Saturday, 26 April 2014

Two Reasons to Celebrate Today: 200 and King's Day

This is my 200th blog post on Expat Life with a Double Buggy! Woop, woop. Want to know just how special that is? Look outside and you'll see flags flying and people partying in the street. 200 posts. Wow.
Oh, and it's also the first King's Day in the Netherlands. Ever. Koningdag. Which is also kind of special. But absolutely not why everyone is flying flags and dancing in the streets.

Noticed how everyone around you is still calling today Koninginnedag  - that's because this kind of change takes time to get used to. Since this day of royal celebration began, back in 1885, it has been Queen's Day, marking the birth day of the reigning Dutch queen. Until Beatrix came to the throne that is. She kept the celebration of Queen's Day as her mother's birthday on 30 April, instead of changing the date to her own birthday in January. For weather reasons. Who wants to party outside in January? In the Netherlands? No one, not even to mark 200 blog posts.

Last year, on the last day of April the Netherlands celebrated Queen's Day for the last time, at least for a while until one of Willem-Alexander's three daughters takes over the throne. Beatrix handed over the royal reigns to her son and he became the first King of the Netherlands since Willem III left the throne in 1890. Hence, there has been no previous King's Day celebration in the Netherlands.

Everything wears orange
on Queen's/King's Day
King Willem-Alexander celebrates his birthday on the 27 April and so chose to move King's Day to his 'real' birth date. The 27th however falls on a Sunday this year, and Sundays are just not done when it comes to King or Queen's Day. So it was moved to the 26th, a Saturday.

So, one of his first actions as king was to piss off a lot of Dutch people who lost their day off work (had it remained the 30th April we'd all be dancing in the streets on a Wednesday, a bank holiday, a day off). Luckily for him, I believe, he was quickly forgiven.

So here we are. King's Day. My father and stepmother are actually flying over from England for this very historic, special occasion (well, that and their grandson's 4th birthday) but I'm guessing it will be pretty much like every other Queen's Day you may or may not have had the pleasure to
celebrate. It's a lot of fun - and the only day of the year you can just willy-nilly lay a blanket on the floor and sell your unwanted belongings to passersby.

More crap being sold than you can shake a stick at
In short, get your orange clothes on, put a silly orange hat on your head and get yourself in to your nearest town to buy somebody else's unwanted crap from the pavement, listen to music, have a drink or two and generally enjoy the gezelligheid of the Dutch party goers around you.

What do you have planned? Where will you be spending the first Dutch King's Day?

1 comment:

Meg Fenn said...

Congratulations! Of course they are flying flags for you Amanda, you are awesome. To be honest, I had no idea there even was a Queen's day or a King's day in the Netherlands. Love learning something new about a country I've visited and like. Hope you popped open the champagne and celebrated big for your big achievement.