Queen’s Day celebration

A turn around in the weather spelled the big difference and great fun in this year’s traditional Queen’s Day celebration. The day before, we were still in our thick winter coat but on this day, we could go out in summer outfit, my husband even in his shorts.

The 30th of April has been celebrated as Queen’s Day during the reign of Queen Juliana (mother of Queen Beatrix, the reigning monarch) because that was her birthday and the gates of Soestdijk Palace opened up to the Dutch people who would come to bring her presents. She would be with the royal family in full force to meet the people in her very own down-to-earth manner. This has of course endeared her to her subjects. Queen Beatrix’s birthday is in January but the April 30 celebration has been retained because weather-wise, this is the best time for the Dutch to party. Holland on this day explodes in orange as the Dutch family belongs to the House of Orange-Nassau (Oranje-Nassau). The manner of celebration has also taken a different route. On this day, Queen Beatrix and the members of the royal family visit two towns/cities and participate in the many organized activities. The younger royals literally let their hair loose by joining in the many fun games, much to the amusement of the people who normally don’t get the chance to see them up close and personal and in such a very relaxed and playful manner.

This celebration has seen rough times in recent years. Three years ago, at the celebration in Apeldoorn which is also a royal stronghold, a drama unfolded right before the very eyes of the Dutch royals. A black Suzuki swift driven by a man suffering from depression drove through the crowd in full view of the royal family who were in an open bus. Eight people died from this incident which has always been viewed as a fun and safe activity.

This year, the royal family visited the towns of Veenendaal and Rhenen. The mood was sober especially when the queen addressed the crowd that unfortunately the royal family was not complete. Tragedy struck the royal family when the queen’s son Prince Johan Friso was buried in an avalanche while the family were on a skiing holiday in Austria last February. He is in coma and in long-term care at a specialized hospital in London and to which the doctors have already declared that he’ll never wake up again save for a miracle. He is the smartest of the queen’s three sons and father to two very young daughters who will never get to live normal lives again.

Apart from the festive mood, Holland is also one big flea market on this day. Anyone with second hand stuffs to sell is out to make a few bucks. It is a case of one’s junk can be another person’s treasure. Old clothes, shoes, toys, music records, DVDs, delicate chinas, books, etc. which have been segregated for disposal after spring cleaning can maybe still earn a few bucks. To my little girl, the big attraction was the merry go round and the chance to eat her favorite “olliebollen” which is normally something that is on sale around Christmas and New year. Some enterprising young girls were offering nail polish for 50 cents with several designs to choose from. My little girl showed her patriotic side asking for the colors of the Dutch flag.

After the walk through the busy Langestraat, we had enough of this Orange madness and decided to already go home. I suggested to the hubby that it is not a bad idea to head to the tulip fields in Zeewolde for our annual photo session since the weather is just fantastic for that.

Orange is the color of the day

Other people's junk can be another person's treasure

Everyone wants to earn a few bucks...this boy with his violin for a few cents

Selling old records

Old DVDs

Old toys and game boards

Old chinas, etc.

Old shoes

Old toys

A manicure of preferred design from enterprising girls for Eur 50 cents

The colors of the Dutch flag in her nails... a very satisfied customer

Merry-go-round always spells "F-U-N" to the little girl

A balloon is also a must-have...pricey at Eur 6.00

And "olliebollen" which has become rare at this time of the year is a treat to the little girl

Ogling the many sorts of sweets

About Malou
I'm a mom to a five-year old little girl with interest in cooking, baking, traveling and photography. Castles and palaces are special favorites so when weather permits for a good walk on weekends, me, hubby and little girl are always out for a bit of adventure.

58 Responses to Queen’s Day celebration

  1. The good weather has been a long time coming, hasn’t it? How lucky it arrived just in time for your celebrations. Looks like you all had a great time ;-)

    • Malou says:

      This good weather was a one-off. We’re now back to grey, wet and cold spring. I can hardly wait for summer to come. ;-)

  2. Looks like a great time was had by all!

  3. janinevasta says:

    So colourful Malou! I had no idea the Dutch were so bold when it comes to these things! ;-)

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Janine. The Dutch are quite bold in their expression of nationalism. In the last World Cup for instance, it was impossible to not be swayed by the Dutch fervor in supporting the Dutch team as they were obviously in orange. ;-)

  4. wvfarm2u says:

    I love the way you give us a view of life there!

