Yesterday the news broke that the Dutch music festival Parkpop would be moving to Malieveld next year (article from omroepwest.nl in Dutch). The festival has been held at The Hague’s Zuiderpark for the last 40 years. Indeed, the festival gets its name from the fact that it is held at Zuiderpark (Parkpop). In 1992 it claimed the title as the biggest music festival of Europe, drawing over half a mission visitors that weekend (!).
However, location always proved an issue. It’s much easier to get to Malieveld (which is a 2 minute walk from The Hague’s Central Station) than it is to get to Zuiderpark. Another issue was noise: Zuiderpark is surrounded by residential area, whereas Malieveld is not.
The Elfstedentocht is an 11 city ice staking race. The length is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) and is held in the north of the Netherlands in the Friesland province. It can most accurately be described as “the event that stops the Netherlands”. Or it would be, if the weather would cooperate. As you might expect, the race can only be held if the ice is thick enough along the entire course. The last time that happened was 1997. There was a glimmer of hope in 2012, but it didn’t work out. This event averages about 2 million spectators.
About a month ago Marco and I looked at each other and thought of the worst possibility ever: that the weather would finally cooperate and there would be an Elfstedentocht… and the coronavirus.
The city carillonneur played “Paint it Black” from The Rolling Stones on the church bells in Groningen (also in the north of the Netherlands). This is something he does often, but because Mick Jagger saw the video and placed it on his Instagram with 2 million followers, the video quickly went viral. You can read more in Dutch over at nos.nl: Groningse stadsbeiaardier klinkt wereldwijd met Paint it black van The Rolling Stones.
The name of the work is As Slow As Possible (ORGAN/ASLSP) and it started playing in 2001. According to the Wikipedia article, there have been 14 chord changes to date, with the previous chord lasting 6 years and 11 months. Chords are changed by adding or removing organ pipes.
The performance is scheduled to end on September 5, 2640… It’s hard to imagine that.
One of my favorite additions to The Hague in the last five years is the building that houses Primark. Primark is a budget department store which attracts customers in droves (I used to see tourists walk past holding 4 or 5 bags each). I took another photo of the building recently:
I love the color of the stone and the angles of the apartments above. And of course the blue skies definitely help.
In other news:
There’s a chance of a heat wave next week, with temperatures expected to be around 30C or 86F on Wednesday and Thursday. I know some of my American readers would go “Pffft! That’s nothing!” but keep in mind air conditioning is pretty rare in the Netherlands. And a lot of people are now working from home, so no office climate control for us! Time to break out the big fan.
The Hague forbids weekend protest festival against Covid restrictions from nltimes.nl. This was another group who wanted to protest at Malieveld. Originally there were supposed to be 100 attendees but then the organization decided to turn it into a ‘festival’ of sorts, altering speakers and DJs, so the expected attendance rose to 10,000. Considering festivals are banned at the moment, it’s no wonder that this demonstration was also banned. The decision was made by the mayor of The Hague this morning and the group then turned to the courts to get the ban overturned. The courts ruled earlier this evening that the ban could stay in place.
MOJO en Vodafone lanceren streamingplatform largerthan.live from vodafoneziggo.nl. MOJO (a ticket seller) and Vodafone (an internet and phone company) are together launching a streaming platform so that those with a virtual ticket can watch certain performances live from the Ziggo dome in Amsterdam. Fans can watch from their mobile devices or broadcast to the tv. They can also choose what camera angle they want. The most interesting point: at the moment the two companies say the streaming opportunities will continue even after things get back to normal. That could be interesting.
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).
This afternoon the city centre will be hosting a festival in honor of the street musician Chuck Deely who passed away in January 2017 (where has the time gone, really?).
The festival will be held from 12:00-18:00 in the Grote Markt street. The description says “musicians will be at every street corner”. From 18:00 the musical arts will move to the big stage at the Grote Markt, ending around midnight.
Not far from The Hague’s Central Station, a small monument for Chuck Deely has appeared. Chuck was a street musician who passed away two years ago today. Earlier in 2018 he received a mural on one of the tram tunnels (scroll down a bit to see the photo).
This memorial can be found outside of the entrance to Rijnstraat 8. This building is across from the main entrance of The Hague’s Central Station, and houses many government ministries. After crossing the tram tracks and the small street, look for the white marble blocks on your left.
There’s no name of description of what this is, so you’d definitely need to be a local to know.
Parkpop, a large free music festival, was held in The Hague a few weeks back. Roger, Marco and I went there to see the Dutch group De jeugd van Tegenwoordig or ‘The youth of today’. The first album was released in 2005.
Their newest album is called “luek” which is an intentional typo of the Dutch word “leuk”. Leuk translates to something like nice/fun/amusing. You can even see the typo, since the album cover in the image below is how MS Word would mark the typo (word highlighted in red, with a red squiggly line underneath saying it doesn’t recognize the word).
I’ll admit that this isn’t my type of music (the least of which because I can barely understand their Dutch when they are singing in person) but I do like the intro to Sterrenstof, which translates to Star dust.
This week shall officially be dubbed as ‘Pearl Jam week’ as they had three shows in the Netherlands. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ziggo dome and Saturday at Pinkpop, a huge outdoors festival. The last time they visited was four years ago, which I was a bit shocked by.
The first night four of us went: Marco, myself, Roger and my mother-in-law. We had fan club tickets, specifically standing tickets, which meant we could go in a half hour before everyone else. It does have the downside that you need to pick up your tickets the day of at the box office as you are required to show an ID, though.
We arrived around 2:30. Let’s just say the line for getting the tickets was over an hour and the line for merchandise was about an hour and a half… So we did some divide and conquer: Roger and Marco got the tickets, while my mother-in-law and I got the merchandise – posters. There are unique posters for each Pearl Jam concert (Marco and Roger got them all).
This afternoon Marco, Roger and I went to the Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague. Bevrijdingsdag, or Liberation Day, is celebrated on May 5 each year. The day commemorates the end of Nazi occupation during World War II. The day before, May 4, commemorates the Remembrance of the Dead.
One of the music stages at the festival
Another music stage, in the background. The woman in yellow is receiving a ‘Dutch kiss’ (the custom where you kiss each other on the cheek three times to say hello or goodbye).
Vrijheid = Freedom
And do you see what the letters are made of, above? Juliper beer crates! (Juliper is one of the sponsors of the event.)
Now if you excuse me, I will go back to basking in the sun…