Quick update on where we stand with the curfew: it is still in place until a new court session this Friday. In the meantime the government is also working on an emergency law (done the proper way this time) which they hope to have passed on Friday. That way even if they lose the court case, which said the original curfew law was not legal, the curfew itself is still active. It was a crazy day yesterday, that’s for sure!
In happier news: I have a few remaining pictures from last week of a snowy Lange Voorhout. Taken by Marco, of course. He braves the snow and ice better than I do!
The Lange Voorhout is an L-shaped path in the city centre (article from denhaag.com in English).
Beautiful, isn’t it?
And a photo of the Escher museum, with snow. Of course, by now all the snow and ice has melted away. If you’re lucky you might find a pile here or there. But I am not complaining – I had my fun last Sunday (blog post). I am looking forward to the Spring-like temperatures this weekend as well. It should be nice!
Marco took some photos of the last few skaters on the Hofvijver this morning.
There weren’t that many skaters because the city had put up fencing around the entrance to the water:
The fun didn’t last long, however. More skaters found themselves in problems this morning and afternoon. After the fire department got everyone back to dry ground they started breaking up the ice along the walls to make it impossible to get back on. See also this article from district8.nl in Dutch: Politie haalt grote groep schaatsers van ijs Hofvijver Den Haag.
Marco took some photos yesterday of the Hofvijver (the pond outside the Dutch parliament) beginning to freeze over.
Cool photo, huh?
Here is a look at the Hofvijver from the side of parliament:
Technically you’re allowed to ice skate on the Hofvijver (and a lot of people do), but it does raise some security concerns.
To prevent people from getting too close to the parliament, the part of ice next to the buildings is always deliberately broken.
Of course, a lot of people went through the ice yesterday. Check out this article in Dutch from regio15.nl (including photos and a video): Meerdere mensen door ijs gezakt Den Haag. In the afternoon, someone went through the ice and was rescued. Shortly thereafter a few more people went through the ice, so the rest of the skaters were told to wait on the island in the middle. Eventually they were led away by the firemen, mostly using ladders. Today The Hague has put fencing around the Hofvijver to prevent people from ice skating, but that really hasn’t stopped most people.
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.)
Here are a few more pictures that Marco and I took yesterday during our walk outside. I fear that everything is probably ice by now, since the Netherlands isn’t known for cleaning up well after snow storms. It is sort of logical, since we don’t get that much snow these days.
Above is a statue of Louis Couperus (English Wikipedia), a Dutch novelist and poet.
It wouldn’t be a proper Dutch blog post without some pictures of bikes.
One slightly evil looking snowman. We saw this one near the “Constitution Sofa”, which is the slightly weird translation I found on thehague.com. I’d probably translate it as “Constitution bench” instead.
And finally, a picture of the New Church. Marco and I haven’t been inside its gates in ages. But with the falling snow it was particularly pretty this time.
Marco and I went for a walk around lunchtime today to take a few pictures of the snow that fell. It was fairly cold, but that was mostly restricted to my fingertips.
First a picture of a very cold Hofvijfer. There were actually about 10-15 birds in this part of the water, although it is pretty difficult to see.
I didn’t even see the bird flying above when I was taking the picture. My only thought was of my freezing hands and wondering how fast I could take the picture and put my gloves back on.
Lange Voorhout. Off in the distance (and almost impossible to see) is the Escher museum (official website in English). Did you know it is possible to take a virtual tour of the museum? I found it pretty interesting, even if I felt like I had to move the mouse in the “wrong” direction to move around. Note: I’m not sure if they will keep the virtual tour up after the museum opens its doors again, so don’t wait too long.
Look at the snow on this car on the Lange Voorhout – you can see how hard the wind was blowing.
Handhaving grijpt in vanwege drukte tijdens sneeuwpret from regio15.nl in Dutch. In English: Security intervenes due to overcrowding during “snow fun”. The University of Delft’s library is built into a hillside, which means their roof is basically a grassy hill. They said it was okay to snow down the hill (provided no one uses sharp objects which might damage the roof underneath), but of course that meant massive crowds arrived by the afternoon. It is a very cool library design; I’ve been inside once.
Opps. Tram 16 derailed earlier this morning. Admittedly HTM (The Hague’s bus and tram provider) is still trying to ride most of their routes, with an adjusted schedule. NS, the national train service, said no trains would run today. Amsterdam’s buses and trams were running this morning but have since stopped. Amsterdam’s metro held out a bit longer, until earlier this evening, before that was stopped as well.
Later this evening and tomorrow the Netherlands will be under a “code red” warning for Storm Darcy. Apparently the last time the entire country was under code red was February 2012, before I arrived in the Netherlands.
Dutch issue Code Red weather alert for snowdrifts, blizzard conditions from nltimes.nl. The expected snowfall itself varies anywhere from 2 to 6 inches; it really depends on who you are listening to. The wind is the real problem for traffic, since it will cause snow drifts and limited visibility. Some days it will feel like -15c to -18c (closer to 0F) next week, which is rare in this country. Some news sites are calling this a “once in ten years” event.
And of course, what you would expect to see in this situation…
Empty shelves, of course. That’s the bread area by an Albert Heijn (grocery store).
Marco graciously allowed me to change our plans; we picked up Five Guys for dinner tonight. We haven’t been in there a year and a half, probably… definitely not since the corona crisis started. Which is a bit strange, since it is much quieter there these days. Unfortunately for them.
That’s technically where the line would be, if there was a line. And of course there are no free shelled peanuts at the moment.
But ignoring that – woo, Five Guys! Hamburger with jalapeños, grilled onions and mustard for me, with cajun fries. This time we were smart and ordered “cajun on the side”, so we could add the spices ourselves. That meant the spice was a bit more uneven, but at least they were not completely coated in cajun spices this time.
One of the two message boards at Five Guys, a staple by all of their locations I think.