Wednesday, 30 April 2008
A stall at the Vondelpark in Amsterdam
Typical koninginnedag-humour in Amsterdam; the sign says 'overthrow the royal house', referring to the pictures of the royal family on the pile of boxes one can throw balls at.
Koninginnedag in Amsterdam, 2005Queen's Day (Dutch: Koninginnedag) is a celebration in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba on April 30 (or April 29th if the 30th is a Sunday). Originally a celebration of the queen's birthday, it is now mainly known for the 'vrijmarkt' (literally 'freemarket'), the one day in the year that anyone is allowed to sell anything in the streets and 'koninginnenacht' (Queen's Night) on the preceding night. It is also a Dutch holiday.
It started as a celebration of the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962), on August 31. After 1948 Koninginnedag moved to April 30 (the birthday of Queen Juliana). When Queen Beatrix succeeded Juliana on jan 30, 1980, she decided to keep the holiday on April 30th as a tribute to her mother. Furthermore, the weather on her own birthday (January 31st) tends to prohibit the traditional outdoor festivities. April 30th, however, is renowned for having very pleasant weather.
During the reign of Queen Juliana, and the Queen would welcome people who came to the Soestdijk Palace. The Queen and her family would stand on a dais, and a long line of citizens would walk past, congratulating her and presenting her gifts. These days, Queen Beatrix visits one or two towns where she is shown traditional Dutch dances and demonstrations of old crafts.