Thursday, April 30, 2009

Queens Day (Koninginnedag) in Holland!

It's Queen’s Day today in the Netherlands!! Hip Hip Hooray for the Dutch Queen!!
Queen’s Day is the annual Dutch national holiday in honor of the late Queen Juliana’s birthday.

Queen Beatrix with her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princes Maxima.

On Queen’s Day there are celebrations throughout the Netherlands. However, the most popular destination is Amsterdam where up to one million visitors join the 750.000 locals in the world’s largest street party.
Queen Beatrix, who succeeded her mother in 1980, decided to keep the holiday on April 30 as the weather on her own birthday, January 31, tends to prohibit outdoor festivities.

The Night before Queen’s DayQueen’s Day festivities start around midnight and last throughout the night (though official rules state that pubs must close for an hour or so before sunrise). Simply walk around in downtown Amsterdam (the Jordaan and Nieuwmarkt areas being among the most popular spots) and you’ll find plenty of partying going on.

Queen’s Day Proper
6:00 AM marks the start of the ‘free market’ - a street market where half the population sells their bric-a-brac, used clothes, and crafts for next to nothing. Where? Everywhere people live. What? Well, you’ll find anything from broken toys, last year’s Queen’s Day purchases, and used bras to fantastic bargains on musical instruments, electronics, software and everything else under the sun.

Throughout the city, professional street performers vie for attention. There are pick-up bands, aspiring opera singers, teenage rappers and street discos. Rio-style drum bands have been very popular the past few years.

Huge outdoor concerts are organized at various locations, such as Dam square and Museumplein.

The throngs lining the streets and canals wear orange, the national color (after all, the Queen hails from the House of Orange). Take ‘throngs’ literally - particularly in the city’s center where you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with other revelers.

For most of the day, there is no public transport in the center of town.

If the weather is good (which isn’t always the case) the canals offer little relief as thousands of boats, large and small, filled with party goers clog the city’s waterways.

The beer flows freely, though mostly in the form of reduced-alcohol ‘event beer,’ which is served in plastic containers that come with a deposit fee.

Today the girls wear orange to school, have Dutch class and all the other pupils will wear orange. And I am making cookies with orange icing for all the Dutch kids today. It's such a festive color, it makes you happy! I wish I could be in the Netherlands today, since everybody is off and people are on the streets; selling, buying, drinking beer and having fun!! It's the world biggest street party over there today! However, I have a Dutch coffee morning with only Dutch ladies living in SA, so that is fun as well ;-)

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Mama Joe said...

I love, love, love the pictures in this post! Especially love the gang of guys with arms around each other. Great angle - and I love the ORANGE!


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