Friday, August 31, 2007

Post #99 Nieuwe Haring

Leading up to tomorrow's post, which will be #100 and September Theme Day! Thanks to all who've visited and left comments!

Now, for the picture. If you haven't been to The Netherlands you might not be aware of nieuwe haring ("new herring") ...
1. Take one fresh herring, quickly cleaned and doused with chopped raw onions
2. Stab it with the small pick (provided)
3. Tilt your head back
4. Let it slide down your throat (chewing optional)
5. Look satisfied, either because you like the taste or just because you were brave enough to try it.

Since this herring eater was already being photographed at close quarters by his friend, I was able to catch him in the act. It's not always easy to get candid pictures of this very Dutch tradition. I hope one year to be able to get some shots at the annual haring festival (Vlaggetjesdag, held in nearby Scheveningen).

Here are some other pics from the haring stand at the Antique Fair in The Hague.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What the...?

Spotted in a shop window in The Hague. What could it be ... a toy shop, a hat store?

The answer is here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yeah Yeah Yeah

I don't know what it was about this installation of Den Haag Sculptur that caught my eye. I have to say I didn't notice it on our previous visits to this area of The Hague. Perhaps it was the bright colors on a sunny day.

In any event, I found some information on the artist, Jon Campbell, from a previous exhibition in New Zealand. From the website, "The yeah flag, literally a flag emblazoned with the word ‘yeah’ in hot pink, was championed by A Constructed World through an online petition to be the new Australian flag. " I wonder what the Aussies think of this...

Here's a wider shot of the banners as they appear in the exhibition.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Urban Renewed (and renewed and...)

Although stepped gables are common in many cities in The Netherlands, there aren't very many examples left in The Hague. This one is the Pageshuis, built in 1625. It is associated with the Kloosterkerk (monastery church), which after the reformation was used as a stable and cannon foundry. It was then used to house the pages that worked for the House of Orange (hence the building's current name). Later it was used by the Netherlands Red Cross. Today it houses private offices.

For the dutch readers, here is the historical plaque (click to enlarge):

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not easy seeing green...

The rose-ringed parakeet (halsbandparkiet in dutch) is an "accidental" species ... they live wild in Africa but the feral birds that live here escaped from captivity. As you can see, they can be very difficult to spot when they are sitting in trees, but their screechy "keeek keeek" is unmistakable. This bird was happily eating away in the palace park in The Hague.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Old Wall

Part of the old Valkenburg town wall, now incorporated into the town center.

You can see the sign for an ice cream parlor on the right. Incidentally, there was a funny story about the Dutch ice cream habits published recently (click here to read).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hilltop Ruins

Back to Valkenburg...the ruins of the old castle sit high on a hill. That's right, I did say hill; the southern part of the Netherlands, sandwiched inbetween Germany and Belgium, can be quite hilly.

From the Valkenburg tourism website: "High up on Heunsberg hill, right in the middle of Valkenburg, lies the only hilltop fortress the Netherlands landscape boasts. The castle ruins constitute one of the many proofs of the rich and buzzing past of our town. A tangible past that goes back as far as the Middle Ages."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Musical Onions?

To open the Wassenaar kermis (fair), these guys entertained the crowd waiting for the lantern parade to begin, then led the families in the march to the fair ground. They had a great sound and were very entertaining.

Curiously, the name of their group is "De Zwiebels." Zwiebel is the german word for onion ... although my dutch is limited I'm not aware of it being used in the dutch language. Maybe it's a joke, or my translation skills might be off. But they're definitely dutch ... check out the shoes!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We're back ... with an escort!!

Before we left on holiday, the kermis (carnival/festival) started in Wassenaar. Due to our travels, all we got to see was the "lantern parade" that kicked off the fair. Led by the local police, the parade of local families marched right by our house to the fair grounds, where a fireworks display followed. Unfortunately we were home packing; hopefully we'll get to experience more of the fair next year.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Another American in The Netherlands...

Off my soapbox and back down to the falconry demonstration in Valkenburg. This beautiful american red tail hawk was a crowd pleaser. The handler set him down on the fence right in front of the onlookers. Something about that gaze is a little unsettling!

We're taking a short break but will try to post if we have internet access.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sad news for animal lovers...

No, this dolphin in the Moray Firth isn't missing, he was one of a spectacular group of dolphins we saw on our recent trip to Scotland.

Why a picture of a Scottish dolphin instead of a picture from The Netherlands? Sorry to deviate from the CDPB norm, but today a study was released that the rare Yangtze River dolphins in China are probably extinct.

It's a very sad day indeed when we lose an entire species of these incredible, intelligent creatures.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Valkenburg Castle

This is the Kasteel Den Halder, dating from 1635. This grand home is now an office building and despite its country look it sits right in the middle of the village. There was a small Sunday market being held on the street behind the kasteel.

