Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A new King and Queen!

The biggest birthday party in the world is underway in the Netherlands right now. With Queen’s Night (April 29th) leading up to Queen's day, Queensday or Koninginnedag, it is a national holiday that celebrates the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands. Actually, a former Queen’s birthday, as Queen Beatrix’s birthday is really on January 31st and the date chosen is rather Her Majesties mother’s Juliana’s birthday so as to celebrate during the spring. This rather confusing birthday tradition will end this year because next year it will be King’s Day that will be celebrated, and the date will be the 27th of April. Maybe you ask yourself why?

The orange revelers take to the canals
The change is occurring because this Queen’s Day in 2013 marks the official abdication of Queen Beatrix and investiture of the new king and queen of the Netherlands.  The new King Willem-Alexander’s birthday is on April 27th, hence the new King’s Day starting in 2014. (And actually, 2014 will immediately be an exception because April 27th falls on a Sunday so it will be held the day before, April 26th, but after that King's Day will be on April 27th.)

King Willem Alexander and Queen Beatrix, source here
We were lucky enough to attend the giant birthday party in Amsterdam last year, and even with the children along it was absolutely a blast. The memories from those few days in the Netherlands are at the top of our expat travel experience, as in the same week we managed to fit in the famous tulip fields in the Haarlem area, Madurodam, the windmills and the dikes. A trip of a lifetime, considering Mikus was only 3 months old and Lauris was set to turn two in a few weeks.

Back to Queen’s Day! In honor of the Queen and the royal family (House of Orange) the city turns orange for a day. From clothes to food to decorations, the streets and canals become a wave of orange. The party has to be experienced to be believed!

The official events taking place this year include the official abdication at the Royal Palace on Dam Square, followed by the inauguration of His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange and Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands as the new king and queen at De Nieuwe Kerk. Large screens are set up across the city so that locals and visitors can all take part in the official program, which will include the official addresses and a Royal boat parade as well as a private reception for the new Royals.

Congratulations to the new King and Queen! We’ll be wearing orange today in your honor!!!

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! It sounds like your family had a wonderful time in the Netherlands. I'm impressed that you traveled with the kids. I'm just not brave enough yet.


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