Once you are used to something, it usually becomes ordinary or normal to you. You tend to no longer notice or appreciate its uniqueness or its true value unless of course someone reminds you. So it happened that just last week, one of our tenants pointed how they simply adored living in this specific apartment: a light apartment with a serene and cheerful ambiance.
The Immemorial Kitchen Venue
A Home Away From Home
Right next door to our office at the Dunne Bierkade 18, we have a comfortable and sunny canal apartment. It is no massive apartment space wise, yet you will find that the apartment has everything you may need. It has a living room, a bedroom, a little bathroom with a shower, a fully equipped kitchen and a little balcony with a unique view on the period garden and the mysterious chalet at the end of the garden. The living room, with a nice view over the canal and the lime trees along the water side, has a fire place which is ideal in this season.
A New Year's Eve Tradition
Bonfires and gatherings seem to go hand in hand wherever you may find yourself. Even just gathering around a small fire, it is all about coming together. Of course every nation and culture has it's own special version of joining together around a fire. It might be for the warmth the fire offers or simply the pleasant company that goes with it. Even so here in the Netherlands and to be more specific, here in The Hague we have our very own unique tradition.
At the end of every year there is battle between Scheveningen (The North Beach) and Duindorp (Zuiderstrand) for the claim to the title of 'highest bonfire in The Netherlands. During the five days between Christmas and New Year's both parties attempt to build the biggest and highest stack of pallets. On New Year's Eve the winner of the competition will be revealed by measuring which of the two stacks of palets deserves the victorya and claim to the title. Of course both stacks will subsequently be lighted and hundreds of people are gathered around these massive fires.
As will all traditions they came about many years ago. This particular tradition finds it's roots in the period after World War II, when youngsters crossed The Hague in search for Christmas trees to light up and build bonfires with.
For more history and how this tradition evolved (including the battle between the two neighbourghoods) click here.
Fireworks & more at the Hofvijver
The Fundatie Voorhoeve team would like to wish you a
The festive season is in full swing here around the canal at the Dunne Bierkade and Groenewegje. The old city centre has been buzzling with people doing their (last-minute) Christmas Shoppings for days on end. Christmas Carols are being sung all around and the Christmas cards are pouring in.
Early Christmas dinners and work functions are happening all over town and so we also had our very own Fundatie Christmas Dinner yesterday. The food delectable and the company was more than pleasant.
The Hague, the 17th of December 2016
Many of us are familiar with The Hague being the international city of Peace and Justice. Yesterday evening however, it was all centered around the 'Peas' here at the canal. Some of the canal residents were invited for an evening out with pea soup. As some of our tenants work for The Hague tribunals, the ICC and other international organisations like Eurojust, we felt that an evening of 'Peas and Justice' was more than appropriate.
Pea soup is a typical Dutch winter dish that is eaten quite regularly by the Dutch during the colder season. The Dutch will tell you that it makes for a hearty meal on a cold day. This 'classic' is a thick soup made with split peas, smoked bacon, smoked sausage and various Dutch vegetables like carrots, leek, celery, onion and more. Traditionally it is eaten together with a type of rye bread called 'roggebrood', topped with bacon.
Fortunately for the vegetarians among us there was also a 'bacon and sausage free' version available which could be eaten alternatively with a slice of 'roggebrood' topped with 'oude kaas' (old Dutch cheese).
It was a wonderful evening with great Dutch food and of course some delightful international company.
One of the best kept secrets...
His teachers in painting had the 'common people' as a subject, not the rich and wealthy. Fishermen in Scheveningen, farmers, the rural and idealized life. Van Gogh added to this the poverty of the labourers of the industrial revolution and the hopelessness of their existence. In doing this, he was deeply influenced by the writings of Charles Dickens.
In his Hague years, Van Gogh lived in our neighbourhood. At Lange Beestenmarkt, and nearby Hollands Spoor Station. He has painted a lot of people and locations in our city.