Technical note: the colors of the image were not changed in photoshop, but I was using a polarizing filter which intensified the beautiful blue sky we had here in The Netherlands on Sunday.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Valkenburg Falcon

This week we'll leave the Wassenaar/The Hague area behind and visit a town in the southeastern part of the Netherlands. We stopped in Valkenburg on our way home as part of a trip to Aachen, Germany.

The weather was perfect for a walk around town and viewing the area from the castle ruins. This is said to be the only hillside fortress in The Netherlands (probably due to the fact that the province of Limburg is pretty much the only region in the country with real hills).

At the castle there was a "roofvogels" (birds of prey) exhibition. Due to the warm weather, this falcon had a mind of its own and wasn't interested in performing; after bringing this bird back into the roost the demonstration continued with the trainers educating the crowd about various birds of prey.

Check back all week for more from Valkenburg. If you're interested in the Aachen area, we'll write about it on our travel blog in two weeks.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Memorial to Emma

Speaking of Queen Wilhelmena (see yesterday's post), this is a monument to her mother, Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Emma reigned as regent between 1890-1898, the time between the death of her husband King William III and Queen Wilhelmina's 18th birthday.

This monument was erected in 1937 by the people of Wassenaar.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Queen Wilhelmena

This is the memorial to Queen Wilhelmena in The Hague. Behind the statue, the wall is inscribed with the title of her autobiography "Eenzam maar niet Alleen," which translates to "Alone but not Lonely."

Friday, August 3, 2007

Amsterdam Stags

Walk the streets of Amsterdam on a weekend and you are likely to run across at least one stag or hen party (for you Americans, that's bachelor/bachelorette). Here's a group of guys that we quickly shot having fun last weekend (sorry for the poor photo quality).

For obvious reasons Amsterdam is a popular destination for both natives and foreigners. Just google "stag party in amsterdam" and you'll be amazed at the number of travel agencies offering packages.

Generally the man/woman of honor is dressed in an obnoxious outfit. Having a few biertjes or jenevers generally helps to get over the embarrassment, as is probably the case with this guy.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Back to The Hague for the third (& final) Alexander Taratynov sculptures in The Hague. This one is based on Duerer's Knight, Death, and the Devil.

Once again, click the link if you want to see the original, or click any pic to see a larger version.
We liked the detail on this one, so here are some bonus pics.

Thanks to all who visited and commented for yesterday's Theme Day. I'm still trying to make it through all of the participating sites, and am looking forward to next month's challenge!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ontbijt (Breakfast)

Known in the Netherlands as Hagelslag, sprinkles (yes, sprinkles) are a very common breakfast food here.

Generally served on bread with margarine, I bet it's not what you'd expect to see ... I mean the Dutch are serious people that eat for sustenance, not taste, right?

Not in the case of hagelslag. You can find vruchtenhagel (fruit sprinkles, like the picture at left), chocolate, white chocolate, white anise, and so on. If you're really special you can get chocoladevlokken (chocolate shavings, pictured below).

And don't think they're just for kids. You see people of all ages enjoying hagelslag. If you don't believe me, here's the Wiki entry (in Dutch). According to this site, the Dutch eat 14 million kilo per year. Among 16 million people, that's almost a kilo per person.

Just one of the many unexpected aspects of life here in the Netherlands.

Check out the other City Daily Photo Blogs participating in the August 1 "Typical Breakfast" Theme Day: Saint Paul (MN), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - New York City (NY), USA - Tel Aviv, Israel - Hyde, UK - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Mainz, Germany - Stockholm, Sweden - Paderborn, Germany - Singapore, Singapore - Haninge, Sweden - Nottingham, UK - Ampang (Selangor), Malaysia - Manila, Philippines - Boston (MA), USA - Seoul, Korea - Singapore, Singapore - Joplin (MO), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Paris, France - Sequim (WA), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Boston (MA), USA - Chennai, India - Madison (WI), USA - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Toulouse, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mexico (DF), Mexico - La Antigua, Guatemala - Selma (AL), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Lubbock (TX), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Sheki, Azerbaijan - Sydney, Australia - Mumbai, India - Seoul, South Korea - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - New Orleans (LA), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Villigen, Switzerland - Montréal (QC), Canada - Stayton (OR), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Moscow, Russia - Springfield (MO), USA - Inverness (IL), usa - Arlington (VA), USA - Cologne (NRW), Germany - Anderson (SC), USA - Oslo, Norway - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Manila, Philippines - Kajang (Selangor), Malaysia - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Bandung (West Java), Indonesia - Stavanger, Norway - Bastia, France - Hong Kong, China - Wailea (HI), USA - St. Louis (MO), USA - Chicago (IL), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Sydney, Australia - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Kansas City (MO), USA - Grenoble, France - Paris, France - Evry, France - Saigon, Vietnam - Prague, Czech Republic - Cape Town, South Africa - Brookville (OH), USA - Brussels, Belgium - San Diego (CA), USA

Eet Smakelijk!