Queen’s Day in Holland

Every year on April 30, a wave of orange falls upon the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the Dutch celebrate their national holiday, Queen’s Day.

Though the dates have fluctuated over the years, the country-wide holiday dates back to the late 19th century. The day was originally established on August 31, 1885 as Princess’s Day to honor the heiress to the throne, Princess Wilhelmina. Fittingly, the holiday took place on the Princess’s birthday. When Wilhelmina’s daughter, Juliana, began her reign as Queen, the event was renamed Koninginnedag, or Queen’s Day, and began to take place on the new monarch’s birthday, April 30. Juliana’s oldest daughter, Beatrix, has since taken the title of Queen, but the holiday is still recognized on Juliana’s birthday.  

Today, Holland’s national day is celebrated throughout the country, but perhaps, the most fervently in its capital, Amsterdam. Festivities include open air concerts, parades, and, curiously, a city-wide flea market. Queen’s Day marks the only day in which Dutch citizens are free to sell wares publically, free from tax and without a permit. Thousands take advantage of the allowance, pedaling second-hand items throughout the city of Amsterdam. In fact, the tradition is so well-practiced that even Queen Beatrix has been known to purchase an item or two throughout the course of the holiday.

Of course, the most popular way to commemorate Queen’s Day is by decking oneself out in orange, Holland’s national color. On the eve of Queen’s Day, Amsterdam’s streets and canals fill up with thousands of passionate, orange-clad participants, who remain in and about the city through the following day. Oranjegekte or “orange craze” is also exhibited in vibrant wigs, lively hats and even orange-tinted drinks as the festivities continue well into the evening. And the party certainly proves that Amsterdam is a city that is proud of its national heritage.

Celebrate a bit of Dutch tradition for yourself this year on one of our popular Bike and Barge vacations in Holland.

Meet Zsuzsanna – Trip Leader on VBT’s Hungary & Slovakia Vacation

What makes Zsuzsanna a great Trip Leader?

Perhaps it’s her ability to teach her guests a little Hungarian as they travel, which she claims is “one of the most difficult languages to learn.” And she would know: she speaks seven of them.

Maybe it’s the fact that travel is in her blood. Zsuzsanna’s father has been a tour guide throughout most of her life. As an heir to the family trade, she even conducted her first tour at the age of 14.

It could also be her breadth of cultural knowledge and experience. Born into a bilingual family (her father is originally from Russia) Zsuzsanna made it a point to keep an open mind about new cultures. As a result, she has traveled to and enjoyed 27 countries, including China, India, the United States, Russia and most of Europe.

Then again, it could just be Zsuzsanna’s lasting smile that makes her a great Trip Leader. “I smile 24-7 — that’s what everybody says.”

In any case, we’re certain that Zsuzsanna’s experience, knowledge and love of her country make her one of the best Trip Leaders to travel through Hungary with! Travel with Zsuzsanna this summer or fall on VBT’s Hungary & Slovakia: The Best of the Danube biking vacation.