Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) 2009

Today was the most important day of the year for the Dutch: Queen’s Day. Everybody should experience this monumental block party slash mass garage sale at least once in their life. Nowhere else have I ever experienced so much humanity in such close quarters for so long over such a large part of a city. Three quarters of the city wears orange. Boats fill some canals bumper to bumper. People pack the most popular streets making even walking impossible, never mind bicycling or driving a car.

A few years ago Queen’s Day meant heavy-duty partying from the evening before (Queen’s Night) until at least late afternoon for us. Beer flows through the streets as water through the canals. We wandered the Jordaan (drunkenly) feeling half insider and half outsider.

But after eight or ten Queen’s Days the spectacle of the crowds and the partying becomes too familiar. More recently it’s become a quest to buy as much needed baby stuff as possible, as cheaply as possible. Kyoko researches the best neighborhoods to shop, and maps out our schedule… beginning at an ungodly early hour. Of course she knows what she’s doing and this year we scored a high-chair, lots of old wooden toys, modern toys, three buckets of baby-lego, cute clothes, two Bobike Mini child seats and more, all for maybe €100. The lightheated salesmanship and negotiations over how many cents will be paid for a toy make it all fun. Our partying was limited to sitting on our friends’ roof terrace afterward.

So why tell you about “Koninginnedag”? Well, because the bakfietsen are instrumental. All of the WorkCycles and MacBike rental bakfietsen get reserved months in advance by people and organizations planning to sell their goods or put on a show.

workcycles bakfiets vendor queens day

We and many others carry our new possessions home by bike too. It’s pretty much the only practical way to do so considering you can’t get a car within kilometers of the busy areas. Cycling might sometimes be slow or frustrating but you can usually find a quieter street to ride along or at least walk the bike through the crowd for a couple blocks. This year we took Kyoko’s Bakfiets Cargobike and a WorkCycles shop errand bike with two 60cm x 40cm plastic bins.

pascal and 2 bakfietsen full of new stuff

On a more somber note there was an attempted attack on the Royal Family, who was in Apeldoorn for the event. Some guy sped his Suzuki Swift (a small car) through the barriers in an attempt to hit the open bus the Royal Family rode in during the procession. He missed the bus but hit a number of bystanders. Some five people were killed and about a dozen wounded. The Dutch Royal Family has always travelled with minimal security and has never previously had a seriously threatening situation. Similarly the Dutch ministers are known for riding bikes around like normal people The press is speculating that this era of innocence has just ended.

3 Responses to “Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) 2009”

  1. John, Says:

    That is a great way to get Rid of all the Stuff you dont need ,just load it on a Bakfiets and head downtown and Doss down at the side of the Road and start selling. Then join in the Partying afterwards in Celebration of Queens Day,Those were very Nice Pictures. Those Bakfits are Great MultiPurpose Vehicles great for Hauling all kinds of stuff around as well as Children

    That Incident was Tragic Today really Nasty and I heard it was A Dutch Person as well that did it.

    We had the same thing Happen once in Dublin about 9 Years ago, a Foreigner who was Refused Permission to stay in the Country drove His Car down a Pedestrianised Street . This was on a Saturday with Crowds of Shoppers on Henry Street and this Guy Drove into them for Spite at not being allowed to stay in Ireland. There was no one Killed but a lot was Injured.

    It is strange this happening in the Netherlands as the Dutch royal Family has never Antagonised anybody, It puts a Dark Cloud over The Celebrations. I hope they can put this Episode aside and be able to Enjoy themselves in Peace in the Future.

  2. sexify Says:

    I heard about the driver killing and injuring all those people just to try to get at the Queen. Clearly he was sick in the head.

    On a lighter note, the bakfiets is a brilliantly practical beast, isn’t it. I’m wondering, if I had one here in the UK, how quickly would a trend start?

    Looks like even your bambino was chuffed with all the baby stuff you found. Well done. đŸ˜‰


  3. henry Says:

    Hi Adam,
    Babino Pascal is always chuffed, at least when he’s not screaming his head off.

    I doubt one bakfiets will get a trend rolling considering that there are already some bakfietsen around the UK. The more the merrier though!

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