Last night Marco and I went for a walk, a bit later in the evening around 20:00. While the weather was turning cooler it was still a nice walk through a fairly peaceful city centre. Actually, when we walked through the (deserted) Binnenhof what I noticed the most was the silence – not even the birds were chirping.
One thing we noticed was a face mask on the statue of “Jantje” or “Little John”:
Jantje was a boy who died at the age of 15… in the year 1299. He’s part of a Dutch children’s song about The Hague. If you ask him where his father lives, he’ll point with his finger to the Binnenhof, as his father’s estate used to reside in the space where the Binnenhof now stands.
Marco remarked on the dislocation of the finger – most likely a lot of people touch it due to the song.
This photo was taken last weekend while Marco and I were visiting Scheveningen with a few friends. It shows the outdoor portion of Museum Beelden aan Zee, with an oversized statue eating herring. That is a well-known tradition in these parts called “Hollandse Nieuwe” where people look forward to the traditional start date of the herring season.
Of course, if you look really closely you can see that his feet are stomping on much smaller statues, but okay… we’ll ignore that.
After the usual visit to the statues part we headed down to the beach, even getting our feet wet (and in my case gingerly stepping over seashells). The sea water was a bit cold, but we got used to it after a while. Most interesting were the little ponds that were left behind further inland from the tides – a lot of kids were playing in those as they were only an inch or two deep. I don’t have any pictures of those, since I figured with my luck I’d try to take a picture and just end up dropping my telephone into the water… haha.
In the other Scheveningen new, the annual fireworks festival won’t be coming back this year. Why is that you ask? It’s actually too popular! No, seriously – the event was attracting around 400,000 people for four days total (across two weekends) and the beach just wasn’t large enough to support that. Most of the problems came after the event ended, since everyone wanted to go home at the same time.
This DHC article from last year has a great overhead photo showing you just how crowded it was trying to get home with public transportation after the event ended. Although HTM (the public transportation company) did say the buses were not riding at that moment and were being used as a buffer to prevent people from climbing over the fences leading to the stop. You can see the road is clear where the buses would actually be driving. There’s a security guy in yellow standing in the road to keep everyone off it. Additionally, HTM had 71 tram rides that night instead of the normal 31, and 54 bus rides as opposed to the normal 15. Still, the wait for some folks was over 90 minutes even with that extra capacity.
I do hope they can figure something out for next year though. The fireworks festival was a lot of fun, if too crowded for me in the end.
Not far from the Peace Palace you can find a lady sitting on a bench, watching the world go by. And not just any lady, but Anna Pavlovna of Russia, Queen Consort to the Netherlands back in the 18th century. She married Willam the II in 1816 and had five children. If you read the Wikipedia page you’ll notice how odd it is to have a statue here – apparently she wasn’t a fan of the Netherlands and preferred instead to be in what is now Belgium (or better yet, Russia). But okay, the statue itself is still very beautiful.
A bit further along the path you come across the Peace Palace. I had a bit of luck that day in terms of weather – no grey skies that day. (Unlike today!)
Here are a few more photos from last weekend’s gorgeous sun:
The stone building on the right is the former American embassy of The Hague, which since moved further away from the city centre. The monument in the distance is to Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, a Dutch colonel back in the 18th century.
A few weeks ago – the last decent warm day, really – Marco and I took a walk from Central Station through the Haagse Bos (The Hague forest) towards Benoordenhout, a district of The Hague.
Monument to Emma, Queen consort of the Netherlands
Above is a monument to Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the mother of Queen Wilhema. After the death of her husband, King Willem III, Emma became the Queen Consort of the Netherlands in 1890. This lasted until 1898 when Wilhema came of age.
(Huh. There’s a tram stop/street called Waldeck Pyrmontkade. And now I know why.)
For my birthday last week Marco and I visited Den Bosch. The official name of the city is ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Duke’s forest) but it is almost always shortened to Den Bosch (The forest). The first day we walked around the city using a walking guide from the local VVV office (tourism office).
One of the main attractions of the city is St. John’s church, which shows off the height of Gothic architecture in the Netherlands
Also some curious art can be seen:
De Halve Peer (The Half Pear)
The half-a-statue above came from a dispute – two parties were tasked with creating this memorial / remembrance piece, but only one invested the money. And here is the result – half a statue!
I also took a picture of this lovely farmers plaque on the side of a brick house:
This afternoon Marco and I visited Scheveningen and walked along the beach’s boulevard. It was definitely a cold day in February, with lots of wind, but at times the sun shone. They were busy preparing for the opening of the beach season which should happen within a few weeks:
Laying down the path in the sand
A bit further down the path is already in place – with a gorgeous view of Scheveningen’s pier and the new Ferris wheel. To the left of the wheel is the bungy jumping area.
Marco and I first walked in the other direction, towards the haven. We took a lovely picture of Keizerstraat. Some call this the oldest shopping street in the Netherlands.
A few days ago a coworker of mine showed me a few pictures she had taken around The Hague. As she comes from a warmer climate, she loves to see how Christmas is celebrated here — not that The Hague is that cold. Her favourite pastime seems to be visiting Christmas markets, which is pretty cool.
The first picture she took was of the holidays Coca-cola truck in the city centre:
And the other one she took was an awesome picture of the holiday lights at the Plein. I just love the hazy moon:
In the middle, to the left of the Christmas tree, you can just make out the statue of Willem the Silent, which I previously blogged about.