… well, that could be a rather long and dull story. In short: two years ago, our Dutch Queen Beatrix stepped down literally and handed the crown over to her son, Willem-Alexander of Orange. About whom many a joke has been made since he was young, but let’s skip that part for now, just like the story of Argentinan Máxima Zorreguieta who became his better half in 2002, causing quite an uproar because of her father‘s dubious past.
In 2013, the trams in Amsterdam turned the same color as the Golden Coach the Oranges use for official events, and to be honest, I actually enjoyed watching them from our window – I had just returned to my home country after over 2 years in exile, maybe this was the reason for my admiration of anything explicitly Dutch, let alone the crowing of a King for the first time in 123 years! During the wedding ceremony which father Zorreguieta wasn’t allowed to attend because of his dubious past, hence the Argentinan musical intermezzo causing Máxima to shed her nationally-famous tear.
Where was I? From 2013 on, we have a King and like his mother, he has a national day of festivities devoted to him, whether he wants to or not. Before, he was sort fo obliged to come alomg with his mother, visiting sleepy towns in the Netherlands who had prepared for their arrival for months and months in their “Orange Committees”. The maximum and also horrifying outcome of that: our Crown Prince, throwing a toilet bowl during “Queen’s Day”, 2012. A year after that, he was crowned our King and made himself, or/and his wife, the promise to never engage in such ridiculous activites again.
This year, no traditional or regional bullshit activities. The date of “KIng’s Day” has shifted to April 27th [instead of the 30th] and apart from a boat tour and royal waving, there was’s too much he rather wouldn’t do.
For us, normal creatures, not much has changed though, Some people start drinking and partying night before and sleep in on King’s Day. Some just keep on going ’til; the end – it is a national holiday, after all! Others try to dig a holer and crawl into it, not to emerge until everuthing is back to normal. Others have kids and they spend the day outside, hoping the weather will be ok, and stroll one of the many many flea markets – many sell their own old stuff, children’s toys and clothing and knick-knacks.
I did a little bit of everything, which was fun. At 7, I dragged my husband to a posh neigborhood where the fleas are loaded, so to say. Slightly disappointed there, we continued on to our own neighborhood: the Eastside. We found some tnice things – not too much, because we try to de-clutter/1 In the meantime, my mother was at home woth our children and helped them prepare the rest of the price tags for their own ‘flea stall’ – well, we sat on the grass with all the items on blankets. The children were playing with their frineds from school and spending their hard-earned wages on candy and ugly crap. School of Life, right? We had a beer and cleaned up in the end, leaving us wioth a big bag full of leftover fleas. That bag is in the trunk of the car now, ready to be taken to the 2nd store, which will probably be bursting with other people’s unsold.. items.
And so, King’s Day isn’t much different from Queen’s Day at all, to me, so far. Maybe when I get older ~I will follow the tv registrations and mutter something about traditions being neglected and thrown out the window. Until that time, I will enjoy and appreciate this day, which is so different from other weekdays, maybe that is the best part: undertaking something with your partner / family that you usually don’t do.
Buying second hand brand clothing for 1 or 2 euros per item… that’s great, We Dutch love bargains!