Posts Tagged With: Hema

That’s pretty clever (Or: A wall of chocolate letters at Hema)

Marco took this photo for me of the Hema in The Hague’s city centre. It shows a wall of chocolate Sinterklaas letters being used to block off what was formerly the entrance to Hema’s restaurant:

Hema’s restaurant is closed right now due to the corona regulations in the Netherlands. All restaurants and cafés are closed with the exception of takeaway. But takeaway doesn’t make much sense at the Hema restaurant so it is completely closed.

And what better way is there to to block off an entrance? It’s quite clever – it immediately makes the space more festive and takes attention away from the reasons why it needed to be closed in the first place. Here’s a look at the store when the restaurant redesign first opened back in early 2015:

You can see the store in the background

If you need a refresher on Sinterklaas letters, they are literally large letters of chocolate, from A all the way to Z. They usually come in the flavors milk, dark, white and hazelnut. They are either plain or covered in fancy designs. If they are a gift for someone, then you normally buy the letter that corresponds with the first letter of the receipt’s name (N for Niki, and so forth). Or a lot of people buy “S” for Sinterklaas. But be warned: if you wait until the day before Sinterklaas to buy one, there will probably only be Q’s left!

Sinterklaas is celebrated on 5 December. It is a children’s holiday (mostly…), celebrated with gifts, poems and good food. You can read more at with the “Ten things you need to know to celebrate Sinterklaas” list.

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Halloween at Hema (Or: Bit by bit the popularity grows)

It’s almost time for Halloween! Here is one of the two display stands at Hema:

I have mentioned before that Halloween isn’t that big in the Netherlands. It’s slowly gaining in popularity but trick or treating for candy isn’t a huge thing. Of course there is some trick or treating (I know some international schools do promote it) but it’s not as big with Dutch children as far as I’m aware. SoLow has a great collection of costumes and decorations if you’re interested. Xenos usually has a small collection as well.

As most of my readers are aware, it’s not going that great with Europe in terms of the corona virus. The same is true here in the Netherlands as we’ve been breaking records left and right. Number of cases, hospital intakes, ICU intakes, deaths… It definitely seems like the “second wave” has started. Today we registered 2,552 cases. Various experts (but not the government, yet) are saying a lockdown will be coming if the number of cases can’t be slowed. For instance the chairman of the Dutch Union of the Intensive Care Diederik Gommers said this during an interview with Radio 538 (article in Dutch). You can also see the weekly numbers at in English, updated two days ago.

But, anyway. For something completely different – if you’re interested in war monuments, check out this new war monuments digital archive over at The website is in Dutch but there’s also photographs to look at. You can also read an accompanying article in Dutch at Haagse oorlogsmonumenten op een rij gezet: ‘Maar denken dat er nog meer zijn’.

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Chocolate eggs by Hema (Or: Stroopwafel flavor, anyone?)

It feels like a lifetime ago, but a few weeks ago (13 March) I was browsing in Hema. I could not resist snapping a few photos of their chocolate egg collection:

Some of the flavors included dark chocolate banana cream, white chocolate matcha lemon, milk chocolate cookies and cream (that one was almost empty), milk chocolate orange, milk chocolate coconut, milk chocolate peanut butter… I definitely learned that everyone’s favorite flavor is milk chocolate, not dark chocolate.

There was also a display near one of the entrances.

But the best (and most Dutch) flavor was…

You guessed it… Stroopwafel flavored chocolate eggs!

Categories: Everyday purchases, Holidays | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Sweet store displays (Or: Valentine’s Day by Hema)

❤ Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤

Valentine’s Day display at Hema in The Hague

Marco and I exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts this morning. He got me a small bottle of cava (a Spanish sparking wine), a bag of Haribo gummy bears and a chocolate rose. ❤

I got him Winter-in-lov, a chocolate and rooibos tea, with additional spices like cinnamon, ginger and licorice. If you like tea with chocolate notes, I can highly recommend it.

Categories: Holidays, Marco&Niki | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Kruidnoten (Or: The start of Christmas this year)

Back in 2013 I wrote a blog post called Kruidnoten (Or: Christmas comes earlier every year). That post mentioned how kruidnoten (Wikipedia) were readily available after September 1st. This candy is traditionally seen in the month of December, both for the Sinterklaas holiday on December 5 as well as Christmas.

This year they were definitely available by August 23, when this photo was taken in a local Hema. Heh.

Kruidnoten by Hema, August 2018.jpg

I give it another 5 years, and then they will be available everywhere by August 1st.

(And in case my parents are wondering, yes, we’ll bring some the next time we visit.)

Categories: Culture, Food, Holidays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tricks of the eye (Or: Is that …?)

Marco and I recently had coffee at Hema, splitting a slice of apple pie. On the way out, we noticed some of Hema‘s famous sausage:

Marzipan sausage at Hema

Except that this was in the candy aisle. The sausage was made of marzipan! (Marzipan is apparently rather popular over here, but not so much in America).

