On the 26th of April 2014 it was the first official Koningsdag, not Koninginnedag (Queensday), for this little country called Holland. I also just realized it would have been our 10th anniversary of being in New Zealand, but alas, I decided to go to Europe! So whilst my family was celebrating in the approaching winter, I was working up a little sweat walking around taking pictures in the hot, noisy, and sunny neigbourhood.
As I said before, it had been 10 years (or I should say 11, because I missed the Queensday in 2004 when we emigrated) since I last experienced this celebratory day. It felt very strange to walk around and not have my family with me celebrating like we always did together. It was a very nostalgic feeling, and it was not nice to be alone in that moment.
But I enjoyed seeing the smiles, the markets, the laughing kids, and the orange EVERYWHERE. Orange madness! The smell of fresh fish, herbs, garlic salami, waffles, and cheese really added to the relaxed and cultural atmosphere of the day. Everyone was smiling, and everyone was just enjoying the day.
The village had an old time yellow school bus and a lovely rustic red fire engine driving everyone around for free, good call! I asked some people if I could photograph them, because they just looked so festive. Love all those colours! And what about those market stalls, goodness, it was hard not to buy everything on the decoration stands!
Later in the evening my uncle’s family and I went to the “taptoe”, or the marching bands that perform on the big soccer fields nearby. It’s amazing how they can manage the choreography and the music at the same time, and also dress cool while doing so. I remember growing up and always going to see the bands, even the national competitions and shows. It probably added to my gigantic love of music, I can never get enough of it. Old school or not, it rules.
Oh yeah, did I mention my cousins are super cute and photogenic? Yeah, that’s why we’re related.
And last but not least (gosh I need to stop using that phrase), the end-of-the-day ever-so-famous fireworks! The sunset was beautiful, and after we marched behind the band for about half an hour, the crowd joined together to cheer on the light spectacle. I had never before really tried to photograph fireworks, but I think my amateur experimenting turned out somewhat okay.
Koningsdag is full of colour, full of so many people and so many noises, and the smell of delicious baking, savouries, sweets and burgers just makes you a little bit happier. But I must say, without my family with me, there was definitely some of that happiness missing. However, it was a day where everyone comes together because they love celebrating their country and king, and it’s lovely to see that we can do that with strangers and friends alike, just by being thankful for what we have, but more importantly for who we have with us that day x
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