In November while I was visiting my old home in Den Haag, I found myself sitting on the balcony talking to Annie. The temperature was somewhere around freezing and in the middle of our conversation she made a statement that stuck with me: “I am like you, Lars, I love Den Haag and I have no idea why.” Now, having gone back for yet another round, I think I might know why.
I was a bit torn between feeling at home and feeling utterly much like a tourist. For one thing, I naturally know all the streets and places like the back of my hand, on the other hand I was clutching my camera like there was no tomorrow and took “postcards from Den Haag” – impressions that show the city in the way I see it. It is remarkable what a difference some distance has made: I tend to see things in a totally different light and so when I got home I realized that I had been taking pictures of nothing but street scenes, facades, lights and plants. Considering actually spent the little time I had with my friends and came home with a memory card containing more pictures of the city than of them should go down in history as a monumental failure.
But that very fact is a testimony how I could not tear my eyes from the way everything looks, which brings us back to how I love Den Haag without knowing exactly why: It has an amazingly organic mix of old and new, history and modern and combines it in a way I that seems completely organic. The weather helped – it was spring and so sunny that we could sit on Buitenhof and Plein for hours, enjoy verse muntthee while catching up, walk around the beach or hang out in Paleistuin. I promptly managed to get a massive cold, but it seems like a fair price to pay. It feels good to have such a beautiful home away from home – and to have too many friends to even be able to see them all in 48 hours.