It has been a festive week in the Netherlands: we flew our national flag three times this week on three very different national holidays. Half-mast on the most solemn day; Remembrance of the Dead on the 4th of May. A day to remember all who died fighting for our freedom in and since World War II. The flag went proudly to the top on Liberation Day on the 5th of May when we celebrate our freedom and the end of that same war. But the week had started with the biggest Dutch party of every year: Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag in Dutch) on the 30th of April.
On Queen’s Day the whole of the Netherlands turns orange. It is the single most important national holiday of the country. Not just in Amsterdam but all over the country people take to the streets. And the weather was a friend: it was the first time this year that the temperature got above 20 C. The sun and clear blue skies made Queen’s day 2012 extra special. Officially we celebrate the Queen’s birthday, on the day the late queen had her birthday by the way, but the day has evolved into a national display of togetherness and a celebration of being Dutch in a fun and relaxed way.
To reach all the street parties and other festivities most people used their bikes. And they dressed up for the occasion, not for their bike. That led to very cheerful street scenes. A parade of happy people on their bikes dressed in something orange.