New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Brazil has Carnival and the Dutch - well, they have one of the biggest street parties in the world.
Queen's day—a Dutch national holiday celebrated each year on April 30th in honor of the late Queen Juliana's birthday—calls for an excuse to dress up in orange and party. Every year about one million people travel to Amsterdam for the celebrations where as much of the partying occurs on the canals as the streets.
I was fortunate enough to go this year and experience it first hand and it true Dutch fashion, on a boat for eight hours. Before our water excursion, I perused the "free market” or vrigmarkt, with a glass of champagne in hand. On this day, every store/individual is allowed to sell their wares on the street. After a few glasses of bubbly I picked out an old tin sign and a set of beautiful baroque pencils in a matching box for 3 euro!
All aboard! Time to drink Heineken on a boat equipped with two DJ's, confetti cannons and a saxophonist. Can you tell that they take this holiday very seriously? At the end of the day I came to the conclusion that A) the Dutch are one of the friendliest and welcoming people and B) they can seriously party.
Final Word: Whether or not you make it to Amsterdam for Queen's day, I recommend you stay at The College Hotel which has 40 rooms and is run by college students, pop in for a smoke and lunch at Barney's Uptown, grab a hot croquette from a Febo vending machine, and for the best steak frites and beef tartare north of Paris, make a reservation at Le Garage.