Queensday in the Netherlands
Guided tour with Ans
Hand over from Beatrix to Willem Alexander
More vrijmarkt and music
People dresses up
History on TV
Meeting up with old friends
Today is the day! We started the day with watching the Queen step down. This was a short simple ceremony where it was ratified by the government. In this moment a Queen became a Princess. Princess Beatrix is a hard person to read, and I have no idea on whether she was happy about this, as she can relax into retirement, upset or any other emotion. However it must have been an emotional time for her.
After this, we got a guided walk around Utrecht with Ans. One thing we should say is that Ans loves and knows the city.
It was a great walk through gardens, past historical buildings and along the waterways. All the time getting the history of the city. This was much better than many guided tours we have had elsewhere, and if you are reading this Ans, you should consider being a volunteer tour guide for the city. Seeing the old Uni, and places she has watched change over the years gives depth to a city as only a native can give.
Back at home we had to watch the next historic part of the day. The Non-crowning of King Willem.
This is held in Amsterdam, but with TV, you get a better view than in the chilly square. Although it was a nice sunny day, it would have been at least brisk out there. The red carpet showing off all the dignitaries that attended. Here I have to say a few things. No king or Queen is allowed to attend, as it may detract from the position of the new King, so there were many crown princes or next-in-lines. Only the Prince of Monaco came as the head of state.
The princess of Japan got to spend the day out, and everyone was exited about that. I think that if the press laid off her a bit, she may be able to spend more days out, but that is just my opinion. The next interesting bit is the Non-Crowning. A long time ago, one of the Kings decided that although he needed to become ruler, it was not the right time for him to wear the crown. Apparently this time never came, and none of the Kings or Queens since have worn one. The current crown is also to big and heavy to wear anyway. This did not stop his wife Maxima wearing a lavish tiara that was every bit of a crown itself.
So long and boring speeches (probably more interesting if you understand Dutch) and all the members of government swearing to the new King. Either swearing before GOD, or just promising support. Then out along a red carpet for the population to see them, and up on the balcony of the royal palace for all to see. Not as much pomp and ceremony as the British, but very regal.
Now that the Netherlands has a new King, we had to go out and celebrate. Another round amongst the streets where most people were still scratching through the flea market like old hens. Kids were asleep at their parents stalls with signs out saying that they wanted to sleep their way to wealth. Others were paying to have the privilege of being egged, and yet more were dancing in the street. A lot of people were dressed up for the occasion, and Orange was everywhere. Orange jumpsuits, hats and scarves. Nearly everyone had orange on in one place or another. My concession to this ritual was to wear an Orange Wuppie on my shoulder (basically a fur ball with eyes and feet).
Later in the afternoon we made our way to the centre to meet up with old friends of Anna’s that she has not seen in years.
It took a bit longer then planned to make our way through the party crowds in the city, got stuck under the Dom tower for a bit, but we got there in time. It was amazing to see them again after so many years and to meet their new family (they have two cute little ones now) But for the rest they don’t seem to have changed much. Still the great people we knew years ago.
Dinner and a few drinks, and it all felt like old times.