Long live the king - or queen!
While we Dutchies love to hunt for the best orange outfit, best things to sell on the big King's Day flee markets and collect as much coins to both get the best second hand buys and (alcoholic) drinks, also foreigners tend to find their way to the biggest orange party of the year.
We talked to Ezgi from Turkey who was a master student in Tilburg in 2013, Marek from Slovakia who was an exchange student in Groningen in 2011 and Mel from Spain who did her EVS in Bovenkarspel in 2006.
The marching band being my alarm
Marek woke up in the best possible way on his first Queen's Day (note: until 2013 we celebrated Queen's Day, in 2014 our current King took over from his mother the Queen, and the name of the national holiday changed as well). "I lived in Paddepoel-Noord, not the most exciting part of Groningen, but on Queen's Day I woke up because of the marching band passing through my street. Of course I was curious about what was happening, so I got straight out of bed to look out of the window. I was surprised about all the people out on the streets and all the flags everywhere! It was very nice and gezellig, also the see how proud you are about your country."
Some years earlier, Mel woke up way earlier. "During my EVS I organized a youth exchange, and we decided to collect money by selling our stuff on Queen's Day. It was the first time in my life I saw people 'fight' to get a piece of the street. When I saw everybody carrying the huge amounts of things they wanted to sell (and bought as well), I realized why. Haha! It's a big open-marked day, where everyone cleans out their closet and puts it outside."
Ezgi's party started in the train. "We took the train from Tilburg to Amsterdam, and already then the party started. I didn't expect that! It was amazing to see how the city was filled with happy people, dressed up in orange even. Luckily I had already taken on my orange t-shirt at home and my orange wig in the train. I bought that one especially for Queen's Day, but I used it many more times. Both in the Netherlands and in other places!"
Party with a capital P
Mel nowadays knows all about the orange festival, as she's been living in Amsterdam since 2011. "I now know Queen's Day in Bovenkarspel only is a light edition of the craziness in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam celebrations really is a party, with a capital P. There's music and alcohol everywhere, and it does remind me of the festivities in the area where I grew up in Spain. We're just not as crazy to wear orange, but I do like that about the Netherlands!"
It was the very first time for Marek though to celebrate a national holiday, and the day didn't go as easy. "I didn't believe everybody would be wearing orange, so I went out in my normal clothes. It was crazy busy and e-ve-ry-one was wearing orange. I hardly managed to keep on moving, but I was glad to hear from my Dutch friends it was worse when the Netherlands played soccer on the World Cup the year before. And that it would have been way worse if I wouldn't have been wearing orange then."
"My excuse is the fact that we don't have a party like King's Day in Slovakia. Our national holiday is on the first of January, so we mostly celebrate the new year. And of course, we've only been an own country since 1993. I think it would cost time to build a tradition like this. We can learn from the Netherlands, because you really enjoy a day like this - and we get to join you. Hup Holland Hup!"