Thursday, January 31

Queen Beatrix turns 70!

Today is the 70th birthday of Queen Beatrix and national flags together with the orange banner (color of the House of Orange-Nassau) have been hoisted around the city. The protocol mentions that the orange banner should only be used at the time of the birthdays of the Queen, the crown Prince Willem Alexander anf his wife Maxima, as well as the national bank holiday of Queensday on 30 April.

Wednesday, January 30

Open streets

So many streets in the Hague look like this picture. The sewage system dates back more than 80 years, and is partially outdated. During periods of heavy rainfall the excess of water is discharged into the surface water. Flooded streets occur regularly as well as a result of heavy rainfalls.

Currently every year, about 12 kilometers of obsolete sewer system are renewed, which means closing down streets for a couple of months, creating in some places in the city centre some huge traffic jams. Anyway, I guess it is necessary, we just have to be patient!

Tuesday, January 29

Art Nouveau letterbox - quizz.....

Many buildings in the Hague are built in the 1880s and 1890s, right at the time of the Art Nouveau movement, also often called "Jugendstil" in Holland (named after the German paper "Die Jugend") or Liberty Style in England.

This beautiful letterbox belongs to the house on Smidswater 26, former home to architect J.P.J. Lorrie.

Can you guess what animal it pictures?

Monday, January 28

Judicial fight

You usually do not get to see this round building. This rotunda hosts the biggest painting in the Netherlands, the Panorama Mesdag. It is a huge cylindrical painting (>14 meters high and 120 meters round). From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. It is painted in 1881 by one of the most famous painters of the Hague School, Hendrik Willem Mesdag.

It is the oldest 19th century panorama in the world in its original site as it is housed in a purpose-built museum. The current building of the new Hilton hotel next to it, and its new underground parking is posing many problems to the building as it appears to suffer from some subsidence (already reaching 1cm). Its director announced today that The Hague city council would be directly blamed in case of further damage to the rotunda and the painting as they agreed to the building permit...

Hurry up and visit the museum before it closes for safety reasons!!!! It is forbidden to make photos inside, but if you want a preview, just click here.

Sunday, January 27

Kids' farms

The Hague counts 11 city kids' farms! There are nice places for the kids to meet and discover the everyday life of pets and other farm animals (cows, rabbits, goats, sheep...). Tours are often organized with schools, during which they learn how to take care of the animals, feed them, clean them, etc....

Saturday, January 26


Just a nice shop window of an antique small shop...

Friday, January 25

Dudok pastry

Dudok is a famous brasserie in The Hague, located in a former bank, which is particular popular for afternoon snacks and tea. Its legendary apple pie (full of cinnamon, and served with homemade whip cream) is so famous that other restaurants proudly include it on their own menus (at a much higher price of course!). In Dudok's brasserie you can order a piece cold or warm, with or without sweetened whipcream or you can take a complete pie home with you.

Bon appetit!!!

NB: Thanks to Ineke from Rotterdam Daily Photo who tagged me yesterday for the "Make my day" award. Nice to see a new Rotterdam daily blog in the DCP community!!!

Thursday, January 24

Dutch NAP

No, I am not talking about having a rest, but about the "Normaal Amsterdams Peil" (NAP) or Amsterdam Ordnance Datum, a national Dutch levelling reference system. It is the reference to measure the level of a place in the coutry compared to the average sea level. Measuring the sea level dates back as far as 1683 and was started by the mayor from Amsterdam Hudde. I took the picture in Scheveningen harbour. Whenever some storming weather is expected, the NAP level will be carefully monitored.

If you live in Holland, just insert your postcode here to know at which level you live compared to sea water level.

Wednesday, January 23

"La Grande Dame"

Hotel des Indes is a famous landmark of The Hague. It was built in 1858, as the residence of Baron Van Brienen, the personal adviser to King William III and became a hotel in 1881. Many famous people stayed there, so as tsar Nicolas ll from Russia and Winston Churchill. It reopened two years ago after a long renovation. It is actually a nice place to go at night for a drink, the bar and lounge areas are very cosy (it is decorated by Jacques Garcia, the famous interior decorator from some of the best Parisian fashion places (Hotel Costes, Fouquets, Laduree, Hotel des Beaux-arts...). For those interested in his style, head for le Champ de Bataille (in French), a castle he acquired in Normandy (France) that he is restoring and that you can also visit 6 months a year.

Tuesday, January 22


This is the entrance to Scheveningen harbour. The two seamarks are favourite fishing spots for elderly people who want to enjoy the view over the beach of Scheveningen.

Monday, January 21

Mitoraj in The Hague (2/2)

Moonlight (original Tsuki-no-hikari in Japanese) by Igor Mitoraj (1991) is one of my favorite sculptures in the city. It is fascinating to see this huge sculpture in the outside, overlooking the Boulevard in Scheveningen. It was originally created for the park in Abuta on Hokkaido. It is one of the highlights of the collection of the museum Beelden aan Zee ("Sculptures on the Sea"). For more photos on his work, refer to the link of yesterday's post.

