Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
by In your dreams
SCOTLAND, United Kingdom
May 30, 2008
by Emily Marie
Bronx, New York
December 8, 2003
30 April is known as Queens Day, or in the native Dutch, Koninginnedag. This is Queen Beatrix’s birthday. The whole country turns into a giant birthday party. I’ve never been to New Orleans, but I would guess Queens Day is a (surprisingly?) sanitized equivalent of Mardi Gras.
How is it sanitized? Well, it’s a family holiday celebrated around the country. Last year I started the day out in a small town in Limburg county, about a three-hour journey to Amsterdam. As I was waiting for the bus, the village children were setting up for a bicycle procession through the town, accompanied by a small musical band. Everyone was wearing orange, or the red white, and blue that represents the Dutch flag.
The larger the town, the greater the celebration. So as Amsterdam is the popular capital of the country, it is home to the largest celebration. From Centraal Station and down the Damrak, trams are not operational. Instead the streets are pedestrian-only, with shops and bars opening up outside counters. Some bars set up portable stages and host live music or DJs. It’s half flea market, half block party. Some people are in costumes while others wear those same Dutch colors.
In this city famous for its sex industry, there is no over-exposure to such things on this day. No Mardi Gras-esque flashing, no beads to be traded. Besides, if you really are missing this stuff, the Red Light District remains open, although here too the bars are busy outside. On the eastern-most side of the district, there is a mini-amusement park set up on Queens Day. This again shows how this holiday is more family-oriented than what transpires in New Orleans.
If you are planning to go to Amsterdam for the day, I’d make a few suggestions. First off, get a hotel. By this I mean don’t expect to get to some other city by the end of the day. The first time I was in the country I was staying in Nijmegen. However in both Amsterdam and Arnhem (where trains to Nijmegen stop), the party had flowed onto the train tracks and I was lucky to squeeze onto one train. I made it as far as Arnhem, and then had to jump on a bus instead of another train. From what I understand, the NS (Dutch trains) now plan for such events by cutting down train service on some routes. So again, plan to stay the night. Also be prepared to walk. It’s the best way to see everything, and as I mentioned, as you get closer to the city center, there are no real other transport solutions except the Metro.
A few days after this nationwide party--4 May to be exact--is War Remembrance Day, and the 5th of May is Liberation Day. These days signify the end of WWII for Holland. War Remembrance Day is a somber day, quite the opposite of Queens Day. At a certain time Beatrix lays a wreath at the memorial in Dam Square and the whole country partakes in a minute of silence. In most if not all towns, speakers are set up and the people come out to listen to the Queen speak and honor the moment of silence. Next year, the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, expect special events on these days. For that matter, this September (2004) will be the 60th anniversary of the failed Allied offensive of Market Garden, and events are being planned for Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem… The cities where Allied paratroopers dropped during the operation.
If you are intending to visit The Netherlands, the end of April and the start of May is an ideal time to visit. Not only do these holidays offer insight into the Dutch people, but the weather is often lovely at this time of year. Other seasonal events, such as the Keukenhof--or the famed tulip displays and fields--are open at this time of year too.
From journal It's much more than vice city
August 2, 2003
Amsterdamers love to party and this is one great big party for the whole of the city, and I do believe, probably the country. I say this because it felt that the whole of the country was there. This is not a day for those who cannot handle a crowd. Orange is the color of the royals so you will also see people covered from head to toe in it. You may feel a bit awkward if you forgot your orange crown, but don't fret, there is surely a helpfull soul just waiting to sell you one.
This is the one day that everyone is allowed to haul all their old junk out onto the street and hope to sell it. Locals mark out their spots days in advance and set up as early as 6am! In my experience I saw everything from tea sets to sunglasses to (yes, this is true) a stand with four kitchen sinks!
One last necessity of the day is to enjoy Heineken . . . all day long!
So with boats cramming the canals, people cramming the streets and music playing all day long, head out and enjoy this party of all parties in Amsterdam.
From journal Living the Amsterdam Life
by Annie W
January 27, 2003
The evening before Koninginnedag, all of Amsterdam goes out to visit their favorite café and just to be out on the streets. Students (and ex-students) tend to concentrate around the Spui (Café Luxembourg). Beware of the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein: these popular squares are crowded with drunks from all over Holland, thinking they need to be in Amsterdam in order to have a good time.
On the 30th itself, the main attraction is the Vrijmarkt: anyone is allowed to sell on the streets. The perfect opportunity to buy old books or records, cups and plates and other attic stuff. Be early if you really intend to discover some jewels.
Visit the Vondelpark which is the domain for children. Be surprised by all different inventions which should gain a little profit: listen to brave attempts of a five-year-old to play Mozart on a violin, blow a ball into a hoop, buy a cookie, and make sure you bring lots of change.
Also the Jordaan makes for a very nice walk this day, with a bit more commercialized outlets.
For gays and lesbians: check out the area around the Westerkerk (close to the Pink Monument) and around Rembrantplein, "Gay Avenue."
From journal Things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
March 10, 2002
Approximately one million people visit Amsterdam during the day.
From journal An insiders view on Amsterdam
September 11, 2000
From journal Amsterdam for the Queen's Birthday