Keukenhof & Koningsdag

We are just rockin’ and rollin’ on our Netherlands bucket list this year!

A few weeks ago, we finally made it to the renowned Keukenhof gardens! We were lucky to have some family visiting the Netherlands, so we met up in Amsterdam and headed about 30 min south to Lisse, where the gardens are located.

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Good side – it was the first warm weekend of the year! 

Bad side – it was the first warm weekend of the year. 

While we did get to wear short sleeves, most of the tulips weren’t in bloom yet because the weather here has been quite cold this spring. It was only a few weeks ago that the canals froze over, so we were kind of anticipating this.

We were able to see some ‘early bloomers’. We learned on this trip that there are early, middle and late blooming tulips. The Keukenhof keeps their gardens blooming through the entire season by strategically planting the bulbs, like the example below. In this way, about the time the early bloomers are dying, the middle ones are blooming, and so on.

Although the fields were mostly green, the greenhouse in the center of the park was in full bloom! There were literally hundreds of types of tulips in here. I had no idea so many existed.

Now that’s a tall tulip!

Next up, something just as colorful…

Koningsdag 2018!

And this year was particularly special because the King came to Groningen! I was BEYOND excited. In case you didn’t know, we don’t have kings and queens in America (something about a Revolutionary War? *joke*). So when I heard there was a chance to see King Willem Alexander and the royal family up close and personal I knew we were going. PLUS – I love a good parade.

Quick recap – Koningsdag, or King’s Day, celebrates the birthday of the King. I would say it’s the Dutch version of the 4th of July: everyone is super patriotic and there is a lot of beer consumed.

Also fun fact – King’s day is celebrated on April 27th, which is indeed the King’s birthday, but this was not always the case. His mother, (former) Queen Beatrix was born on January 31st, but that’s a terrible day to have an outdoor party in Holland. To remedy this, she kept the birthday of her mother, (former) Queen Juliana who was born on April 30th. So, considering the eldest daughter of King Willem was born in December, it will be interesting to see if she adopts the birthday of her father.

Maybe you don’t at all find that interesting. I’ll move on to pictures now.

Bright and early Koningsdag morning Shane and I headed to the parade route to get a good spot! Thanks to Shane, we ended up with a spot on the fence. And, I would say it worked out well for us.

Unfortunately, we were ONE person off from shaking hands with him. Just my luck. We were able to shake hands with all the princesses though, so pretty much that means the future queen and I are besties now.

The rest of the day was reserved for the Vrijemarkt (aka – free market, one giant yard sale) and free music in the city center.

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Kensington in the Vismarkt

Keukenhof Gardens – CHECK!

(basically) Meet the King – CHECK!

Let’s see what else we can do this year…

Tot ziens,

Whitney

Fijne Koningsdag !

or in english, Happy King’s Day!

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The Martini Toren from the ground.

Today is King Willem-Alexander’s birthday and the whole country celebrates! This is actually only the 2nd King’s Day. Until last year ‘Koninginnedag’, or Queen’s Day, was celebrated on April 30th to celebrate Queen Beatrix’s birthday. As you can see, I think Meatball is the most excited about it.

The celebration takes place throughout The Netherlands and consists of Koningsnacht (King’s night) and Koningsdag (King’s Day).Koningsnacht is essentially an all night party the night before. So, last night we resisted the urge to be lame and went to city center to see what it was all about. Starting about 7pm a string of bands and DJ’s play on 3 or 4 different stages spread throughout the Grote markt and the Vis markt. The music went until about 2am and then the party continues at the bars until the sun comes up. Let’s be real, we didn’t make it that long but we stayed until the music was over!

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Needless to say, city center was packed! There was definitely no shortage of beer though. You were never more than a few steps away from a beer tent…

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After Koningsnacht, comes Koningsdag!

Festivities start bright and early with the ‘Vrijmarkt’, or Free Market. This is essentially one giant yard sale. The true bargain hunters are out first thing in the morning for the best deals and to beat the crowds.

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The Vrijmarkt continues all day and is set up along the main canals, and the concerts continue in city center. Today we stumbled upon a band called Dis Nie Okay who, despite the fact that their singing wasn’t exactly the best, were super entertaining! Their set included the Backstreet Boys, Hakuna Matata, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song. How could you not like them?!

We also figured out (not surprisingly) we’re more of a Koningsdag kind of people. There were people out today who knew how to do it right. They were out early enough to get a good spot for one of the main stages, brought a cooler with snacks and drinks, and made a day of it. Now we know for next year…

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On a completely unrelated note. I felt the need to share my my mad biking skills. Look ma! No hands!

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We don’t have much going on the next couple of months, so I’ll pre-apologize for the lack of posts. We’re saving up for our next big trip…

The Sufrinko’s are coming to visit!

(little #tbt action with this one…)

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Tot ziens!

Whitney