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Happy Queen’s Day 2011

For those of you accustom to having a royal family, this has been a pretty cool weekend with two royal events in two countries in one weekend. As someone who finds the idea of having a queen kind of weird, Queen’s Day at least gives me an excuse to enjoy a bit of shopping in the warm and wonderful spring weekend. Shopping is a great way to celebrate a birthday.

Just one corner of the vrijmarkt.

The best part of Queen’s Day for me is the chance to wander through the vrijmarkt, a giant flea market where anyone can lay out a banket and sell second-hand things that have been cluttering up their homes. I had intended to spread out a blanket myself, but honestly the timing is all off for me and I got busy with other things until it was too late. In the mean time, Dan & I took a stroll through the busy stadpark to see what other’s had to offer. The market is great for children’s toys and products, but you can also pick through quite a bit of clothing and all the knick-knacks you can imagine. This year there seemed to be more people selling original jewelry as well. I love handmade things.

We didn't actually buy anything from this fellow.

We ended up purchasing a turquoise beaded necklace and matching bracelet (I’ve been coveting my mother’s for years), and a used bike, which we hoped would replace my current broken one. The necklace is still in one piece, but the bike unfortunately slipped its gears not 10 minutes after we bought the damn thing. It clearly needs a tune-up, so we’ve back to square one as far as bike commuting goes. We only paid 45 euros through, so I’m going to buy a book on bike repair and make it my experimental bicycle. We should have been more careful when checking it over I guess.

The Maastricht Viert musical celebration was a much bigger deal this year than last, including a couple big (in the Netherlands) bands and several smaller ones. Security was also much tighter with fencing up around the Viert area and bag checks at the gate for alcohol and drugs. It probably made for a calmer event over all, but I imagine the profit to be had selling beer to people who might otherwise have BYOB also played a part in their decision.

A surprisingly decent photo of Viatora playing their set.

Musically the bands were pretty eclectic.  While we were there the main stage was holding a Big Band playing swing music to the people relaxing on the grass. We caught the end of a set from Viatora, a folk metal band (we thought they sounded celtic), on the smaller stage as well. With the inclusion of a couple traditional instruments, their music was actually pretty good. Better than we expected for the small stage at a free event in Maastricht anyway. Wish we had come early and caught more of their show, because the next group up was ok, but clearly still amateurs.

A couple of beers later, Dan and I made our way home with our prizes and a bit of a tan. Good day.

5 Responses to “Happy Queen’s Day 2011”

  1. Dave Hampton says:

    Sounds like a fun set of events – you weren’t tempted to go up to Amsterdam?

  2. Amanda says:

    Tempted, but ultimately we prefer to make Queen’s Day a casual day so weren’t up to the partying I assumed would be happening in Amsterdam. Also you have to get a hotel room 6 months in advance. Or so I’m told.

  3. Dave Hampton says:

    Last year I took the mid-morning train up. Things were warming up in town by mid-day and getting dangerously drunk around the canals by five or so, when I figured I’d seen it all and came back down. The worst issues were that the trains stop coming into the Central Station because of the crowds along the tracks. But I thought it was a good party and well worth a wander.

  4. Amanda says:

    I’ll have to sneak up for another Amsterdam party sometime. Just to see the spectacle. ;)

  5. Invader_Stu says:

    I still want to try Queen’s Day in other big cities. I’ve seen it Amsterdam and Haarlem but not places like Maastricht, Rotterdam, Den Haag and so on.