Saturday, December 03, 2016

Netherlands: The Kurhaus and the Kurzaal in Scheveningen and Remembering Blondine

I mentioned in a previous post that the majority of tourists the Dutch beaches get, and I am talking about Scheveningen and Zandvoort beaches, are Germans. For some reason, the Netherlands is a popular beach destination for neighbouring Germany.

The back entrance of Kurhaus from the beach, on Strandweg.

The main entrance of the Kurhaus on Gevers Deynootplein and Gevers Deynootweg.

To further illustrate, and I guess justify this fact, is the most impressive building, rather, the iconic symbol of Scheveningen beach – the Kurhaus (official name now is Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus). This grandiose building was a creation by 2 German architects, Johann Friedrich Henkenhaf and Friedrich Ebert. Even the name, Kurhaus is in German! If it was in Dutch, it would have been spelled as Kuurhuis. The building was built between 1884 and 1885 as a hotel and concert hall. The stunning ceilings in the Kurzaal (this is the concert hall which is in the main building of the Kurhaus) were painted by Belgian artist from Brussels, Van Hoeck.

You can imagine that this hotel and concert hall was THE place to be during its glorious days. It even served as a Casino for a few years.

Now I have read that the last performance in the Kurzaal before falling into bankruptcy was by the Rolling Stones in the summer of 1964. Dutchman told me about this event as well.

It was the first concert of the Stones outside the UK and their shortest as well lasting only for 20 minutes. Watch here: Rolling Stones at the Kurhaus 1964. The audience went wild throwing beer bottles and scrambling towards the stage. Chaos ensued and local security and police had to drag the Stones out of the building for safety. I guess you can say that this is the birth of rock ‘n roll in the Netherlands. Progressive rock bands such as the Golden Earring soon emerged, and of course Herman Brood.

Ah, the history of music has never been that boring!

Nevertheless, Kurhaus went into a spiralling kaput and was only saved from being knocked down when the building was listed as a historical building and renovated by the new management who took over. It is now a 5 star hotel, although it looked more like a grand palace on the beach to me.

Strangely enough, I have been to Scheveningen many times but never really made a visit inside the Kurhaus. I guess the boulevard, the beach and the beach clubs were more tempting?

I also cannot help but remember Blondine. I miss her a lot you know.

We made a pact, together with another friend that we will have High Tea (this is the Afternoon Tea version in the Netherlands) at the Waves Restaurant in the Kurhaus. We never made it to here until her passing last April. So every time I think about the Kurhaus now, I think of Blondine. She was so ecstatic about the idea as she has not visited the Kurhaus yet as well. Her own words were, “OK – Deal!”

So last summer I decided to quickly visit the Kurhaus while leaving the Dutchman snoozing away at the Cocomo Beach Club. Maybe to make peace with myself?

Firstly, for not being able to peek inside this grand, opulent and palatial building. After so many years of visiting this beach town in The Hague, I am about to step inside the Kurhaus, haha. You know, I adore grand architecture and designs.

Secondly, to feel, even for just a little bit, more closer again to Blondine and be in the moment of what we have wonderfully shared together for the last 8 years -- the love for living and enjoying the good life, to the fullest.

Here is a blog post I made back in 2009 when we went here in Scheveningen to feast on our favourite seafood treat and relax at the beach front, Fruits de Mer at Doen Beach Club (click on link).

The Kurhaus taken from the Pier.

The Kurzaal which is where many concerts (yup the shortest act of the Rolling Stones was played here), parties and festivals are held, even up to now.

The beautiful paintings on the ceiling by Van Hoeck, an artist from Brussels.

Going to the Conservatory from the Kurzaal where events and parties can also take place.

The Kurhaus up close and personal.

The views from the terrace of the Waves Restaurant. Blondine would have preferred to sit here at the terrace for the High Tea.

Travel Period: August 2016
Destination: Scheveningen, The Hague (South Holland), the Netherlands

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Scheveningen Beach (Netherlands): The Beach Club Situation

Scheveningen Beach (South Holland) is perhaps, alongside Zandvoort Beach (North Holland), the most busiest and touristy beach in the Netherlands. Locals and tourists alike come together here like hordes every summer. I have been here myself many times.

Interestingly, from among the foreign tourists, we receive the most number of visitors from our border friend, Germany. It looks like the beaches in the Netherlands are very popular there. There is even a running joke on how to make fun of Germans when they claim a spot on the beach, something which I would prefer not to expound =)

Cocomo Beach Club.

Strandweg - Scheveningen Boulevard.

In my opinion, the best thing to do here at Scheveningen Beach is to hang out and chill at the plethora of Beach Clubs on the boulevard. There are so many of them to choose from! And it can be difficult to choose because the beach clubs are pushing their standards to the next level. There is one thing for sure though, there is a beach club for every taste.

But Dutchman and I have our preference:

  1. Must have a comfortable lounge area or roomy seats with pillows (the more pillows, the better!)
  2. The music does not have to be a favourite of ours but please no super hard, metal type or the local Frans Bauer kind okay
  3. Must be directly under the sun and a part of it not as well (so I can switch from time to time, cannot stand direct sun exposure for a longer period of time)
  4. Must have a relaxing atmosphere!

