So relaxed and natural. Not protocol fascists.
Our Australian friend John met the new Dutch king on his trip down under a few years ago. Like me, John has a Dutch wife and speaks fluent bad Nederlands.
He and his wife were invited to an official reception for Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and the immensely popular Princess Maxima and checked on the correct way to address the royals. ‘Uw koninklijke hoogheid’ (‘your royal highness’) is a mouthful, even for Dutch people.
John practised the phrase faithfully on the way to the event. ‘Uw konning likker hoe geid…you konick linker hog height…’ It wasn’t going well. Continue reading
The Keukenhof Gardens – tulips by the million
Few people celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but it coincided with us taking advantage of the cheaper Earlybird flights to Europe.
We booked our tickets back to Amsterdam this week, and will arrive there with the spring 2013. That’s something to be thankful for, and to celebrate with a few shots in this Weekly Photo Challenge.
We’re gratefully looking forward to… Continue reading
Amsterdam's Vondelpark was a sea of orange for the annual Queens Day celebrations.
The Vondelpark is traditionally the place where children can perform, play, sell the toys they’ve grown too big for and the outfits they wouldn’t be seen dead in now that they’re sophisticated 12 year olds.
Oh it was busy in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark!
Even the buses were jostling each other - ouch!
We knew Koninginnedag (‘Queens Day’ if you’re not Dutch) was coming days ago. There were orange streamers in the streets, silly orange hats for sale in the shops, flower stalls selling only orange tulips. In Dirk van den Broek supermarket I met a 10 year old boy buying 20 dozen eggs. ‘Making omelettes for Koninginnedag?’ I asked. ‘No, people can throw eggs at my brother. He stands with his head in a hole and people try to hit him. One euro for three eggs.’ Kids can make money in lots of inventive ways.
Just hold a violin and look cute
My favourite this year was ‘throw a smurf’. The country that gave us Vermeer and van Gogh also gave us reality TV’s Big Brother and Vader Abraham’s smurfs. In a Dutch variation on the coconut shy, kids could pay a modest fee to hurl a fluffy stuffed smurf at members of the royal family smiling at them from a pyramid of Droste cocoa tins.
Try your luck at shuffleboard
The royals are still popular though. On the telly we watched as Queen Beatrix led her family through Zeeland to great applause. You may remember last year’s tragedy when someone drove his car at the royal bus, killing himself and six people in the crowd. After last night’s memorial service for the victims, everyone was relieved that this year it was the old Koninginnedag again.
Only idiots who pressed the emergency stop button on a train and striking garbage collectors threatened the fun this year.
At Apollolaan street market there's always a chance of finding the vinyl LP you wish you hadn't given away when you bought your first CD player.