Posts Tagged With: Tourist attraction

Palace Gardens (Or: The last embrace of summer?)

The Netherlands is enjoying a last minute fling with summer today, with temperatures over 80F. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but here it is! I decided to take a stroll over to the Palace Gardens, which I’ve already blogged about a few times over the years (2012 and 2016).

Palace Gardens / Paleistuin in The Hague

It was lovely to sit in the sun and just read a book. Today I started a book by Neil Gaiman – The ocean at the end of the lane or De oceaan aan het einde van het pad in Dutch, as that was the language I was reading it in. It’s about a man who goes back to where he lived as a child to attend a funeral. While there he gets lost in his memories of his childhood.

One interesting and unexpected thing was that the book begins with a preface which reads “Ik schrijf in mijn eigen taal. Dat is Engels. Ik ben er erg dol op. Het is een goede, soepel taal, waarin ik kan uitdrukken wat ik te zeggen heb. …” Or, translated: “I write in my own language. That is English. I am very fond of it. It’s a good, flexible language where I can express what I need to say.”

I thought that was quite strange, and wondered if that preface was in every version of the book. But no, he goes on to say that his sister-in-law lives in Utrecht (a city in central Netherlands) and he brings his family to the Netherlands as often as he can to visit. He goes on to say that you don’t need an English/American upbringing to read this book, and since it is now translated into Dutch you can read it too (of course the preface was translated as well, since he doesn’t speak Dutch). Kind of cool.

The only small downside to going to a park to read is that sometimes you can get distracted and not be able to focus on the story. Especially when what you are trying to read isn’t in your native language… When I arrived, I chose a nice sunny bench, at the end to give others plenty of room to also sit down (the benches generally fit three adults). I’m at the far left, with no benches to my left. To my right, there are another three benches, all grouped right next to each other.

After a while, a man sat down on the other end of the bench I was at. No problem at all; he was just watching his kid. About five minutes later a woman sits down next to him, so I promptly and politely moved my backpack to the ground so she definitely had enough room. And then they began to talk. Argh.

Oddly enough, I had no problem when the conversations happening were at the next bench (about five feet away), but one foot away was a bit much. Especially since they were tourists speaking English, which meant hearing one language and reading another. I was pondering my options – 1) suck it up and keep reading 2) go find another bench 3) leave. But after a few minutes they all got up and left. Yay.

So I kept reading, having a personal goal of getting to 100 pages. I did that, and was at page 103 when two more people sat down at “my” bench with a few other folks in their group standing around them. And they began to talk loudly. Arghhhh again. This time I gave up – I was past my goal anyway – put my bookmark in place, stood up and left immediately.

I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much. It is a communal park after all. 🙂

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Lady on the bench (Or: Statue in The Hague)

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 dusty, but a very pretty statue. Added in 1999 by the Russian architect Alexander Taratynov.

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!)

Blue, blue, and a bit of red flowers…
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Warm weather (Or: Who needs a jacket?)

Yesterday I had the day off so I went for a walk. The weather has been great for the Easter holiday: 70-75F with a ton of sun. One of the places I walked through is the Binnenhof, a place mentioned a lot on this blog. I like going there and watching the tourists, actually. It’s weird to live somewhere that tourists visit. So I go there and watch the families and friends excitedly taking photos of this and that…

Here is my photo, with the beautiful blue sky behind.

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Paper planes (Or: Exhibit at city hall)

Do you know anyone who enjoys folding paper planes? Then you should bring them to The Hague’s city hall for an exhibition on paper planes (!):

Paper planes exhibit at The Hague's city hall, October 2018

You can also see each step of the folding progress and a stated degree in difficulty in making it:

Information at The Hague's city hall exhibition for paper planes

In total there are 100 airplanes on display.

Paper planes exhibit at The Hague's city hall, October 2018 (2)

It definitely beats the simple planes I folded growing up, that’s for sure!

