Friday, February 29

Let's finish off February on an optimistic touch, and the birth of the first lambs this year in this wonderful kids' farm in Zoeterwoude "Het Geertje". This dynamic cheese farm opens its doors the all year around to kids. It is the most fun when lambs are born, as then you can buy small bottles of goat milk and feed the baby goats directly. Just be prepared to spend there a couple of hours there, as once in, the kids do not want to leave anymore!!

Thursday, February 28

Romantic rowboats

When is the last time you rented such a rowboat and dreamt of stopping the clock? Very picturesque setting for this post I shot in.......a kids' farm yesterday in Zoeterwoude, 20kms outside The Hague. At the end of the day, only the ducks were drifting away, everything else was quiet.

Wednesday, February 27

Typical Dutch sky

This is a characteristic Dutch landscape (a polder outside The Hague) with a typical looming cloud-filled sky. Enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 26

Cut trees

Walking in the rose garden of Westbroek Park... I cant wait for June when 20.000 roses from 300 varieties will be blooming.... Expect some nice flowery posts then! I just also read that an international rose competition is occurring in July with rose growers from all over the world gathering here, hoping to win the coveted "Golden Rose of The Hague" for their roses!

As you can see looking at those trees, there is still a long way to go before the garden gets its full shape. In the background, you can see one of the two WWII bunkers I was looking for last time when I posted this.

Monday, February 25

Exceptional Gouda (2)

Until 1832, some (supposedly) wealthy citizens of Gouda could be buried in the St Johan's church, and you can still walk on very old graves (not on the one pictured above, as it dates back nearly 4 centuries...). This one is particularly beautiful.

Sunday, February 24

Exceptional Gouda

Gouda, the cheese city lays 35kms from The Hague. It is famous for its Gouda cheese, and for housing the longest church of the country (123m), the St. Johns church. This is a beautiful church, already pictured by Wassenaar Daily Photo. I visited it today for the first time, and was struck by the beauty of some stained glasses from the XVIth century.

Saturday, February 23

Couperus versus Couperin

When I saw this bust, I immediately thought of Louis Couperin the French baroque composer from the 17th century. Obviously, I mixed him up with Louis Marie-Anne Couperus, the Dutch famous novelist....

Friday, February 22

Piling up

I liked the colours of this pile of wooden pallets in the fish harbour of Scheveningen, reference to the tons of fish and shrimps sold here everyday. As a link to yesterday's post, you can watch here (in Dutch) a 10mn film from 1941 over the fishing activity in the Northsea.

Thursday, February 21

Like in the old days

This is an old photograph that has been placed on the wall of a side street of the Keizerstraat in Scheveningen. It must have been placed in the last two weeks, as this was the first time I noticed it (when it measures approximately 3m*5m!). It pictures two traditionally dressed women in the style of fishermen's wives looking at sea when their husbands are sailing back. It probably recalls the symbol of Scheveningen I posted here.

Wednesday, February 20

Skyline II

Here is a photo of the skyline of The Hague from the beach. In the foreground an old (still in use) water tower built in 1874, when the water company began exploiting fresh water from the dunes surrounding Scheveningen. In the middle distance, some of the new high-rise office buildings in the city centre.

Tuesday, February 19

Low tide

It was still nice weather on the beach yesterday to walk when the water was low. I can't wait for the new summer season to start. Beach places are allowed to start building their pavilions as from March 3rd, and it is in the news today that meteorologists expect one of the hottest summers ever in The Netherlands this year... Forget the French Riviera, and plan your summer holidays in The Hague!!!!

If you want to read more about climate expectations for The Netherlands, just read the new "State of the Climate 2007 (in Dutch)" that was published today.

Monday, February 18

Colorful garage door!

I found this garage door in the Van Loostraat, and still wonder how you can come up with the idea of painting this outside door so colorful in this very traditional street....or am I too traditional myself? I think it pictures the Orient Express train. Maybe the owner had some very nice memories of this exceptional train?

Sunday, February 17

Family outing in Meijendel

Meijendel is an area of 2000 of sand dunes between The Hague, Wassenaar and Katwijk. Above 1 million visitors a year come and enjoy the quietness and beauty of those grounds. It is believed that Van Gogh lived here in 1882-1883. The name comes from the Meijendel valley where many hawthorns used to grow.

Saturday, February 16


Westbroek park, Saturday morning.....

Friday, February 15

Oldest woods in Holland!

