Koninginnedag

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Koninginnedag (About this sound pronunciation ) or Queen's Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba on 30 April or on 29 April if the 30th is a Sunday. Queen's Day celebrates the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands and is supposed to be a day of national unity and "togetherness" (Dutch: saamhorigheid). The tradition started on 31 August 1885, on the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, later Queen Wilhelmina. Since 1949, after the accession of Queen Juliana, Queen's Day is Queen Juliana's birthday on 30 April. Although Queen Beatrix's birthday is on 31 January, she officially celebrates her birthday on 30 April.

Queen's Day is known for its "freemarket" (Dutch: vrijmarkt) all over the country, where everybody is allowed to sell things in the streets. Other activities during Queen's Day are children's games, individual musical performances, and music concerts. The night before Queen's Day is celebrated too in most cities, and this is called Queen's Night (Dutch: Koninginnenacht). The largest celebration of Queen's Day is in Amsterdam, Queen's Night in The Hague and Queen's Dance (Dutch: Koninginnedans) in Rotterdam. During the celebrations as reference to the colours of the House of Orange-Nassau, people dress in the colour orange, which is sometimes called "orange craze" (Dutch: oranjegekte).

Contents

History

The present-day celebration of Queen's Day was originally intended by the Liberal Union to be a day of national unity in the Netherlands. It started with the celebration of the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina on 31 August 1885. From 1885 to 1890 the celebration was therefore called Prinsessedag or Princess' Day, until the Coronation of Wilhelmina in 1890. Since 31 August 1891, the celebration was called Koninginnedag or Queen's Day. The day was not only the birthday of the Queen, but also the last day of the summer vacation, which made the celebrations popular with children. Unlike her successors, Queen Wilhelmina almost never attended festivities on Queen's Day.[1][2]

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