A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Of course I had to write about King’s Day! And the night before!
After I got admitted to Leiden, looking up events, carnivals, parties and quirky shops in Leiden, The Hague and Amsterdam became my new way of procrastination. That’s when I first found out about Koningsdag.
In short it is the celebration of the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. (and if April 27 falls on a Sunday, like it did this year, it is celebrated on the 26th.) Celebrations usually start the night before but me and a friend, the enthusiasts, started even earlier around 2pm.
Our first concern was finding something –anything- orange. At one point we even thought about making a cape for a friend out of his orange blanket. Stores were selling huge orange glasses, flowers, crowns – anything and everything you can think of!
After a little pre-drinking we went out! All the streets were covered with orange balloons and flags. After walking all around the city we took a highly deserved small coffee break. But of course we weren’t going to sit around all day so we went back on the streets and to the Kermis.
Oh, what is Kermis? It’s like a carnival with all sorts of machines and games from funhouses to mini cars, accompanied by loud music, lots of patat, popcorn and candy. It’s a celebration on its own but it’s definitely not all The Hague had to offer on that day.
Why? Because there was an amazing event going on that night!
Life I Live Festival.
There were 9 venues around the city and they had something for everyone’s taste: indie, blues & roots, soul, jazz & hip hop, rock, pop, 80s & 90s, funk or dance classics. You could pick whatever you like!
So of course everyone spent the night out on the streets. Being from Istanbul –a city that never sleeps- I loved the energy of the people, The Hague was more beautiful than ever! The night started with a little bit of rain but come on, we’re in Holland, the weather was not going to stop us! Many people had raincoats or umbrellas, unless they preferred to stay under the rain because they love it. (Okay, that was probably just me.) In this country when you say that you love the rain or that you want it to rain, people look at you like you are crazy or from another planet! Luckily, the rain stopped after an hour and even the hesitant people who chose their rain-less houses decided to join us. There were stages, DJ booths, food and beer stations, everything you need really. Or of course you could bring your drinks along, like we did because that’s what you do when you are on a student budget. As the hours passed by our group kept getting bigger and bigger!
Overall it was an amazing night where we enjoyed the great music and celebrated not just the birthday of Willem-Alexander but also the company of the people we were with.
P.S. The photo is taken from Humans of The Hague Facebook page. As a prospective (or current) student I advise you to check it out. They have great photos and captions, plus it’s really nice to read about the people that you walk past every day!
P.S.2: Part Two will follow tomorrow and will cover Kingsday in Amsterdam or at least my experience of it.