Queen’s Day. It used to be the most important National holiday in the Netherlands, celebrating the queen’s birthday. Queen’s Beatrix’ birthday actually is in January, but she thought that was too cold a month for a birthday. You can’t get any more Dutch than that. Even though Queen’s Day was everywhere, it was a phenomenon that went past me most years. When I was little, we used the day off from work and school to visit my uncle who had his birthday on the same day. So no ‘oranjebitter’ or orange pastry for us. Instead, we munched away on Dutch-Indonesian sweets and pastry like roti kukus and spekuk my aunt made.
In my teens I tried to fit in in the partying of Queen’s Day. It meant clubbing the night before and then roaming the streets filled garage sale blankets completely hung over. I even tried my hand at selling stuff myself too. Let me tell you, that was some serious suffering. Getting up early in the morning as the bargain hunters start their hunt at eight, then standing all day, rain or shine, until the drunk people are scouring through the left overs. And you’ll always have left overs. Stuff you didn’t want in your home anymore and sadly other people neither. The upside of it was, that we earned enough money to have a nice holiday. Not enough however to do it again next year.
Since Willem-Alexander has been crowned king, 30th of April is no longer is Queen’s Day. Although the king’s birthday is only 3 days earlier than Queen’s Day, it’s still feels different. If only for that name. King’s Day. It’s weird. And as king, Willem-Alexander wants to make it his own too, quitting old rituals and beginning new ones, as he’s very much entitled to (He isn’t entitled too much anyway, so let him have this).
I don’t care for it much. If the Netherlands became a republic, if we were invaded by Vikings or aliens and the king and his birthday would cease to be a National holiday, I wouldn’t miss a thing.
But still. I would have lost something.
Day 15 of Writing 101. Today’s prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice. Pay attention to your word choice, tone, and rhythm. Read each sentence aloud multiple times, making edits as you read through. Before you hit “Publish,” read your entire piece out loud to ensure it sounds like you.