Travel Oops: The Queen’s Birthday — A Royal Rager?

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

The Orange crush streaming out of Centraal Station and on to the streets of Amsterdam indicated that the Dutch — especially young people — must love their Queen Bea.

© DirkvdM

© DirkvdM

Throngs of Dutch citizens waved flags and sported the Netherlands’s national color, orange — lots of orange. Revelers even dyed their hair in flaming shades of tangerine, tangelo and clementine.

To be honest, it looked like my roommates and I had stepped into a Florida citrus convention.

It was Koninginnedag — Queen’s Day, which recognizes the Queen’s birthday and is celebrated every April 30.  As an American, I could barely say it let alone did I know exactly what Koninginnedag would be like.

© Emiel Ketelaar, FrozenImage

© Emiel Ketelaar, FrozenImage

But, like her loyal subjects, I figured I could drink tea with my pinky up in the air, eat crustless cucumber sandwiches and wave to Queen Beatrix as she rode by in a horse-drawn carriage.

Leah, Amy and I, who were on a college study abroad program based 30 minutes away in Leiden, wanted to check out the whole monarchy thing.

However, as we walked out on to the Amsterdam streets, we got sucked into the detour to debauchery. People spilled out of the packed bars, slammed beers on the streets and sat on rooftops. It was clear that we needed to start drinking alcohol right away. It was 9:30 a.m.

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The Friday Travel Ahhh…

© Stephanie Glaser

As anyone who travels knows, there are missteps, mishaps and misadventures, but then there are those perfect moments when we say: “yeah, this is why I travel.” I’m choosing Fridays to be the Travel Ahh… day

I love this photo because this Dutch man is so in the moment. I ran over to take his picture when I saw him dancing on a wall in Amsterdam on Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day. The Netherlands celebrates this holiday every April and it is not about having tea and crumpets while Queen Beatrix waves from a balcony. It’s a day when the normally somewhat reserved Dutch really revel. The day has a huge sense of community — everyone is accepted as Dutch on Koninginnedag. To me, this photo captured exactly the feeling of the day.