This Friday the whole of Amsterdam will turn orange, and by that I don’t mean every inhabitant will get an awful spray tan, I mean it will be Queen’s Day! Rosie Khdir discovers the traditions of this royal celebration.
On April 30th 2010 the Dutch will celebrate Queen’s Day, a national holiday which has been taking place on this day since 1949. The history of this event goes back to 1885 when the Liberal Union intended it as a day of national unity for the Netherlands.
This began with the celebration of the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina on 31 August 1885, and it was called Princess’ Day until her Coronation in 1890.
In September 1948 Queen Juliana ascended to the throne and from 1949 onwards her birthday, 30th April, was known as Queen’s Day. When her daughter and current Queen, Beatrix succeeded her in 1980, she decided to keep the celebration in April, as a tribute to her mother – and because her own birthday is in January when weather tends to prohibit outdoor celebrations.
Every year, since her Coronation, Queen Beatrix has visited cities and town around Holland, where she is shown regional versions of traditional Dutch dances and demonstrations of old crafts. This year she will be visiting Wemeldinge and Middleburg.
All over the country millions of people will celebrate in the streets adorned in clothes and costumes of orange in honour of the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange. It’s not just the clothes, it’s the food, the drink and the decorations, it’s like the whole of Holland has been tangoed!
Traditional flea markets line the city streets and boats filled with orange people fill the canals. In recent years it has become more of an open-air celebration and outdoor concerts are not uncommon. Amsterdam is always one of the busiest places during this holiday and can attract up to 800,000 visitors who party in the public squares and in bars.
If you would like to celebrate with the Dutch this weekend, don’t forget that Amsterdam is just a short drive from the International port of Rotterdam which is serviced by P&O Ferries’ Hull – Rotterdam route.
Image courtesy of Holland.com