The Dutch are a strange folk. They celebrate their national holiday “Queen’s Day” (30 April) not only by gathering in enormous numbers on the streets to wear orange and drink beer, but also to create what must be the world’s largest combined garage sale and variety show. For weeks the residents prepare for their Queen’s Day sales; Spaces along every busy sidewalk and throughout the parks are carefully reserved with tape and chalk. Old junk is pulled from the attic, and sometimes gathered from the trash. Orange cakes and pies are baked. Hair is dyed orange. Orange beer is brewed. Orange t-shirts with ironic designs are hand printed (think Paul Frank monkey face with a crown…). Kids practice musical performances and make costumes. Students invent absurd drinking games involving hitting nails with hammers, throwing water balloons…
And perhaps the most Dutch of all: Its all for sale, its all cheap and everything’s negotiable. How the (previous) Queen’s birthday celebration became a drunken rummage sale is a mystery I know nothing about. I do know that Queen’s day is another example of Dutch practical thinking: When Queen Beatrix took the throne, Queen’s day remained on her mother Juliana’s birthday (30 April). Why? Because the Queen’s day party wouldn’t be nearly as much fun on 31 January.
This shot in the Vondelpark came from here.
Kyoko and I weren’t sellers this year. With a baby on the way and a new WorkCycles shop in construction we were buyers on a mission. The easiest thing to find on Queen’s Day is baby stuff, though definitely not NICE baby stuff. Since we sell child transport bikes at WorkCycles we also need toys and other diversions to keep kids happy while their parents talk business, as well as examples of baby carriers and things to demonstrate how they work with our bikes. So we sifted through the endless piles of nasty, plastic crap to find the gems. Our haul was not entirely kiddie gear:
Total outlay: About €130.