This year is the first King’s Day in The Netherlands. The name is new, but the tradition stays the same. Dutch people collect all kinds of crap from their homes and take to the streets, where they proceed to set up a big, glorified yard sale.
Last year was my first Queen’s Day, when the Dutch celebrated the birthday of their beloved queen, on the day of the birthday of the queen’s mother. Why? Because the queen’s actual birthday is in January, and it would be too cold for celebrations. So the Queen stuck to her mother’s birthday in April. This may be a big surprise: it was still cold. This year, King’s Day falls on a Sunday, but the Dutch have moved it to the Saturday.
In Portugal we have Feira da Ladra (literally ‘Thieves’ Market’), where people can buy a ‘crap-selling permit’ to sell their second-hand stuff. The main difference, however, apart from the clear excess of orange around here, is how the Dutch get their kids involved. They take their kids outside, next to their old things, and strap them to a violin or a flute, which they play to amuse people. And boy, these kids can play some mad tunes! But I guess what’s important is that people have fun. And if my experience taught me anything, is that this is THE day for the Dutch to have fun... even if in their own special way.
So this year I’m really excited about King’s Day, and feel free to take my cue and do the same. I will dress in orange, go out on the streets of Wageningen to take a look at all the nice crap, and maybe pay some kid to stop playing the violin for two minutes... it sure will be fun!
Tiago Miguel, MSc student of Forest and Nature Conservation