“How much are you asking for that second hand doll?”
“I will give you two”
Soon the streets will be a-bustling with people young and old in all the cities and towns in The Netherlands. As they walk along inspecting the second hand goods for sale at the flea-market. As it is the only day in a year when permit-free trade is allowed. Resulting in, all the attic and garage junk finding its way onto the streets of Holland, and then eventually finding its way to another attic or garage.
Also in my opinion a day when the thriftiness of the land is at its heights. As people rummage through loads of second hand goods, looking for a good bargain, making sure not to miss a single pile of goods laid out on the street by children and adults alike.
Queen’s day to King’s day
All this festivity is the result of a national holiday marking the King’s birthday, the 27th of April. Which, as a matter of fact, was a tradition started in 1890 by Queen Wilhelmina to mark her birthday, 31st of August. Then the date changed to the 30th of April which is the birthdate of Queen Juliana the daughter of Queen Wilhelmina. This date was valid for a long time since Queen Beatrix who succeeded Juliana in 1980 decided to mark this date as the Queen’s day as a tribute to her mother. Until 2013 when she abdicated the throne to be succeeded by her son King Willem- Alexandra the date was changed without much ado to the 27th of April as King’s day as we know it today.
Along with the flea-market flooding the streets and squares of every town and city, the daily tranquility of the towns and cities will be disrupted by music, dance and partying. Turning the whole country into one big street festival of the year.
The royal family also celebrate this day with the people. By visiting a city, mingling with the people and playing traditional Dutch games with school children. A tradition also started by Queen Beatrix.
How is a city selected for the royal visit ? Well, every year city municipalities send a request to the King to come and celebrate his birthday in their city. The king along with his advisers then chooses a city where he will celebrate King’s day with the royal family. One of the criteria being that each time it is in a different province.
The whole country will be painted orange this day. Yes, orange is the national colour, so people go crazy with orange this day. Flags, clothes, toys, even food! The bakeries for example will offer orange coloured cakes or biscuits or… You just name it and this day it will be provided in orange. In other words there is no escape from orange this day!
So if you can’t beat them, just join them, just put on something orange and join the party everyone is welcome to this celebration. Above all, this is your chance to cross-culture the Dutch way, so don’t mis it.