Together with the Haarlemmer Hout, the Haagsche Bos is the oldest woods in the country. In the Middle age, it used to be one of the favorite hunting grounds of the Counts of Holland. It is not so big anymore (500m wide by 3kms long), but it remains the green heart of the city. An what a sky! No clouds, when Holland is known for its very cloudy skies!!!

Thursday, February 14

Happy Valentine!

Look at this lovely four-leaf clover!!!! It is made of chocolate, just chose the one you think you'd love to eat tonight: the white one is filled with champagne, the red one with strawberry liqueur, and the brown one with praline... They come from the French favorite confectioner Galerne in the Hague. Unfortunately I arrived too late to get hold of his hearty Valentine's I'll have to make it up with chocolate tonight. Do you also celebrate Valentine in your city? If you don't know the story, click here.

Wednesday, February 13

The brave Tin soldier

Remember this post? Here is another statue out of the 23 statues from Tom Otterness on the Boulevard in Scheveningen. This one is called the "Tin soldier". If you want to read again this nice fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen, click here.

Tuesday, February 12

Love is in the air, Oh oh oh Oh oh oh!

Do you remember this song from John Paul Young (1978)? That was already 30 years ago!!! We are having some great days of sunshine without any wind (which is quite exceptional here), and you can see that spring is coming up (not to forget Valentine's day)!

Monday, February 11

Atlantic wall

These 2 bunkers are part of a bunkercomplex North of Scheveningen on the Noorderstrand which was built during WWII and form part of the Atlantic wall. The German Atlantikwall was built by the German occupation forces in the period 1941-1944 along the coasts of France, Channel Islands, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Denmark. The main goal was to prevent allied landings on the shores of these countries. During this period a total of 14.000 heavy, concrete bunkers were built.

On this picture you can see an "open gun platform" on the left and a "671Sk" bunker on the right. Most of the bunkers lays under the sand. There are plans to establish an Atlantikwallmuseum in these bunkers. If you are interested in looking at other pictures of WWII sites, then you should visit this website.

You cannot go too close to them as they are now housing some rare species of small brown bats that are protected!

Sunday, February 10

The year of the Rat

The celebration of the Chinese New Year took place yesterday in The Hague in Chinatown. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and if you cannot name them all, then you need to click here. Also if you want to know what Chinese people should do everyday of the 15 day celebration, then have a look here. Festivities included (of course) the traditional Lion Dance and Dragon Dance, as well as singing, martial arts, music and fireworks. It got very busy in the city centre! That was my first Chinese new year, but I'll definitely go back next year to make better pictures.

The Hague’s Chinatown is not very big, but there are some nice projects to develop it substantially, including the building of Europe China Trade Centre just outside the city in one of the industrial parks, which is due to open mid-2008. The Hague was chosen last year as the best city for Chinese investors and it praises it self with having the only genuine China town in The Netherlands as well as housing the only Confucius Institute of the country.

Saturday, February 9

Don't hang around!

"Our kids play here, please don't hang around in this porch. Thanks!"

Friday, February 8

View from under!

Here is my second post on the Scheveningse pier, from under the structure. Low tide, the concrete pillars are colored with mud. On the background you can see the "bungy" tower (300 steps up, and down) from where I made yesterday's post. From there in the summer you can experience a 60 meter jump into the Northsea.... Nothing for me!

Update: Fenix from Boston was wondering how come they can leave the tower open in the winter.... I looked at the pier website and found out that the access to the tower is allowed to everyone above 5 years old, and that it is safe to go up there as all security barriers are in place to prevent any accident....

Thursday, February 7

View from the top!

Early morning, desire of fresh air, I decided to climb on top of the Bungy tower of the Scheveningse Pier. That was without reckoning with some hard winds! This 100 ton steel construction that needed 400.000 man hours to be built, 110.000 bricks, and 8.000m2 of asphalt among others, remains for me one of the ugliest buildings of Scheveningen. You do have a nice view on the seaside and the Kurhaus hotel (where the flag is) though...

Wednesday, February 6

Graffiti work (3)

I found this graffiti on the side wall of the HEMA shop in the Farheinaastraat. Given that it is painted under the security camera and that I found out that many employees of this chain went to some graffiti workshop as teambuilding exercise ( check here!), I can only assume that this is not a wild street mural but a deliberate one! Not bad!!

