Dano, Melissa, Kennedy, Ethan, Erin, Abigail, and Emily

Dano, Melissa, Kennedy, Ethan, Erin, Abigail, and Emily

19 May 2012

Long Live the Queen!

Each year the Dutch celebrate the Queen’s birthday on April 30th.   Though Queen Beatrix’s birthday is actually in January, her mother, Queen Juliana, was born on April 30th.  It also marks the day Queen Beatrix was inaugurated as Queen in 1980.  As a tribute to her mother, Queen Beatrix maintained the traditional date of April 30th.   Koninginnedeg is the largest party of the year in Holland.  Each year the Queen and the Royal Family visit one city in Holland for Queen’s Day.  We’re hoping we’ll be so lucky to have it be Wassenaar during our stay. 

Every town and city decorates everything in the national color, orange.  If you have anything orange, you wear it.  The entire country transforms into a giant garage sale because it is also vrijmarkt dag or free market day.  Everyone brings anything and everything they want to sell out on the main street of town and sets it up on a blanket for the day.  

Kids can also perform on the streets and earn money.  Amsterdam is, as we were told, a whole different story.  We were advised not to even attempt to drive to Amsterdam.  Koninginnedeg can bring out nearly one million people in Amsterdam, especially when the weather is nice, as it was on Monday.  People put their boats on canals, celebrate from their balconies.  It’s a giant party!

We headed out on our bikes (in our orange, of course) to our main street in Wassenaar to check out how our town of Wassenaar celebrates Queen’s Day.  

Abby had been very excited all weekend about the ‘big holiday.’  Clearly they had been learning about it in school.  She was quite disappointed to arrive on the Langstraat (main street through town) only to find the Queen was NOT there.  Her letdown quickly turned when we began walking down the street and began seeing friends.  Kennedy found one of her friends playing her flute.  She made forty Euros that day.  One year she made ninety Euros!  

We had friends selling baked goods.  There was a wonderful quartet from the high school jazz choir.   One of our friends was even selling awesome wallets he had made from duct tape.

We also took advantage of the beautiful weather to get some shots by our Wassenaar windmolen (windmill).  It stands as a landmark in the middle of town.
We finished the day with a relaxing BBQ.  I did wonder, though, how and what they will celebrate when the monarchy shifts to the next in line, Prince William Alexander.