King's Day on April 27th, 2015
If you have any plans to be in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maartens in the Caribbean in the next few days, you should know that the biggest holiday of King’s Day (Koningsdag) is coming up on April 27th, 2015. Many people may not even be aware that the Netherlands is a Monarchy, but indeed it has been an independent monarchy since 1815, but has been hereditarily "governed" by members of the House of Orange-Nassau since 1559 according to this wikipedia article. If you’d like to a few more trivia about the Dutch Royal Family, take a look at this article on the guardian about the 12 things you never knew about the Dutch Royal Family.
Back to the holiday at hand, King's Day is a national holiday celebrating the current King Willem-Alexander's birthday. King’s Day is celebrated with everyone wearing, drinking and dying their hair orange to honor the House of Orange. The whole city becomes a party in Amsterdam and many other cities, with anyone allowed to sell their second-hand items anywhere for that day. This open flea market is called Vrijmarkt, and the streets literally become filled with everyone selling things from their attic. For more information about what to expect and where to go, read this article on National Geographic Intelligent Travel. The article goes on to say that after the mayhem is over, you can enjoy the flower show at Keukenhof Gardens, 40 minutes southwest of Amsterdam. The garden is filled with Holland’s world-famous tulips blanketing 80 acres. That must be a spectacular sight.
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