Den Haag

So it’s tulip season. Tiff had the great idea that, since we’re in the neighborhood and since it’s springtime, we ought to make the trip up to The Netherlands to check out all this buzz about tulips. The planets are unlikely to align quite like this again, and it would be a much tougher sell to see a bunch of tulips if it involved fifteen hours of airplane time.

We only had three days available, so we decided to split our trip between The Hague (pronounced like vague), the seat of government of The Netherlands, and Amsterdam, the national capitol.  I don’t get why they need to separate the two, but in what ended up being a theme for the trip, it wouldn’t be very Dutch if it weren’t odd.

hague_downtown

We flew into Schiphol and took a train to The Hague. It all seemed pretty typical Europe, until we got outside central station. I’d heard that Nederlanders were big on bicycles, but I don’t think I’d prepared myself for what that might look like.

hague_bikerack
You had better not forget where you’ve parked, or else you’ll be walking

Hundreds and hundreds of bicycles. Bicycle roads separate from cars, separate from pedestrians, and separate from trams. They all get their own signals. Walking becomes the most hazardous activity possible, as crossing the street requires looking for all three. If these photos seem comparatively quiet and unchaotic, it’s because I would be a smear on somebody’s handlebar basket if I’d tried taking pictures where it was truly busy.

hague_bicyclist
Walk in the bike lane and you’ll hear the sound of a thousand bells ringing angrily behind you

I can’t imagine trying to drive here.

We only spent one night in The Hague, so we didn’t get to really dig in and get to know the city. We did get to dig in to Indian food (AMAZING!) and wandered around a bit. We walked past Noordeinde Palace, one of the homes of the Dutch Royal family. The road that leads to the palace is strung with streetlights shaped like crowns.

hague_kingsroad
On the way to the Noordeinde. The banners alternate between the Dutch flag, and banners of Orange, the name of the Dutch royal house.

Somehow I neglected to take a picture of the palace itself. I’m sure it had nothing to do with all the guards lurking around. The palace was very interesting; the architectural details reminded Tiff and me of Buckingham palace, only more interesting.

The sun was out occasionally, which made for a few picture opportunities.

hague_canal
One of the few remaining canals in The Hague

hague_sculpture hague_daffodils

Overall, I’m sad we didn’t have more time in The Hague. It seems a little business-y, but a little closer to our usual pace.

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