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Girl with the pearl earring (Or: Keychain at VVV The Hague)

Over at VVV tourist information office, on the ground floor of the Central Library, you can find a rather special looking keychain of ‘Girl with the pearl earring’:

Girl with the pearl earring key chain at VVV The Hague

It looks pretty cool, although I can’t help but think she looks a bit annoyed at someone (in my opinion the shape of the dark brown eye piece makes it look like she is frowning).

Here’s a look at the actual painting on Wikipedia to compare.

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Grote Kerk in Breda (Or: Step back in time)

As mentioned in my last blog post, Marco and I spent our 5th anniversary in Breda. One of the places we visited was the Grote Kerk (Church of Our Lady) which was built between 1410 (!) and 1547. The church serves as a mausoleum for the first generations of the Nassau family (a total of 17 family members being buried there). After the Spanish invaded Breda, the Nassau family began to use the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Delft instead.

Here are some of the photos which I took of this magnificent church:

Grote Kerk in Breda, chandeliers

Grote Kerk in Breda, prayer candles

close up of prayer candles in a secluded part of the church

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Categories: Breda, Culture | Tags: | 2 Comments

Beauty in the moment (Or: World Championship Sand Sculpting 2018)

If you are looking for something to do in The Hague this summer, check out the sand sculptures at the Lange Voorhout. The World Championship Sand Sculpting 2018 is going on at the moment, with judging happening tomorrow. After that, the sculptures can be seen until 19 August! It will also be lighted at night, making it easy to visit at any moment.

The competition is held every three years. This year the Netherlands is the host country, with Japan, Singapore, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic competing. The theme is ‘200 years of sea, sand and …’ which also highlights Scheveningen’s Feest aan zee celebration.

Here’s a peek at how the sculptures look so far. First a look at the sculpture from the Netherlands (as the host country, they cannot enter the judging):

World sand sculpting championship 2018 - Netherlands

200 years ago: The wife looks back at the past longingly, while the husband looks forward to the future and what Scheveningen can be

Other sculptures include:

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Den Bosch (Or: Dragon statues and gothic cathedrals)

Continuing my Den Bosch post from last week, here are some more pictures. First of a dragon statue on the way from the main train station to the downtown area:

Dragon statue in Den Bosch

The money for this statue apparently came from a grieving father who donated money in 1881 for a memorial for his 17-year-old twin daughters.

Dragon statue in Den Bosch - bottom

The father did not specify a dragon as the memorial, though. One theory for why it was a dragon was that it was a reference to the king’s commissioner Jhr. Mr. P.J. Bosch van Drakestein who lived around that time (“Drake” is a type of dragon). The dragon is holding his family’s crest, so this seems most likely:

Dragon statue in Den Bosch - top

Another theory is that the city of Den Bosch is built around a swamp, and was considered a swamp fortress. The dragon is named the “swamp dragon” in honor of the city.

And here are a few more pictures of St. John’s Cathedral that Marco took:

Saint John's cathedral in Den Bosch

And a close up: Saint John's cathedral in Den Bosch - close up

Unfortunately we weren’t able to find the statue wearing jeans and holding a cell phone (which was added not that long ago, the last time the church was being restored).

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A visit to Den Bosch (Or: Poetry amidst half statues)

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).

St John's church in Den Bosch

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:

The half pear statue in Den Bosch

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:

Plaque to a farmer, Den Bosch

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Art in The Hague (Or: The Ball Gown)

Near the Passage there is a small alleyway called Achterom which translates to “Around the back”. It refers to the fact that this small alleyway was once the alternative entrance to the Buitenhof. The street followed The Haagse Beek (a creek or brook) and the walls of the Buitenhof.

achterom-street-crossing-with-the-passage-the-hague

Achterom – cutting through the Passage.

achterom-alleyway-in-the-hague

The alleyway first winds right

achterom-by-dok-cooking-store-in-the-hague

…and then left. In the distance is the corner of Achterom and Kettingstraat (“Necklace street”) where the Ball Gown artwork can be found

de-baljurk-the-ball-gown-the-hague

Map of how Acterom (here the white line) crosses De Passage. The red star marks the corner where the Ball Gown can be found.

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