Queen’s Day in The Netherlands is the equivalent to our Australia Day, except it is about 100 times bigger and it is held in celebration of Queen Beatrix’s birthday. All semester, the Dutch have been telling me how lucky I was to come in this half of the year, as I would be here for this one very special day.
To the Dutch, Queen’s Day is basically a day where everything that is illegal (which is not a lot!) becomes legal for one day. Which means that drinking on the streets is acceptable and you can busk or sell goods without a licence. This all makes for a crazy day!
The night before, Queen’s Night, is spent partying. Everyone parties, no exceptions. Then everyone drags themselves out of bed the next morning to do it all over again! The next day, especially in Amsterdam, is filled with music, dancing, food, drinking, smoking, games and much more, as everyone does their bit to celebrate the Queen.
The city was a sea of orange, as this is the national colour that everyone wears with pride during the day. People everywhere were dressed with orange wigs, orange sunglasses, orange ties, orange hats etc. Everyone gets really into it, even the tourists who have come from all over Europe to join in on this famously fun day.
The Netherlands is a rather wealthy country and therefore the government was able to put in lot of effort into the entertainment for the day. My friends and I spent the better part of the day at Vondelpark, where a huge concert was held, with the big act for the day being DJ Tiesto, who I have never heard of, but according to all my European friends, he is extremely famous in all of Europe. The concert was complete with fireworks, balloons and streamers.
For lunch, we bought burgers from somebody’s barbeque, as all the restaurants were closed, because all the workers were out celebrating! Then, of course, we celebrated with a few Heinekins!
Afterwards, the city was an absolute wreck. There was rubbish everywhere, the public toilets were a mess, there were many people passing out on the street and the public transport system was not functioning to its best! However, everyone had an awesome day, and I suppose that’s all that matters!
I’m really happy that I was in The Netherlands for the 30th of April, as I truly believe you cannot fully experience the Dutch culture without celebrating a Queen’s Day