Monday, May 3, 2010

Suffering from oranjegekte: Koninginnedag!

30 April is a special day in Holland each year: Koninginnedag!

A few fast facts:
  • Koninginnedag is a national holiday to celebrate the Queen's birthday. However, it is not celebrated on Queen Beatrix's actual birthday but on her mothers (Juliana) birthday instead. I've heard this is to honour her mother and also because April is a much more pleasant time of year for a holiday then January. 
  • This year marked the 30th anniversary of Queen Beatrix's inaugaration.
  • Orange is seen everywhere on Koninginnedag! I felt quite out of place in our non-orange clothing and was suffering from a case of oranjegekte (orange fever) by the end of the day. The streets were filled with orange shirts, wigs, jumpers, tracksuits, viking hats, crowns, bunting.... You may be wondering why the national colour is orange while the flag is red, white and blue? Apparently this is because orange is the symbolic colour of the Dutch royal family.
There are a few traditions associated with Koninginnedag. The largest and busiest celebrations are held in Amsterdam, where the city is transformed into party-central, beginning on the eve of Koninginnedag and continuing through the next day. In Nijmegen (and most other towns) there is a vrijmarkt and concerts, both of which we got to enjoy for our first Koninginnedag!

After a couple of weeks of glorious weather we sadly woke up on Friday to miserable grey skies and rain. Dusting off our rain jackets, we braved the weather and headed out for the day to enjoy the festivities. Now, imagine all the opshops in Queensland selling their wares outdoors in a park the size of the Brisbane botanical gardens: this is the vrijmarkt!

The vrijmarkt is a time to make money and spend money. So long as you own a picnic rug or tarp, you can set up a stall in the park and sell off your unwanted goods. We spent hours wandering through the trash and even found a few treasures, enjoying some frites with mayo and poffertjes along the way!


  1. I love the treasures Lu!! What a fantastic day!! The markets look fantastic...chips and mayo sound great too! Noah loved those when we were in Holland!! Missing you and a big hello from us! Love Martine

  2. Hey Luana,
    Your treasures are gorgous!!
    Orange fever hey!! You can always tell the dutch teams by the orange.
    All the best,


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