  5. We are all happy here today in the north! Let the sun shine :-)

    • Malou says:

      Was your sunshine just a one-off like ours or it has managed to stay longer? Only on this day that we have sunshine and warm weather. ;-)

  6. EllaDee says:

    Love the photos. They are so full of life & colour :)

  7. Deb Platt says:

    You had lovely weather for outdoor fun, and your daughter makes a beautiful princess. But I was saddened to learn that some of the previous celebrations of this festive day had been marred by tragedies.

    • Malou says:

      Indeed that attack to the innocent crowd marred this celebration which has always been festive. In Amsterdam, it was also relatively quiet this year because the mayor did not grant permit to the usual activities for fear of untoward events. ;-)

  8. Lotus Mama says:

    Great to year about your Queen’s Day festivities there! Enjoy!

  9. Looks like lots of fun :)

  10. Thanks Malou,
    I have good memories of Queens Day; too bad about the queen’s son.
    Pass it on: I now have my E book published about Adrienne whose story starts in the Netherlands: ON THIN ICE and in a week or two it will be available at the E book retailers
    Thanks a bunch
    Johanna van Zanten

  11. likeitiz says:

    Great day to be outside!

  12. ShimonZ says:

    Looks like a beautiful celebration.

  13. mandala56 says:

    I can’t tell you how much I love the details of these photos of the celebrations. I love seeing what people are selling, the books, shoes, toys, candy! It’s fascinating to me. I’m so glad your weather was perfect. I wish I could be there at this time of year! And I also really love the tulip field photos with the line of trees on the horizon. Just beautiful.

  14. viveka says:

    Love the photo … so colorful and sunny … a great day out again with a princess. *smile Is it a doughnut she is eating ???? !!!!! Olliebollen – like the name! What ever it’s she enjoys it with her whole face. It was our Kings birthday yesterday. Great photos with plenty of colors and joy. Thanks !!!!!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Viveka. She’s eating an “olliebollen” or literally oily balls for these are dough balls deep fried and then sprinkled with lots of powdered sugar.

      Belated happy king’s day celebration. ;-)

  15. sillyliss says:

    How spectular!

  16. Theadora says:

    WOW!! I am so jealous!! Where to start. I love the photographs, of course. Gorgeous shots!! What a great looking flea market. So many treasures. Did you buy the Greatest Hits by Cat Stevens? I also love, love the nail polish and tiara! FAB post! Theadora (Pretty weather, too.)

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Theadora! I know that you are a big fan of flea markets and will always find some treasures in them. No, I did not buy the Cat Stevens LP but it was fun to see old stuffs coming out of obscurity especially in this day and age of iTunes. You and my little girl would make a great team when it comes to nail polish and tiara. ;-)

  17. Michael Zoll says:

    Sehr schön wieder!

    Liebe Grüße aus Berlin, Michael

  18. What an interesting set of photos – it looks like a great market to visit. Thanks for sharing :)

  19. That looks like such a fun day! Thanks for sharing, as always, Malou!

    I love flea markets. Did you pick up anything?

    • Malou says:

      It was a fun day but in the end, too busy for me. No, I tried not to be swayed to buy anything for myself but my daughter couldn’t resist a few stuffs. ;-)

  20. Thank you for sharing the history of Queen’s Day, it was really interesting to learn about that!

  21. BigSkyKen says:

    I, too, appreciate your explanation of the Queen’s Day celebration. It looks like a grand opportunity for people watching, and to take in a little fun. Nice set of photos to accompany the story!

  22. Michi says:

    I love outdoor festivals! They’re so lively, and I love browsing the food and artisan stands.

    • Malou says:

      You’re lucky in Spain which has so many fiestas and outdoor festivals, Michi. Here are mostly junks and second-hand stuffs which are on sale on Queen’s Day. ;-)

  23. FUN! Thanks so for sharing this, malou! I learn new things from you with every post!

  24. I gather there were hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Amsterdam that day. Huge party. Interesting to hear that it is a huge market as well.

    • Malou says:

      This is party time for the Dutch. Young and old are out and it is just the time for celebration. With the nice weather, we couldn’t complain either. ;-)

  25. annemiekeb says:

    Best day of the year. I miss you Amsterdam!

  26. I’ve heard so much about Queens Day in the Netherlands and how it’s one big party! This looks like so much fun!

  27. M.E. Garber says:

    Oh, your lovely photos remind me of the Queen’s Day we spent in Amsterdam, and the previous day spent at Keukenhof. I was amazed both by the size of the street party and the sheer civility of the party-goers! It was fantastic. And Keukenhof looked splendid, even in the showers. It just sprouted umbrellas that looked like giant flowers and mushrooms. Thanks for bringing back these memories. Beautiful blog!

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