Posts Tagged With: New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve (Or: Waiting in line for oliebollen)

Similar to a post I did last year – here’s a look at the line of people waiting for oliebollen on New Year’s Eve. Oliebollen is a sort of doughnut covered in powdered sugar.

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Waiting for Godot (and oliebollen)

And be a look at the stand itself (voted #1 this year in The Hague):

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This was around 12pm – Marco said the line was about twice as long (by the library) around 2pm. Crazy. This year they even had a street organ playing music for those waiting, which was a nice touch.

Fine jaarwisseling! Happy New Year!

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Categories: Food, Holidays, News, The Hague | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Fireworks! (Or: Blowing up a small part of the Netherlands)

Blog post title is a reference to a quote from The Simpsons: “Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it!”

It’s that time of the year again. Time to buy fireworks!

Fireworks flyer 2015 (Netherlands)

Of course the Dutch take New Year’s celebrations to the extreme. A fireworks complaint hotline had 17,000 complaints within 2 days of it opening (10 days before New Year’s). The American government emailed their usual warning to US citizens in the Netherlands (link from 2014, but it’s pretty much the same this year). The city website has safety measures, which includes a list of fireworks-free zones in The Hague.

And yes, the prices in the flyer above are insane!

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , | 3 Comments

New Years in The Hague (Or: Lines for oliebollen)

On the way through Centrum this afternoon, I just had to stop and take a photo of the line of people waiting to buy oliebollen, which is sort of like a doughnut. (Actually the Wikipedia article for oliebollen says that it was the inspiration for doughnuts, so there you go.) They are usually covered in powdered (confectioner’s) sugar.

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Now that is a long line! When I left for work this morning I wondered why they needed five people working this stand. Now I know why!

Marco and I are now at Roger’s to spend the night. There are basically fireworks going off every second somewhere… It it also important to get to where you need to be a bit early, as the trains have their last run at 8pm and the buses/trams around 8:30 due to how crazy it can get with fireworks in this country. Oh and yeah maybe the transport workers want a holiday too. 😉

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

Trash (Or: Some more fireworks photos)

It seems that I am getting to used to the craziness that is New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands. I only took a few photos this year! It seemed a bit less crazy this year (perhaps because we weren’t in the same place we stayed at the last two times) but the last street made up for it. I walked the entire street with a finger against my left ear to protect it from the rather loud fireworks.

Of course, I’m always amazed by the sheer amount of trash left behind (though it was cleared up promptly very early in the morning):

Trash after Dutch New Years 2013

Or all the little red wrappers (some of which can still be seen, faint reminders a week later):

More Trash after Dutch New Years 2013

Lastly, here’s a photo of one of our fireworks:

fireworks at Dutch New Years 2013

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Frozen America (Or: For once I appreciate Dutch weather)

The current weather in The Hague is a balmy 13C. That’s about 55F. I will admit it is a bit windy though…

The current weather in the midwest where my parents are? –16F, feels like -41F with the windchill. (That is -27C, feels like -41C. – ironically -41 seem to be where Fahrenheit and Celsius meet.)

Just for fun, here’s a photo from New Year’s Eve in The Hague. Just something burning in the middle of the road. Note all of the red fireworks wrappings in the street.

New Years Eve destruction The Hague 2013

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Dutch gourmetten (Or: Eten eten eten!)

It’s New Year’s Eve which for most Dutchies can mean only one thing – gourmetten! It’s a social activity – get together with friends and family and eat, eat, eat. You grill meat and other things, a few pieces at a time. Very gezellig (a happy, warm feeling when you do things with others – no direct translation).

the start of Dutch gourmetten

the start of gourmetten – lots and lots to eat!

We had lots to eat – lots of different types of meats, as well as paprika, onions, mushrooms, bacon, pineapple (yum – you haven’t lived until you’ve had grilled pineapple), bread, and other things.

Dutch gourmetten in progress

gourmetten in action!

There was also a lot of sauces – peanut sauce (pindasaus), garlic sauce, chili lime hot sauce, barbecue sauce (thanks Mom & Dad!), buffalo wings sauce, and more.

Dutch after dinner snacks

after dinner snacks

And then you have the snacks afterwards – krentenbollen (of course – oliebollen with raisins), appelflappen (apple dessert), ananasflappen (pineapple), and more. Yum!

Eten eten eten… and later, fireworks!

Categories: Food, Holidays | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Now with your pepperoni pizza… (Or: Fireworks!)

Yesterday Marco and I went to Roger’s for Christmas Eve. Much fun was had by all — Roger even got me a new game: Rack-o. I charged ahead for the first few games, but in the end Roger won by getting to 500 points first!

We also ordered some pizza. I was surprised to see a promotional flyer on the box – spend €25 and get a firework (vuurwerk) for free (worth €11.95). These Dutchies love their fireworks so much they even offer it with their pizza!

free fireworks with your pizza offer

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Ka-boom! (Or: Almost time for Dutch fireworks)

I received an email from the US embassy today. This is nothing special as I’m voluntarily on their mailing list. Usually I receive information about protests in the area and similar.

It must be that time of the year, because I received an email about fireworks safety today… Most of it would be useful information to the craziness that is that is Dutch fireworks culture, but some of it is amusing:

The Netherlands is known for its extensive use of fireworks in celebrating New Year’s Eve. Officially, fireworks can be lit between 1000 on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, to 0200 on Wednesday, January 1, 2014. The legal sale of fireworks (for those aged 16 years and older) starts on the morning of Friday, December 27, 2013. For those unfamiliar with this celebration, it can be quite distressing for young children and pets. Or adults, depending on where you go!

