Monday, 29 April 2013

Bye, Bye, Queen Bea

Well, unless you've been hiding under a rock, you'll know that this Queen's Day is special. This is because the current Queen Beatrix steps down and her son and his with will be officially inaugurated as King Willem-Alexander, his wife Queen Maxima.
You can read about the inauguration details here.
The city is gearing up for a huge party on the last Queen's Day – next year, it'll become King's Day, and the date shifts from the 30th of April to the 27th of April, Willem-Alexander's actual birthday.
For those of you new to Amsterdam I've put together some information on Queen's Day so you get the most out of it and stay safe. You can also get a feel for the day on my previous blog posts from 2011, 2010, and 2009.
Basic information can be found on Iamsteram's site. Below is a map of the scheduled and boat route the royals will take. Below is a map of the scheduled and boat route the royals will take.

Some tips for surviving the day:

close to a million people come to Amsterdam for Queen's Day usually, so given this will be a bumper year with the inauguration, it could be considerably more.
This has a big effect on resources, etc., as detailed below.

don't wear open-toed shoes – there's lots of broken glass and other crap about.

wear compy shoes – you'll be on foot all day.

wear orange! It's the national colour and pretty much every Dutchie will don some orange clothes.

forget your bike – the streets are PACKED, leave the bike at home today.

public transport is also massively restricted. You can read more here.

mobile coverage: given the massive amount of people using the network, you may find you can't connect and make calls, and text messages can fail to go though, or have massive delays. Best bet is to make plans or pick a meeting point and time prior with friends.

food and drink: readily available from street vendors; professionals and amateurs alike. Everyone is allowed to sell whatever they like on this day, so be somewhat wary about where you buy from.

get cash out the day before – ATMs will have long queues and be tapped dry pretty fast. And of course, most street stalls will only deal in cash.

leave your wallet and other valuables at home – just bring essentials. Take your cheap sunglasses… So many people = a lot of pick-pockets, drunks, or just your own drunkenness can be risky. It's a messy day!

Queen's Day by boat: a great way to experience the day is by boat, where you'll sail down the Prinsengracht. Due to this special year there will be some addition regulations to check out as to where you can sail.

what I love about Queen's Day is the fact the the entire city becomes one big flea market. The areas that have stalls are mostly in the Old South, and the canal belt through to the Jordaan. Tip: haggle!! And have cash and coins on you.

kids: some of the main streets can be overwhelming for little kids, and families due to the sheer number of people and given that most will be fairly intoxicated. A safe place to go is Vodelpark. More info here.

Cheers, and have a happy and safe Queen's Day / King's Day.
Lel x

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