April not only begins with the day where you get to call home and tell your mom you’re pregnant, when for fear of causing a heart attack, shout out way too soon, “Aprils fools!” But, as recently discovered, it also ends on the day when you can celebrate the Queen of the Netherlands, if ever in Amsterdam for this glorious occasion. Queen’s day presents this opportunity on the Queen’s mother’s birthday, on April 30th every year. Just imagine the whole city decked out in bright orange attire, gulping down the heineken, selling all kinds of odds and ends on the streets, and meeting super chill Dutch people, cool enough to grant you the title of honorary fellow Dutch for the day, at every turn! I experienced Queen’s day for the first time in 2010, when my parents flew into Paris during my study abroad year, and on my boyfriend’s brilliant request hopped on a train to Amsterdam to party in the city of legal sex work districts and coffee houses serving up more than just coffee. Having lived here for 4 years in the past, the bf thought it would be fun to take my parents. Didn’t seem to bother my dad a bit, who likes to pretend he’s still my age, when one time over making plans with some friends in the city, he piped in and said, “So when we going?”
Initially afraid to spend this holiday day-drinking with my ultra conservative mother and slightly on my kind of wild side father, Queen’s day turned out to be quite enjoyable. I’ll admit, the day could have ended sooner, but all-in-all, walking around seeing the city set aflame with bright orange silhouettes getting down on the boats and the bridges gave this already fun city a more flamboyant edge. Selling beer or wine at designated kiosks throughout, the sun shining on your face, trance tunes playing in the background, the whole place turns into one giant and vibrant party with plenty of opportunities to capture really fun and interesting sights. The Dutch culture lends itself to such a mellow, yet exhilarating fest, as the people equally embody such a tolerant and calm attitude toward everyone and everything. This inviting ambience allows you to enjoy all the activities around, and makes for really fun stories later too. If you like to check out the boogie down scene and love meeting new people, then head over to Amsterdam to experience this unique and funky holiday. Your untamed side will very much thank you for it.