I also noticed some chocolate bars which say “You are sweet” and “Thank you”. The problem with this is I have some good memories of the chocolate bar when it used to be in Dutch (“Ik vind je lief“) so it is a bit odd to see it in English. For example, the first time Marco gave me one when I still lived in America…

Thank you and You are sweet chocolate bars

And finally, a what the heck? kind of image. Check out this Kit Kat flavor Marco and I saw at the Asian store:

Sweet potato kitkat flavor

That’s right – if you look at the pricing card underneath you will see it is sweet potato flavor… All right-y then.

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Random photos (Or: Around The Hague and Scheveningen)

I decided it might be fun to show off some of my more random photos that didn’t end up getting their own blog post.

Disney Descendants advertisement in The Hague

By the tram stop – an advertisement for Disney’s Descendants

What caught my eye was the use of the shadow on the ground to “extend” the advertisement onto the ground.

Hema Make & Bake cookies

Make & Bake cookie jars at Hema

Anyone want to bake some cookies? The jar includes all of the ingredients you need, apparently.

Flowers by the Buitenhof in The Hague

Flowers next to Buitenhof

Of course that photo was from a month or two ago – all it has done in the last few weeks is rain, rain, rain.

Kurhaus in Scheveningen

Kurhaus (a hotel) in Scheveningen, on the night of the Fireworks Festival

Until next time!

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New look (Or: Redesign of Hema’s cafe, Grote Markt)

Marco and I visited Hema over the weekend to check out the redesign of their cafe. Pretty impressive!

Redesign of Hema cafe Grote Markt 1

Do you see the image of the cat on the wall, completely made of candy? His face is a pancake, his whiskers red vines candy, smarties (European M&Ms) for ears, etc. It was a bit hard to get a good picture, unfortunately. Maybe next time.

Redesign of Hema cafe Grote Markt, 2

It even comes with a lively plant on each table, new furniture, new chairs, etc. A big improvement in my opinion.

The best part is that the coffee is now self-serve, which helps a lot with the standing in line part. However, there are still only two registers – made slightly worse by the fact that both lines are now right next to each other so you are standing in one massive, unorganized line until the last moment.

Still — self serve coffee! Woohoo!Redesign of Hema cafe Grote Markt, 3

A small children’s “kitchen” with the Jip and Janneke theme.

Overall a big step forward. When we visited, there did seem to be more workers which meant that the hot food was being served faster. I think it is the same menu, though, with a bit better advertising.

Categories: The Hague | Tags: | 6 Comments

Helemaal geen probleem (Or: Done with the tests)

On Thursday I took the remaining two tests for my B2 Dutch course – het was helemaal geen probleem. It was not a problem at all. The first test was a one on one speaking test with the teacher for 15 minutes. I did get a bit off track with one of the questions but was able to save it.

Due to the scheduling, that test was from 6:45 – 7:00PM and the following test (listening) was at 8:30PM. Because of that, I asked Marco to come with and wait downstairs, and after the test was done we walked to Hema. We had coffee and shared a chocolate chip cookie.

coffee and cookie by Hema

Of course, the chocolate cookies aren’t quite as awesome as the white chocolate cranberry cookies by Hema… yum!

I must admit to being happy – I thought I would have been more nervous during the speaking test. The listening test was also fine, so I know I passed the course. There are still two “lessons” to go – we are on vacation next week, and then the following Tuesday we receive the results and on Thursday we have a party.

Party time!

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Baby animals and more (Or: Dutch class 23 by ROC Mondriaan)

My class on Wednesday was a bit lighter on content it seems – I only have one page of notes!

Usually the first topic in class is randomly chosen. This one actually came from the textbook – this chapter talked about farmers, greenhouses, and similar subjects. One of the things we discussed was the names for baby animals:

koe – kalf (cow – calf)
kip – kuiken (chicken – chick)
varken – big (pig – piglet)
schaap – lamb (sheep – lamb)
paard – veulen (horse – foal)
hond – puppy (dog – puppy)

As you can see, puppy was definitely borrowed from English. Which language had ‘lamb’ first is debatable (and probably Googleable).  

The grammar that we discussed was a theme that seems to come back week after week – using dat (or similar words to connect two sentence clauses together) almost always results in the verb in the subordinate clause going to the end. This week was “saying something using the indirect route, versus the direct route”. The direct route could also be considered what was actually said in the beginning, or a quote.

Het examen is moeilijk. -> Zij zegt dat het examan moeilijk is. She said that the exam is difficult.

Morgen gaat het regenen. -> De broer zegt dat het morgen gaat regenen. The brother said that tomorrow it would rain. (Unconjugated verbs like ‘regenen’ end up after the conjugated ‘gaat’ verb.)

And finally, one for your amusement… (what the heck? this was in the textbook).

Ik zoek een vrouw. -> De enzame boer zegt tegen de vrouw van de tv dat hij een vrouw zoekt. The lonely farmer said to the woman from the television (a reporter?) that he is looking for a woman. Presumably as a wife.

Since this was pretty light in class talk, I’ll leave you with a random photo from the local Hema:

escalator coffee display at Hema

What do you do when you have piles and piles of extra bags of coffee? Why, put it between the escalators of course! (Actually it is a pretty smart use of space. I’m just used to that space being empty.)

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