Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Good Times on King's Day in Amsterdam

As promised in my previous post about my husband's and my recent trip to the Netherlands and Belgium, I'm posting a montage of photos today from the King's Day celebration in Amsterdam on Saturday, April 26th, the king's birthday. Since the king comes from the "House of Orange" monarchy family of William I, the first king of the Netherlands, people deck out in orange colors to celebrate the holiday.

In the first photo below is the Quo Vadis bike barge chef dressed up for the holiday, and in the second is a vendor's cart selling orange-wear. The third photo shows a typical poster for the holiday. After touring the Rijksmuseum (fourth photo below), we came out on Museumplein (an open square) where people were swarming around the "I Amsterdam" sculpture behind the reflecting pond to have their photos taken.

Then we walked to Vondelpark, which was set aside for family/children's celebrations. Notice the orange crown on the statue in the first photo below. Since King's Day is a tax-free day, locals celebrate with yard sales and by setting up food/drink stands outside on their front stoops to make some money. The children were doing the same thing in the park, selling their old clothes and toys and snacks/drinks (see the "King of Crepes" dad in the second photo below) and performing (singing, playing instruments, etc.) for money. Also, some had set up games (such as fishing ponds and the game shown in the third photo below) for people to play for money. I'm mugging it up with some locals in the fourth photo and you can see folks swarming a second "I Amsterdam" sculpture in the next to last photo below. Everywhere in the park, people were picnicking in the sunshine (last photo).

After Vondelpark, we wandered the downtown streets, which were closed off to cars and public transportation, and just joined in the raucous merriment. Bars hosted DJs and bands that played in the streets, and even the canals were clogged with party boats!

In the evening, we visited an acquaintance in the Joordan neighborhood, who had an excellent view from his rooftop patio (first photo below). As the party wound down in the evening, you can see the trash that had piled up in the streets in the second photo below, and the police presence (wearing yellow vests) that peacefully cleared the streets in the last photo. The next morning, we were amazed to see the excellent job the street sweepers had done to clean up the mess while we all slept.

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