The Netherlands is enjoying a rare dose of sun this weekend! And like all good Dutchies, this means going outside to a café or restaurant and baking under the sun for a few hours.
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…
This past Friday was my birthday. And what better way to celebrate that then taking the day off from work? I am currently in the middle of reading Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore, a novel published over two volumes (about 500 pages each!).
Thus Friday morning was a treat to myself: I went to the central library, ordered an iced coffee, and sat down in the café to read the second volume. In Dutch.
Two reasons that I mention that it was in Dutch:
- For some reason this novel won’t be released in English until October. Part 1 has been out since November in Dutch, and part two has been out since January. It’s crazy (but cool) to know you are reading something — and can read something — that hasn’t even been released in English yet.
- At some point during the morning I realized that there was a conversation going on to the right of me, at another table. Two women were talking in a mixture of Dutch and English, but since I had my headphones in I hadn’t realized right away. After a few minutes and based on the content of the conversation, I realized that it was probably a taalcoach and taalmaatje (language coach and student) from SamenSpraak.
And it was at that moment when I realized I have come a long way in the last five years, from barely knowing any Dutch to being 700 pages into what is effectively a 1,000+ page novel.
Spring is probably here already, but some days it feels so cold. At least there are beautiful flowers to enjoy!
This is by the Buitenhof in The Hague.
On Thursday evening Marco and I decided to take full advantage of the beautiful weather and walk outside after dinner. One thing that caught my eye was a beautiful bank of flowers that the city had placed around the ‘De Plaats’ plaza:
This plaza is well known for the statue of Johan de Witt. He and his brother Cornelis were executed at the plaza in 1672. Wikipedia has a nice photograph of the unveiling of the statue by Queen Wilhelmina in 1918. Almost 100 years ago!
And one more close up:
Curious where De Plaats is in The Hague? It’s across the street from the Hofvijver, in the city center. It is also really close to the Dutch parliament.
Lately the temperature has been climbing up – bit by bit, with lapses back into cold rainy days from time to time, but it is definitely springtime. It’s still generally in the high 50s or low 60s, but it is an improvement. Usually!
Along with most of our days off (holidays) falling in April-June, this marks the time when outdoor events begin. For example, yesterday was the Dag van de Haagse Geschiedenis (in Dutch, Day of History of The Hague). Next weekend is the Life I Live festival (Dutch | English). This festival is found throughout the center of The Hague, on nine different stages, from 7pm to 1:30am. It falls on King’s Day eve, the night before the King’s birthday.
How do I feel about spring finally being here? Well, here’s a cappuccino smiley to show you:
Of course the forehead makes it look slightly evil… just don’t feed it after midnight.
As I was walking past Hema a few days ago, just after 8AM, I noticed something peculiar in the A of the logo. A bird nest:
A closer look:
Good choice for a nest — the capital letter (A) offers the most protection from predators.