King's Day, Netherlands
Today is the first Dutch Koningsdag (King's Day) in 122 years. After last year's affectionate send off of the former Queen on her last Queen's Day, and the much anticipated coronation ceremony of King Willem-Alexander, this year doesn't have the same weightiness of witnessing an historic moment. However, the Dutch are still excited for this annual chance to show off their national pride and get outside to enjoy the pleasant spring weather. Google even joined in with this graphic for google.nl.
|Graphic from google.nl|
This morning the red-white-blue striped flag of the Netherlands, topped with orange wimples for the royal house, seemed to suddenly sprout from many of the houses and businesses; tomorrow they will just as suddenly be gone with no lingering decoration past the official holiday.
|Flags of Alblasserdam, Netherlands, and EU|
I took a stroll through the small town of Alblasserdam to see what their celebration offered. Alblasserdam has its roots in ship-building, and entering by the main road in to town you pass this monument to the metal workers.
Many of the residents were out and about in the city center, sporting orange attire, enjoying the children's games and musical performances. A small parade of horses and buggies was planned for later, but in the meantime the street was lined with historic American WWII military vehicles, proudly shown by men dressed in period uniforms and ladies rocking 1940s style.
|Plymouth with 82nd Airborne sign in window|
|American Jeep decked out in orange tulips, balloons, and streamers|
Probably the most typical tradition hearkens back to the Dutch roots in commerce. Everyone one is welcome to participate in the city rummage sale and there are many people who have laid out a blanket with old household goods, electronics, toys, and so on in hopes of exchanging them for a few euros. I managed to get a decent deal on some picture frames and a basket to hold my knitting.
The sound of music and semi-truck horns will carry through the air for the rest of the day, with an "after-party" for adults tonight before the celebration winds down for the Sunday rest.