Den Haag: Wouwermansstraat and Mijtenstraat

11 July 2017

Tracks to/from Vrederust

Tram 11 to Leeghwaterplein

Tram 11 to Leeghwaterplein

Stichting Sanatan Dharm Mahila Samaj
13 July 2017

Hindu Mandir

Shri Ram Mandir

The Mandir’s garden

To see all my pictures:

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue


443.The Man in Blue ~ Den Haag – Amsterdam 22 September

In last week’s column I arrived in Den Haag (The Hague). Here I always stay at the house of my friend Jatinder Singh, who tells me that his house is my house. He lives in an area where all streets are named after South African locations or politicians from the times of the Boer Wars. These wars were between white settlers of Dutch background (Boers) and the English.

This neighbourhood is one of the most diverse areas of Den Haag. It has a Ravidas Temple and a Gurdwara and there are of course Churches, Mosques and Mandirs. Most of the Hindus are from Surinam (former Dutch Guyana). Some of the Panjabis in the Netherlands married Surinam Hindu girls with Dutch passports.

I visited both the Gurdwara and the Ravidas Temple. I only took a few ‘snaps’ of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, and quite a few of the Ravidas Temple and of some of the positive things that were going on there.

On the 22nd of September I went to Amsterdam where I visited the Guru Nanak Gurdwara near Sloterdijk station and the newly opened Maan Sarover Gurdwara on the Baarsjesweg in Oud West. In between I visited Marieke, my ex-colleague from my days at the Eurolines Company.

Last year I had a meal with her and her little daughter, this time we only spent half an hour together. I also met ex colleagues Paul and Dick. It was nice to meet people who knew me before I became a Sikh and with whom I am still friends.

I had langar at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara. It is not on a central location but has good public transport connections and plenty of parking. It is not very busy during the week but there is always some sangat.

The Maan Sarovar Gurdwara is in a lively area just west of the city centre. I walked through the Kinkerstraat on my way to the Gurdwara and it was a pleasure to see this busy shopping street with many ethnic minority shops.

Both on this walk and earlier when I walked along the river Amstel there was no sense that the people of Amsterdam were infected by the fear of ‘the other’ as preached by Dutch MP Geert Wilders. His party scored too many votes during this year’s election and now gives outside support to the new right wing government.

In the Maan Sarovar Gurdwara I was recognised by one of the sevadars. I listened to the Rehrás and made myself useful during sukhasan. My friend Gursev Singh and his wife arrived and we had langar. Then I hurried away to catch my train back to Den Haag from the Lelylaan station. I missed my train and had to wait for a later slower train, and had to wait again at Schiphol as my next train was delayed.

Waiting with me was a Scandinavian Singh with whom I had a nice conversation, which goes to show that this missing of trains and delays was for a good purpose.

442.The Man in Blue ~ Rotterdam – Den Haag

Travelling by public transport from Vlissingen to Rotterdam is usually by train, and similarly when travelling from Rotterdam to Den Haag the train is the norm. But I liked my trip by bus and coach going from island to island via dikes, bridges and tunnel and I liked my trip by RandstadRail from Rotterdam to Den Haag.

The Randstad is the densely populated area between Rotterdam, Den Haag, Amsterdam and Utrecht. The RandstadRail project connects a suburban railway line to the east of Den Haag with the Den Haag tram system, using tram-trains, and connects a suburban railway line from Den Haag to Rotterdam with the Rotterdam Metro system.

The tram-trains in the Den Haag area are running and passengers travel from the suburbs into central Den Haag without changing. In Rotterdam the RandstadRail metros leave from the Central Station through a new tunnel to connect with the suburban line to Den Haag CS. Eventually the RandstadRail metros will leave from metro station Slinge and run to Den Haag via Zuidplein and Rotterdam CS.

The two services share the same tracks in the Den Haag area between Leidseveen and Den Haag NOI, which is also served by Netherlands’ Railways (NS). See the diagram on one of the pictures that illustrate this article.

After arriving by coach at Zuidplein I took the metro to Central Station where I took some pictures and got a RandstadRail metro to Den Haag. The trip was very pleasant, we ran on schedule and the train had seats that were sufficiently comfortable for the relatively short journey (about 30 minutes).

From Zuidplein to Rotterdam Centraal the metro runs about 8 times an hour, from there to Den Haag 4 times an hour. In the Netherlands there are usually good connections and easy transfers between trains, metro, tram and bus or coach.

The bus, coach and metros to Den Haag were punctual, but when later in the week I went from Den Haag to Amsterdam, Amersfoort and Antwerpen all my trains were running behind schedule.

From Den Haag Central Station I took tram 6 from the high tram and RandstadRail tram-train platform to Hobbemaplein, near the house of my friend Jatinder Singh.

UK trains are not designed for long legged gents like me, in Belgium and the Netherlands even ordinary IC or semi-direct trains offer more legroom than long distance Virgin or East Coast trains.

In the Netherlands ProRail looks after tracks and stations and NS after the train operation. This has increased the number of closures of sections of the track exponentially. Some of the rural lines are now operated by the same companies that run the buses in those regions and this seems to be quite successful.