This year’s King’s Day celebrations on April 27 will be very different to normal, with no festivals and markets, because of the coronavirus crisis.
Nevertheless, efforts are being made behind the scenes for a more modest – and largely televised – celebration, according to plans published by the KBOV, the national association of Kings Day event organisers.
‘Kings Day 2020 is all about togetherness,’ said KBOV chairman Pieter Verhoeve. ‘Normally, thousands of volunteers are working for months to ensure there is a great Kings Day party in their locality… Now we have asked our members to come up with safe alternatives.’
In particular the KBOV, which has some 300 member associations, hopes as many people as possible will hang out a flag ‘for the king on his birthday, and for each other’.
‘And we would ask that from 9.45 to 10am, bells ring out all over the country as a symbol of union, sadness and joy,’ Verhoeve said. There are also calls for everyone to sing the national anthem at 10am.
Then, at 10.10, public television station NOS will broadcast a programme looking back at the past six Kings’ Days since Willem-Alexander took over from his mother Beatrix.
At midday there will be an ‘internet market’ for clothes – although few details have yet been published of how this will work. In addition, children are being urged to write a digital letter to the king, wishing him a happy birthday and telling him about what the coronavirus crisis means to them.
The KBOV also hopes everyone will close the day at 4pm with a mass toast to the king, who will be celebrating his 53rd birthday.
In the evening, NOS will broadcast a programme looking at how the 12 provinces celebrated Kings Day – dubbed ‘stay at home day’ by the Oranjebond – during the crisis.
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