Guided City Walks
On demand and for groups of minimal 7 there are also guided city walks along Van Gogh locations on other moments in December and January.
The ICC is moving
Until now the ICC has been located at the Binckhorstlaan, closer to the old city centre of The Hague.
Nonetheless, with bus 22 we have an excellent public transport connection to the new location. Get on the bus at bus stop Nieuwe Haven (the extension of the Amsterdamse Veerkade, right next to Spui) and exit at Oude Waalsdorperweg (a 20 minute bus ride).
Last Thursday the president, Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, received the keys of the new premises which will soon be the new office for the 1200+ people working for the ICC.
An increasingly popular tourist destination
It is also quite remarkable that the municipality has decided earlier this week that it will no longer be marketing 'Scheveningen' but from now it will be 'The Hague Beach'.
Even though this has caused some local outrage, this seems to be the only natural and logical course of action since the Dutch word 'Scheveningen' is an impossible word to pronounce as a foreigner. The Hague Beach, it is.
A One-Of-A-Kind City
Movie Premiere Spinoza 'A Free Thinker'
Yesterday was the premiere of a movie about Spinoza. The Dutch Baruch Spinoza (1632-1672) is a revolutionary philospher who is widely known all over the earth yet almost completely undiscovered in his own country of origin, The Netherlands. This movie - a "docudrama" - is an effort to change the latter.
Benedictus de Spinoza is one of the world's greatest thinkers. He was one of the first philosophers that proclaimed that all people are equal and that everyone must have the freedom to believe, think and say what they want. This is a timeless message from a free thinker out of the 17th century.
This movie documentary by Robin Lutz effectively portrays what his philophies mean for our mordern day society. Spinoza has paved the way to a society where peace, freedom and rights are the underlying foundation, where every individual receives the opportunity to personal happiness.
Interior scenes where it seems
A typical old Dutch canal embraces the inner city of The Hague
Our apartments are situated at that canal, at the south side of the inner city. At the north side of that same canal you will find the Hilton hotel. Maybe interesting to know that the Hilton restaurant “Pearl”, facing the same water, has an excelent kitchen. Staying in one of our apartments, you can go there by foot. A 15 minutes’ walk, on which you will see the Royal Palace Noordeinde, will bring you there. You can also take tram nr. 1.
Open Monumenten Dag 2015 - Dunne Bierkade 18
Open Monumentendag in the Netherlands started in 1987 and is coordinated nationally by the Stichting Open Monumentendag, which has its office in Amsterdam. The Open Monumentendag is part of an international organisation, the European Heritage Days. The Netherlands was one of the first countries to participate and played a key-role in establishing this Europe-wide phenomenon in the 1990s. Today 48 countries are affiliated with the European Heritage Days, which attracts around 20 million visitors every September and October, all keen to explore Europe’s cultural heritage.
Open Monumentendag has established itself as an integral part of the Dutch cultural calendar and has helped significantly in rallying support for the preservation of historical monuments in the Netherlands.
Take a look at the highlights of the Heritage Days in de Netherlands at europeanheritagedays.com.
Most ferocious summer storm in Dutch history
Fortunately we here at the canal haven't been affected much by the extreme weather. In the 'Scheveningse Bos' and several other areas uprooted trees and broken branches can be found all around. A storm like would have been more common in Autumn when all the leaves have already fallen (this way they catch less wind).
The weather in general
Since the country is small there is little variation in climate from region to region, although the marine influences are less inland. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with a dryer period from April to September.
Especially in fall and winter strong atlantic low-pressure systems can bring gales and uncomfortable weather. Sometimes easterly winds can cause a more continental type of weather, warm and dry in the summer, but cold and clear in the winter with temperatures sometimes far below zero. The Netherlands is a flat country and has often breezy conditions, although more in the winter than in the summer, and more among the coastal areas than inland.
In case of extreme weather the Dutch Severe Weather Centre keeps you updated on the weather and the most hardazous areas.
