Posts Tagged With: Spring

Horse-drawn carriage rides (Or: Another sign of Spring)

I returned to the Malieveld for a long walk for the first time in months. It is a large grass field just outside of The Hague’s Central station where events are held. It reminds me of last fall when they were setting up for the carnival. Apparently that was in September – time really does fly, it seems.

On the way to Malieveld I spotted a horse-drawn carriage:

While you do have the opportunity to take horse-drawn carriage rides, it is not something you see every day. I only see them a few times of the year. I am also pleased to report that I walk at the speed of a slow horse-drawn carriage, apparently. Or actually I was slightly faster. I think they turned right before entering the Malieveld to go into the Koekamp, probably to let the tourists take pictures of the deer. (Feel free to click the link again if you want to see cute pictures of deer.)

In other news: Dutch clubbers hit the dancefloor for study into easing lockdown from theguardian.com. If I remember correctly this is one of the events where the tickets were gone in 20 minutes. You have to have a negative test to enter the event, and there is also random “fast” testing at the door as well. In theory you also need to get yourself tested within 5 days after the event, but not everyone does. During the event you are divided into groups, each group with a different level of corona measures (face mask, no face mask, concessions at seat, you can get concessions yourself, etc.) Each visitor has to wear a device as well to track their movements. It will be interesting to see what data comes out of it.

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Spring flowers at the Lange Voorhout (Or: A burst of color)

First we had snow at the Lange Voorhout, and now a few weeks later we have beautiful spring flowers.

Or a close up:

The purple, yellow and white flowers bloom every year for a few weeks and always bring a bit of color to the area. Check out where Lange Voorhout is on Google Maps. It is around the corner from the Binnenhof, Tweede Kamer, and the Hofvijver (pond).

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Walking in sunshine (Or: Apparently this is the warmest 21 February ever)

As usually happens these days, the Netherlands broke another record today with the warmest 21 February ever (article from omroepwest.nl in Dutch). The previous record was 14.8C (59F), although temperatures are expected to rise to 16-17C (60-62F) today.

I took a walk this morning around the city centre, stopping to take a photo of the Plein and the statue of Willem van Oranje:

There were plenty of places to soak in some sun today. You can check out the boulevard webcam at scheveningenlive.nl. Fairly busy, both in terms of pedestrians and traffic.

In other news: Investigation started as cargo plane showers metal parts on Limburg village from dutchnews.nl. (Coincdentally I read a similar thing happened in Denver, with a passenger plane.)

Also omroepwest.nl (Dutch website) has a handful of photos of places covered in ice a few weeks back and the same places after the ice melted.

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Spring arrives (But: Just for a few days)

While my winter jacket was perfectly acceptable this morning, it was less acceptable in the afternoon when I went out for a longer walk. It is still jacket weather, of course. But you can feel Spring inching in, however briefly. Which makes sense if we really do hit 16-17C or 60-62F this weekend.

Quick note on the curfew: Dutch curfew to remain in effect for at least a week while court considers verdict from nltimes.nl. it is a stark contrast with how crazy Tuesday was – no more curfew, maybe we have one still, we do indeed. And now they need a week, which is a bit ironic since the law is currently set to expire on 3 March. I suspect they will extend it again, though. There will also be a planned press conference next Tuesday, but considering the 7-day average of infections has started to go up again I don’t see much room for lifting measures.

Random news: ING, the last Dutch bank to cash cheques no longer offers the service from dutchnews.nl. Huh. I’m going to admit I did not even know that was a possibility, but it just means you can’t cash checks. You can still deposit them. I’m a big fan of payment methods in this country. The first is pinning with a debit card. There is no signature, and if the purchase is under €50 you only need to enter your pin every once in a while. It used to be €25 but the limit was raised to promote contactless payments in corona times. When using the card you just put it near the side of the machine and wait for it to beep that it was successful. The beep is slightly different if you then need to enter your pin, but the benefit is the card never leaves your hands.

The other payment method is iDEAL (English Wikipedia) which allows you to buy things online using direct online transfers from your bank account. In other words, the payment request happens between the company you are buying from and your bank, so that your bank details are kept secure. Almost every Dutch website uses it. It was a huge shock when we tried to order online for pickup at Five Guys a few weeks back, as they didn’t offer iDEAL as a payment option. How old school! Needless to say we just ordered when we got there instead.

And in some cute news, a Flemish photographer spotted a yellow penguin on an island in the south Atlantic:

The yellow color was likely from Leucism (English Wikipedia), or a partial loss of pigmentation.

Happy Friday, everyone. Enjoy your weekend!

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Terraces on the way to Den Haag HS (Or: Blue skies)

The grey skies briefly disappeared this afternoon. It gave me a great opportunity to take a picture of the terraces near the Holland Spoor (HS) train station.

In other news:

  • Amsterdam plants mini-gardens around bins in drive to cut littering from theguardian.com – in the Netherlands you generally have either trash pick up once a week or your street has underground trash containers like those pictured in the article. The main drawback to underground containers is the likelihood that people will simply leave their trash next to the container if it is already full.
  • Verzorgingshuis ‘Het Uiterjoon’ wint het vaatje Hollandse Nieuwe from omroepwest.nl – the first herring catch of the year is always a big deal in the Netherlands, especially in Scheveningen with Vlaggertjesdag (Flag Day). Originally it marked the day fishing ships left Scheveningen to catch herring, but these days it marks when that season’s herring can legally be sold. Normally the first barrel of about 45 herring is sold at auction with the proceeds going to charity and then the following day the sale of herring is allowed nationwide. To give you an example of the prices, in 2012 the first barrel was auctioned for €95,000. However, due to the corona crisis the first two barrels were instead given away – one barrel went to a German hospital for their assistance with coordinating ICU patients (article in Dutch from duitslandinstituut.nl). The other barrel went to a Dutch nursing home, which you can read about in the original article above.
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The clock strikes 12 (Or: Bustling terraces in The Hague)

Today’s the day! As of 12:00 in The Netherlands, cafés and restaurants could again open their doors for both inside service and service on the terrace, with the former requiring reservations. I’ll admit my curiosity got the better of me so I set out to get some photos for the blog.

