Monday, May 27, 2013

Queen's Day - A Great Day to be Dutch

It may be the perfect time to move to Amsterdam - shortly before Queen's Day. This is because Queen's Day is one of the biggest holiday in Amsterdam (and Holland) and it's a great introduction to so many things Dutch.

This year there was a lot of extra anticipation regarding Queen's Day as it is the last one! Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne on April 30, 2013 and Willem-Alexander took over as King. Many Dutch emotionally watched this transfer of power take place, but of course it meant nothing to us. We were out exploring what Queen's Day was all about.

King Simon!
First and foremost, we understood that it was important to dress right. So we all donned whatever orange we could find, and set out to explore the streets of our new city, which had turned into vrijmarkt ("free market") overnight. The streets were lined with Dutch trying their luck at selling secondhand clothing, games, light fixtures - you name it. 
The Vondel Park on Queen's Day

On Queen's Day the city becomes what I can only describe as a giant garage sale! We wandered through the Vondel Park, which was filled with families selling their wares as well as all sorts of little performaces. We saw small children playing the violin, jamming on their drums, or doing gymnastics. A small hat was always out front for tips. It was charming!
Party on the water!
We wandered back into the city streets and witnessed the progression of the party via the Prinsengracht (a canal) where many party boats pass through. As the afternoon wore on, the canal became more congested, the music seemed louder, and the mayhem continued. There was dancing on the street, street food vendors everywhere, and a general aura of genuine happiness. It really is a great day to be a Dutchie and to live in the fabulous city of Amsterdam.

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