Amsterdam: Queen's Day Weekend with Family
Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
45Trip End Jul 02, 2012
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First, my readers need a proper education on the traditions of Queen's Day. It has always been celebrated on the monarch's birthday, but when Queen Beatrix's mother abdicated (Dutch monarchs abdicate the throne before dying, unlike the British monarchs), the new Queen Beatrix decided to continue to celebrate Queen's Day on her mother's birthday on April 30 instead of hers in January when the weather is too cold to have a good outdoor holiday. The other thing to know is that everyone wears orange to celebrate the House of Orange-Nassau, the royal family.
My Mom, brother David, his girlfriend Jessi, and our family friends Kathy and Kim came to visit me over Queen's Day weekend before we went on to see Paris and London. I hadn't seen my Mom or brother since I left the U.S. clear back in August, so waiting at the airport for them to get there seemed to take forever, but it was all worth it once I got to hug them. I've never been away from my family for so long, so finally getting to spend two weeks with them made me more happy than you could imagine.
We spent the first few days touring around Amsterdam - seeing the carnival on Dam Square, the Begijnhof, Museumplein, the Heineken Brewery and eating Dutch pancakes among other things. We were pretty lucky to have great weather the whole time in Amsterdam.
On Queen's Day, we donned our orange and went out into the city center to see the flea markets and the people celebrating in boats on the canals. The atmosphere that day was fantastic - it was a sunny day and everyone on the streets was happy and enjoying themselves. On Queen's Day, anyone can sell whatever their heart desires on the street and it's legal, so there are random things being sold everywhere and young children learning entrepreneurship with little stands selling food and nik-naks.
I was so happy I got to experience Queen's Day with them. The day ended with the streets littered with so much trash, but in typical Dutch fashion they were spotlessly clean the next morning.
We did venture out to see more of the Netherlands by going south to Delft one day, but that will follow in my next post. Happy Queen's Day!!