Blog In Frace Goes Dutch: Part 2

Caiti is living in The Hague, in a very pleasant residential area of three-storey flats. Accommodation was hard to come by when she was looking so she was lucky to end up with such a nice place. She’s on a quiet street, only a few minutes’ walk from a tram stop (although in true Dutch style she cycles most of the time) and with a park close by.

The park houses a city farm, so it’s home from home for our country girl! The farm is open every day for people to go in and see the animals. Some of them can be fed – healthy vegetables only – and the smaller exhibits can be petted. Amongst these are half a dozen good-natured, super-size guinea-pigs. They’re easily twice as big as any we’ve ever had here at Les Fragnes! They have to be put into small baskets which kids can hold on their laps. That’s a good idea, as it stops humans from being scratched, but more importantly guinea pigs from being hurt by being hugged too tightly or even dropped.

There are two Maori pigs, one of which has decidedly Berkshire-like markings. You’re not allowed to feed the pigs, but they’re still very friendly.

There are also two small cows, goats, rabbits and a small flock of Brahma hens with a non-Brahma cockerel to boss them about.

Naturally we visited every day! It’s a great way for Caiti to get rid of her banana peels and vegetable scraps.

Across the footpath from the farm is a very interesting monument. Here it is.

This is the PGK Monument De Mient, although officially it’s not a monument, but ‘a street object’. PGK is the Petroleum Geologische Kring (Petroleum Geological Circle), which consists of a board of volunteers in academia or industry who have a background in petroleum geology. The PGK unveiled their ‘street object’ to mark the 50th anniversary of discovering oil in The Netherlands and their own 10th anniversary. There’s another much older monument nearby in the oud eik en dunen (old oaks and dunes) cemetery, and I’m pretty sure this is a bone fide monument. It’s the ruins of a chapel built in 1247 by Willem II of Holland to honour his father, Floris IV. Willem was Count of Holland and Zeeland, German anti-king and King of the Romans (as in Holy Roman Empire). So quite a powerful man.

We pottered around the cemetery a couple of times. It’s very pleasant with many beautiful old trees and a small flock of parakeets. We happened across the grave of World Champion Track Cyclist Piet Moeskops. We also thought that Graf must be the most common name in Holland as we saw it on so many tombstones until we final worked out that it meant ‘grave’!

It’s remarkable that there are so many interesting things in the heart of a residential area in The Hague, and I’ve no doubt Caiti will discover many more over time.