Unfortunately not many beach clubs could pass the #2 on our preference list. Many of them have really super hard music on and some even have live shows as well. The noise is just too much and is a  major turn-off. Seriously #age_issues haha! We want a beach club with laid back background type of music where we can talk and relax. We have a name we invented for this in Dutch -- Niets aan de hand muziek =)

Anyway, we decided to hang out at Cocomo Beach Club where the Dutchman managed to snooze away for a bit, hehe. I was not really a fan of the bright colour scheme but it was the beach club that came the closest to our requirements, especially #2. The beach club beside it actually had a more welcoming setup and soothing to the eye design and colour, but helaas, they were blasting some really loud music. No way. Thank you. Goodbye!

It is best to come here in Scheveningen during the summer months of course, when the beach clubs are open for service. Many of these beach clubs offer parties as well, with DJ's turning tables and lots of booze and dancing the night away.

If you come to the Netherlands during summer, you have got to try the Dutch style of beaching, chilling and partying (if you are young and are looking for fun and action).

Here is a list of all the beach clubs:

You can also find my previous visits and blog posts of some of the beach clubs I have dined and hanged out: Fruits de Mer at Doen Beach Club, Dinner at the Golfslag Beach Club, Restaurant Beach Club Wensveen

Let us start with the beach club we chose, the Cocomo Beach Club:

Waiting for our chilled drinks.

The colours at Cocomo Beach Club are particularly not my kind of colours but they do represent the summer and holiday feeling.

This can fit 2 people =)

This was my preferred  lounge spot because you are facing the beach, unfortunately someone was quick enough to snatch this away under my nose.

Here are the other beach clubs on Strandweg - Scheveningen Boulevard:

El Nino Beach Club.

Blue Lagoon Beach Club.

Bora Bora Beach Club.

Oceans Beach House.

De Golfslag Beach Club.

Twins Beach Club (and Seafood, Grill, Winebar, Lounge)

Zanzibar Beach Club.

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Somewhere in Utrecht, Netherlands

Welcome December! =)

Dutchman took these photos last October 2016.

From where we live we have great views of the city of Utrecht. Friends and family who visit us always gasp with awe at the view we have, especially in the evening when the lights glitter against the dark. It is just stunning. I do not think I can ever live in a house.

This particular view is one of the less pretty angle and because these were taken during the golden hour with the full moon hovering beneath the clouds, the view looked mysterious and beautiful.

You see, both of us has this habit (the urge!) of randomly taking pictures. Of anything really =)

But Dutchman obviously has talent. You have to remember that we do not use DSLR's cameras and we do not have any Photoshop as well. We just use a Sony pocket camera and Picasa. We prefer to keep things simple, easy and cheap.

The pictures below though looked more like paintings... don't you agree?

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Zurich: Stunning Giacometti Hall at the Police Station and Flirting the Police Officer

For the art and architecture enthusiasts out there visiting Zurich, you cannot leave the city without passing by at the stunning Giacometti Hall of the Zurich Police Station!

Giacometti Hall at the Zurich Police Station. Picture courtesy of No other police station in the world has a hallway as artistic and stunning like this.

Zurich Police Station on Bahnhofquai.

You read it right. The beautiful work of art by Swiss artist, Augusto Giacometti can be found at the city police station (stadtpolizei) of Zurich on Bahnhofquai. It is FREE and is open daily between 9:00-11:00 and 14:00-16:00. You will need to leave a valid ID such as a passport at the front desk of the police station before being allowed to enter and view the hall inside. One valid ID for a group is good enough. You only have 10 minutes viewing time. The taking of pictures and/or videos is strictly prohibited. The police station however sells promotional items about this hall and the artist, even books.

For more information visit: Giacometti Halle

Anyway, the story here is that the ladies found the young police officer attending to us really cute. We took turns pronouncing his name which made him blush a bit. You see, the police officers here on duty have their ID with their name on it pinned on their breast. He was somewhat caught off guard with all the sugary attention he is getting from three middle aged Asian women, haha. Right, watchout the cougars are on flirting attack.

“Are you single?”

Bubbles was like, “Can’t he just take us in?”

“Oh please keep our passports. We are willing to surrender!”

“We will surrender.... like now.” LOL

Whispering, “Can we take a picture of you?”

To protect the innocent, we shall not name the hunky police officer =)

Our 10 minutes were quickly up unfortunately. So we went outside the police station and did our selfie thing right in front of the main door. Ah, here outside we can take as many selfie pictures we can. I am sure the police officers must have seen us behind the security camera and are shaking their heads =)

Really stunning hall with vaulted arches painted with bright red orange flowers. This has got to be the most beautiful police station hallway in the whole wide world.

Thanks to the selfie stick! 

Another pose outside the Zurich police station courtesy of Bubble's smartphone and selfie stick.

The view to the Limmat Lake.

The stadtpolizei (police station) is just across the foot bridge on Bahnhofquai.

Travel Period: September 2016
Destination: Altstadt, (Zurich), Switzerland

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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