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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Vondel Park Virtuoso...

Leaving something behind in another country is always bittersweet.

The way to make missing easier is to consider the sides of it you are happy to be rid of.

One of the things I must admit I miss from Holland is ‘Koninginnedagor Queen’s day.
On this day all the Dutch are free to trade in the streets. It is a bank holiday for all and children are off school.
This usually results in the friendly spectacle of a young girl playing a violin while the punters walk by and throw her a coin. While on the other side of the street students have set up children’s puppetshow or silly races to entertain.

Need some roller skates?

For grown-ups there is an enormous amount of bric-a-brac scattered across all the stalls on the pavement, as everyone clears out the attic to sell anything and everything they want to get rid of.

This whole festival is generally amped up with loud music in the street, wheel barrows of chilled beer and fuming barbeques, selling food you eat but actually never really wanted to eat.

This my dear friends is the best and the worst of Holland, all in one clean swoop… in one single sunny and slightly sozzled day.

The best is to get your bike and tour the stalls as early in the morning as you can. (the night before is a real pub night, so getting up early can be challenging for some) With the chill in the air you can rummage through the freshly stocked piles and find real gems.
(After several years I learnt which shops would clear their storage on this day, and which would sell designer stuff for single figure prices…)

And the side I don’ miss: The reason most Amsterdammers leave the city the night before, does not need too much explanation…

The worst… well.

The attack on the Royal family last year. 8 people died that day.
[Please note: some of this footage is shocking]

Still unbelievable.

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