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.

Koningin Beatrix
Koningin Beatrix

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.

When Queen Beatrix succeeded her mother Juliana  on 30 April 1980, the new queen decided to keep the holiday on 30 April as a tribute to her mother. The reason was practical as well—Beatrix’s actual birthday on 31 January is less conducive to the traditional outdoor activities.The birthday of the Queen’s son and heir, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange is 27 April.
 

 

The future king; Willem Alexander with his Argentinian-born wife Maxima & their daughters Amalia, Alexia & Ariane by ANP LEX VAN LIESHOUT
Willem-Alexander, Maxima & prinsesjes by ANP LEX VAN LIESHOUT

  

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.

In recent years parties and concerts have been held the evening before Koninginnedag; Koninginnenacht(Queen’s Night). Many young people celebrate in the streets and squares (and in Amsterdam, the canals as well) throughout the night, and after all-night partying join the crowds at the vrijmarkt. Street parties on Koninginnenacht are this year permitted from 19.00 untill 23.00, after which party people generally move inside to clubs and bars.
 
Queensday Museumplein 2011
Queensday Museumplein 2011
 
In The Netherlands, unfortunately we work on May 1. I have already asked permission to sleep a bit longer before going to work that day.

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.)

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