Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Orange You Glad the Dutch Have a New King?

Watching karaoke performed on a stage in a town square.

Singing and swaying to "Brabant"  with a group of Dutch fellas. 

Seeing an ocean of orange in Amsterdam

Sipping Jenever.

Witnessing History.

April 30th.  The Last Queen's Day or Koninginnedag AND the investiture of a new King of The Netherlands. And we were there, in Amsterdam, for both.  Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced her abdication on January 28th. [You can read about my reaction to the abdication here] She transfered her royal duties to her son Willem-Alexander on Queen's Day, April 30, 2013.  Making Willem the first Dutch King since 1890.  I'm not going to pretend I know much more than that, but trust me, it's a big deal.

There are plenty of other news outlets and bloggers that have reported on this historic event so I won't repeat it all here.  Fellow Dutch expat @Momofthreeunder provides some great insights and questions on the royals at her blog: Take a read, good stuff.

I'll let the pictures, videos and my ramblings tell the story of what transpired for us from April 29th-May 1st.  Enjoy.

As seen on TV: The Royal Family.  The King is on the left.

Queen's Day Preparations in Oss
Rolling out the orange carpet in Oss. Can you sense my excitement & fear?

Mobile Heineken bars
Seriously, this town loves to set up tents and stages for parties
If you think I'm kidding about Oss loving to party; watch this video.  

The Main Event: Queen's Day in Amsterdam

Since it was our first (and probably only) Queen's Day, I was a little nervous for a few reasons: 1.) They were expecting massive crowds in Amsterdam for the day. 2.) We had no idea what to expect.  So, I figured our best strategy was structure.

I found a party targeted to "international visitors" at the beautiful Zuiderkerk.  This old church was transformed into what was called "The Royal Cafe." I figured having an organized event to attend (with bathrooms) was clutch.  However, I grew hesitant of my decision when I discovered a party targeted to international guests would not accept our US based credit card for payment.  

AmsterDAN & Vicki
Technical difficulties aside, the party was a blast.  We met a very nice Dutch couple who interpretted all the events around the coronation/inaguration of the new King.  Plus I discovered that I love Jenever.  A traditional Dutch liquor.

Hello Jenever.  This bottle may or may not have ended up coming home with us.
Royal Blanket
I blame the Jenever for giving me the idea that the orange blanket behind me with a picture of the royal family was complimentary.  I would LOVE to see the security camera footage of me "stealthily" trying to wrap up that bright orange blanket under my arm.  The best part; once I triumphantly had my stolen article outside we felt the need to further conceal it.  Where should we perform this maneuver? Why not right in front of the security for the party.  A burly bald Dutch man saw the hijinks that we were conducting and swooped in and with a very polite "Thank You," in perfect English he reclaimed this commemorative trophy that I was attempting to liberate.

DannyZ: International Man of Orange
Thievery aside, "Partying with the Dutch" at the Royal Cafe was a great time.  One of the highlights of the event was trying to set the world record for the biggest portrait of former Queen Beatrix made entirely from bitterballen.  Dutch, you crazy.

Participating in the events to celebrate Queen's Day was fun and a bit confusing all at the same time.  No, the Jenever was not the root cause of this confusion.  We could totally feel (and see) that the Dutch had a great sense of national pride, but as outsiders, it felt very strange.  I guess it's similar to visitors to the United States on the Fourth of July.  Whatever their view of the royal family was, it seemed the entire country (or at least all of Amsterdam) rallyed around their monarchy for this day to celebrate; Dutch Style.

The People of Amsterdam on Queen's Day 2013

Even the Irish Pub was closed to celebrate Queen's Day and the New King.

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