A party for the King, in Groningen

Festivities in the name of the Dutch King’s birthday, Willem-Alexander, started on Saturday in Groningen when hundreds of people joined many music events and parties outdoors and indoors, despite the cold weather.

Over the last three days numerous parties and activities were organized all over the Netherlands. In Groningen DJs and music bands, offered music for all tastes. They became the core of the parties, performing day and night in the city center’s most central squares, Vismarkt and Grote markt. Their groovy vibes motivated citizens of every age and every nationality to dance and sing along.

The typical rainy and cold weather, neither prevented celebrations from going on till the early morning hours nor changed the locals’ festive mood. Beer, which flowed abundant, transformed the celebrations into the ultimate event for beer lovers. People kept drinking till they dropped.

“These are the best three days of the year for someone living in the Netherlands. It’s those days that the only thing you need to do is to drink and revel,” said a 23-year-old, Ingrid Salmanova.

However, the celebrations were more a continuous modern music festival than a traditional one. Popular music displaced all Dutch traditions during the festivities, which in fact did not seem to be a problem neither for the Dutch people, nor for foreigners.

King's day
Photo taken by Damianos-Kosmas Roussos

Orange is the representative color of the celebrations, not only for Groningen but for the whole country, since orange is the traditional color of the Netherlands, due to the royal family’s last name, van Oranje (orange) Nassau. It is a symbol of solidarity and loyalty.  During the festivities not only people were dressed in that color, by wearing orange T-shirts or hats, but also orange-colored drinks were served in many bars around the city. In addition, in the week before the king’s day, super markets start selling orange products. .

The King’s day, or Koningsdag in Dutch, was known for decades as the Queen’s day and it was a celebration of the queen’s birthday, on the 30thof April. However, when Willem-Alexander, ascended the throne in 2014, this national holiday changed its name to King’s day and it was moved three days back, to coincide with his birthday.

Nevertheless, after the parties and the celebrations were over, a heavy task was left for cleaners, who had to take over from early in the morning and clean all the mess.

By Valia Papadopoulou

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