Maybe a King’s Not So Bad …

Koningsnacht 2014I’m far from being a monarchist, but having a monarchy has its moments. Like this weekend. Queen’s Day has always been fun — and nowadays is more about having a good time than celebrating a monarch — and now the first King’s Day has also gone over well. We celebrated King’s Night a bit more than the Day, but we still got out and wandered around the city a bit during the day, although we skipped the heavy crowds of the vrijmarkt this year.

Our house is close to one of the multiple stage areas around the city, so as soon as the live music started up, we could hear it all clearly from home. We enjoyed some from our terrace, as we grilled out, and then after dinner, we decided to go out and see it in person. The sounds of the salsa band playing were particularly enticing. As it turned out, I even knew the trumpeter. It’s Robert from the Kat in de Stad books! We weren’t the only ones enjoying the music. There was a growing crowd, but still enough space for dancing.Koningsnacht 2014After listening for a while, we decided to wander around, checking out more of the festivities. The streets were blocked off from auto traffic, so the streets were a free-for-all of people and bikes. Mainly people. Lots and lots of friendly people. It was a really positive vibe, as it is every year. We decided to head over to Neude, where another of the big stages was set up, but not before stopping for a glass of prosecco along the way. Wine, beer, coffee, soft drinks, and food … all of it was available from a variety of stalls and restaurants. It was a bit like my New Orleans days; open containers allowed! The first place we got our prosecco from even had fluted plastic glasses for it!Koningsnacht (Neude)Koningsnacht 2014By the time we got to Neude, it was getting darker and the crowds were getting bigger, but still everyone was having a great time. We stopped for another glass of prosecco before heading over to Janskerkhof where another big party was getting under way.

There was a big stage with live music and lots of lights and colors. The music wasn’t my favorite, but visually the area looked amazing!Koningsnacht 2014Koningsnacht 2014Koningsnacht 2014Koningsnacht 2014Koningsnacht 2014After taking in the sights, we finally finished the loop and headed back to our own neighborhood to enjoy more of the party. We watched some of the music for a while and then decided to head home. That didn’t mean we were done for the night, though. The weather was so fantastic that we decided to do what many a Dutch person does and set our chairs out on the sidewalk in front of our house. That way, we could enjoy the music and do a bit of people watching. We stayed out there until the music ended at one in the morning, exchanging greetings with lots of passers-by. We had a truly gezellig evening!Koningsnacht 2014For King’s Day, we had a leisurely start to the day and watched a bit of the royal family taking part in their own festivities on TV. We then headed out around noon — while things were still quiet — and enjoyed the sunshine and the friendly atmosphere. When we got to the Oudegracht, we even saw a band that we’d seen last year that we really liked. I wish I knew their name, because I’d love to see them perform again. They have a super cool, blues-y, Morphine-ish sound that is fantastic.Koningsdag 2014We were feeling pretty mellow ourselves, so after a walk to Mariaplaats — before the crowds arrived — we headed back to enjoy some more of the bands playing in our neighborhood, finishing the day relaxed and happy.Koningsdag 2014Koningsdag 2014

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7 thoughts on “Maybe a King’s Not So Bad …

  1. Wonderful photos – especially like the couple dancing: such joy.
    Monarchies – I remember when our Queen visited I grumbled away about expense and presumption of ‘certain people’. But boy was it fun! Under a ‘regime’ nothing stirs the stodgy souls of citizens. We need something outside our worlds, whether a religious festival or royal parade – neither compromise our beliefs and the instigators realise its all about fun too.

  2. Sounds like an excellent first King’s Day! What a great idea to put your chairs outside to listen to the music – at our current location if we did that we’d be trampled by the crowds but I’m hoping our new place (still pending) will allow us that possibility.
    Also, totally loved watching the royal family on TV. Very sweet, kind of awkward at times … They’re just so delightfully human!

    • We were fortunate that our street is quiet enough in terms of foot/bike/auto traffic, but we could still see the stage. A perfect way to enjoy the crowds without being IN the crowds. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the royals’ public outing on the day precisely because it does make them look more human. Especially when they actually get in to some of the sillier things.

  3. Hello I’m Indonesians. I always love visiting Holland not only because it is my favorite city, but also because I have been so many times that I feel no real pressure to do all of the tourist activities. Different things catch my eye on each trip, and I particularly enjoy wandering around the neighborhoods in Amsterdan, Leiden, Harlem, etc and taking self guided walking tours. but it’s a pity that I haven’t been to Utrecht.

    • You should definitely visit Utrecht on your next visit. There are plenty of nice tourist things to do (without large numbers of tourists), but it’s also just a beautiful city to walk around and small enough to always find something of interest.

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