May 3, 2012

Queen's Day | Amsterdam

Queen's Day is the Dutch answer to Carnival, to celebrate the Dutch Queen Mother's Birthday on April 30th and this was the perfect time for 3 of my close friends to visit me in the Dam!

My Mum is Dutch and for as long as I could remember she told us stories of the amazing celebrations that take place across the entire country to celebrate the Queen. The Dutch love their monarchy, and celebrating the birthday is nothing short of epic; even the children take part in the celebrations. 

On Koninginnedag there is a vrijmarkt/free market, where the Dutch sell their used items on the street. It's the one day of the year that the Dutch government permits sales on the street without a permit and without taxChildren set up tables and blankets on the sidewalk and become little hawkers for the day. They usually go on to spend the money they earned on sweets and candy!

Orange is the national colour of Holland and everyone and everything is decked out in as many orange articles of clothing as possible; there is nothing that can't be turned orange for the day!

The girls came for the weekend and from the moment they arrived it was go, go, go! There was so much going on in the city and we were trying our best to keep up, while also exploring the more traditional side of Amsterdam.

We managed to secure a spot on a boat for the Queen's Day celebrations (no easy feat!) and though this meant that I wouldn't be on the same boat as my Dutch friends, I had my Bajans and Trini to up the party level.

We were a little worse for wear in the morning, and we had some logistical issues trying to locate our boat: as you can see, there were a number of boats to choose from and this confused things a little bit.

Once we found our boat and opened our first Heineken, it was smooth sailing and we had the best day ever. The Dutchies love their House and trance music, so we were listening to that while on the boat. Naturally, as soon as we stepped off of the boat, we found ourselves a Latin/Drum & Bass street party tucked away in one of the alleys and spent the remainder of the day dancing in there. 

I would highly recommend you try to visit Amsterdam during Queen's Day celebrations, it's worth all of the hassle, chaos and 'oranjegekte'/ Orange craziness.

ps: See my previous Queen's Day teaser with a video here.

For all you Pinners out there:

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