King’s Day in quarantine

Today is a holiday here in The Netherlands. We celebrate our King’s birthday and that usually turns the whole country into one orange (our national colour) street party with open air junk sales, music in the streets, cafés and restaurants filled to the brim and people in a festive and fun mood.

Yesterday evening I was going through previous King’s Day pictures with the kids (and before 2013 Queen’s Day when we had a queen). This was my son’s first Queen’s Day, all dressed up before we headed out and then visited my parents (second picture was taken at their house)…

This was my daughter’s first Queen’s Day two years later…

And this was in 2005 when the kids were 3 (going on 4) and 16 months old respectively…

Some more fun pictures between 2006 and 2013. We’d go to different towns each year and join the celebrations there.

Last year, my daughter, my brother and I even did a junk sale ourselves, even though the weather wasn’t great, while my son partied with friends in another town. He was part of the crowd in this video where everyone is urged to jump from left to right…

This year, however, due to Corona, all communal festivites were canceled. King’s Day was to be spent at home. The king did appear on TV for a small speech and posed for pictures with his wife and daughters but celebrations were all at home, even for the king and his family.

We had thought to go out and picnic somewhere today, maybe in the woods to the east of us, but we heard that all the parking lots were closed and people were urged not to come to recreational areas. Also, my aunt’s closest friend, a partner of sorts for her, is 95 and on her death bed. Not from Corona but from other issues and I had promised my aunt I would be there for her on standby should she finally be allowed to visit her friend to say goodbye (she hadn’t been allowed to visit the nursing home in close to two months, which was very difficult in itself). This morning the call came that the nursing home expected that my aunt might need to come and say goodbye soon and I didn’t want to be far from home in case I needed to jump into action.

So, we had a little King’s Day picnic at home. Mr Esther hung out the flag, I put out a little orange coloured plant I had bought, and we all got together for a nice lunch in the sunshine (including our cats who hung out around us in the garden).

The weather was so gorgeous, even the fuzz growing on top of my garden statue’s head seemed orange…

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Not long after our late lunch the call came that my aunt’s friend was not doing well and that my aunt could come and say goodbye. So, mini-me and I picked up my aunt and took her to the nursing home. We weren’t allowed in, only my aunt was, and we awaited her as she came out again. It was emotional, of course. We then visited my mother and brother so that my aunt could be comforted by them as well (and yes, we adhered to strict handwashing and keeping a distance). We ate pizza there and came home.

Mr Esther had gone for a bike ride in the afternoon and took pictures of our historic city hall in full glory…

… and now it’s late in the evening and we’re hangin’ on the couch looking back at a bit of a strange King’s Day which has not been as festive and was sad to boot. I hope next year’s will be happier.

King’s Day junk sale

Yesterday was King’s Day in The Netherlands. That’s the day the Dutch celebrate their sovereign’s birthday with parties going on in each town and ‘free markets’ everywhere where people can just lay out their junk in the street and sell it all.

My younger brother took up the idea that it would be fun to sell junk ourselves (he has done that once or twice before) and as I had only ever been to the King’s Day markets but had never actually participated in one, I thought why not? We decided to set up our stuff in the town of Delft, not far from where my mother lives. Mr Esther can get a little stressed out over setting up stuff like this and my son was going to spend his day with friends in another town. So, my daughter, my brother and I spent the night at my mom’s, we got up really early and at close to 8 am we were in Delft, with our stuff set up.

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We had collected stuff from several of my siblings and sold clothes, shoes, kids’ toys, books, some cheap custom jewelry, a Wii player my older brother had contributed, and we ‘priced’ everything at €1,- (the Wii player excepted, we sold that for €10,-). This was all stuff that was going to go anyway, so anything we made was better than nothing. We didn’t only sell stuff, we also gave away some small toy items for free to small kids passing by.

The down side was that the weather forecast wasn’t great. This meant that it was not as busy as it normally could be, as less people set up their ‘stands’ and less people came by. We had a few rain showers pour down on us and we tried to save our ‘merchandise’ by covering everything up with umbrella’s…

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Friends of mine who live in Delft popped by for a gander, which was fun, and Mr Esther came by at the end of the morning. I had asked him to bring our wifi speaker so that we could play some party music. That helped, people walked by us dancing and singing along to our music and some commented on how it was a bit ‘dead’ everywhere else, so that it was good to see we had a mini party going. It never got really crowded, though, and pretty quickly people who had set up their stuff near us left due to the cold and occasional shower. We tried to keep it going a little longer, despite rain I tried to party and dance on a little, but as you can see in this picture, our neighbours had already left us…

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At around 2.30 pm we called it quits ourselves. We had had fun, though, despite the weather. We drove by a goodwill shop to drop some of the leftover stuff, we dropped the leftover clothes in a goodwill clothes container, dumped some garbage in garbage containers, and then went back to my mother’s place to warm up. My daughter counted our earnings…

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… and we made more than we expected: €109,70! Not bad for stuff that we were going to chuck out anyway.

