For the last few months the walkway between the train station The Hague Central and the city centre is closed whenever there are high winds (article in Dutch). Pedestrians must take a short 5 minute detour via the Bezuidenhoutseweg towards Herengracht.
This measure is taken whenever the wind speed is over 50-60km or 30-37 mph. The reason? Four windows broke in June and July in the Dutch ministries office building pictured below, although at the time summer heat was considered the reason. It is not that big a deal, since it’s for everyone’s safety. Still – sometimes you just want to get home. Especially when it’s dark and late.
This was the scene again Friday night, so I decided to take a photo. It’s probably a thankless job, telling annoyed tourists that they have to walk around…
You know what’s kind of cool (if you ignore what happened to the Bahamas, of course)? That a hurricane can go over the Bahamas and up the east coast of the United States, before boomeranging back to Europe. Take a look at our weather today:
That’s the last remnants of hurricane Dorian floating over Northern Europe. It’s rained all day, but more the annoying kind of rain where you’re not sure if you need an umbrella or not – until you realize you’re pretty wet and yes you did indeed need an umbrella today. Oh well.
The Netherlands has been in the grips of a record-setting heat wave this week, with at least five provinces reaching 40C (104F). Due to the fact that The Hague is so close to the North Sea, we didn’t quite reach those temperatures – for us it was more like 36-37C (96-98F).
However, most people don’t have air conditioning in their homes. Why would you, when temperatures like this only happen a few days of the year? Luckily public buildings and work places tend to be at least climate controlled. On days like this it is beneficial to go into work rather than being at home, where the temperatures inside can easily hit 84-86F.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this table outside of LaSalle, a French restaurant here in The Hague city centre:
The sign says ‘Pak maar!’ or ‘Help yourself!’. They even thoughtfully put out a water bowl for pets, either dogs on a leash or neighborhood cats.
You have to understand that water fountains are almost unheard of in this country, both indoor and outdoor. The city and water company Dunea are trying to increase the amount of free water spots in the country, but that takes time.
To see free water on a record setting day – Thursday it was 40.7C (105F) in Gilze en Rijen (GoogleMaps) – is a step in the right direction.
A few weeks back I visited the shopping center In de Bogaard in Rijswijk, a city not far from The Hague. Along the way I took a few photographs of whatever caught my eye. Here are two of my favorites:
The last few weeks have seen weather change hour by hour. Last Sunday we had temperatures in the high 80s (F). And there have been days where it rained more often than not, with a few hours where the skies just opened up and rain came pouring down. A few days of high winds, where you wonder if it might just be possible that you blow away.
This building in the image isn’t far from Rijswijk Centraal, the main train station in the city. It’s been underground since 1996.
Fun fact: if you look up the building on Google Maps and then use Street View, some of the images you see are of the completed building whereas some of the images are of the building while it was under construction. Kind of eerie to be able to flip back and forth!
Full disclosure: this picture was actually taken at the end of June last year, on a Friday. The weather was spectacular that day. It was taken at Hofhouse, here in The Hague. The only drawback is they aren’t open in the weekends, although that makes sense since they are reliant on the traffic to Central Station.
This week’s weather has also been great, considering it is mid-February. The weekend and the last few days have been 15C-18C (about 60-65F). Of course, the weather gets colder after today, but still – we are still above average temperatures tomorrow.
And it’s not even March yet… kind of scary, when you think about it!
Today’s actually the last day for a while of weather that can be labeled “very good” for a while, with temperatures around 94F here in The Hague. We should also be getting a bit of rain tonight, hopefully, although it will do nothing for the drought conditions the country is experiencing.
On a brighter note, Marco and I visited Five Guys for a second time for some burgers and fries. This time I took a picture of the bulletin board where guests can leave reactions:
There are of course a lot of wishes that Five Guys would come to someone’s country. And the ‘best milkshake in town’ paper makes me realized I’ve never had a milkshake at this fast food place. Maybe I should change that at some point…
So… the Netherlands finally figured out how to do a good summer. Although it might be doing it a bit too well, actually. We haven’t had any rain in about a month and a half (with some crazy exceptions like Twente getting more than a month’s worth of rain yesterday – yikes!) and it has been warm for the Netherlands. Admittedly nothing the US hasn’t seen, but still. I need to apologize to Marco as I always complain about how summer lasts less than a week in this country.
Today it was about 95F here in The Hague, with 96-97F predicted tomorrow. And that’s not even close to the highest temperature recorded in the Netherlands today. Another city called Almelo registered 38.9C or 102.02F at the height of today. Almelo is on the east side of the Netherlands, not too far from Germany.
And how do Marco and I stay cool in a country that doesn’t have much air conditioning in homes? Well, besides water and fans…
The first is freezer pops, or ijslollies in Dutch. A blast from the past and great for the nostalgic feelings.
On Thursday Europe was hit with a “wind storm”, which sounds a lot wussier than it actually was. Not much rain, but it still managed to bring the country to a halt for the day. The good (or bad) news was that the peak of the storm was around 11am, which meant that most people were able to get into work. But getting home was another matter entirely…
By about 10 or 10:30am The Hague tram system was shut down. Not surprising, since about 15 minutes before the shutdown someone tweeted a photo of a tram shelter’s roof after it flew off in the wind. Two glass panels actually – the second one is behind the right tram shelter. (Here’s a look at a tram stop roof in better times.) The buses shut down about 15 minutes after the trams.
In the last two days we’ve received more snow than I’ve probably seen in the almost 5 years I’ve been here (and wow, next Monday is officially 5 years!) Yesterday wasn’t too bad – most people did not have to work. Indeed, Marco and I went outside yesterday and took some pictures.
snowfall yesterday. bus 22, with the oliebollen stand behind
But today would prove to be slightly more chaotic. Schiphol is currently trying to decide if they put out bedding for stranded travellers; about one third of the flights are cancelled and buses and trains aren’t running there. No trains to or from Amsterdam or Utrecht (in the heart of the Netherlands) at the moment. For a while the HTM buses here in The Hague stopped riding, but some lines are riding again.
I knew I had to go into work – my work computer was there! – but Marco was kind enough to walk me to my tram stop. It started snowing again in the late morning, so I stuck around until just after 1pm, and then went home to finish off my work there.