Autumn arrived at the end of September, bringing a lot of rain and cold with it. If you are not paying attention, you will get caught in a sudden downpour that soaks you and then dissipates within 10 minutes. Marco and I also still need to try the yearly traditional of oliebollen, as I mentioned in a previous blog post. Soon!
At least the weather looks a bit drier this week, even if the warmth of summer is gone.
Here is a photo of the Plein 1813 monument just outside of The Hague’s city centre. If you take tram 1 to the Scheveningen beach you will ride past it, as the tram lines pass by on either side.
The slightly darkening clouds are a bit of a warning for the weather this week, although this photo is from a few weeks ago. It rained and thundered so long yesterday that I delayed my near-daily trip to the grocery store until after work. There was one moment of thunder – hitting right as I stood by a slightly ajar kitchen window – that made me jump. In a good way. Today it poured while Marco and I were making dinner, and it provided a lovely backdrop of noise. But there is more rain than not this week, with cooler temperatures hanging on for a while. It’s a bit crazy to realize when parts of the US are experiencing temperatures closer to 36C (100F). We are lucky if we hit 20C (68F).
In other news, all from the English site dutchnews.nl this time:
Click here if you want to see what an exploded work/service bus looks like (regio15.nl). The police are working on the theory that it was due to a gas canister inside the bus exploding. The driver was seriously injured (rumor is he was getting into the vehicle when it happened) and 20 houses have exploded windows, but it could have been worse.
As the blog title implies, we’re in a bit of a wet spell at the moment. Which is actually a good thing – for the first time since 2018, no part of the Netherlands is experiencing drought conditions. See this article in Dutch at nos.nl: Regen en lage temperaturen maken eind aan droogte or see this “Drought monitor” chart at KNMI in Dutch. The chart does still show we have to be careful, though. The black line at the bottom left is this year, and it is similar to 2018 (the grey line) which had a wet spring that turned into an extremely dry summer, rivaled only by the record year 1976 (red).
Another cause for optimism – hospital intakes and the number of corona cases continue to fall, with numbers not seen since mid March. Hopefully the planned relaxations for step 2 of the “opening plan” can go ahead next week (government.nl in English). Of course, it is always a balancing act since relaxations will lead to more infections, so hopefully the number of vaccinations administered will help with that. We are currently doing about a million a week.
It also talks about guided tours and a focus on archaeology. My favorite archaeology-after-construction area is the artifacts found during the construction of the tram tunnel. They left some in the floor under glass for commuters to view whenever they wanted.
I wouldn’t call what we got “lots of snow” per se, more a mix of hail and slush. Heavy on the hail part.
It is sort of weird weather where it is dozens of tiny storms flashing across the country, so you might have 2 minutes of hail, then 45 minutes of nothing and grayish skies, 5 minutes of vibrant blue skies and then another 2 minutes of hail. I was woken up early this morning at 03:45 to extremely loud hail smashing against the window. Marco slept through it all, of course!
The cold arctic blast also means that when the clouds disappear, you get to see lovely blue skies. Briefly. For a moment. See also this tweet:
Tomorrow there will be a press conference to go over the current status of the corona measures, as usually happens one week before their possible end date. There are a lot of rumors of course – curfew extended for three weeks, hairdressers allowed to open, middle schools allowed to go to school one or two times a week, etc. But it is always best to wait and see what is officially said tomorrow evening rather than to speculate already. Technically the corona situation is not good enough to allow hairdressers to open again, but I think the decision was influenced by the fact that hairdressers are reopening in both Belgium and parts of Germany. Tomorrow evening should be interesting.
Zon overdag nauwelijks zichtbaar door Saharastof from nos.nl in Dutch. Loosely translated: The sun was barely visible during the day due to sand from the Sahara desert. There are a few cool photos of the sun today. Here is a tweet with a satellite image (the sand is circled):
The joke at the top of the tweet: “Everyone goes to the car wash [to get the snow and salt off their cars]… Nature says: Hold my beer!”
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.
Man fined after breaking ice on Amsterdam canal. Don’t mess with the ice in canals when Dutchies are hoping to get some ice skating in. Officially he was fined for violating the sailing ban, not breaking the ice. (I read on NOS.nl that he was fined for sailing in the wrong direction.)
A tweet showing full trains without the ability to keep 1.5 meters distance, noting that shops are closed but this is allowed.
Speaking of shops, they are now allowed to be open for click & collect, but a lot of bigger stores are not offering this option, including H&M, Bijenkorf and Zara (article in Dutch at nos.nl). In some cases because they think the work involved won’t be worth the money gained.
Arnhem zoo brings penguins inside due to the cold from nltimes.nl. Considering these penguins occur naturally in South Africa and Namibia, this does make sense. It does say that the only the partner-less penguins and young penguins without a cave to keep them warm were brought inside (awww, they have their own caves?)
And, finally, while not related to the Netherlands at all, I must simply share this tweet:
Van Ark [the minister of Sports] to consider allowing ‘corona safe’ competitions on natural ice from dutchnews.nl. The Dutch government is in a very difficult position at the moment. Dutchies are very fanatic about being able to hold an Elfstedentocht (11 city skating competition, English Wikipedia) at the first possibility of natural ice being thick enough. An Elfstedentocht had already been ruled out late last year due to corona, but now that we are in a situation where we will have at least a week of ice, everyone is thinking about it again. A majority of the Dutch cabinet is for it (article from ad.nl in Dutch), with limited or no public. However it does seem like a bit of a double standard when other things are being cancelled. On the other hand, the last Elfstedentocht was in 1997 due to climate change, so…
And finally, a bit of crazy news: Politie vindt onderkoelde man die in vrieskou van Gouda naar Weesp liep from omroepeest.nl in Dutch. In summary, the trains were not running this weekend so a man decided to walk from Gouda to Weesp (about 54 km or 33 miles) in the evening during the snowstorm. He actually almost made it to Weesp before he called his mom and said he was in trouble. The connection was then lost, so his mom called the police. They finally found him using a police helicopter. He was found not far outside of Weesp, laying on a bike path, suffering from hypothermia of course. But the story ends well: after some care he was reunited with his family. Sounds like he wasn’t fined for breaking curfew, either….
(The Hague has a herd of Scottish Highland cows in Westduinpark, or West Dune Park.)