For a relatively down-to-earth group of folks, Dutch people certainly love all things royal. At the top of the royal list would of course have to be their beloved Koningin (queen, that is)!
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard is the current Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Yes, my friends it is a kingdom and includes more than just the lowlands. In a sort of a twee-halen-een-betalen-way (buy-1-get-1-free), the Queen also proceeds over the exotic islands of Curacao, Sint Maarten and Arbua.
What better way to show the Queen some serious love then by throwing a massive, nation-wide, festive, rowdy, celebratory –and most importantly–orange F-I-E-S-T-A!
Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) is held every year on April 30th and has been celebrated for over 100 years, originating in 1891 to celebrate the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina. Things get a little tricky here, so stay with me: Queen Wilhelmina’s actual birthday was in August – but in 1948 the Queen’s Day holiday was re-scheduled to April 30th with the coronation of the new Queen Juliana, who’s b-day is indeed on the 30th of April. It appears that Queen Beatrix was not as egocentric, as she continued with the April 30th tradition, although her birthday is actually January 31st (a bit chilly for a street party, eh?).
In Amsterdam, Queen’s Day is a frenetic sea of orange. The Dutch (+ thousands of orange-wanna-be tourists) turn oranjegekte (orange crazed) and take to the streets en-masse for major celebrations. It’s one day when Dutch people are allowed to drag all their household junk onto the streets and sell it, tax free. I don’t need to tell you that Dutch people
like love a bargain – so this whole entire-city-is-a-flea-market-thing goes off real swell!
Bells sound, bands play, children perform, deals made, bargains found, copious amounts of alcohol consumed. All-in-all, its a rip-roaring, orange-wearing, national-pride-instilling kinda of day!
Of course this year marks the end of Trixy’s 33 year reign, and as a truly beloved Queen she will be greatly missed by the people of the Netherlands. Her son Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, will be sworn in today (April 30th 2013) becoming the world’s youngest King at a mere 46 years of age and the first male monarch of the Netherlands since 1890. Can boys do it better? We have yet to find out!