Posts Tagged With: Tourist attraction

Color emerges (Or: Walking through the Palace Gardens in May)

A few days ago I decided to walk through the Palace Gardens. You can see that it is getting busier, however logical that is. When I was there in late March there were only a few people around, including a man who sounded like he was coughing up a lung. I decided to not wander in his direction, I must admit.

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Protect the art (Or: Jantje statue with face mask)

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.

And here is a bonus picture taken by Marco:

That’s a great angle, if I say so myself.

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Flying overhead (Or: A look at The Netherlands during the coronavirus pandemic)

Today’s blog post will focus on the use of drones to fly over various parts of The Netherlands during the coronavirus pandemic.

So without further ado, here is a look at how drones have been used to capture the oddness of this situation:

First, a recently posted drone video of the Efteling theme park:

This fantasy theme park was built in the 1950s and can be found in the east part of The Netherlands (Wikipedia).

Here is a look at a video produced by the national news service NPO:

The video above explains how The Netherlands came to a standstill due to the coronavirus and includes some statistics. Spoken Dutch with English subtitles.

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Time shadows (Or: Grote Kerk clock)

Here’s a look at the Grote Kerk’s clock tower at night:

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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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