This semester has taught me that the Dutch love a party: in addition to Carnival, Liberation Day and Ascension Day, we’ve had the famous Koningsdag, or King’s Day. King’s Day is the celebration of the King of the Netherland’s birthday, and this year King Willem-Alexander (known affectionately as King Willy) turned the big 5-0.
In his honour, the streets of the Netherlands were decked out in orange, and everybody had one big party. I celebrated the day with my housemates in Arnhem, a city close to Nijmegen, where we live and study. We dressed ourselves in orange outfits and Dutch flags, and partied at the outdoor stages that were spread throughout the city – the performers included several Dutch Z-list celebrities, and a King Willem impersonator. One of my housemates is Dutch, and it was great to have him with us to explain the traditions – such as buying something useless at one of the second-hand market stalls – and of course to translate the cheesy song lyrics.
The city was so alive and in so much colour. I’m loving this country more and more.
Written by Rachael Vickerman – Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands