Posts Tagged With: New Year’s Eve

Is it a dance party? (Or: Is it a demonstration?)

Keep in mind the last mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke, was forced to resign after the the damning report of the Scheveningen “fire rain” bonfires on New Year’s Eve 2018-19 and after corruption allegations into two city alderman (see this dutchnews.nl article in English).

This New Year’s Eve there was a demonstration in Duindorp. Duindorp and Scheveningen are right next to each other, each competing against the other to make the highest bonfire. That is until the 2018-19 accident when bonfires were banned. They were also banned on New Year’s 2019-20 because the safety permits couldn’t be obtained. Fast forward to this year when they were banned due to the corona measures.

On New Year’s Eve this year there was a demonstration in Duindorp, filled with hundreds of people dancing and singing in the afternoon:

Reports on Twitter suggested that this was not a demonstration at all but a party. The city investigated this claim (Gemeente Den Haag onderzoekt demonstratie met dansend publiek Duindorp – from nos.nl in Dutch), but the mayor denied this and said it was a demonstration.

Yesterday a report dropped on OmroepWest (a local Dutch news station) that the current mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, not only knew that it was not a true demonstration but also that the city council paid €10,000 for festival lighting, with money “allocated for an ‘alternative programme’ to the regular New Year celebration”. Here is an article in English from DutchNews.nl:

Interesting. Though if it were true, it could be seen as attempt by the mayor and the city to prevent worse rioting and to distract the masses, as it were. Which in itself isn’t a bad thing, if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic at the moment.

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A game of Sequence (Or: I always choose blue)

It does not matter what game it is – if there is an option to play blue, I play blue. Here is look at a game of Sequence (Wikipedia) we played at Roger’s recently:

The objective is to get five in a row. There are two copies of each card on the board (except jokers, which allow you to remove an opponent’s chip or add your own, depending on if it is a one-eyed jack or a two-eyed jack). The interesting thing is the cards on the board run in a haphazard fashion, so the queen of clubs might be next to a hearts card in one place on the board but next to club cards in the other place.

In other news – as if fireworks aren’t enough, car owners also have to worry about their car being set on fire this time of year. There were three car fires in the region last night alone:

Although admittedly people tend to set fire to cars year round, it just happens more often around New Year’s.

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Good start to the New Year (Or: Homemade oliebollen)

Happy New Year! Yesterday morning Marco and I made oliebollen (Wikipedia) to bring Roger’s. Plain oliebollen for me and oliebollen with raisins for Marco and Roger. Yummy!

Thanks to the fireworks ban in the Netherlands, New Year’s Eve was a bit quieter than normal, although there were still a a lot of fireworks right before midnight and for a half hour or so afterwards. Most likely people had an old stash lying around that they hadn’t used last year – or they bought fireworks illegally.

There were still some issues, of course. In nearby Rijswijk, someone set a camper on fire. The only problem? There were gas tanks inside. Several people catch fire after blowing up a caravan from nltimes.nl. (On the one hand, warning: you will see people on fire. On the other hand, no one turned up in the hospital and the victims were long gone by the time the police arrived, so it seems their injuries were minor. If you can call being on fire minor.)

Firework ban widely ignored, but police report fewer incidents during New Year festivities from dutchnews.nl.

However, the Dutch Health ministry did report two thirds less dust or particles in the air last night compared with last year so most people obeyed the ban on fireworks. See also this article from nos.nl in Dutch. Local hospitals were also thankful that the evening was relatively calm: Ziekenhuizen dankbaar voor rustige jaarwisseling: ‘Hele andere nacht’ (from omroepwest.nl in Dutch).

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But where did the fireworks go? (Or: Happy New Year!)

As mentioned earlier, fireworks are banned this year to try and keep the number of hospital visits down. And this is not without good reason: Dozens of hospitals struggling to provide urgent care (from nltimes.nl). Part of the problem is that more and more health workers are out sick during this wave.

