Nijntje and Miffy

Nijntje/Miffy
The weather is still cold and grey, although the rain has held off for most of the day. Small blessings. However, I did notice this colourful window near the Stadhuis this afternoon, featuring Nijntje (AKA Miffy), the little rabbit created by Utrechter Dick Bruna. The weather may not be smile-inducing, but this window display above a children’s book/toy store certainly was.

Good Friday

Paas [Day 83/365]
Whether you’re religious or not, Fridays are generally pretty good. I still have work to do this weekend, but I’m still happy that it’s Friday for some reason. Sadly, our weather isn’t so good. It’s been overcast much of today and looks to be the coldest Easter in at least 50 years. Though a White Christmas may be charming, a White Easter, not so much; yet there’s the possibility of snow in some areas. We’re also doing the time change this weekend, although if lots of people are getting Monday off, that might help with the adjustment. I’m not sure what it will do to my own frequently screwy ability to sleep; I’ll have to wait and see.

All of this is a rambling way of wishing you a Vrolijke Paasdagen (Happy Easter). Don’t forget, you’ve got through Sunday to leave an awesome comment for me at the Expats Blog writing contest. I’d send you chocolate eggs as a thanks, but I think I’ve eaten them all.

ETA: Moments after posting this, it began to snow here. Still coming down. Is this an early April Fool’s joke?

World Cup Fever

Hup Holland Hup [Day 154/365]
The World Cup starts this Friday! The Netherlands is slowly turning orange as everyone starts decorating for the festivities. Shops, cafés, houses … Everyone is getting into the spirit and showing their orange. This is one of the window displays at a café on Voorstraat. It’s the same place that had the cute bunny display at Easter. I’ve yet to go inside the café, but I always enjoy their window displays.

I have a handful of countries I cheer for at the World Cup, with varying degrees of success. I can’t help but cheer for the US, of course, but I never expect them to do particularly well. Still, they’ve improved over the years, so hopefully they’ll have a decent showing this year. Because of family, I also cheer for England/Scotland (on the rare occasion Scotland makes it to the WC). I’ve been a fan of Italy for a while now, even before meeting my boyfriend. I started cheering for them in the ’94 WC (poor Baggio!). Italy is the current reigning WC champion, but I don’t see them doing well this year at all. Lippi has made some lousy choices. Fortunately, Holland has a good team this year, at least in theory. They’ve got some excellent players like Robben (please let the hamstring injury not be an issue!), Sneijder, and Van Persie, just to name a few. I’d love to see Holland go far in the tournament, even better if they finally win!

It was quite the party here two years ago for the European Cup, so I can only imagine what it will be like for the World Cup! I can’t wait! Hup Holland Hup!
Waiting for the World Cup

Paas Bunnies


Easter is coming up and one of the newer cafés on Voorstraat has a fun window display that I thought I’d share. Here’s a bit of mildly curious trivia for my American readers. The Dutch word for easter is paas, just like the brand of dye sold for coloring easter eggs. For what it’s worth, the Palm sign in the window refers to a beer, not the easter palms.

Equal Rights On Display


Reason #482 for why I like living here in the Netherlands: Window displays like this are both possible and acceptable.

While walking home from the Hoog Catharijne shopping center today, I passed by this window display for a menswear store. At first, I thought nothing of it really. I fully support gay rights and certainly don’t see why same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry. The fact that the Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex marriage makes me happy to be here. What made me stop to take the picture was the fact that this kind of window display would be considered outrageous, political and daring just about anywhere in the United States. How sad. I look forward to the day when this kind of window display could show up anywhere and not turn heads or raise tempers. Same-sex marriages should be viewed as normal and as commonplace as heterosexual marriages.

Plus, the embroidered “Just Married” on the shirt collar is kind of cool.