King’s Day, Hollands biggest international holiday, and a GREAT reason to visit Amsterdam.
Before the now king Willem-Alexander assumed the throne in 2013, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was Queen and she continued the tradition of her mother Julianna’s celebration day, formerly known as Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day). Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January but in tradition the celebration was still held 30 April, Julianna’s Birthday.
In 2013, her oldest son Willem-Alexander assumed the throne as the new King of the Netherlands and the holiday was moved to 27 April, his birthday. Now it is known as Koningsdad or King’s Day, but has been passed down from woman to woman since 1890 and Queen Beatrix’s rule was from 1980-2013, so you’ll hear many a local Dutch still refer to the holiday as Koninginnedag.
What’s with all that orange?!
Obviously not the Dutch colors, so how did the color orange become the signature color for Koningsdad? Well that’s the royal family’s colors of course! There is no expense spared when it comes to wearing orange on King’s Day!
ORANGE, ORANGE, ORANGE!
Before all that, we did have 4 whole days in Amsterdam and this year the festival was held on April 27th 2015 which put the holiday on a Monday. King’s Night kicks off the celebrations, which was Sunday night this year, and we arrived Friday. So what is there to do for 16 girls getting ready to storm the city for a Girls Weekend? Well let me tell you.
First and foremost do you have friends that would stop everything at the drop of a hat to come help you out or meet up with you no matter where you are in the world? I do. And one of them is named Krista, we were stationed together on an Amphibious Warship out of Japan. She was the Navigator and we roomed together on-board the ship.
One whisper of my ideas for the weekend in Amsterdam and that crazy lady booked her tickets and said, “I’m on my way!” I was jumping around in excitement. She would fly from America for only 4 days to hang out with me in Amsterdam?! That’s a true friend right there.
She arrived earlier in the day since we all had to work before we could fly and as she got over the jet lag, we decided drinks of celebration were in order.
It’s always a VERY good day when we are reunited!
There were 16 girls total for our Girls Weekend, spread out between 2 apartments and 1 house boat.
The next morning we woke early because there were some things we wanted to see before all of the partying began. We jumped on the tram and were on the way, or so we thought.
Turns out we picked the right line, wrong direction and at the last stop we were forced off the tram by the conductor screaming, “END OF THE LINE” into his microphone. What was a girl to do? Get off the train obvi. So here we are at the end of the track, with nowhere to go but the whole other direction.
Finally finding the right stop, we walked down the street and joined the never ending wrap around line at the Anne Frank House. Entertaining ourselves with charades and encouraging others waiting in the line to join in, the time flew by and soon we were entering the building.
The house itself is just a building, the significance of which was made great by Otto Frank, Anne’s father, who’s tireless pursuit to speak the truth and spread Anne’s story around the entire world resulted in the book being translated to over 70 languages, published in 60 countries, and over 30 million copies sold.
As fascinating as these statistics are, what enraptured my attention the most, was her ability to fiercely maintain a positive outlook on life even after all the hardships of the time were thrust upon her. These hardships effected her daily living to the point of being confined to 2 rooms in darkness for over 2 years time. Her wisdom is humbling.
In this world we are always taking things for granted. It isn’t until the simple things are ripped away from us that we start to yearn for them. For example, being deployed for 7 months out to sea. Honestly its hard for me to convey the moment my bare feet felt grass after such a long time.
Yes, I could always walk outside and feel the wind on my face and the sea spray in my hair when underway on a ship, but there’s something hard about being so long away from the mountains. Anne’s diary really makes us put things into prospective. There are always sacrifices to be made, but it is much harder when the sacrifices weren’t our choice in the first place.
At the end of the tour we headed just down the street to meet everyone else at the Pancake Bakery. Luckily they had grabbed seats and unlimited mimosa’s already so we just ran up the steps when no one in the line was looking and joined them at the table. Definitely a must visit while in Amsterdam.
They have pancake choices you never even dreamed up before and what’s crazy is no matter what you get, it will be delicious. I tried over 8 different pancakes and all of them were AMAZING. Just trust me, stop by here when you visit next.
We drank mimos’s into the early afternoon and after a quick split to do a couple of different things, we met back up at Mike’s Bike Tours for the countryside tour.
What happened afterwards you ask? Wagamama, that’s what. The infamous ramen noodles that are very good, and as close as you can get to authentic ramen noodle soup in Japan, without being authentic ramen soup, Japan.
Did I ever say how much I love soup?! It is one of the things I pine for the most since leaving Asia and to Krista’s dismay, it seemed Asian cuisine was all we wanted all weekend. Haha.
In Naples Italy, although the food is amazing, you can’t get very much variety, which can sometimes be a bit of a bummer. Needless to say I was very satisfied after this bowl of the Wagamama Ramen.
The next morning we were supposed to wake up early enough to go to the Tulip fields and this happened instead (below). So while all the other girls were off smelling tulips and admiring the views, we started our day with mimosa’s and set our sights on the Heineken Experience.
Before we skip the Keukenhof Gardens, the tulip spectacular, I thought I would share a few other pictures from the girls that went. The garden itself is South West of the city, approximately 45 minutes driving and 1 hour 20 minutes using public transportation.
Price is 16 euro if you get to the gardens yourself, there are buses that run from Central Amsterdam to the gardens and including the entry to the gardens, it’s about 30 euro.
Over at the Heineken Experience… I must admit this was one of the best brewery tours I’ve been on and it’s mostly because you end the tour in a club-like area, drinking, at a bar. Krista was walking by a souvenir stand and saw free flyers for a dollar off to the Heineken Experience which we all grabbed one of.
Also, if you go during the day they offer canal rides with your wrist bracelet that actually go right back to where we were staying. Unfortunately they only leave once an hour and when we finished we had just missed the last one, so we walked back.
After we had dinner and took a leisurely stroll through the red district, it was time to get ready for the evening!
KING’S NIGHT BEGINS…
The ladies danced into the night. Some much later than others, Krista & Megan couldn’t be stopped until about 4am, while the rest of us went back for beauty sleep before donning all of our orange gear and heading out into town.
After getting ready in the morning we took to the street and walked over to the house boat to coral all the ladies.
You should also know that there are many different events on King’s Day. Most of them are held on the outskirts of the city so the crowds don’t get too big. If you are more interested in the concert scene then I’ll direct you here.
Don’t worry Krista had our backs. She came up with a brilliant idea to stop for boxed wine, which prompts these words ^ to play on a loop in my head when I see this picture.
Wandering the streets getting a lil crazy over here.
Like Polaroid Pictures.
Meanwhile we headed up to our Air bnb apartment to freshen up and recharge for a few minutes
Freshening up and recharging.
Then we decided to hang out the window for a minute to get a street view.
One of the last few pictures of all of us together, unfortunately the house boat ended up getting broken into while we were away and those girls had to return and assess the damage. At this point we split up and went separate ways.
After packing and preparing for an early flight departure, we went to bed and I was up and gone with 4 of the other girls before sunrise. I was off to Spain for TBEX Costa Brava while mostly everyone else was heading back to Naples. More to come!
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.