My first KingsDay experience.
Firstly, I didnt dive into the celebrations because:
1. I hate crowds.
2. I’m anti monarchy.
I decided to catch up on netflix programmes and hide away in my attic. Given its my first experience of Kings day (last year I was abroad), I wanted to see some of what went on out of curiosity.
On my 9am morning walk I first took a very quiet scenic route along a canal. I passed 6 people in the 40min walk. The sun was blaring, just a few clouds in a bright blue sky.
As I neared my home again I saw families and friends, pulling trolley loads of items, some unloading from cars and trucks to set up their ‘patch’ for selling.
The families and in some cases just children, lined the shops and market street with their personal items for sale. A big national jumble sale, basically.
Where i live is not the posh side of Amsterdam, quite the opposite. The area is filled with mostly social housing. Mostly white working class, unemployed and a scattering of people from migrant communities.
The wares being sold were similar to what you’d find in any UK jumble sale. There were some of those oil lamp/candle holders i could have happily bought if i had a garden, but most of the wares did not attract me. I’m not a very good bargain hunter. I nearly bought a set of champagne glasses and a foot bath but I had no cash on me. The children were out in full force and they looked excited and happy, also freezing. Most of the wares were childrens toys, clothes and books. Also lots of rechargeable drills. Everyone knows the cheap ones are shit, only good for making paper pulp and milkshakes. I’m glad I’m not the only person to have found out after buying a cheap one!
Despite the beautifully bight morning sun and blue sky, it was only about 7ºc. I went home, had me some sleep, food and netflix. I was hoping for some baked goodies like at a school or community fair, but no one was selling home-made biscuits or cakes. I would have baked cakes and sold them, or is selling food not allowed by royal decree?
On my evening cycle, I came across lots of loud music blaring from boats, bars and some houses. I’m very close to the big river, the Ij. It was extremely windy by the shore and not many small boats. they probably stayed on the canals in the main part of Amsterdam. Where the people were selling stuff, there was a lot of things abandoned by the huge metal skips the council left for the purpose of disposing of unwanted goods. Now I’d be more interested in scavenging the left-overs! I saw a couple pulling out a set of metal garden chairs from one skip. If i had my studio, i would have picked through the discarded clothes for some useful fabric scraps. People had left their jumble selling and gone for a booze-up. Where were the children though?!
Big music events with DJs could be heard in the distance. Lots of orange-dressed people with very red faces! The bars and restaurants i passed were all full of people drinking. As I walked back to my home, the dustbin workers were already clearing up the mess of discarded clothing and bits of broken toys. The efficiency of the Dutch always makes me smile 🙂
I’m sure in the posher areas of Amsterdam there would have been richer pickings at the jumble sales. But from my experience of wealthy people, they’re usually more mean with what they sell and with the prices. It also felt relatively quiet here compared to the main areas of Amsterdam. I could imagine Dam square. Ugh!
Having experienced too many Friday nights frolicking around London and Manchester, I’m thinking this Kings Day is what the British do every weekend – get really pissed in large or small groups and then jump about to loud dance music.
I guess its nice that people are given a day off on the kings birthday. The monarchy do such wonderful things to keep their subjects happy. One day off work and permission to sell their tat on the streets. If there is more to this day than I have experienced, someone let me know. Does the Kings Day celebration extend to the Dutch ex-colonies (shhh! Don’t mention colonialism to a Dutch person!) like Aruba and Surinam? Do they also jump about wearing orange and getting drunk under the hot caribbean sun?
Having a Kings day is at least better than the British queen who has 2 birthdays and the peasants there don’t get even ONE day off! Maybe thats why the British have a booze up and party hard every weekend.
Oh well, I survived my first Kings Day! 🙂