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):
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
And a 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).
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:
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 – cutting through the Passage.
The alleyway first winds right
…and then left. In the distance is the corner of Achterom and Kettingstraat (“Necklace street”) where the Ball Gown artwork can be found
Map of how Acterom (here the white line) crosses De Passage. The red star marks the corner where the Ball Gown can be found.
The Hague’s Chinatown can be found close to The Hague’s city center:
Google Maps – Chinatown, The Hague. The two busiest streets are Gempte Burgwal and Wagenstraat.
The highlight of this area is the two Chinatown gates:
Chinatown gate by Stille Veerkade. If you are coming from the Holland Spoor train station, you’ll probably take Stationsweg to get to the city center. You would then pass through these gates. Continue through Wagenstraat to reach the heart of the city.
Chinatown gate by Gedempte Burgwal – most would see this gate as it lies close to the Grote Markstraat shopping area
The gates of Chinatown are an interesting subject. If you list to podcasts I definitely recommend 99% Invisible’s podcast episode on Pagodas and Dragon Gates, which talks about Chinatown in San Francisco. Before the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Chinatown was much like any other part of the city, in terms of its architecture. After the earthquake there was talk of moving Chinatown into a different part of the city and using the prime real estate for something else. At least until Chinese leaders threatened to leave if this happened. So the city decided to keep Chinatown where it was and had the opportunity to rebuild Chinatown in a new style. The gates and pagodas were what the architect envisioned, but though it did not represent how China actually looked. But this image of China was very popular with tourists, and this version of Chinatown spread throughout the US.
The Hague’s Chinatown was previously a Jewish neighbourhood before WWII. After the war, the area remained for the most part vacant as only 2,000 of the 17,000 Jews returned to the city. In the 1970s the city designed to revamp this area into Chinatown, along with the nearby Rabbijn Maarsenplein which also has Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants (I highly recommend Little V).
While the gates are definitely a good photo opportunity, the best time to visit the district is during the Chinese New Year festival (post from 2013). But there are a lot of restaurants and a few souvenir shops on this street even if you aren’t visiting during the festival!
During a recent visit to the tourist office on the Spui I took photographs of some of the souvenirs you could buy that were specifically about this city:
A snowglobe featuring the Peace Palace
Magnets, magnets and more magnets
A streep map of The Hague – in The Hague dialect.See more about this dialect at: Wikipedia
Marco and I were walking past the Nieuwe Kerk (translation = New Church) when we noticed the lights illuminating it – blue, white and red:
I am not sure what the exact reason was even after looking through Google, but we decided to take a picture anyway. Especially with the Christmas lights around the plants! I can’t believe it is almost Christmas…
As my last post suggested, Marco and I visited the Rijksmuseum a few weeks back. Here are some of the photos I took. First, a guitar made in the style of delfts blauw:
Now look at the picture again, but this time focus on the top of the guitar. That is a bit unnerving!
More delfts blauw:
A painting illuminated from the back with lights:
And finally, a look down at the Rijksmuseum library:
I’ve always loved taking photos of spiral staircases. Pretty!
From a few weeks back, when Marco and I took a day off to visit Amsterdam:
Note the “I am Amsterdam” art installation (climbable at your own risk!). Besides the Rijksmuseum we also visited the American Book Center, an English language bookstore, and Eichholtz Delicatessen, a great store for American (and international) candy and snacks.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, Thursday was a holiday here in the Netherlands – Ascension Day (40 days after Easter). It was also Liberation Day (Dutch | English). For most people, that is only an official holiday every 5 years (2015, 2020, …) so most people had the day off because of Ascension Day.
But the reason Thursday was so great was the weather – 18c, or low 60s. A great day of sun that almost everyone got to enjoy. Since Friday we’ve been in the 70s.
Marco and I went to Hometown Coffee where I again ordered my iced mocha coffee. Yum! Marco got a blended cappuccino. Due to the good weather we decided to take a walk. Somewhere along the way we decided to go to the Palace Garden (Paleistuin in Dutch) where we found a bench to soak up some sun and watch the kids play on the playground.
And that’s the thing – good weather is precious here in the Netherlands and something to enjoy. The city comes alive in this time, with the outdoor cafés crowded, every table in the sun taken. It’s a great time!
(And here is a shoutout to my mom on this Mother’s Day!)