Saturday, May 17, 2014

Seas of Orange

Amsterdam, Holland. Seas of orange crowd the streets as I make a feeble attempt to walk off the ferry. It's the craziest time of year for Holland citizens - King's Day. At every corner a musician is blaring their punk rock or smooth classical music and the chants from surrounding crowds echo through the canal tunnels as booze tipping over the rims of plastic glasses and beer cans stains the cuffs of my pants. The streets are lined with residents who have each taken up a square piece of property and are attempting to sell their belongings on what the king calls the "free market".

This sounds like a nightmare for some, but as an annual celebration in honour of the king, I take every moment in and breath steady. "It will be over tomorrow and for now there is no better option but to party", I whisper to my friends who are also wide eyed and bushy tailed. 

King's Day (also Queen's Day if the queen is in power) is the monarchy's holiday in the Netherlands (Holland). Every year on the day of coronation people take to the streets and adorn themselves in orange as a sign of admiration for the royal family. It is the only time of year that residents can sell their belongings without a permit and so they take the opportunity to clean out their houses - it's essentially a Salvation Army that stretches for miles and miles. It is said that rather than belonging to the monarchy, King's Day belongs to the people and as for what I have seen, I couldn't agree more.

It was a great opportunity to be able to participate in a national celebration and despite feeling as if my insides would tear away from every morsel of my body which attempts to contain them, I returned to Sorlandet with a feeling that can only be described by the warmth that glowed in the veins and arteries of my body and the strength that was contained in the grasp of my friends arms as we cheerfully walked home, linked together with the bonds of friendship and family. We survived King's Day - it was a blast.

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