I had just placed my order at the Italian restaurant Laura recommended to me, Casa di David. I was with my mom, so I asked her if I could go snap a few shots of the canal while we waited on our meals. She said yes and off I went…
I walked not even a block before I stopped in my tracks in awe of a fascinating building. The Renaissance-style and stepped gable facade homes of Amsterdam hugged its gothic structure. My eyes were drawn up and I instantly realizedRead More
I arrived in Amsterdam on Monday morning expecting nothing but a normal day in the beautiful city. Boy oh boy was I wrong! Turns out that I had arrived on the biggest public holiday of the year in the Netherlands…
Queen’s Day 2012
Queen’s Day, or “Koninginnedag,” is the national celebration of the Queen’s birthday. It’s celebrated every year on April 30th, which was the birthdate of Queen Juliana. They decided to keep it this date when Beatrix became queen because the weather was better for partying in April, rather than in January (her actual birthday).
It was 6 am when the shuttle dropped us off at the hotel. Already, there were people setting up their items for the one day of the year that Amsterdam has unregulated street trade. I made my way over to see what people were selling, but it turned out to be nothing more than items from your typical garage sale: dated and used clothing, electronics, and stuffed animals. I took a few photos and quickly headed back to the hotel room to get a quick nap before the big day.
At about noon I made my way downtown to find the most insane and biggest party ever. Music was blasting out of every bar, DJs were blaring techno, and various bands were playing on street corners. People were arriving on their boats in the canals, dancing through the streets, throwing beer bottles left and right, and peeing in the alleys. The color orange had filled the streets and canals.
This was my first impression of Amsterdam. I honestly didn’t know what to think. It was insane, yet so interesting to experience such a huge national holiday that I had never even heard of!
Apart from when a Brazilian man chased me begging me to give him a kiss and a drunkard spilling beer on my face, I really did have a good time. Luckily I happened to bring my only orange shirt and a few ladies gave me some festive necklaces. I may not have felt like I fit in with all the drunks, but at least I looked like I belonged!
Since it’s a national holiday, nothing was open on Queen’s Day apart from bars and restaurants. Trains were shut down, trams stopped running, and cars didn’t even dare to drive on the streets. Party people filled literally every open space! So did trash… Apparently Queen’s Day is also Trashcan-free Day. People just dropped and left their trash everywhere – guilt free. I made the mistake of wearing open-toed shoes and spent most of the day dodging pieces of broken glass beer bottles!
Queen’s Day in Amsterdam was quite the experience for my first time in the Netherlands. It seems like the unexpected always happens to Laura and me, but this seemed so extreme!