Koninginnedag 2008: The Quest for Orange

Wednesday April the 30th was Koninginnedag (Queens Day) in Holland. As I mentioned last year Queens Day is the day that everyone in Holland celebrates the Dutch Queen’s birthday and it has nothing to do with men up and down the country putting on dresses and applying a little make-up to make them selves feel pretty.

The whole country joins in on the celebrations and Amsterdam becomes one big party, one big party that I was planning to go to. I had one problem though. Everyone wears orange on Queens Day since it is the national colour but I had no items of orange clothing. Usually I use the ‘I have orange hair’ argument but at the Queens Night Party the day before the debate had started again between my friends about weather I had ginger or strawberry blond hair. Despite being born and raised ginger it seems like it was not going to be good enough this year. I had no choice. I would have to try and find an item of orange clothing on Queen’s Day. How hard could it be?

I woke up on Queens Day, got ready and boarded the train to Amsterdam to meet my friends (there were a few more steps between that but I thought it best not to bore you with details about how many sugars I take in my morning tea or how long I spend brushing my teeth… No sugar by the way).

The feeling of excitement amongst my fellow Queen’s Days celebrators on the train was almost tangible. As we pulled into Amsterdam train station everyone started to cheer. As the doors open we all stepped out onto the platform as one. There was a feeling of charging into battle only this battle was one big party. Deep inside a primordial part of me wanted to shout out, “Charge!”

Then we got out side and hit the crowds of other orange wearing party goers and everything slowed down as our charge became a slow stroll. Part of me still felt like shouting out, “Stroll men! Stroll casually into battle! Strollllllllllllll!”

After a while I made it into the city and started my hunt for an item of orange clothing.

However, the only available options I could find came in the form of cowgirl hats or feather bowers, either of which would have made me look more like an Essex girl on a hen night then an Englishman trying to enter into the spirit of Queen’s Day. I decided it was best to keep on looking.

There was so much orange on sale that I was starting to think the colour was in danger of becoming extinct in the wild. It was as if Amsterdam had become some kind of black market where illegal supplies of orange were being sold (but then I guess you would call it an orange market) but I still could not find any thing suitable.

I decided a beer might help me relax about my lack of orange clothing. This was my first beer of the day which I purchased from one of the many street beer vendors around the city. One of my friends translated the writing on the side of the glass which said I could return it and get a euro back. I did this and felt very Dutch but it reminded me I still lacked the orange clothing to give the outward appearance. I re-started my quest.

I had lunch in the form of a hotdog in a bun. I was surprised that to keep with the orange theme that is was not a carrot in a bun and started to wonder if I had orange on the brain. I had to find something soon before I started to go crazy (if it was not already too late).

On every street around the city Dutch people sell their old belongings but in this photo you can also see the side effects of having so much orange located in one city at the same time. That’s right, the colour had evolved into a life form. I considered trying to buy it so I could walk around the streets of Amsterdam with it on my shoulder, thus solving my orange-less problem. However, I decided it was not a good idea since there was no way of knowing if this new colour life form was hostile and would try to bite my ear off.

It seemed hopeless. I was never going to find something orange and suitable to wear. I was defeated. It was hopeless. I had lost. I had failed.

But then I saw something that made me realize I had not failed at all. I saw someone else who was not wearing orange, someone famous.

The lure of the biggest party in Holland had proved too tempting even for the likes of Darth Vader who was hanging around and enjoying the atmosphere in his own moody way. I suddenly didn’t feel so worried about not wearing orange. If the Dark Lord of the Sith does not have to wear orange then why should I. I learnt something from Darth Vader that day. I realized wearing orange was not important. I could still enjoy Queen’s Day even if I was not wearing orange as long as I had orange in my heart. The father of Luke Skywalker had realized this and through him I now had too.

On the other hand, I don’t think anyone would really want to tell the Emperor’s right hand man that he had to adhere to the dress code or leave, not if they did not want to die in a very horrible way at least. I decided to learn from his example anyway and enjoy Queen’s Day and the beer, while keeping a safe distance from him just to be on the safe side.

9 responses to “Koninginnedag 2008: The Quest for Orange”

  1. a usual suspect says:

    A curious folk, these Dutch……That’s not mayonnaise I also see on that hot dog, is it? Is it true they slather the stuff on everything? I was thinking that we too here in the States should have a queen for whose birthday we should celebrate…..and then I realized we did have Richard Simmons, but in no way should he be celebrated…….;-)

  2. Anneke says:

    I managed to escape the Queensday celebration in Wales. Whoohoo! I don’t hate Queensday, but overdoses of Orange can happen…

  3. Isabella says:

    The one thing I’d ever buy from a vrijmarkt happened to be in one of your photos! The weepul or wuppie (sp?) ;)

    Great post!
    I love your blog.

  4. Gez says:

    Stu!
    How, after what, five years is it? Can you NOT own an article of orange clothing?!? I even managed to move over here with an orange shirt! (Proudly worn on the 30th too). This was topped off my my orange jacket, and a silly orange crown with the NL flag running through it and bells on the tips :)
    Though at least you managed to get to it this year, rather than being laid up with a hang-over :)

    Oh, and no, it wasn’t Croydon College, unless for 2 years I was subject to some weird time/space anomally that meant I was living in Exeter, then somehow being transported to Croydon on the journey to college….

  5. VallyP says:

    Hi Stu, I’ve just been catching up on your posts and had a good chuckle over the lift one and the one before this too. Seems you haven’t lost your keen eye when it comes to all oddities of a Dutch nature. It also seems you haven’t forgotten how to enjoy yourself!

    As for orange, I am proud to say I have managed to avoid ever wearing anything remotely resembling that hideous colour. I even avoid Queen’s day just so I won’t have to see it ;-)

    The only place for orange is on the orange itself!

    See you soon Vallyp

  6. Keith says:

    That was a very long and pointless post, but very informative though. I learnt a lot from it, i.e., that the Dutch are completely insane, and that there is chance that orange can mutate into a vicious life-form.

  7. Sanna says:

    Through a rather circuitous route, to complicated to even remember, I found your blog and have been giggling insanely over the three posts I’ve read. I was living in Holland in 1979-80 so got to witness the old and new queen standing on the balcony and waving thing that they do. Don’t remember there being quite so much orange then. This is bringing back many fond and odd memories.

  8. Invader Stu says:

    a usual suspect – Yes, they put it on ‘everything’ but I could never eat it myself. My hotdog is mayonnaise free.

    Anneke – I’m still blind in the orange colour spectrum from that day.

    Isabella – Is that what the orange life form is called?

    Gez – It is a mystery.

    VallyP – And yet strangely there was not an orange fruit in sight.

    Keith – Thanks… I think.

    Sanna – I’m glade to hear you have happy memories of it :)

  9. Bruce Banner says:

    Yes, we use mayonaise on everything and we Love it ;)

    If there’s something else you need to know about the Dutch just ask me. Was born there a long time ago and lived there eversince ;)

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