Exploring with Friends: Den Haag

As you probably already know, our friends from Austria visited us for a few days this past weekend. We decided we’d explore little bits of Holland together, starting close to home in Den Haag!

We packed up a lunch (with “Jongen Gouda” and ham) and took the tram to Den Haag Centraal before walking through some of the streets. We walked through and around The Binnenhof.

I just love this picture – Elisabeth got an awesome shot of the flowers with the Binnenhof in the background! Love it!
She also got a really nice close-up of the fountainheads.
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I took this picture, mostly for the flag. It was waving so nicely in the wind.
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I lucked out taking this picture with the bird in the bottom-right. It flew into the picture just as I pressed the button! It was a beautiful day to explore Den Haag. I love how this picture juxtaposes the old Binnenhof buildings with the high-rise buildings in the background.

After walking around the Binnenhof, we stopped in the park behind Noordeinde Palace for lunch! It was a pretty great lunch, if I do say so myself. We had mint chocolate and Macadamia nuts for dessert!

Elisabeth took this picture – Philipp, David, and myself with our mouths full of food! Yum!
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I couldn’t help but take this picture. There are bikes leaning against, and chained to, so many fences in Holland. And this just looked so beautiful, somehow.
Elisabeth took this picture – it was such a beautiful garden!
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I’m really getting into taking really close-up shots lately. There was a large area of flowers in the park, with bees buzzing everywhere.
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Elisabeth was kind enough to take this picture for us – it turned out amazing! I love getting “kiss shots” when the scenery is this beautiful. Plus, it helps to have an obliging husband :).
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I love “kiss shots” but I just love this picture so much.

We continued our walk through the park and then stopped for coffee at one of the best (if not the best) coffee places I’ve ever visited. The coffee was absolutely awesome. Elisabeth & Philipp bought a couple bags of beans and another bag, freshly ground, for with breakfast the next day!

Yum… David, Elisabeth, and I got cappuccinos. Philipp had an espresso. Picture taken by Elisabeth.
The owner of the coffee house took this picture for us. She got us to say “Kaas!” and I love the result. 🙂
Just me and my best friend :).

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The woman in this picture is the owner. She was very nice, and invited us to a public coffee roasting on the first Saturday of the month. David and I will be going in August, without a doubt. Elisabeth took this lovely shot!
This is the roaster for the coffee beans! Can’t wait to see it in action.

After we were finished enjoying our coffee, and saying our goodbyes to Lianne at Koffiebranderij BOON, we decided to visit the Mauritshuis!

All descriptions in quotations are from the Mauritshuis official website.

An awesome shot by Elisabeth!
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Paulus Potter, The Bull, 1647

This is one of the most famous paintings in the Mauritshuis. What makes The Bull so special is the fact that Potter painted something as ordinary as a bull on such a grand scale – which had never been done before. And despite this large size, he paid great attention to the smallest details, such as the lark in the sky, the sunshine on the meadow, the flies on the bull’s back and the cow’s whiskers. This made the painting the epitome of Dutch naturalistic painting.

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Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665

Girl with a Pearl Earring is Vermeer’s most famous painting. It is not a portrait, but a ‘tronie’ – a painting of an imaginary figure. Tronies depict a certain type or character; in this case a girl in exotic dress, wearing an oriental turban and an improbably large pearl in her ear.

Johannes Vermeer was the master of light. This is shown here in the softness of the girl’s face and the glimmers of light on her moist lips. And of course, the shining pearl.

I definitely understand why this is Vermeer’s most famous painting. It is quite beautiful, and when you see it in person, it’s even more so. But it’s not my favourite painting by Vermeer…

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Johannes Vermeer, View of Delft, c. 1660 – 1661

This is the most famous cityscape of the Dutch Golden Age. The interplay of light and shade, the impressive cloudy sky and the subtle reflections in the water make this painting an absolute masterpiece.

We are looking at Delft from the south. There is hardly a breath of wind and the city has an air of tranquillity. Vermeer reflected this tranquillity in his composition, by making three horizontal strips: water, city and sky. He also painted the buildings a bit neater than they actually were.

Out of the paintings I saw by Vermeer, this one is easily my favourite. I don’t think a photograph can capture the beauty of a painting – this one was truly stunning.

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Hendrick Avercamp, Ice Scene, c. 1610

This painting shows a typically Dutch phenomenon: having fun on the ice. People are skating, sledging and playing a game called ‘kolf’, a sort of ice hockey. On the left, a group of people have fallen through the ice, but help is already on the way. And just in front of the bridge, a woman has fallen over, revealing her bare bottom.

Avercamp was the first painter in the Northern Netherlands to specialise in winter landscapes. He lived most of his life in Kampen and was deaf and dumb, which is why he was nicknamed ‘The Mute of Kampen’.

David and I both really enjoyed this painting. There aren’t a lot of winter landscape paintings.

After our stroll through the Mauritshuis, we took the tram home.

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One of the canals we passed on our walk to the tram.

We had supper, picked up a few groceries, and enjoyed the sunset!

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Overall it was a fantastic day! We were going to go to an Indonesian restaurant close to our home for supper, but it was closed! But we went to an amazing Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam the next day, to make up for it :).

Check back tomorrow for our adventures in Amsterdam!

 

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