Earlier this month I had mentioned that oliebollen stands started appearing on 1 October, the first day they were allowed to do so. Marco finally gave in today (16 October) and purchased an oliebol for me and a krentenbol for himself, aka an oliebol with raisins. It still annoys Marco that the names changed over the years. It used to be that if you ordered an oliebol you would get a doughnut-like thing with raisins. If you wanted the version without raisins you had to say “oliebol without raisins”. Oh well…
Of course I had already taken a few bites when I remembered that I wanted to take a photo for a blog post, so I had to strategically position it so that you couldn’t really tell that about 15% was missing…
Marco and I either make our oliebollen ourselves or we order it from Vermolen in the city centre. I found this article about the 2021 situation (in Dutch from ad.nl): Oliebollen van Vermolen toch op Grote Marktstraat, gemeente verandert van gedachte. Quick summary: this oliebollen stand was always found at the Spui. However, for the last three years the stand was moved to the end of Grote Markt, about 100-150 meters away but much closer to the crowds of shoppers. It was moved due to the ongoing construction at the Spui for the Amare building. Officially the construction is complete and the Amare building is open, but things are still in a bit of flux in the area. The owner of the oliebollen stand first heard last week that he had to move back to his old location this year, but after a bit of campaigning at city hall (a lot of the politicians stop by for his oliebollen) he heard that he was indeed able to open at the Grote Marktstraat this year. Next year is still up for debate – he might need to move back to the Spui then.
Last year it was a huge decision to let the oliebollen stands open a month earlier, on 1 October, due to missed income (no festivals were being held, etc.). This year they also opened a month earlier, from yesterday. But this was more of a surprise as it wasn’t splashed everywhere on the news. The stands are usually allowed to be open between 1 November and mid-to-late January as oliebollen is a treat for Christmas and New Years.
But it is good news to see that the stand is back in the city centre, at the end of the Grote Markt shopping street (across from the public library). And perhaps they will be allowed to stay here; they moved to this spot some years back due to the construction around the Amare building. But construction of the Amare building is complete (previous blog post) so that is a good sign for the oliebollen stand.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is the last day you can buy oliebollen and krentebollen (=oliebollen with raisins) from the oliebollen stand at the end of the Grote Marktstraat next to the Blokker and Xenos stores.
This is our Marco, Roger and I’s favorite place to get oliebollen and apple beignets. Usually they close every year by 15 January, however this year the city granted them a permit extension through the end of January. They were also able to open a month earlier due to most carnivals not being able to open during 2020 (the same was true for all oliebollen stands in the area).
As you can see the top is covered in Nutella (English Wikipedia) and chocolate shavings. The inside of the oliebol is also filled with Nutella, because it can never be sweet enough. And it was delicious! The dangerous kind of delicious that makes you want to buy one every week…
However, it was sweet enough that I decided to save half of it for tomorrow evening. Otherwise I’ll be bouncing off the walls in no time.
Random article of the day: Anger over NS plan to remove conductor whistle from nltimes.nl. It is not quite what it sounds like. Each train has a conductor who checks to make sure that all passengers have entered the train. When it is time to leave the conductor blows their whistle and passengers (in theory) do not try to enter or exit the train after that moment. The NS (the largest Dutch train company) plans to use cameras instead to watch the doors. They say this will make trains more punctual however the union sees that as an easy way to get rid of the conductor’s job altogether.
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.)
Marco found a bag of mini oliebollen by the local Albert Heijn today:
They are about half the size of normal oliebollen, and not yet sprinkled with the usual powdered sugar goodness (or in my case these days, cinnamon). We haven’t tasted them yet, so it is too early to tell if they were a good deal or not. Traditionally it is better to buy them on the street or make your own, so we will see.
Here’s a very random blast from the past from The Guardian’s archives:
And here is a funny article (in Dutch) from nu.nl: Politie vindt 5.000 kilo vuurwerk in busje dat met pech langs de weg staat. Police find 5,000 kilos (11,000 lbs) of fireworks in a small bus that was stranded on the side of the road. Let’s see… tiny bus, 5,000 kilo inside. It had a flat tire. A passing road inspector spotted the bus and tried to help out, but it was too heavy to fix the tire. They called a tow truck, but the tow truck wasn’t able to help either. At that point they were pretty sure what was inside wasn’t legal; the police were able to confirm that once they arrived.
As noted in an earlier blog post, I stopped by the oliebollen stand in the city centre today (in the area of Blokker and Xenos). Luckily the stand is big enough for good social distancing – there are two lines in the middle, with exits on either side. I didn’t have too wait that long either. I ordered two oliebollen and four krentenbollen (oliebollen with raisins). The two regular ones are for me and the four krentenbollen are for Marco and Roger.
Preparing the goods… bag of oliebollen with a canister of powdered sugar. And here’s a look at the oliebollen with some coffee:
Not the best pictures in the world but you get the idea. The one on the left is a krentenbol and the one on the right is an oliebol. Normally we douse them with even more powdered sugar, but not this time. The dough itself is pretty sweet anyway.
The reason we can have oliebollen already is because The Hague (along with a few of the other larger Dutch cities) decided that oliebollen stands would be allowed to open a month earlier, from 1 October, rather than the usual 1 November. This is to help combat the loss of revenue due to all of the cancelled festivals this year, where oliebollen is also traditionally sold. Oliebollen sales will peak around New Year’s Eve (the busiest day of the year), although some stands will stay open through the end of January.
It just reinforces Marco’s idea that we should put up the Christmas decorations extra early this year, to bring some more cheer into our apartment.
On the plus side, I know that the oliebollen stand on the Grote Markt by Xenos/Blokker is open again. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! No photo proof yet, however. I heard a rumor that we’re going to go pick up some tomorrow. Yum yum yum. According to their Facebook page, they are open from tomorrow (Saturday).
Oliebollen literally means “oil balls” and is the precursor to the doughnuts Americans know. See also the oliebol page over at the English Wikipedia. Traditionally they are sold with raisins inside, but you can also purchase them without raisins. (As Marco and Roger lament, the name changed in the last few decades: oliebol used to mean an oliebol with raisins, whereas if you wanted one without raisins you needed to specify. These days oliebollen are without raisins. and if you want an oliebol with raisins you ask for krentenbol. At least around here. Usually.)
Yum yum yum. This was last year’s batch, topped with powdered sugar. My stomach is rumbling already. Speaking of which… off to make dinner. Stay safe, everyone!