What will the police do to prevent these problems?

The Dutch police have zero tolerance for people using fireworks before or after the permitted times/dates. (In actuality fireworks will start going off a day or two before its legal.) Illegally purchased/ stored fireworks and all remaining fireworks in possession will be seized from any individuals or groups if caught before that date. Anyone under the age of 16 found possessing fireworks may be sent to HALT, the Dutch juvenile reform bureau, for mandatory awareness training.

Some trends you should be aware during the permitted firework time:

1. Groups throw fireworks indiscriminately on the street and in gardens. Quite true. You really have to be aware of your surroundings (perhaps this isn’t a big deal everywhere).
2. Fireworks are tossed fireworks in mailboxes, dumpsters, and garbage containers; causing damage to the owner’s property. I can see that, yes.
3. Fireworks are thrown at pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, and pets, and in mail slots. I’m not quite sure that it happens that often, but you do have some evil spirited folks out there. 
4. Fireworks may be launched from holes in street manhole covers. At first I read this and thought they meant that people go into the manhole covers and wait for people to come by, and then jump out and throw fireworks at them…
5. Stacking and setting fire to old Christmas trees at various (designated) locations on public streets. Generally the rule is that Christmas trees don’t get put out until a few days after New Year’s, for just this reason…
6. Possibility of increased criminal activity over New Year’s Eve, especially in areas frequented by large crowds.

When could problems occur?

In particular, right before and after New Year’s Eve; right after the sale of fireworks begins, and at locations where young people gather. Normally this is from dusk until after midnight.

What can you do to improve your safety?

Adults should always directly supervise children who are handling fireworks. Be alert and extremely cautious of fireworks lit in your direct vicinity. Beware of unexploded fireworks lying on the ground – consider such items as “live.” When lighting fireworks, remember they can explode sooner than expected, and can follow a different route than planned. Avoid wearing nylon or other flammable clothing and always use eye protection. Never keep lit fireworks in hands or pockets. In case of injury, call 112, or go immediately to the nearest hospital.

What can you do to prevent or minimize problems, damage or loss?

Inform your children that the police will inevitably be called in regarding any dealings involving illegal fireworks; i.e., possessing (illegal) fireworks or lighting fireworks before 1000 on Dec 31. Keep your windows, including transom windows closed and garbage containers out of reach. Empty your outside mailbox and if removable, bring the mailbox inside as soon as mail has been delivered. If you have a mail opening in your door, close it with wood or hard plastic (using screws or tape). Use your external light fixtures to illuminate your garden, and set timers to illuminate the interior of your unoccupied premises. Call 112 if you observe or hear people causing dangerous situations by throwing fireworks in your vicinity.

Really, the biggest thing is paying attention to your surroundings and what the people (including strangers) around you are doing. One time Marco and I walked a bit closer to a bonfire in the middle of the street. We saw someone throw something into the fire and we instantly bolted about 10 feet away. (It turned out to be nothing, but better safe than sorry. It really can get insane at times!)

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Fifteenth day (Or: Blowing up the Netherlands again!)

Yay. Another New Year’s celebration at Roger’s place. First we had gourmetten (yummm – I highly recommend putting pineapple slices on the grill) and then we watched the Avengers movie which was a lot of fun. We finished about 10 minutes before midnight, and then rang in the New Year watching a music channel which had a clock and a countdown in the corner.

Here are some pictures that I took. Note as always that Netherlands is rather insane with its fireworks, but I always find it harder to get pictures of fireworks so I mostly focused on the things that were being burned…

"tidelijk buiten gebruik" - temporarily out of service. The black part is covering the slot where the mail usually goes, but the post office does not like people shoving lit fireworks into their post office boxes. Mail resumes tomorrow on the 2nd.

“tidelijk buiten gebruik” – temporarily out of service. The black part is covering the slot where the mail usually goes, as the post office does not like people shoving lit fireworks into them. Mail resumes tomorrow on the 2nd.

The police were happy that the weather was a bit less than stellar - you can see how windy it is here, plus it was also raining off and on.

The police were happy that the weather was a bit less than stellar – you can see how windy it is here, plus it was also raining off and on.

Some fireworks in the sky. As you can see, you can buy professionalish fireworks, although not really the largest type of firework.

Some fireworks in the sky. As you can see, you can buy professional-ish fireworks, although not really the largest type.

Random person setting off a firework (and someone one else with one in the background)

Random person setting off a firework (and someone else with one in the background)

Awesome burning bench. Most of the photos I took were of things burning, but I decided to tone it down for this blog post. ;)

Awesome burning bench. Most of the photos I took were of things burning, but I decided to tone it down for this blog post. ;p

Leftovers for the fireworks.  Just a small example of what the streets looked like. ;p

Leftovers. Just a small example of what the streets looked like in places.

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Dutch gourmetten (Or: An exercise in hungry patience)

One of the traditional Christmas activities for the Dutch is gourmetten, where a grill is placed in the middle of the table and small pieces of meat, potatoes, and extras such as mushrooms are cooked. The meal is very social in nature — it can take a few hours for enough meat to be cooked so expect to get a lot of talking done!

The top of the grill is shared. Below are individual grilling areas for each person, where the food is placed on a little spatula. You can also share brood (bread) and knofloofkboter (garlic butter – yum!).

A typical dutch gourmetten meal

Within the Netherlands, it is possible to visit grocery stores (for example: Albert Heijn) to purchase special gourmetten sets which include pre-cut meats. Of course, you will pay a few more euros for this convenience…

Categories: Food, Holidays, The Hague | Tags: | 3 Comments

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