It’s been a long winter here in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Everyone seems fed up with it, it’s time for Rokjesdag!
On May 4th the Dutch remember the people who have fought for and died during World War II, and wars in general; Dodenherdenking. Traditionally, the main ceremonies are observed in Amsterdam at the National Monument on Dam square. This ceremony is usually attended by members of the cabinet and the royal family, military leaders, representatives of the resistance movement and other social groups. Throughout the country two minutes of silence are held at 20.00. Public transport is stopped, as well as all other traffic. The flags hang at half-staff.
On May 5th the liberation is celebrated and festivals are being held in most places . Liberation Day; Bevrijdingsdag is celebrated each year on May 5 in the Netherlands to mark the end of the German occupation during the Second World War. The nation was liberated largely by Canadian troops and to thank them each year thousands of Tulip bulbs are sent to Ottawa where the annual May Tulip Festival is held.
The government reminds everyone that on May 4 we have to remember and on May 5 we can celebrate;
4 mei vieren, 5 mei herdenken.
This year is the first of many years Bevrijdingsdag takes place on a Saturday, it seems like there are many more parties and festivals throughout Amsterdam this year because of that. I kind of made it a tradition to celebrate at a gay party next to the gay monument (Homomonument). It’s a bit of an extension of Queensday… Where will you celebrate Dutch Liberation Day?
Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, celebrated on 30 April. Koninginnedag is Queen Beatrix’s official birthday. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and predecessor, Juliana.
The first time Koninginnedag took place, it was celebrated on 31 August 1885 as Prinsessedag or Princess’s Day, the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, heiress to the Dutch throne. On her accession, the holiday acquired its present name, Koninginnedag. Following the accession of Wilhelmina’s daughter Queen Juliana in 1948, the holiday was moved to her birthday. Her daughter, Beatrix retained the celebration on 30 April after she took the throne in 1980. Koninginnedag is known for its nationwide vrijmarkt (“free market” or flea market), at which many Dutch sell their secondhand items. Those taking part in Koninginnedag commonly wear orange clothing in honour of the House of Orange-Nassau, which rules over the Netherlands, causing “orange madness” or oranjegekte, for the national colour; everyone becomes patriotic.
Koninginnedag is the one day of the year that the Dutch government permits sales on the street without a permit and without the payment ofvalue added tax. Koninginnedag now sees large-scale celebrations, with many concerts and special events in public spaces, particularly in Amsterdam. The Vondelpark is reserved for children and their activities. The city centre is closed to cars, and no trams ride in the heart of the city; people are urged to avoid Amsterdam Centraal railway station and use other stations if possible from their direction. International trains that normally begin or terminate at Amsterdam Centraal are instead directed to a suburban stop.
Koninginnedag is for me the best party of the year! Have you ever heard of it? Are you in The Netherlands these days? What are your plans? P.S.: I was looking for my own old QDay pics, can’t find them. I’ll make new ones this year,ok?
(With a bit of help from Wikipedia.)
As you might recall, Ms Hiroko Shimbo asked me (over HERE, scroll down for the comments) to research the Japanese community in Amsterdam. She mentioned that years ago when she visited Amsterdam, she used to buy ingredients to prepare Japanese food in Chinatown. Nowadays there’s a modest but very good offer of Japanese stores. Japanese people in the Netherlands include expatriates from Japan and their Japanese citizen children, as well as Dutch citizens of Japanese ancestry. There were 7,524 persons of Japanese origin living in the Netherlands as of 2009, according to the figures of the Statistics Netherlands office.In general, they are transient foreign residents employed by Japanese companies. According to a 1996 survey, 80% of Japanese in The Netherlands consist of Japanese company employees and their families. Another 10% are Japanese civil servants on overseas postings, researchers, and students. The remainder were long-term residents, largely Japanese women married to Dutch men. Most live in Amsterdam. However, there are also about 150 living in Maastricht, mostly employees of Mitsubishi and their spouses and children.
The best places I know to buy Japanese ingredients are the following two;
- MEIDI-YA AMS
Beethovenstraat 18-20 in Amsterdam South, Meidi Ya amsterdam; http://www.meidi-ya-store.com/english
- Toko Shilla (Korean and Japanese delicasies)
Gelderlandplein 32 – 34 in Amsterdam Buitenveldert, http://www.shilla-amsterdam.nl
- As of 1 March 2010, Japanese expatriates coming to the Amstelland Hospital in Amstelveen (part of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area) can make use of a new Japanese medical service desk;
- The Japan Women’s Club, JWC, is a nonprofit organization established in 1989 in Amstelveen. Its founding members were women of the Japanese business community in The Netherlands.
- More information (In Dutch) about Japan, Japanese in The Netherlands, and their events;
- Japanese (non food) store and travelagency aswell as events calendar in the centre of Amsterdam;
- Japanese cultural centre Stichting Shofukan;
- And there’s even a Japanese school in Amsterdam;
And of course most famous Japanese restaurants in Amsterdam are Yamazato; http://www.yamazato.nl/en/ and Sazanka; http://www.sazanka.nl/en/Home.html in the Okura Hotel. Unfortunately I have not visited these yet. Yamazato is ran by chef Akira Oshima, who became the first Japanese chef in the Netherlands to be awarded a Michelin star – and the restaurant has snapped one up every year since. Oshima’s achievements were recognized in 2006, when he received a Dutch royal decoration.
The Okura Hotel also has a culinary studio and offers Japanese workshops and cooking classes. http://www.tasteofokura.nl/en
Do you know more Japanese places in The Netherlands that are worth checking out?
And 1 more question; does anyone know if it’s possible for me to have lessons in Taiko drumming in The Netherlands?
The Puur Restaurant Week (The Pure Restaurant Week), is a week in which more than 300 restaurants in The Netherlands offer a “pure” menu next to their regular menu as well, in which biological, fairtrade and sustainably caught fish play a central role. In this week the price of the menu is not relevant,but the story behind the products is. The Puur Restaurant Week takes place in The Netherlands from 14 until 20 November 2011.
On November 9 the election of The Netherlands most pure Restaurant will happen, and I will keep you updated about that! (Thx again, Lisette! )
Don’t know who Lisette is? WHAT? You haven’t read my articles.
Check this one out; http://dlcsmanagement.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/i-want-it-all-inspired-by-holland%e2%80%99s-sexiest-vegan/
More info; http://www.puurrestaurantweek.nl
All the participating resturants; http://www.puurrestaurantweek.nl/restaurants.html