The first herring catch of the year (Hollandse Nieuwe) is celebrated with a festive programme in Scheveningen on Flag Day or as the Dutch call it, Vlaggetjesdag. Flag Day is a free event that takes place annually in June. In 2015 it will take place on Saturday the 13th of June.
Flag Day in Scheveningen is one of the biggest street festivals in The Hague and local children dress in traditional costumes. Music is played and a party atmosphere is felt around the seaside area. The 'New Dutch' herring is caught between mid-May and the end of June. Any earlier than this and the herring is too lean; later than this and it is too fatty. The first catch of the season is brought in to shore on Flag Day. The captain of the first ship that brings herring to land has the honour of personally bringing a crate of the fish to the King. The first cask is sold at auction and the profit is donated to charity.
Although the herring catch is the occasion of the festival, there is more on the programme than sampling fish during this event. Festival-goers can participate in Old Dutch children's games, sing along with popular artists, tour boats, listen to bands and check out traditional handicrafts.