A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Koningsdag: Willem’s birthday and a national holiday – The Hague and Amsterdam turned upside down!
Oranje! That’s what I remember – after a night and a day of celebrating Holland! After having some drinks at home with fellow students on this lovely Friday night, we decided to go out into The Hague and hit the road – since we were told that on King’s night everyone comes from all over Holland to The Hague to party and enjoy the free LIFE LIVE festival. We – a group of mostly foreigners – were trying very hard to find something orange in our closets, but most of us succeeded. The Hague was indeed turned upside-down. All streets in the city center were blocked and filled with partying people, music, beer and a fun fair. What I also appreciated about the organization of this more than amazing experience were these very interesting public outside urinals standing everywhere in the middle of the street (I guess substituting for trees?)…
After enjoying night-life in the city where we live, we had another great advantage -> only a 5 minute walk to our apartments to at east get some sleep until King’s day!
Since we had such a great time, we decided to check out Amsterdam on the first ever Koningsdag (since it is the first time under the current king and in the previous years they logically celebrated queen’s day). The day already begun with a stuffed Den Haag Centraal Railway station – I have not seen the station so full of people – and on the train to Amsterdam, most people had to stand. This was the indicator for what would indeed happen! It felt like that the entire population (at least between 18 and 40, but also children and seniors) of The Netherlands gathered together in Amsterdam. And indeed – compared to crazy The Hague the night before – Amsterdam was even more incredible. Orange people as far as your eyes can follow. People on the streets selling things, cooking pancakes, and having a great time together. Music and dances on every street intersection in the entire city center! Stuffed with people! We even created a video for one’s journalism class about “if you like people, then here is the place to be”! It was incredible and great! So many people – such a great festival over the entire city – a phenomenon I have not seen before. While a parade of muslims and other non-christian people was going by – all dressed in orange and everyone singing with them although it was in an exotic language: Everybody was celebrating together – people originating from different cultures, from different religions, everyone living in Holland was paecefully having a great time together
After that, we were even more impressed that the main square of Amsterdam was turned into a mega fun fair and no public transport or cars were allowed in the entire district. Finally, after a long night and exhausting day, we decided that our feet have carried us around long enough and decided to go back home! This was an incredible weekend – Our Result: King’s day – the national holiday and birthday of Holland’s king Willem-Alexander – in Amsterdam: is a must!!!
More photos: Scroll down!