A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
This is a really long overdue post, but as I browse through my photos I can’t just let them sit there. How was your King’s Day experience? What did you do? Did you wear something orange?
Well, for my part, I actually decided to stay away from the orange crowd and got to enjoy the national holiday in a much more peaceful manner: I visited the quiet neighborhood of Amstelveen. But that does not make my celebration any less Dutch. During that day there was this really big flea market held in Amstelveen – as you may know, on King’s Day people are free to sell anything and anywhere on the street.
What makes this flea market different from tons of other ones of its kind that you can see a lot in the Netherlands is that many of the sellers are Japanese. Amstelveen is known to be the home of the biggest Japanese community in the Netherlands, which means if you’re a fan of Japanese culture like me this is where you may find interesting stuffs.
As expected, the flea market area was crowded with sellers and visitors. You see Japanese everywhere (somehow they are very easy to distinguish) – Japanese families hanging around, Japanese kids playing instruments, or some even holding a tray of onigiri to sell to people. And the things they were selling can’t get anymore Japanese: manga, toys, kitchen utensils, etc.
It was a lot of fun roaming around the market. I got a bit overexcited whenever I saw stacks of familiar manga series. Some people really brought out a lot of things to sell, I wonder if they ever managed to sell all of them.
Besides the Japanese element, the market seems nothing special. But I did have a nice day because the weather was gorgeous and Amstelveen really gives you a totally different kind of atmosphere from that of Leiden, or many other cities that I’ve been to. Maybe because of the presence of the Japanese community, this area really feels like Japan, or at least Asia. I heard that they have a huge garden of sakura trees here, but I didn’t manage to go that day. Hope to come back another time!