Koninginnedag

Otherwise known as the Queens Day. A wonderfully dutch holiday which I have heard is getting imitated in Germany and even in England!
The 30th of April is when we celebrate our Queens birthday. Her birthday is not actually today, it was her mothers birthday, but she decided to stick to this day to honor her mother.
So what do we do on this nationalistic holiday?
The biggest attraction and the most fun is the free market which takes place in almost every town and city. Basically it's just a garbage garage sale which is spread out over the streets. Everybody and their cousin lays out all their old clothes, books, toys, furniture, computers, lamps, tools, .... you name it, you'll be able to find it! The most creative salesmen then dress themselves up in orange, as you can see in these pictures and encourage you to buy their
wares. In the big cities, like Utrecht (where I used to live), the joy starts the night before and people stay up all night drinking, laughing and selling their stuff. There's wars fought over who gets to spread their blanket where, students hang out of the windows with their speakers blaring music, all kinds of food is sold on every street corner, and thousands and thousands of euros are spent and earned. I love it!
The last couple of years we lived in Houten, where they focussed mainly on entertaining the kids. So only kids got to sell their stuff. I went with Tristan a number of times and we made quite a big amount of cash! What a way to effectively clean up a room! And it's just great fun haggling with people and then going out to spend the money on books (for example).

This year was our first year in this town. The school around the corner had decorated a truck, all the kindergartners were put in and there was a parade to the town center. The mayor made a speech, music was played, and the sales started. Herman and I walked aroud and bought a lamp for Marinda's room and a microwave oven which we then transported back home on the back of our bikes. Really, I should have gotten a picture!
Those who don't sell or buy stuff on the market stay at home and watch the Queen and her family making her rounds in one of Hollands towns. Believe me, it's a big deal when the Queen comes to visit. Usually a lot of traditional dutch stuff is set up for the Queen to ooooh and aaaah at. The whole visit is shown live on tv. Traditionally you must drink coffee and eat one of these while watching.
I love Holland on days like these! People are in a good mood and acting quirky. It's great!

2 reacties:

Dori said...

Any holiday where you get to sit around drinking coffee and eating pastries is a good day in my book! Is that some sort of cake? I would have loved to have seen you two carting a microwave back on a bike!!

A Touch of Dutch said...

Great one! The fact of Queen's Day being a day when the majority of people in Holland all are happy is very true! They need more of these holidays here :)

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