Sunday, January 20

Mitoraj in The Hague (1/2)

Igor Mitoraj is a very famous contemporary Polish artist who exposes at least two magnificent sculptures in The Hague, the one pictured on this shot and the Light of the Moon that I'll show tomorrow. His sculptural style is desbribed in Wikipedia as being "heavily rooted in the classical tradition with its focus on the well modelled torso. However, Mitoraj introduces a post-modern twist with ostentatiously truncated limbs emphasising the damage sustained by most genuine classical sculptures".

Should you want to see more of his works, just have a look on Flickr where today there are more than 1200 photos!!!

Saturday, January 19


No more storks for the moment (though I have spotted a few more already that I will picture later). Time to move on! If you have never heard of Escher before, than you must have a look here. He is the most famous Dutch graphic artists. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints which feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity and architecture. He has a dedicated museum on the Lange Voorhout, that you should absolutely not miss if you visit The Hague.

Friday, January 18

Storks are protected birds

I made this picture before Christmas on the Plein, and wondered at the time whether I could post the shot on this blog. Strange encounter in the city centre.... But click on the photo to enlarge it and you will notice that this stork is walking away with ........ his bodyguard (Security personal). Yes, storks are an endangered species!!!

Thursday, January 17

Gin from The Hague (and another stork!)

Van Kleef is a very nice shop in the Lange Beestenmarkt in the centre. For the Dutch website, click here. In 1842, Lambertus Theodorus van Kleef set up a factory of fine liqueurs and bitters, which closed its doors in 1986. The shop reopened in 1995 and is now also used as a tasting/reception location.

That's the good thing about writing this blog: first make pictures, then try to find out the history "behind the scene". In this case, I found out that a museum is also hiding behind the shop, so I'll definitely go there to discover some of the best gins of the city!

Last but not least, the stork is painted on the door, so I'm getting on with this theme this week!!!!!

Wednesday, January 16

Special stamp

The stork is following me this week! As I was clearing up my cupboard today I found one of the special stamps issued last August over The Hague. All the landmarks of the city are represented on that stamp (maybe I should have kept this photo for next month's theme!!).

Just enlarge the photo by clicking on it and enjoy: the stork, the Binnenhof (Dutch Parliament), the main new building Hoftoren, the Golden Coach of the Queen, the Kurhaus, etc.....most of which I already pictured earlier on this website. If you want to have a closer look at the details, just click here.

I guess this stamp is still on sale at the post office, except if it is already sold out....

Tuesday, January 15

Mixed feelings...

Today I was driving by this appartement when I made the shot. I thought it would be a good follow up on my last post! But I actually have mixed feelings about this stork crashing into the front window. In the Netherlands, when there is a new born baby in a house, it is quite usual to spread the word by placing some pink or blue balloons and ribbons on the front door, or indeed sticking that bird on the window. But it looks like this one literally crashes into the flat.....

Wednesday, January 9

The stork, symbol of The Hague

The white stork is the symbol of The Hague. It is actually still unknown why the stork was chosen as a symbol for the city.

The Hague, (official name 's Gravenhage, which means the small forest of the counts of Holland) belonged until the end of the 13th century to the Estate of Monster. Around 1275 's Gravenhage became a separate village. Storks were very common in the village and were well taken care off. Already in 1352-54 the village register mentioned costs for making nests for the local storks. Even though they were often mentioned as pests, they were always allowed to nest in the village. Sometimes an official 'keeper of the storks' was even appointed.

I also read in the New York Times here that "years ago, when the fishmongers of nearby Scheveningen came to the marketplace, storks ate the leftover fish, keeping the city clean".

Tuesday, January 8

8th borough of the Hague

In 2002, the new development of 11,000 dwellings (30,000 inhabitants) in Ypenburg joined the Hague as the 8th borough of the city. It was built on the site of a former military airport of the same name. The choice of the location and program are part of the Vinex policy of the government (Fourth White Paper on Spatial Planning (Vierde Nota Ruimtelijke Ordening), which was promulgated in 1993.

Like other similar new real estate development in the Netherlands (Ijburg in Amsterdam, Hoofddorp, New Vennep...), there is always a clean feeling as well as unfinished/empty feeling when walking around this massive brand-new neighbourhoods.

The Dutch government is now promoting the extension of small villages as a way of avoiding what some critics see as the large scale and anonymity of the Vinex locations.

For more architectural insight on the site, click here.

Monday, January 7

Christmas is over!

Good to be back after 2 weeks off! I need to get in the rhythm again of making new shots (nearly) every day of my beloved city. Christmas is over, Christmas trees are left abandoned in the streets....Here what happens when the wind starts to blow!