If you are in the Netherlands at the moment, you cannot fail to have noticed it. Yes, King’s Day is upon us.
This year the weather forecast is not doing us any favours… rain (possibly sleet), hail and a chilly 8 degrees. Event organisers have been reviewing their plans to take account of the expected chill, and the best way to make money this year will probably be to sell waterproof orange ponchos. King’s Day is when the Dutch really let their hair down, so expect lots of bedraggled bunting and rain-wear clad revellers determined to party whatever the weather.
Here at DutchNews.nl opinion about King’s Day is divided. Some of us have been collecting our clutter to sell for months, some of us have a 24-hour feest ahead of us and some of us are even leaving the country to get away from it all. All you need is a plan. Here’s an updated version of ours.
1. If you are a party animal, you need to know that the best parties all take place the night before King’s Day and run until breakfast. This means you will not be up and about before mid-afternoon and will miss almost the whole thing.
2. If you are a bargain hunter, you need to get up early. If you are a real bargain hunter, you need to get out of the big cities and head for a small town where they won’t expect you to pay €15 for an old pair of shoes or tatty last-season skirt from Zara. The same applies if you hate crowds. Small towns are where the original spirit of King’s Day lives on – if you like silly games involving eating cake which has been tied to a piece of string with your hands behind your back, that is.
3. Take a big bag for your purchases and take lots of coins. No one has 50 cents change to give you for that Beatles plate you just bargained down from €10 to €9.50.
4. Don’t buy too much – like that huge fire fighter’s coat and the books and the straw bag and the wine glasses and the hat stand and all the other things which seemed like such a good idea at the time. You’ll have to carry them around and then when you get home you will find nothing fits and the book is missing the final pages. However, you will at least have stock to sell next year.
5. If you have children, buy plastic dinosaurs now. Every child goes through the dinosaur phase and then sells them on again a couple of years later. Same goes for ski clothes, Donald Duck comics and cuddly toys. You will never find Lego on sale on King’s Day.
6. Do not buy dvds of television series and films you have always wanted to see because you will never watch them.
7. Do not overdo the orange unless you want to look like a tourist or a frat boy or girl. An orange hair decoration or a t-shirt with a jokey slogan is okay. But an orange wig, feather boa, crown, trousers and Aperol spritzer is just slightly over the top. However, given the weather forecast this year, an orange rain cape and an Oranje bitter could be a good idea.
8. Do not feel guilty about not giving 50 cents to cute kids with violins who can’t play or not buying lurid cup cakes from kids whose mums can’t bake – even if they have turned into a soggy heap. These kids make a fortune. One DutchNews.nl team member has a son who earned hundreds of euros every year getting folk who had drunk just a little bit too much to drop a euro into a glass in a bucket of water.
9. Do make sure you have befriended someone who lives in a good vrijmarkt spot, so you can drop by and sit down for a bit to watch the world go by – unless it is pouring with rain of course.
10. Do not feel obliged to have a good time because, yay fantastic, it’s King’s Day! Lots of people hate it. They really do. And you can always stay home and watch it all on the telly.