My daughter, Mr Esther and I ended our King’s Day in a Greek restaurant in our home town. Especially my daughter and I were knackered (short night and a busy day will do that to you), so we didn’t stay after dinner for the party that was going on in our home town’s market square (it was a bit of a sorry party anyhow, people were staying away due to the rain and cold).

My son, the real party animal, went to Breda with friends for the day. A radio station had organized a big party there (for an entrance fee). He got home at around 11 pm, knackered as well. He had also had to deal with some rain but that didn’t dampen his group’s spirits in any way either. This morning my son showed me a clip of the party he’d been at with crowds of youngsters jumping to the left and to the right, causing a mini earthquake:

As much as he had loved his day, he did admit to feeling regret for having missed out on my daughter’s and my flea market earnings. Goes to show, every party has its up side and down side. 🙂

Celebrations!

Every year our sovereign’s birthday is celebrated and for the past 5 years we’ve had a King (Willem-Alexander) to celebrate. Still not used to calling it ‘King’s Day’ (instead of Queen’s Day as we had a queen for 30 years before that) but this past Friday (April 27th) ‘King’s Day’ was celebrated. This is our royal family: the king, his wife Maxima and their 3 daughters…

Amalia is the eldest, the crown princess, and only 12 days older than my daughter!

The King and his family visited Groningen in the north for a day of festivities, but unlike last year, we didn’t really watch much of their visit on TV.  Instead, my family and I went to the south in Eindhoven for the day, meeting up with Mr Esther’s oldest friend and his kids. It was really busy with markets and restaurants overflowing and lots of live music and everything is orange themed (orange is our national colour)… We had a lovely time!

Then yesterday, more celebration as my family got together for a nice family lunch. My youngest brother was visiting from Israel for a week, so we took the opportunity to get together with all family members that were present in The Netherlands (2 other brothers weren’t there with their kids, they live abroad). Brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and my mother and my aunt were there for a lovely buffet lunch at a Middle-Eastern restaurant. Again, we had a lovely time! If our meeting were made into an oil painting, it would look something like this (I am 4th on the right in dark blue with the visiting brother beside me)…

Family

As I had hardly talked to my brother I went on to visit him yesterday evening as well (he’s flying back today) at my mom’s house. It’s always great to talk to him.

And there’s more fun to be had today, as my son and I go off in about half an hour to see the latest Avengers movie in 3D IMAX together with two friends of ours. The two ladies are coming home with us afterwards for dinner here. Socially packed weekend! I need a breather to catch up, but alas, it’s back to work again tomorrow…

King’s Day in the Netherlands

Today is a holiday in The Netherlands: King’s Day when we celebrate our King’s birthday; it was King Willem-Alexander’s 49th birthday today. On King’s Day there are “free markets” everywhere where the Dutch sell their second hand junk, it looks pretty much like this…

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…there are bands in the streets and everyone dresses in orange (our national colour). Just one big street party, basically. I still need to get used to calling this King’s Day and not Queen’s Day anymore (before this king, who came to the throne 3 years ago, we had Queen Beatrix for 33 years).

So, King’s Day today – we half-watched our royal family on TV during their visit to the town of Zwolle today (loved our queen Maxima’s skirt, the royal couple have 3 daughters & the girl in the black dress is our crown princess Amalia)…

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Afterwards we wanted to go out on the town ourselves. My hometown is a tad lame on King’s Day, so we went to a town about 20 minutes away instead. My son wasn’t feeling well today, so he stayed at home. He donned an orange cap for a picture and then went back to bed. My daughter was slightly more orange…

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Yeah… threw a painting effect on the picture…

My husband, daughter and I went off to that town for a few hours. It was chilly, though, so we didn’t stay long. Plus, we were a little late, so the free markets were all packing up. We did have drinks at a cafe (warm and dry inside)…

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… and listened to a band for a bit outside before we headed back home again and had a take-away dinner. Not the most spectacular of King’s Days ever, but fun and relaxed nevertheless. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to celebrate more and in better weather. It remains my favourite Dutch holiday. Not so much because of the royal family, more because of the festive and fun and orange spirit. Everyone comes together and is cheerful and happy, I love it. 🙂