I suspected that the city centre would be rather busy so I took an alternative route to get around in the beginning. However in the end I found it was easy enough to move around safely due to the ban on cyclists this weekend on the Grote Markt street.

First up we have the Grote Markt plaza, which I was most curious about:

I’ll admit I really like what this area has done. They’ve kept it rather inviting and it is easy to see where there is a free table. The separate entrance and exit is clearly labeled and they even have colored flags placed down the aisle of the exit area, although it’s a bit hard to see in this photo.

Next we have a look at the terrace by ‘t Goude Hooft, a fancy restaurant/hotel combo:

And finally here is a look at the plein by the Buitenhof. Surprisingly there was still a lot of space left here, although the area pictured is a self-serve bar that has very limited food options. I’m always a fan of this place since you need to pay right away. That means you are never stuck at the end trying to flag down the waiter to get the bill. But I digress…

Two other interesting things I saw but did not take a photo of: six tourists on segways around the Binnenhof area. It was weird to see segways at all, let alone in these times, but they were speaking Dutch so they weren’t foreigners. The other interesting thing was a tiny, one person van with a loud speaker strapped to the top, from which they were broadcasting music quite loudly while driving around. Most likely to get everyone in the festive mood. The side of the van said “Hou je Haags”, an expression I blogged about a while back.

Did you realize we are now in June? Crazy. Bring on a (safe) summer! ☀️

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Food, The Hague | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Two different towers (And: A waiting seagull?)

A few weeks ago I took this photo of the Ridderzaal in the Binnenhof:

I believe this was the day Marco and I went for a walk and stopped briefly to bask in the sun. The clouds definitely caught my eye. But I didn’t notice until today that the Ridderzaal’s left tower looks slightly different than the right tower. Hmm. But maybe it was always that way? At least it looks to be that way since before World War I – check out this postcard on the Wikipedia article page. Also cool: back then the tram rode right along the building, on the left side of my photo above.

The Ridderzaal was built in the 13th century. It’s crazy to get random reminders about how old European countries are compared to the US. And what photo wouldn’t be complete with a few folks eating and a seagull patiently waiting hoping for some handouts (left side by the bench)?

Continue reading
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A different view of The Hague Centraal (Or: A day of sun)

On Thursday Marco and I went for a long walk. It was a great day to do so – a day off and temperatures around 26C / 79F. It was a bit weird to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but I loved it.

On the way back we found ourselves at the “back” of the bus platform at The Hague Centraal train station. I honestly didn’t even know there was a path back there. You learn something new every day!

The bus platform was remodeled last year so that the bus lanes were more easily accessible. Previously if you wanted the last bus you needed to cross every bus lane to get to it. Now if you want the last bus you only need to walk to the end of the pedestrian area and then cross over to your desired bus.

I will happily tag this post as “Spring” because the weather was just that good. Much better than the slightly grey, will it rain or won’t it sort of day that we had today.

Fun video of the day: two cops and their horses dance a socially distanced salsa dance at Zuiderpark in The Hague (omroepwest.nl)

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Canal ride through The Hague (Or: In the shadow of the Palace Garden)

The weather yesterday was pretty good, around 25C or 77F. This of course meant that a lot of people were outside yesterday. Marco and I also took advantage of the good weather, but we tried to go outside earlier in the morning before it got too busy. We mostly avoided the city centre as much as we could.

And not without reason: yesterday NS, the national train service, was asking people to stop traveling to Zandvoort to go to the beach. And a popular shopping street in Leiden was briefly closed yesterday (article in Dutch at omroepwest.nl)

Near the end of our walk I took a photo of the canal that crosses alongside the Palace Garden:

In the photo you can see a small group of boaters enjoying the good weather as well as a few people sitting on the edge of the canal on the right.

Oh, and in other random Dutch news:

New future for Amsterdam post-corona tourism with ‘right’ visitors (dutchnews.nl) – which reminds me of another story from a few weeks ago where Milan was looking adding temporary bike lanes to give cyclists more space (theguardian.com), with Paris announcing a similar scheme (forbes.com).

Researchers discover seabed volcano 100 km from Texel (dutchnews.nl) – the volcano was given the name ‘Mulciber’ after the Roman god of fire. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you like a bit of risk in your life) the volcano is long dead.

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Flowers and sweets (Or: Marakesh bakery)

A photo taken a few months back, of a local bakery by the Holland Spoor train station, Marakesh bakery:

A very Spring-like photo, which is timely considering the weather of late. On the one hand we’ve had a few storms – storm Ciara two weekends ago and storm Dennis last weekend. In the United States these storms would be better known as winter storm Kade and winter storm Mabel. It’s interesting to think about how far these storms travel.

On the other hand the photo is ‘timely’ due to the fact that storm Dennis brought along warm temperatures, helping break the record for the warmest February 16 by 03:20 in the morning (around 56F) with temperatures in the southeast maxing out around 63F. The only problem is that the storm brought along a lot of rain and wind. The rain is luckily gone, but like the first storm the wind will hang around for a few more days.

So don’t let go of your hat just yet…

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