The Netherlands celebrated the five year reign of Willem-Alexander Thursday night and Friday, with King’s Night and King’s Day. I can’t believe it has been that long. I still remember seeing the live, breaking news of Princess Beatrix abdicating the throne (video with English subtitles). I had barely been in the Netherlands a month, and was watching the news without having a clue what she was saying. There are no subtitles on live TV unfortunately…
First, we’ll start with the carnival at the Malieveld which is held every year around this day:
I could probably handle this ride.
Nope. Won’t be going on this one. It was pretty cool to watch though.
And then you had The Life I Live festival in The Hague, held every year on King’s night. A dozen or so music stages are set up throughout the city centre.
A smaller stage
Here is a much larger set up, at Het Plein (literally ‘the plaza’)
The fountain at Het Buitenhof, with the Ferris wheel from the previously mentioned carnival at the Maliveld in the background
And finally, a historic tram passing by during King’s Day on Friday
I still need to buy something orange for King’s Day. I’ve managed to not do that in the 5+ years I have been here. Related, amusing blog post about orange clothes and King’s Day: The King Size King’s Day T-Shirt blog post over at the Invading Holland blog.
Thursday was King’s Day in the Netherlands, a holiday to celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Or to just enjoy a nice day off…
But the real fun happens the night before, as The Hague organises a festival called The Life I Live. I have written a few blog posts about it, including last year’s rainy celebration and the 2013 celebration (back when it was Queen’s night; the last one as Queen Beatrix addicted the throne the next day).
One of the many stages, set up at the Kerkplein (by the Grote Kerk)
Like last year, there was also an area set up for street art. This year’s theme must have been Mondriaan-inspired as there was a lot of primary colors in block formation.
A look at another side, which had just been started:
The third side:
And the last side – Marco’s favorite – a Mondriaan-inspired Transformer!:
Luckily the rain held off this year. It was cold – colder then even Christmas! – but bearable.
King’s day was on Wednesday this year, which meant that the Life I Live festival took place the night before. In short, the night before the holiday the center of the city closes down for the festival, with various music stages set up around the area. Most of the major genres are represented – jazz, rock, blues, covers and more.
Problem is the weather was pretty horrible, especially later in the night. It was also apparently the coldest festival ever. So it was pretty hard to stay out longer than an hour!
Here is a look at two of the street art pieces that were created during the festival from scratch. Street art #1:
Street art #2:
Street art #2, another angle:
Here’s a look at the newly installed lights on the Grote Markt. They alternatively glowed orange …
and the colors of the Dutch flag:
You can also see photos from the 2013 Queen’s night, which has better photos of the stage and the actual event itself.
Last night Marco and I went out to enjoy Koninginnenacht, or the night before Queen’s Day. (If you live in The Hague you should really drop the ‘t off nacht, but I digress.) In The Hague you have several stages set up throughout the center of the city, with 7 stages this year. You have various musical acts throughout the night, generally lasting 45 minutes to an hour each.
Even Google got into the Queen’s Day festivities…
Hovering over the Google logo gives you: Queensday 2013: Best wishes to King Willem-Alexander!
Marco said that a few years ago (or so) they made the cardinal mistake of only having a few stages and advertising a rather popular band to the main stage at some point in the night. The result was chaos as hundreds of thousands of people tried to converge on the main stage. Since then, they have increased the number of stages and used slightly less popular bands.
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