A few weeks back I snapped some photos of musical graffiti by the Spui here in The Hague. Someone was definitely feeling creative:
This area is just outside the city hall. In the background (on the other side of the construction walls) you have what used to be the Dr. Anton Philipszaal (Dutch Wikipedia link) which was torn down in late 2015. The building housed both concert and theatre events.
A larger cultural building is currently being constructed in this spot and will hopefully be finished in 2021. Earlier it was announced that the name would be “Amare”, which is Italian for “to love” or “by the sea”. Even if I never step foot inside, I’ll still be glad to get the area in front of it back – the construction site takes up a huge chunk of the plaza (see also the photo I posted back in 2012 of the Spuiplein).
Last month Marco and I visited Eindhoven for a short weekend as a belated anniversary trip. One of the things we saw was an area full of graffiti called “Step in the Arena”.
That’s the name of graffiti festival that has taken place for the last 10 years in the Berenkuil, which translates to bear pit in English. It’s a roundabout for cars, along with a sunken level underneath for bikes and motorcycles. 2019 was the 10th edition.
Here are some of the photos from the 2019 festival’s graffiti:
As I mentioned in my last blog post, Marco and I went to Dordrecht about a week ago to do a stadswandeling in Dordrecht (that’s a walk around the city). After that was done, we doubled back to visit Voorstraat. People say Voorstraat is the longest shopping street in the Netherlands. Of course, such an achievement does come with a price in today’s economy: there are some empty stores. Not a lot, but enough to be noticeable.
Of course, what makes it even more noticeable is when someone adds graffiti to each of the shop windows to point out that it is empty:
Here’s an idea for this empty store: a popup cafe with free wifi!
Some graffiti points out the fact that the store has been empty for over three years. But the main purpose of it is to point out what the store could be used as (apparently if the city government cared enough to do something about it – I suspect it isn’t as easy as the graffitist hopes, though). But other ideas for popup stores (always illustrated by graffiti) include music stores, bike rental stores, and a biological store.
More information about the graffiti and pictures can be found here (in Dutch).
Something cute hanging out by the door of a non-abandoned (just closed at the time) store:
A few weeks ago, Marco and I went to Ikea in Delft to see if we could buy a bookshelf for me. I originally wanted the narrow, but tall version, in dark wood – but it was way too heavy to carry back on the tram. So we settled for the shorter version which still stores a fair amount.
Of course, I still need to populate it with more than junk (there’s a lot of random papers that I threw in there simply to clear off the nightstand) but it did mean that I was able to set up the earring holder I got for Christmas. Which made me realize I have a lot of blue earrings, but could use some more of other colors…
Some other random news: I started the second half of the B2-C1 Dutch course at Volksuniversiteit. Like the last one, it is 10 weeks and should be done around the third week of March. After that, my Dutch is good enough to sign up for courses (in general, not just at this school) with native speakers. Hmmm…
I’ll leave you with a few pictures of graffiti that I took on the ride over to Ikea. The owl has already made an appearance on this blog, but this picture is a bit better. The other is new.
The graffiti is always more interesting on this side of the pond!
Futurama is an American animated TV show which also appears on Comedy Central in the Netherlands (and Pirate Bay, but I digress…). Someone in The Hague is apparently a big fan of Bender, a robot character on the show.
That’s Bender on the right, holding a TV remote saying his trademark phrase: “Kiss my shiny metal …”, with the … included. I’m not sure who the other characters are, but they are not from the same TV show.
For the rehearsal dinner, my brother and his bride chose Gino’s East in St. Charles (Illinois). It’s a pizza place, but they also served us penne pasta, breadsticks, and salad. Yum! And that was before another guest broke out the container of freshly homemade chocolate chip cookies…
They had some pretty interesting pizza, from the classic Chicago style deep dish to the thinner crusts. (While they even had a sausage patty pizza, which included a full size patty as one of its layers, I stuck with the thin crust pizza.) The most interesting and delicious thing was the crust, which was definitely seasoned well.
The restaurant decor itself was pretty interesting. The first thing that caught my eye was the Homer Simpson poster above (made up of individually colored elements, though I forget what they were. Probably scenes or characters from the show).
The other crazy thing was that you were allowed to write on the walls. It did provide character to the place. There were a few places that they asked you to not write on the walls, like the bathroom. The sign there said Don’t graffiti here or similar, which of course someone altered to say Don’t gravity here.
Today Marco and I went to our scheduled appointment (afspraak) with the IND to set up my VVR (permanent residency). This also included a meeting with the GBA (…Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie persoonsgegevens!), otherwise known as the department who keeps tabs on every single citizen of the Hague. You are required to register.
The appointment was at 9AM, so we left the apartment around 8AM and took tram 17 to the Statenplein tram stop. (The street we wanted was Stadhoudersplantsoen, 24. Yeah. Who needs to use the space bar.)
gemeente museum in the Hague, near our appointment building. (gemeente = municipality)
The appointment went rather smoothly – as mentioned, we first met with an official from the GBA and I turned over one of the official copies of my birth certificate (don’t worry mom – a long version, not the fragile original version!). Then we waited a few minutes for the IND appointment and got that sorted. I had my fingerprint taken digitally, which was interesting because the machine was rather finicky. Eventually they ended up just trying the index finger on my left hand instead of my right, and it worked a bit quicker.
Then my fingerprint was taken again at a different window, and then it was done. The VVR should arrive in 6 to 7 weeks. I hope!