Police and firefighters are prepared for “all scenarios” on New Year’s Eve, also from nltimes.nl. Unfortunately this means cancelling all scheduled leave for them to increase the the number of forces out on the streets. For the most part the number one goal is to protect medical workers, with a secondary goal being to enforce the corona measures.

But – The Hague is currently breaking records for the most fireworks turned in! Since you can’t purchase fireworks this year, and you aren’t allowed to legally store it anywhere, a lot of Dutch cities came up with the idea of a few days where citizens could safely turn in their fireworks – even the highly illegal kind – without fear of punishment. At the end of the second day, 600 kilo (1,322 pounds) had been turned in. Ruim 600 kilo vuurwerk ingeleverd bij inzamelactie in Den Haag (nos.nl, article in Dutch).

Above: fireworks from last year.

Random news: I read on indebuurt.nl that a new donut shop was closing before I even got a chance to try it: Deze zaken in Den Haag gaan niet meer open in het nieuwe jaar (article in Dutch). It’s on page 8 of the article. The name was Daddy Donuts Churros Cartel. Donuts and churros – what more could you ask for, really?

Finally, if you have no idea what to do today you can check out Goodbye 2020, a free online streaming event that will last from tomorrow afternoon through the night, with about 40 Dutch artists. Free online festival to entertain youth on New Year’s Eve, from nltimes.nl. The Dutch government donated 1 million euros to the cause with the hopes of keeping youth off the streets tomorrow night, and instead at home watching the various streams. We’ll see if it works. (However, I’m not entirely sure if you can access the streams from outside the Netherlands.)

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

Christmas trees made of bread (Or: Breakfast time)

On the second day of Christmas (December 26), Marco and I had a Christmas tree for breakfast:

A Christmas tree made of bread, that is! Marco found it at Albert Heijn, one of the local grocery stores. We ate it with the usual hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and speculoos paste.

In other news: you can legally turn in fireworks today and tomorrow in The Hague (omroepwest.nl, article in Dutch). Today 207 kilos (457 pounds) was turned in. You can turn in up to 25 kilos of fireworks, even fireworks that are usually in the ‘illegal category’, without being fined.

The reason the city is organizing this is because it is illegal to possess fireworks outside of the few days around the New Year’s Eve holiday (those are also the only days you can legally possess fireworks). This year The Hague said that setting off fireworks would be illegal to keep hospital visits low.

You don’t legally have a reason to have them in your house and you can’t legally set them off, so unless you want to illegally store them for a year, turning them in now is your best option.

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Fireworks over The Hague (Or: Happy New Year!)

The Netherlands has survived its night of fireworks. We did see one drunk guy (still holding his bottle of alcohol) walk up to a police car waiting at a stop light and talk to police agent for a few minutes. Maybe he was simply wishing them a happy New Year, who knows. By the time we crossed the street the police car was on the move again.

There is also a YouTube video available from user VerdierMedia PuntNL where he/she uses a drone to capture the fireworks over The Hague last night. Check it out!

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Sugar and all things sweet (Or: New Year’s oliebollen)

Marco and I made oliebollen yesterday! (Or: I supervised while he did almost all of the work.)

Yum yum yum. With a touch of powdered sugar on top. A New Year’s Eve treat.

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Making oliebollen with Marco (Or: Yummy!)

We interrupt this blog post to say: Happy birthday, mom!

Here’s a look back at our oliebollen making attempts this year. (Quick recap: oliebollen literally translates to “balls of oil” and are sort of like doughnuts, usually with raisins found inside. They are a traditional New Year’s Eve treat for Dutchies.)

First, a look at the batter. Doesn’t look like much yet! Or it kind of looks like we are making chocolate chip cookies… But it still needs to be allowed to rise for about 45 minutes, too.

the oliebollen batter. We just used a mix from a box (Koopmans brand)

To make the experience a bit easier this year we bought an oliebollentang from Albert Heijn. It’s really just a glorified ice cream scoop. We also tried wetting the scoop in oil between each oliebol. It was still trial and error, but we finally learned the best trick for us was to use a large spoon to grab the batter, and then carefully place it into the oliebollen scoop, and finally put the scoop into the oil, releasing the batter under the oil so that it would come off (a bit) easier.

