Commemorating Queensday 2013

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The mood is infectious. There’s a burst of orange all over. A country is celebrating and upholding an important tradition.

I’m describing none other than Koninginnedag, or Queensday, in the Netherlands. This annual holiday (which falls on April 30) celebrates now-former Queen Beatrix’s mother’s birthday – Queen Juliana.

2013 Crowning a King

This year, however, marks an even more special occasion. Today, Prince Willem-Alexander was officially sworn in as King of the Netherlands as Queen Beatrix abdicated. He will be the first king the country has seen since 1890, and is also the youngest reigning monarch in Europe.

Orange Madness 

On Queensday, expect no less than to see the Dutch engulfed in “oranjegekte” or “orange madness,” as orange is the national color. On this day, it’s difficult to not feel overwhelmingly patriotic. The Dutch motto might as well be “the crazier in orange,” the better! Kids wear face paint, flea markets overflow with great deals, and crowds are partying or dancing on boats in the Amsterdam canals.

Queensday in NY

While walking around New York today, I reminisced about Queensday celebrations from earlier years. Being that New York is such a worldly city, it’s not shocking to hear many foreign languages on any given day. Today, however, I clearly overheard two Dutch people talking. I approached them thinking it would be a great opportunity to share our Queensday experiences – especially considering this year’s circumstances. We talked about the orange madness – they commended me for my Dutch pride since I wore an orange shirt. To me, it was a simple reminder of the country I love. For those few minutes, I felt as if we were having our celebration of Dutch pride as the conversation easily flowed.

Even though I am far from The Netherlands, today demonstrated the power of cultural interconnectedness.

Below are photos from Queensday in Boston with my mom and friends – an unforgettable day in which I was able to share the continued Dutch pride I feel.

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