Sunday, April 6, 2014

Visitors from Washington

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in front of Rembrandt's Nightwatch. FYI,  the painting is about 10 ft x 12 ft.  

Den Haag recently hosted the Nuclear Security Summit, a gathering of heads of state to discuss the security of nuclear material.  NSS was founded by President Obama during his first term, so I think he felt obliged to come.  Many other high level diplomats attended as well, so it was quite a logistical challenge for The Netherlands.   FYI, North Korea and Iran did not attend.

Access to the highway was blocked……really blocked.  
The primary road between the airport and Den Haag is the highway that goes through our village.  So for three days the road was closed to all traffic except diplomats or police.  Everyone was warned to find alternate modes of transportation to work.  Grant's school was closed; they used their "distant learning" program, which consisted primarily of extra homework that was assigned via the computer.

I rode my bike the 10 km to work and back those days.  The weather was sunny and clear, albeit a little chilly.  On the first day I passed several people scraping ice off their car windshields.

It would have been a good time to rob a bank, because every policeman in the country was managing traffic.  There were four times the number of police in service as there had been at the King's inauguration last year.  Total cost was expected to be 24 million Euros.  

Scenes from my bike ride.  With our early spring, the trees were beautiful. 

A lady who lives along the route keeps snow owls (and other varieties as well).  She has at least four snow owls in a pen along the road.  We knew she kept owls because we met her walking on the path one time….with an owl on her shoulder.  I also noticed that she has a motorcycle in her living room, so maybe she's a bit of a free spirit.  

This guy was doing some early morning fishing.  Notice the long pole.  Very typical for fishing in the Dutch canals.  

A typical Dutch drawbridge design. The counterweight on the left helps lift the bridge.  

On the way home from work one day, there were a number of people waiting by the side of the road. Obviously  someone important was about the go by so I stopped as well.  

These folks were waiting across the road.  I waited for 10 minutes but no one went by so I left. 

I think the entire Dutch army was also mobilized.  

The helicopters flew day and night.