There have been a lot of interesting debates in the past years regarding the way the Netherlands and especially its cherry on the cake, Amsterdam, are seen and described in the States. It was, be it for only a few hours, the center of attention of the world due to Queen’s day in Amsterdam. The funny thing, well that’s a new one, is that most of the reports were absolutely biased and not at all based on facts. These notorious reports gave birth to an edited video on YouTube called “Fox News vs Amsterdam” that was uploaded in 2010 and has more than a half a million views.
Reading it now, “Fox News vs Amsterdam” brings back nice old memories of when I used to watch “Celebrity Death Match”on MTV. I wonder who would have beaten the crap out of the other in this case: Amsterdam or Fox News?
What still remains very funny (and therefore very attracting to a lot of Americans) is that the general perception of Amsterdam seems to be the one of a city where anarchy reigns and everything is allowed. Drugs, sex, alcohol…makes you wonder where they left rock’n’roll in their news reports. What is also still very, let’s say intriguing, is the fact that I heard from many Dutchies that apparently the majority of the visitors of Coffeeshops are Americans and Italians. Almost seems as if displaying the city as a kingdom of chaos, actually makes it even more attractive to them. Obviously no one really knows, or maybe some do, the statistics regarding the visits paid to the attractive/humantrafficked girls doing the oldest job in the world in the red light district aren’t clear, but I’m pretty sure that also here the yankees and the Italian dolce vita lovers have a high score. Still, I’m just speculating. Feel free to lynch me. Please no stones though.
I typed “Amsterdam Fox News” in Google and was actually a little bit surprised to find a non biased and very boring, short article about Queen’s ehrm King’s day. In the article the emphasis seems to be put on the color orange, on the beer consumption and on temporary urinals that happily decorate Amsterdam’s streets.
Moreover, in a very recent CNN article discussing Queen’s Beatrix abdication there was a small paragraph mentioning that Britain’s Prince Charles was also present. Now I feel lucky.
Personally, in the few American articles I read about Queen’s day, I was missing a little bit the description of the actual atmosphere. I’ll give it a try.
I came to Amsterdam in August 2012 and already pretty soon I started hearing tales about this mysterious event called Queen’s day. They told me it’s the biggest Dutch celebration. They told me that it’s a huge thing for Dutch people.
First I confirm everything. It is the biggest celebration I’ve seen so far. And it is a big thing, but not only for Dutch people, but for everyone being in the Netherlands. There is no way you’re not getting involved in it. I seriously mean this. One way or the other you’re going to be part of it all.
I define myself as “crowd NON lover”…and although I know this might sound really boring, stiff or whatever. I actually thought for a while to disappear for a few days and visit friends in Germany for example. I am not a big fan of huge crowded celebrations. Call me lame.
Eventually, I relented from the idea, influenced by a few close people who told not to be such a dick. They were right.
Besides the dance festival on the beach that lasted for eight hours outside of my student housing facility, I liked this day.
First of all, orange is THE color. Fox News was right on this. Almost forced from my Dutch friends, I caved and wore an orange tshirt.
Furthermore, basically everyone is selling some kind of junk on the streets. Ranging from beers, to hotdogs, to old toys and books. I thought that was really cool! Also because that made my day, since I managed to buy “Doom” for playstation one. Little pleasures. The general atmosphere is a happy passionate chaos. Let’s be frank though, If this was happening every day, I’d be suicidal. But one day, I can handle, and it’s also really nice to see how everyone is in a party mood and money-spending mood (lines at every ATM were at least 15 minutes).
Last but not least, the canals suddenly get packed with a lot, really a lot, of boats (looking also very unstable), with partying people on them. A friend of mine told me to really observe those boats and notice how most of them are nothing more than “sausage parties”. He was right. Many many men were there and really few girls. Still cool to watch though.
Bottom line: I’ve been there, I’ve seen that and who knows, maybe I’ll be here for King’s day in 2014 too. Only time will tell.
Take care in the meantime and don’t eat too much horsemeat. Yummy.