Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) Shopping

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.

people selling stuff on queen\'s day

I found this image

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:

  • stylish wooden kid’s chair from the 60’s
  • wooden child’s rocking horse
  • wooden child’s workbench with matching tools
  • 2 Maxi-Cosi’s complete with accessories
  • baby wrap in a nice print handmade to fit into a Maxi-Cosi
  • 2 Bobike Mini child seats
  • collection of cool serving bowls and oval plates from 50’s ceramic studio Fris
  • white glass drinking cups
  • mugs and bowls for the new shop
  • cool purse handmade from an old woolen blanket (in orange of course)
  • giant, old, leather “PTT” postal delivery panniers (we actually needed these to carry the rest home!)
  • Total outlay: About €130.

    In the end we piled it all on to a Bakfiets.nl Cargobike and Kyoko’s custom WorkCycles transport bike rode home satisfied.

    carrying stuff on queen\'s day with a bakfiets and transportfiets

    3 Responses to “Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) Shopping”

    1. R Nelissen Says:

      I dislike British bikesters because they usually knock the blind walkers and break the white stick which cost around £100. Some blind men have had these accidents at least once a month very close to RNIB. However, I like these and don’t see them even in China, Why?

    2. henry Says:

      DoALL British “bikesters” knock down blind walkers and break their white sticks?

      …What’s a “bikester”? Is that a hipster on a bike?

    3. baby monitor reviews Says:

      baby monitor reviews…

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