top of page
  • Writer's pictureNigel

Civilization (Part 1) 文明ー第1章

Updated: May 1, 2022


Sometimes learning a foreign language can pose some BIG questions. My innocent textbook (with a view to jogging my brain for some grammatical constructions) asks me: " When you graduate, what do you intend to do?"...."卒業したら、名にをしようと思っていますか?". They want me to say something like"I will go on a trip and then look for full-time work". Graduation? Haha!😅 That was some time ago my friends. But I think I would throw a big party (outdoors per Covid of course), and then go off to distant lands in search of adventure.....

"What would you do if you won the lottery?" Ah, there is another one of those questions. No, I would not buy a mansion. I would spend it on making sure that a certain Mr. P had a nice weekend in Den Haag (The Hague). As guest of the International Court of Justice.


I've never been to the International Court of Justice. But I was on the beach nearby last Tuesday. デンハーグのビーチでナイジェル.

Hello from Den Haag! 🧡 I had decided it was time to see some art, some tulips, and have a live rather than online Japanese lesson for a change. Now I have always been told that Den Haag is rather a dull place. OK, maybe the parties are in Amsterdam, but it's actually a very civilized place. An interesting mixture of modern architecture, tasteful 18thc. state buildings, inviting cafes and an enormous beach stretching as far as the eye can see. And not far away are those tulip fields. For me the beach was destination Nr.1......after all, I am starved of beaches living in the middle of Germany. 私はドイツの真ん中に住んでいるので海を見るのが好きです.

There is of course a Grand Hotel Kurhaus.....(This is not where I was staying by the way) 私はグランドホテルに泊まりませんでした😅.

And there is a fun Lego giraffe.........これは楽しいです。レゴキリン!

And I like the cool modern side of things.......with the classy Central Station.クールでモダンな建築が好きです.

....a station full of yellow and blue trains! すべての電車は黄色と青です....

I had arrived on the evening of Kings Day - the great national holiday when the Dutch all go a bit crazy.... Sitting on my balcony that evening I could hear a few parties starting up already..私のバルコニーからの眺め.....

However it's a sort of relief to see this civilized city. It's what a free, democratic and enlightenend society can produce. Now if I had written that sentence last year you probably would have laughed at me. But today I don't think it's a pompous statement.

The next day I went with my tutor, みきさん, to Delft. Here Kings Day was well under way. The idea is to wear something orange (King William of Orange - get it? 😆)....and grab a patch at a flea market. This is the one day of the year when it doesn't cost anything to display your goods on the street......(the mask is the King by the way).....(マスクの顔は王様です).

....even this kids garland and purse are orange!.....この子の財布もオレンジ色!

..anything goes, as long as it is orange........オレンジ, オレンジ, オレンジ.......

The canalside was heaving with crowds, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. The only guy I saw looking a bit glum was the ice-cream vendor (it was more like hot dog weather...) みんないい気分でした.しかし、アイスクリームの売り手は満足していませんでした 🥶.

Rounding one corner we were hit by the sight of this windmill. Well, that's hardly surprising is it? I mean we are in Holland. But this one was actually working......Now that was a new sight for me... 風車....動作中.....

I am hopeless at selfies....I need one of those stick things don't I? ...セルフィーをとる下手です!😉!

Escaping from the crowds, we got into the Prisenhof - a kind of former residence of the Royals....lots of grim military men here.....シリアスな男たち.

...but some nice examples of Delft pottery....(apparently the Dutch were the first to get the secret of making porcelain from the Chinese in the 18thc !)....素敵なデルフトタイル.

There was some pretty strong contemporary art as well....モダンアート....

....whilst outside the flea market was still going strong....フリーマーケット....

There is much to see in Delft - (it is in fact Vermeer's birthplace). What I did not realise was it's royal significance. We have a sort of Westminster Abbey here. The Nieuw Kerk is where all the monarchs of the Netherlands are buried. The church, which was origionally Catholic prior to 1572, once looked like this: In this painting from the 17thc. you see King William's monument in the centre, surrounded by a very white church. This plaster was only removed quite recently (in the 1930s)........ デルフトの新しい教会の古い絵.....

......and the result gives a much more natural feel. Looking east.....今日の"新しい教会" (Nieuwe Kerk)。

......and when I say "King William's monument", I mean King William the Silent. Not to be confused with King William III of England (also called "William of Orange" . It's rather confusing - all these oranges 🍊 ). This "Silent" king was the leader of the Dutch revolt against the ruling Spanish Habsburgs, which lead to the independence of the United Provinces (the Netherlands) in 1581. So he is really the "Father" of the Netherlands. ウィリアム王の墓.

Looking down the nave you notice that all the seating is facing the pulpit. There is no high altar in this citadel of the Dutch Reformed Church. And the organ is the original one, built in the early 19thc. 3000 pipes apparently. I would have liked to have heard it, but the organist was probably busy at the flea market (or the beer stand....🍺).

I am going to end here.....but tulips are coming soon.....もう終わりです。しかし、パート2と3に注意してください。....



Did you enjoy this post? この投稿を読んでいただきありがとうございます。 新しい投稿のお知らせを受け取りたい場合は、上部の購読フォームに記入してください。 ありがとう!Thank you, Nigel.😊 and Do subscribe if you want new posts automatically in your inbox. But check your spam!

62 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page