Time to fry them up! My favorite part is when the oliebollens start flipping on their own. Doesn’t always happen, but sometimes.

This is where I’ll say Marco did most of the work. I was supposed to be keeping time with my iPhone, but I kept forgetting. I did clean the utensils between each use, though!

They are already looking a lot like oliebollen. You only need to keep them in the oil for 3-4 minutes, but they should be flipped once to make sure both sides are evenly cooked.

Yum!

And the finished product, with a fair heaping of powdered sugar on top.

Categories: Food, Holidays, Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 4 Comments

New Years Eve leftovers (Or: 2018-2019)

Here are a few photos from the New Years Eve celebrations this year, taking sometime after midnight. It definitely seemed like most people did their fireworks before midnight rather than after. There were still a lot of fireworks going off — I just didn’t get any good photos of those!

Behind Bijenkorf, in the city centre (close to Chinatown)

And what would a blog post be without a photo of a small New Years Eve fire:

Also behind Bijenkorf. Someone had just thrown something in to it, so it was flaring up for a moment.

And finally, here’s a link to a drone video on YouTube someone made this year of the New Year’s Eve celebrations here in The Hague. They also made a video of last year’s fireworks extravaganza as well.

Categories: Holidays, The Hague | Tags: , | 2 Comments

A sea of fire (Or: An age-old war gets out of hand)

Every year on New Year’s Eve, Scheveningen and Duindorp build huge bonfires, one trying to outdo the other. They are actually right by each other, with Scheveningen on the north side of the beach and Duindorp on the south side.

Bonfire for New Years 2015-2016. Credit: Guinness World Records

The above picture is from Scheveningen in 2015-2016, when it captured the Guinness World Record for largest bonfire at 8,695 cubic meters. And Duindorp had the record the year before that, to give you some idea of the competition (!).

Here is a link to a drone video of the preparation earlier last week. The cool thing is you can see the other bonfire rising up at the other end of the beach as well. The preparation was not without some hard feelings this year. For instance a truck with pallets for Duindorp accidentally drove to Scheveningen and unloaded the pallets there. The article also goes on to say that Duindorp reached its maximum height and was told to stop, while Scheveningen was at a similar height but was not told to stop building. For that reason, Duindorp started adding more pallets overnight, but stopped again when morning broke. And the article also mentions that some youth in Duindorp were threatening “builders” for the bonfire in Scheveningen who happened to also live in Duindorp.

So you can see that things were a bit riled up this year, which led to the bonfires being higher than they should have been (safety wise). But everything was approved and went ahead last night, and when the bonfire in Scheveningen was lit, it was spectacular.

And then the wind quickly changed direction, and two things were brought with it (video from nu.nl): a rain of fire descending on the beach and nearby houses, and tornados of fire. Actual tornados! One of the beach tents started burning and the fire department cleared out the boulevard as no one wanted to get out of the way for emergency vehicles. They had to use a bit of force (and police dogs) to get everyone to clear out.

Credit Regio15.nl, Ruben van Essen. Original article, with more photos and videos

Here you can see some of the damage to the surrounding area. Luckily there were no injuries. The fire department did an exceptional job keeping some of the more important buildings wet throughout the night (including the Old Church) to keep them safe.

In the aftermath, the organizer said that this might just be the last bonfire Scheveningen hosts (and almost definitely the last bonfire he would organize), but time will tell. The mayor did say that The Hague needed to look into whether this one would be the last one after the clean up was complete.

On a happier note, the Scheveningen beach was also the site of the New Year’s Dive this morning. I was smart and just watched it on TV – that’s enough for me!

Edited to add (2 January 2019): Omroep West has written a news article about why canceling the bonfire was not an option, due to intimidation and threats.

Categories: Culture, Holidays, Scheveningen | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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