Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dutch Hold Royal Celebration For New King

Caroline Nelissen /
Crowds, adorned in orange, gather each year for Queen's Day in the Netherlands, a tradition that is changing now that the country has a king.
 By Caroline Nelissen
Senior Correspondent
Youth Journalism International
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – There are few things I can think of that are as typically Dutch as our Koninginnedag, or Queen’s Day, celebration. On this national holiday, people dress up in bright orange clothes, hats and sunglasses and there are festivities and flea markets around the country.

All of this happened today as well, but this year’s Queen’s day was one like no other.
For one, it will be a long time before we have a national holiday called “Queen’s Day” again: from next year onward, we will be celebrating “King’s Day” instead.
Caroline Nelissen /
A Dutch flag on display for Queen's Day in Holland.
On April 30, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated from the throne, and the nation inaugurated her son Prince Willem-Alexander as the new king in a ceremony in the Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, in Amsterdam.
He is the first male successor to the throne since King Willem III, who died in 1890.
On the central Dam Square in Amsterdam, scores of people gathered Tuesday morning to watch the abdication of the former queen and in the afternoon the inauguration of the new king on large screens.
While the Dutch aren’t exactly known for being a passionate people, there seems to be something about royal events like this that unleash an enthusiasm in Dutch people that is matched only by the celebrations that take place when the Dutch national soccer team is playing.
Caroline Nelissen /
Orange balloon hats, twisted into crowns, are
the festive headwear for Queen's Day.

Caroline Nelissen /
Expect more orange
next year 
on King's Da
in the Netherlands
Of course, not everyone was excited: some people believe the concept of royalty – even though the Dutch royal family has no real political power – is outdated and should be abolished. However, while there were a few people holding up protest signs, the vast majority of the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves, cheering loudly when King Willem-Alexander was introduced as the new king, alongside his wife, Queen Máxima.
It still feels a bit strange to speak of “King Willem-Alexander,” “Queen Máxima” and “Princess Beatrix” after having used different titles my entire life, and celebrating “King’s Day” from next year onward will surely take some getting used to.
However, regardless of these changes, there is at least one thing we can count on: there will be orange. 

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