A New King and a Lot of OrangeHeather Tucker, Monday, May 6, 2013
"What time do you want to go?"
Normally on Queen's Day, deciding what time to depart for the markets is a pretty brainless decision - whenever we wake up and are ready - but this Queen's Day was special.
Back at the end of January 2013 the now former Queen Beatrix announced that she would abdicate. Her eldest son, Prince (now King) Willem-Alexander, was to succeed her as the new monarch of the Netherlands. This announcement brought all sorts of excitement to the country, especially as the investiture was to take place on April 30th - the same date as Queen’s Day, one of the biggest and most orange holidays in the country.
We were already behind schedule after waking up late, which left us with two options. We could leave straight away for the markets and watch the abdication and balcony appearance later on TV. Or we could watch both live and then head to the markets. We went with the later option. Missing the arrival of the first Dutch King in over 100 years just didn’t seem like an option.
The “free” markets - where participants young and old attempt to sell their junk - were light this year in Rotterdam. Only one street performer had ventured out and the sea of orange being broadcast from Amsterdam was distinctly lacking. This did mean, however, that we were well in time to head back home to see the swearing in and investiture at the Nieuwe Kerk.
The missing atmosphere from the morning had started to appear in the city by the time we returned for a BBQ. The arrival of the sun had clearly also helped. We donned our orange crown, sunglasses, t-shirts and cowboy hat with pride and watched as those around us, also displaying their orange pride, got merrier and merrier by the minute.
It isn’t often that the weather on Queen’s Day is both sunny and dry (let’s hope King’s Day has a better track record!) and Mother Nature was keen to remind us of this. A steady breeze kept the red, white, and blue of the Dutch flag and its special orange accomplice fluttering in the wind. Even the new Queen Maxima found it a tad chilly as she, King Willem-Alexander and the three princesses sailed on the river IJ.
The King and Queen will be touring all of the provinces of the Netherlands in May and June. So if you had hopes of catching a glimpse of them and weren't in the crowds this Queen's Day then there is still a chance.
The dates for the visits are as follows:
28 May - Groningen / Drenthe
30 May - Gelderland / Utrecht
12 June - Limburg / North Brabant
14 June - Friesland / North Holland
19 June - Flevoland / Overijssel
21 June - Zeeland / South Holland
In mid-November they will tour the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.