World Championships Volleyball
Last weekend, we had the Volvo Ocean Race in our harbour here in Scheveningen. It turned out to be that with 120.000 visitors in the Festivalzone, The Hague was the best visited city of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Now from the 26th of June until the 5th of July we will have the Beach Volleyball World Championships here at the Hofvijver in The Hague. The other locations are in Amsterdam (de Dam), Apeldoorn (Marktplein) and Rotterdam (ss Rotterdam). As The Hague is the Host City the opening game, the semi-finals and the finals will be played here.
The Beach Volleyball World Championships is not the only event that takes place on the Hofvijver. From the 18th until the 21st of June, Festival Classique took over the city centre and even if you didn't attend one of the concerts, you could still enjoy the beautiful music as you passed by the Hofvijver.
The Hague: Jazz in de Gracht, 'overnachten in stijl' and something different
The Hague is a city filled with culture, musea, festivals and numerious possibilities! In the latest article of the NRC about The Hague, special attention is paid to Jazz op de Gracht (Jazz at the Canal) that will take place on the 20th, the 21st and the 22nd of August here at the Dunne Bierkade and Groenewegje.
Strolling through the Gardens of The Hague
On the 13th and the 14th of June, more than thirty private gardens will be opened to the public. One these gardens is our own garden at the Van Balckeneynde House. For more information regarding tickets and the route see the website of Struinen in Haagse Tuinen.
Instead I recently went on a mini road trip starting in The Hague, through Wassenaar to Noordwijk and Noorwijkerhout in order to scout out the land for tulips. This is a small impression of what I discovered...
This is The Hague
Among the expats living at the canal is a Welsh Springer Spaniel named Bobby. He likes to welcome new guests at our office. We had a sad period when Ffranci suddenly died last November, but just as suddenly a new dog came into our life in January. A telephone call from an old lady who broke her hip, and the next day, four year old Bobby took the place of his beloved 12 year old predecessor at the canal. Same character and a real look alike. Interested in human beings, and in quite a different way interested in cats in the gardens and ducks in the canal. Maybe we will have him painted one day, like the dog on one of the paintings in our blue drawing room was painted two centuries ago.
Back in September 2014
The wedding of Taco Paul Reijer and Ariana Moleiro took place at the
Van Balckeneynde House in the last days of September. Yet, their journey
together started over a simple cup of coffee (as you might have read in
yesterdays edition of the newspaper). The AD tells us that Ariana and Taco
met in a little café along the side of the road in Terneuzen. Ariana and her
friend where on their way back to Portugal, after they had been on holiday
in the Netherlands. They had simply wanted to grab a quick cup of coffee
before they got back on the road but they eventually ended up talking to Taco
for hours. After their initial meet, they stayed in contact via Skype and by
email and they travelled up and down to visit one another. Later Ariana
moved to Voorburg where she quickly felt at home. Towards the end of
April (2014), the happy couple contacted us, as they were interested in
having the Van Balckeneynde House as their wedding venue. Of course we
couldn't be more excited and five months later their 'big day' had come.
Yet their story started with a simple cup of coffee...
A Day In Winter
Today's weather was nothing like the weather in this picture. Today we had a lot of wind. Today we had a lot of rain. Today we had hail and not a little bit either. It even set some of the car alarms off here at the Dunne Bierkade.
Now I know that this is nothing compared to the snow storm in New York and even more so in Boston. Yet, we did have our fair share of interesting and peculiar weather today. Let alone, yesterday morning when I arrived at the office, the sun was shining so brightly that I almost had to close the curtains in order to get my work done.
"Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not"
The Hague: The International City of Peace and Justice
It is the United Nations’ second city, after New York. There are 160 international organisations in The Hague, employing around 14,000 people dedicated to the cause of world peace. As far away as Sarajevo, Nairobi and Kabul, the name ‘The Hague’ represents hope: hope for millions of people that the crimes perpetrated against them will not go unpunished. Hope for a peaceful future.
Accommodation in the old city centre of The Hague. Fully furnished and newly renovated apartments and studios for temporary and long term rentals.