Every April, people all over Holland celebrate Koninginnedag – or Queen’s Day – in many exciting ways, the most extravagant of which is by dressing head to toe in orange! This year, Amsterdam local, Albertine Rae, shares with us her experience and her fantastic pictures of the colourful celebrations that took place in Holland’s capital.
Albertine writes: Just like the Queen of England, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has two birthdays, but unlike her British counterpart, Queen Beatrix’s official birthday sees millions of Dutch revellers take to the streets. And nowhere is the party bigger than in Amsterdam.
Each year around one million visitors arrive in the city to celebrate in every street and on each of Amsterdam’s famous canals. The tradition of wearing orange, the Dutch national colour, causes ‘Orange Craze’ or oranjegekte: a sea of orange throughout the city.
On Queen’s Day, people set up stalls on every inch of pavement, selling clothes, toys, antiques, furniture and knick-knacks of every kind; this is definitely the time to find a bargain. Alongside the stalls, children do sweet things for spare change too, such as bashing on drum kits, dressing up as fairies, dancing, singing and even painting your portrait.
The party encompasses the entire city and the different parts of town all have their own characteristic celebrations. Go to Museumplein for an outdoor stage and a massive crowd, Vondel Park for bouncy castles, balloons and a brass band, and the Jordaan district for the party boats. The Prinsengracht Canal hosts a parade of competitive party-goers: competing for the loudest sound system, the best co-ordinated fancy dress and the greatest number of passengers per square foot. At the bridges where the canals meet, you’ll find singers, DJs and bands on tiny stages in front of teeming crowds of bouncing orange hats. You’ll see plenty of orange garlands, wigs and sunglasses too and maybe even a painted orange face or two!
On Queen’s Day, there’s something for everyone, and April 30 2011 should certainly be a date for your Dutch diary.
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More pictures of Queen’s Day in Amsterdam:
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