in the crow’s nest – their job is to “keep an eye out” for any trouble.
According to indebuurt.nl, though, the street is named after a house in 1654 which had the name Oog in ‘t Zeilstraat. Perhaps the house was named after the phrase? And of course it is partially hidden, but you do see a least one bicycle in the photo.
After the press conference yesterday, Amsterdam and Rotterdam decided to require face masks in parts of the city (article at nltimes.nl) from 5 August. Local intervention does seem more useful than country-wide intervention – Amsterdam and Rotterdam reported 76 and 68 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, while there were almost no cases reported in other parts of the country.
On to the weekend (and great temperatures tomorrow)!
Earlier this week Marco took this photo of the Buitenhof for me. What do you think?
Of course you probably notice the flowers first, but the clouds above do deserve a glance as well. A touch of gray.
There was a press conference earlier this evening. The main topic was whether or not there be a country-wide requirement to wear a face mask at all times when outside. At the moment you are only required to wear a face mask when using public transportation.
And another article, this one from Omroep West: Terrassen mogen uur langer open tijdens warme Haagse nachten. It’s an article about how terraces can stay open longer during the summer if the temperature is over 25C/77F Thursday through Sunday. The city government will look at the upcoming weekend’s temperature every Thursday and announce if terraces can be open longer that weekend. ☀️
The weather today is just as good as predicted! Lots of sun, lots of warmth. I decided to take a photo of the Haagse Harry statue over by the Grote Markt plaza:
We don’t have any big plans this weekend, which has been great after a long week of work. In addition to enjoying some sun earlier I also played around with Affinity Designer a bit this morning, working on some isometric designs.
I’m also in the middle of reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation in Dutch but I have to admit some of the humor is either too dark or gross for me. Not enough to stop reading, but definitely enough to ask myself “What the heck?” sometimes.
I think the morning and early afternoon were relatively dry, but how would I know? Work kept me inside sadly. By the time everything got sorted in the late afternoon, the sky was a dark grey and rain was looming. But Marco and I both needed fresh air, so we did not let that stop us. And sure, we got rained on, but at least we got our fresh air…
But in the spirit of that, I’ll share a photo of the Palace Gardens which I took last week:
Lovely blue skies, great temperatures, all you could want without ever having to leave your hometown.
Although that one stray tree branch in the top middle of the photo does look a bit out of place. Anyone have a ladder and a tree cutter?
In other news, The Hague libraries will be opening up a bit more starting tomorrow (1 July), as the Dutch government has relaxed some of the corona measures. Unfortunately it is still only open 12:00-17:00 Monday through Saturday. But you can go there to study, read newspapers, visit the café for coffee and snacks, etc. You can also use library computers for up to 60 minutes per day. See more (in Dutch) at Studeren, uw krantje lezen en meer: veel kan weer!
Kerkplein (“church plaza”) is a plaza by the Grote Kerk and the Old City Hall, the latter being where Marco and I were married in 2013 – very cool.
The church is the wall just on the right edge of the picture. In the distance is a terrace for the Anne and Max café, which Marco and I visited a few weeks ago. Spoiler: I can recommend it!
The photo above is looking across the Kerkplein towards a building across the street. The same flowers in the foreground were used in 2013. The city frequently puts out those red flowers – they even made an appearance in Marco and I’s wedding photos!
As always, if you are in this area I can recommend the Cheesecake Company which is just off the right edge of the above photo. Tasty!
The grey skies briefly disappeared this afternoon. It gave me a great opportunity to take a picture of the terraces near the Holland Spoor (HS) train station.
In other news:
Amsterdam plants mini-gardens around bins in drive to cut littering from theguardian.com – in the Netherlands you generally have either trash pick up once a week or your street has underground trash containers like those pictured in the article. The main drawback to underground containers is the likelihood that people will simply leave their trash next to the container if it is already full.
Verzorgingshuis ‘Het Uiterjoon’ wint het vaatje Hollandse Nieuwe from omroepwest.nl – the first herring catch of the year is always a big deal in the Netherlands, especially in Scheveningen with Vlaggertjesdag (Flag Day). Originally it marked the day fishing ships left Scheveningen to catch herring, but these days it marks when that season’s herring can legally be sold. Normally the first barrel of about 45 herring is sold at auction with the proceeds going to charity and then the following day the sale of herring is allowed nationwide. To give you an example of the prices, in 2012 the first barrel was auctioned for €95,000. However, due to the corona crisis the first two barrels were instead given away – one barrel went to a German hospital for their assistance with coordinating ICU patients (article in Dutch from duitslandinstituut.nl). The other barrel went to a Dutch nursing home, which you can read about in the original article above.
This is a canal at Maliestraat which is not far from – some of you might guess this – Malieveld. It was a bit of a grey day, just like today. A bit of rain here, a bit of rain there. Not enough to bring out your umbrella.
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.
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.