It’s the day after and if you don’t live under a rock you will have had some sort of celebration on King’s day. It’s historic, it’s orange, there are crowds and crowds of people and the traditional free market. So much fun. So much Dutch. So much booze.
Yesterday it was all fun and games but now you are lying here, your head is throbbing, your heart is pounding and your tongue is glued to the roof of your mouth. Just lying there craving water, some kind of liquid, anything really. Unable to move you are staring into the room trying to guess how many steps you would have to take to reach the nearest glass that holds a bit of water. Barely keeping your eyes open you are trying to remember some of the things that went down the day/night before making a pact with yourself that you will NEVER EVER drink again. EVER. But you and me both know that you don’t really mean that…
Kater or Brak. In Italy they didn’t even had a decent word for this familiar state. The Dutch use Kater (ik heb een kater) or ‘(Ik ben )brak’ a lot of times but also have tons of different words for it.
The shameful (but let’s face it, still fun) memories
Ok, it all started out with the first innocent beer somewhere by a canal. You are watching the boats passing by listening to the pumping music. Everyone’s in a good mood. You walk around a bit looking at the things people are selling. Some are really quite creative offering their balls to be kicked for 1 Euro. True story. Others let you throw some eggs at their faces for a small amount of cash. Fun! And there’s the colour orange everywhere. People left and right with orange shirts, dresses, sunglasses and other accessories. Painted faces and smiles everywhere. One of your friends hands you the next ice-cold beer. And you cheer to the king again and again and again.
Fast forward 5-6 hours and you find yourself dancing on a table in a bar spilling half of your drink screaming the lyrics of A-Ha’s Take on me. Everything that happens after that is only a blur, which is probably just a trick of our brain to protect you from all the humiliation. If you are lucky, you just won’t remember all the embarrassing stuff you did and if you are even luckier no one took pictures to document it.
Dutch Phrase: ‘Lekke band’. With all that glass and garbage on the road and you wanting to integrate in post-27-April society there’s a big chance your and Oma-bike will catch a flat tire. Wanna learn Dutch and get that stuff fixed at the ‘fietsenmaker’ at the same time?
The filthy streets
With the amount of people celebrating King’s day in the streets, it’s no surprise that a certain amount of garbage will stay behind when the party is over. It actually looks more like a warzone with smashed plastic cups and beer cans everywhere mixed with the leftovers from the free market that people just abandoned on the sidewalks. It’s a mess just like you the day after. But hey, dawn comes and the streets are being wiped clean (which happens at an impressively fast pace) and we also slowly start to feel better after finally managing to drag ourselves to the sink to drink liters and liters of water.
As our brain starts working again properly we begin to realize that even though we had to cope with a painful hangover and maybe some painfully embarrassing party memories, we were part of a memorable day celebrating the king’s birthday side by side with Dutchies, expats and tourists.
And if by any chance you have suffered the aftermath of King’s Day without really knowing what you’re really celebrating (because a party is a party regardless), here’s 7 Things You Need to Know About King’s Day!