Sunday, April 27, 2014

King + Orange = A Fun Day

Yesterday in the Netherlands was Koningsdag (King's Day).  What is Koningsdag? Koningsdag is the celebration of King Willem-Alexander's birthday.  It's a national holiday and is an excuse to go out, enjoy the weather on the canals and "party".  This was a special day because it was the first King's Day since the tradition started back in 1890, all other days were Koninginnedag (Queen's Day).  How would I describe it?  I would describe it as Mardi Gras meets canals meets boats meets a great time. Everyone is happy, drinking and wearing orange.

Orange is our new favorite color.
So why do they wear orange?  Well orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family, The House of Orange-Nassau, which is a branch of the European House of Nassau.  The name Orange takes its roots from the French Princedom of Orange, named after the town Orange in the South of France.  The Queen's title is a result of marriage in 1515 between Hendrik III of Nassau-Breda and Claudia of Chalon-Orange from French Burgundy.  The dynasty had been established, when their son adopted the title of Orange-Nassau.

The morning after looks like Walking Dead meets Mardi Gras.
So the events started on Friday, Koningsnacht (King's Night).  All over the city there were stages built with bands preforming at all hours of the night and when I say all hours of the night, I mean all hours of the night.  There was a stage about 200' from our house and the bands played until about 2:00 am!  The next morning is filled with "garage" sales which is then followed by packed canals and lots of parting.  It is a lot of fun and if you come to Amsterdam for Koningsdag, a boat is the way to do it.  In the words of the Dutch "Het was Gezellig."

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