You know those days and moments that live up to all their expectations? Koninginnedag, Queen’s Day, was one of those times for me. The entire day was so fun and perfect, that even though my feet still hurt from walking, I still don’t want it to be over! Queen’s Day celebrates Queen Beatrix’s birthday on April 30 every year. Since orange is the color of the royal house, the entire country goes ‘oranje gekte,’ orange-crazy. The city was a swarming sea of people wearing orange–when I finally went to bed last night, I could still see it when I closed my eyes!
Here are a few of my favorite things about Queen’s Day.
1) Vrijmarkt: It’s the only day of the year when people can sell their stuff, yard-sale style. We actually got up early to catch the best of the markets before the partier tourists took over, which was so fun. You can sell anything, really. Furniture, clothing, antiques, baked good and drinks, even plants were for sale! Every single street in the city had blankets on the sidewalks with goods spread out on them. We walked all day, and still never saw all of them!
2) Baked goods and lemonade stands. At every stall in the vrijmarkt people were selling homemade baked good they’d made the night before. Cakes, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and more, all lovingly decorated with orange frosting. And the kids’ lemonade stands were all pretty hard to resist, as well.
3) Orange. Everywhere. I’ve never seen so much bright orange in my life!
4) Everyone chips in to make the day fun, and everyone is in a great mood. The whole city pitches in! Amsterdammers themselves run contests and games, their kids play flute on the street corner to roaring applause, food is sold by everyone, and a smile or free orange hat is easy to find. The festive atmosphere is impossible to resist. It’s a day where the usual rules of living in a busy city (ignore everyone around you) are abandoned happily and everyone is your new best friend. Because when you’re all dressed head to toe in bright orange, who’s to say otherwise?
Until next year, Happy Queen’s Day!