Finn & Sacha ready to celebrate!
Koninginnedag!April 30th is the day all of the Netherlands celebrates the Queen's birthday. (If the 30th falls on a Sunday, then the celebration is on the 29th.)
Although the current Queen, Beatrix of the Netherlands, was really born on the 31st of January, she decided (because she's Queen and she can) to continue holding the "official national celebration" of Koninginnedag on April 30th out of respect & tribute to her mother, the former (and much beloved) Queen Juliana. (Hmm, we also think it's held in April because January 31st can be cold and gloomy here in the Netherlands.)
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Koninginnedag is a BIG party nationwide. :-) It's a day free from work, with street parties, music festivities, organized games, flea markets (mostly for children), held throughout the land. As is the custom, Queen Beatrix & the Royal Family also pay a visit to one or two cities in the Netherlands. In 1999 she visited Utrecht, but this year she will visit Woudrichem and s' Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) - both in the province of North Brabant.
Just about as much orange color as you can imagine will be found everywhere on Koninginnedag - from sweet treats & drinks, to colored hair & faces, to funny crowns & orange pennants. Why orange? Because the Dutch Royal family is the House of Oranje-Nassau and the royal wimpel (pennant) is orange! The orange pennant, signifying the Dutch Royal House, flies over the Dutch national tri-color flag on this day.
Dutch National flag with wimpel.
The Queen's personal standard.
The forerunner of today's celebration was held on August 31st 1885, the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina (Queen Juliana's mother). It was an innitiative of the Liberal Party of the Netherlands, which wanted to emphasize national unity. The first "official" Koninginnedag was held on August 31, 1891. Because this date was the end of school summer holidays, Koninginnedag soon became a popular childrens' celebration and remains so today.
As curious cats will do, we've been wondering on what day it will be held when De Prins van Oranje, Willem-Alexander (heir to the throne), becomes King of the Netherlands? We suspect it will still be on April 30th since Prince Willem-Alexander was born on April 27th, 1967. However, it will be the first Koningsdag (King's Day) the Netherlands has ever had ... that's cool! - (note the spelling difference between Koningin (queen) & Koning (king).
On this day, we also sing the "Wilhelmus", the Dutch national anthem, because we are good Dutch kitties. :o) We really are! (we also like typing the word "koninginnedag" over & over, because it's impossible to get right on the first go ... if you're a cat...heh heh). You can hear the Dutch national anthem here: The Wilhelmus click on "Muziek aan" to hear it sung in dutch (webpage is also in dutch (sorry non-dutch speakers), but has a full history of the anthem) .
The Dutch Royal Family's family tree (stamboom) can be found here: Grrr! they took our original link down, so here's another one ... this is a full Oranjestamboom
You can have a little fun too! Here is a link to an online spelletje (game) for Koninginnedag (in dutch only!) : Koninginnen Race (Queens' Race)
Or, if your really up to it, you could try a tradtional game of "sprietlopen".
This is a modern version of the traditional game -
" Dad" took this photo at the 2000 festivities in our neighbourhood.
Also, if you're so inclined, you can make these lekkere dingetjes (tasty things) ... the recipes are in dutch, but maybe you can figure them out! Oranjekoek (orange cake) , or try a Koninginnen Cocktail (non-alcoholic, but it could be "kicked up a notch" as someone in the US says...lol)
OK!, we're off to go have some fun today and maybe snatch a few orange pennants.
Finn & Sacha
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