For those of you out there who aren’t really into royalty news or haven’t been bombarded by messages about it in the media like we have been in Belgium: The Netherlands have a new king! Hurray Hurray! Beatrix abdicated on Tuesday the 30th of April and her son Willem-Alexander took over which meant it was the last Queen’s Day for at least a while. Next year ‘King’s Day’ will be celebrated on the 26th of April (Willem-Alexander’s birthday is on the 27th but because in 2014 that’s a Sunday they’ll celebrate it a day earlier).
This historical moment in combination with the fact that my friend Belinda who lives in Amsterdam (read more about that here) is leaving for Chile for 3 months was the perfect reason for a roadtrip to Amsterdam. I had seen images of ‘Koninginnedag‘ before and to me it seemed like it was an opportunity for Dutch people to dust off their orange outfits (which they all must have ready somewhere in their wardrobe for special ‘orange’ occassions) and get drunk. After experiencing a Queen’s Day myself I must say this image I had was pretty accurate.
We started off our ‘royal experience’ by celebrating ‘Koninginnenacht’ or Queen’s Night. The night before Queen’s day most nightclubs organise special parties and people gather in the streets and by the canals to celebrate. We went to a slightly alternative club with latin/dub music. It was good fun but not especially ‘Queen’s day’-y, if you get what I mean.
After we recovered from a slight overdose of Aperol-spritz (Orange drink, when in Rome…) we headed out and got some healthy breakfast:
After our recovery-meal we browsed through the enormous open-air market that Amsterdam had turned into overnight for a while. On Queen’s Day people apparently don’t need a permit to sell stuff on the street.
This was a great calm start to the day and after we felt ready to face the ‘Oranjegekte’ or Orange madness. I’m not going to try to explain, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
I can’t imagine us Belgians going on the streets completely dressed in red? (we don’t even have a national colour, how sad) when we get a new king, but it was great fun to see the Dutch go completely crazy in orange. If you are not afraid of crowds of drunk people I would recommend going to the first King’s Day, because it is definitely something to see!
PS: To fellow Dutch speaking Belgians: people in Amsterdam won’t (or will pretend they don’t, which is my personal theory) understand you and might answer in English. This is very annoying. Try to stay calm.