On April 30 the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their Queen, Queen Beatrix, although it is not her actual birthday but her mother’s, Queen Juliana. Queen Beatrix’s birthday is in fact on January 31, however, when she ascended to the throne in 1980, she decided to keep the previous date so that the people can enjoy the traditional outdoor festivities in the sunny spring instead of cold dreary winter.
On this day, the Dutch play games, listen to various concerts, fairs, etc on every city. The queen and the family sometimes visit one or two town each year and take part in a game if possible. The most splendid and candid celebrations are usually happening in cities like Amsterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht and Rotterdam. However, the long-waited activity during this day is the ‘free-market’, a time when people are allowed to sell anything they want outdoors, as long as it’s not food or alcohol. The market attract enormous crowd and become a sort-of giant flea market.
What’s important, only on Queen’s Day you are allowed yourself to go crazy with dressing up. Apart from the flags and decorations in the traditional national colors of red, white and blue, the whole country turns orange. Everywhere you will see people adorn in something orange marking the joyous occasion. Why orange, you ask. Because orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family, dated back from Willem van Oranje (William of Orange). It also symbolizes the pride of being Dutch.
And how do the Indonesian students there celebrate the iconic day you may ask? Some try their luck by participating in games or showing off their abilities as street performers on the street, some sell their old items/art crafts/secondhand goods in bulks, some even donning something orange and join the throngs of orange-colored-people. This is the moment that you can only find when you are in Holland. It’s fun time. It’s party time!
So, ready to join the oranjegekte now? (Note: oranjegekte means orange craze)