Monday, April 27, 2009

Koninginnedag 2009

Koninginnedag, or Queens Day, is a national holiday in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba...and Cleveland, Ohio! Celebrated on April 30, Queen's Day commemorates the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands and is supposed to be a day of national unity and "togetherness" (Dutch: saamhorigheid). The tradition started on August 31, 1885 on the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, later Queen Wilhelmina. Since 1949, after the ascension of Queen Juliana, Queen's Day is Queen Juliana's birthday on April 30. Although Queen Beatrix's birthday is on January 31, she officially celebrates her birthday on April 30, which people generally appreciate because the weather is much nicer! Because the royal color is orange, people will wear orange anything and everything, which is sometimes called "orange craze" (Dutch: oranjegekte).

Niels and I attended our third Koninginnedag celebration together at a country club not too far from us. We are definitely among the younger in the crowd, but it's fun to see the "Old Dutch." This time we sat next to a man who fought in World War 2, and survived the "hunger winter." He came to the States after the war to live with a relative and later became an American citizen.

Later we were joined by a couple and their two boys. The man was born in Holland, his wife is from Jamaica. They met while he was on vacation, married, and moved to the US. He gave up his Dutch citizenship and became an American.

The actual event includes a little ceremony and the singing of the Queen's song, but mostly it's a chance to hang out with other Dutchies and eat Dutch food. There are always several young women dressed in traditional Dutch outfits serving finger foods. They served Gouda cheese, chicken skewers with peanut sauce, raw herring (which Niels ate!), stuffed mushrooms and little meatballs called bitterballen. Since we're still trying new recipes, I think we'll need to add that last one to our list...Yum! We had fun teaching a few of the servers Dutch words, and it was cool to watch them try them out with success. After a dinner of beef, potatoes, asperagus and pasta, the desserts were served: almond cookies, almond pastries, stroopwafels (caramel waffels), ginger cookies and more. Before we left we made a goodie bag for our good friend, Ashley, who was watching our little Dutch boy.

1 comment:

A said...

Hi, i just arrived here when i clicked about "next blog" since other... your baby is very handsome! i have a baby boy too
God bless the baby and his family.
greetings from Brazil.