Tuesday, February 5

"Je Maintiendrai"

The Dutch Royal coat of Arms is made of three parts:

1. "Je Maintiendrai" is the motto, and comes from the House of Chalon
2. The lion comes from the House of Nassau
3. The sword and bundle of arrows in the lion’s paw (enlarge the picture) come from the coat of arms of the States General of the Republic of the United Provinces (17th and 18th centuries). The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces. The arrows also symbolise cooperation: individually they are vulnerable, but together they are strong.

I made this picture on Het Plein next to the Binnenhof, and as you can see, this building is in need of some renovation!

Monday, February 4

Colombia: March against the FARC

Today was the first massive demonstration against the FARC that took place around the world, and here in The Hague for the Netherlands. FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is a guerrilla Marxist group that has fought the Colombian government for over four decades, the longest insurgency in Latin America. It holds over 750 hostages.

This movement was launched early January by users of Facebook. Dubbed "A Million Voices Against the FARC'' marchers are taking to the streets in 27 cities in Colombia and around 150 worldwide. Having lived in Colombia during my student time, I am of course fully supporting the movement.

Sunday, February 3

The Electricity fabric (2)

Do you remember this post? Yesterday I found out what the renovation project looks like, it is currently presented in the Town Hall. This project is not definitive yet, and anybody can still propose his own ideas on. It is expected that the area has the potential to grow into a creative and cultural breeding ground, with studios and workshops for artists and creative enterprises.

This project is part of the new "Spatial Development Strategy" of the Hague that focuses on the theme of The Hague as an international city (Global City by the Sea is the motto of the Council House).

Saturday, February 2

Royal theatre

The Royal Theatre of The Hague opened its doors in 1804. After several changes to its architecture and a complete renovation, it reopened its doors in 1999 to look like on this picture. It is a beautiful classical building. It is located on the Korte Voorhout, and is the home of the "Nationaal Toneel" ("National theatre-group"). It is the place for expatriates in The Hague to experience a theatre evening as they regularly presents plays in English or French.

Friday, February 1

Month theme : " When People Think of My City They Think of..."

Haagsche Hopjes!!!!!!

This candy exists for......215 years, and is still The Hague's very own sweet! Haagsche Hopjes are hard coffee flavored candies with the taste of coffee, packed in the original Rademaker's tin cans.

The hopje was named after the baron Hendrik Hop, whose doctor advised him not to drink coffee. He ordered his baker Theodorus van Haaren to invent a sweet with coffee flavouring. After some experimenting, van Haaren created a sweet made of coffee, caramel, cream and butter. The enthusiastic baron Hop was keen to let his guests try his 'Hopjes', which quickly gained popularity. A typical characteristic of the hopje is that it does not stick and that it does not go soft over time. The Hague has a museum called "Museum voor het Haagsche Hopje", which is dedicated to the hopje and its history.

Besides being a local speciality it has become a Dutch national candy.

Buy it here!!!!!!

There are 133 cities participating in this month's theme, so do spend some time visiting some of the following cities:
Portland (OR), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Memphis (Tennessee), USA - Manila, Philippines - San Diego (CA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - New York City (NY), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - San Francisco (CA), USA - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - Mainz, Germany - Weston (FL), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Turin, Italy - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Bicheno, Australia - Durban, South Africa - Joplin (MO), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Brussels, Belgium - Chicago (IL), USA - Montpellier, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mazatlan, Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Toulouse, France - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Susanville (CA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Helsinki, Finland - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Lisbon, Portugal - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Trujillo, Peru - Dunedin (FL), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - London, UK - Baziège, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mumbai, India - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Stayton (OR), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Arradon, France - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Athens, Greece - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Jackson (MS), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Budapest, Hungary - Rotterdam, Netherlands - St Malo, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cleveland (OH), USA - Nottingham, UK - Kansas City (MO), USA - The Hague, Netherlands - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Wrocław, Poland - Chateaubriant, France - Cheltenham, UK - Moscow, Russia - Monrovia (CA), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Toruń, Poland - Grenoble, France - Lisbon, Portugal - New Orleans (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Boston (MA), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Wichita (KS), USA - Radonvilliers, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Christchurch, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Wailea (HI), USA - Aliso Viejo (CA), USA - St Francis, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Seattle (WA), USA - Pasadena (CA), USA - Vienna, Austria - Orlando (FL), USA - Torun, Poland - Delta (CO), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Paris, France - Stavanger, Norway - Niamey, Niger - Le Guilvinec, France - Bogor, Indonesia - Saarbrücken, Germany - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Juneau (AK), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Glasgow, Scotland - Chicago (IL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Sydney, Australia - Riga, Latvia - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia