It's that time of year again when the Dutch dress up in orange and go nuts. I know we have a bit of a rep for being loud and obnoxious in some part of the world and this is pretty obvious on the 27th of April, when we celebrate King's Day in Holland.
|Photo by Roel Wijnants under Creative Common Licence|
Every year King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima visit a random city in the country to celebrate this joyous event. Throughout the day they walk along a predetermined route, while they wave and greet the commoners lined up along the streets, clad in the most random orange costumes. There are performances of all sorts, kids singing, adults dancing.
|Photo by Alex E. Proimos under Creative Commons Licence|
Traditional games are played and not so traditional games are played. The king and queen happily join in with a game of toilet bowl throwing or sack jumping. That's just the kind of people they are.
|Photo by Marco Derksen under Creative Commons Licence|
I guess this doesn't sound at all like those epic stories you might have heard from friends who've gone over to the Netherlands. Well, festivities in the rest of the country are slightly less subdued. In cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague street parties kick off the night before. Rock concerts take centre stage in the city squares, bars move their bars outdoors and it is just like being at one massive rock concert or music festival without the mud. Or tents.
In Amsterdam people sell stuff from their secured, taped off little pavement shop. You can buy food, clothes, books or records or even hugs and kisses if you're lucky.
|Photo by Lodewijk B under Creative Commons Licence|
It's a day when everyone is happy. Or maybe drunk and stoned is probably more like it. (Till you get stuck in the crowd somewhere and you really need a wee.)
I think the best way to enjoy King's Day is to hire a boat, buy some beers and wines and cruise the canals of Amsterdam. You'll get all the fun, minus the crowds.
|Photo by Anne Helmond under Creative Commons Licence|