Nieuws - 4 mei 2011

Queen's Day is not only in orange

Queen's Day looked like a prize for my survival after the exam week. Instead of indulging myself in Amsterdam, I spent over half a day in Limmen, a small town near Alkmaar. Beer or bloom? I preferred the latter.

A collection of beautiful sceneries in Limmen
During the first week of May, annual 'Bloemendagen (flower days)' are held in Limmen, where an ordinary town would transform into a utopia of flower-mosaics over night. What's more, it is free. I asked many Dutch before, 'Did you go to Keukenhof?' 'No, never,' their surprising answers made me realize maybe it's only for the foreign tourists. Flower fields are everywhere in northwest and southwest Netherlands, so do you still want to go to Keukenhof?
Following the route signs, I reached a church. An exhibition was going on inside, where the competition entries of flower arrangements were displayed. I was glad to find some artifacts in Chinese style, a little taste of Zen. With a map provided at the church I started the tour of Limmen. First stop was a small house with a private art exhibition inside. I didn't find anything special till I walked through the back door: a colorful tulip fields in the backyard came into sight. Wow! After eight-month's agonizing waiting finally I stood in the midst of the sea of tulips. I couldn't help but just wowing again and again.

Actually, on that day there was a tour of 'KunstFietsRoute' (artistic cycling). Tourists could cycle and visit different artists at different stops. At Stop 4 there was a studio owned by an artist called Judith. She quit her well-paid job in a hospital and became a social worker helping people get rid of stress by teaching them Tai-Chi. Wow! Chinese cultures seem to be highly accepted and popular here. Viva China! Judith played a card game 'inzichtkaarten' (cards of insight) with me: I drew out one card from a pile of cards in her hand. A saying was written on the back of it, 'om een vriend te krijgen, moet je er eerst zelf een zijn.' No bragging, I could understand the meaning before her explanation. 'To get a friend, you must first become one,' I was flabbergasted how Dutch philosophy could be so closed to Chinese one. We share a lot in common.

No beer and no parties, my Queen's day seemed a bit dull and not that typical Dutch, but it was still a perfect day for me: sunshine, flowers and arts, isn't it enough? Queen's Day is not only in orange. Just take a day off, enjoy your favorite pastimes and be happy.

Video of the week:
Actually, I did stay a while in Amsterdam before going home. :-p