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Queen's Day ⇨ King's Day

Amsterdam, Holland
Every April 27 Dutch citizens celebrate big time the birthday of King Willem Alexander.

Amsterdam canal scene during Queen's Day party.

Queen's Day is arguably the best one day party on the third sphere. Most of the action takes place in the crazy streets and boulevards. If you're lucky and know someone with a boat here is the other option. Amsterdamers have a special talent for standing on the edge of boats without falling into the wet stuff. It's a free show.

Carpe diem. Vivere bene! Gratia Deo.


HOW TO EUROPE: The Complete Travelers Handbook
John Bermont

John Bermont — Chef du Site

This entire book is published totally free on-line by the author, photographer, and webmaster, yours truly, with help from my daughter Stephanie. I welcome all questions, comments, and complaints. For contact information please see NOTE TO READERS. Updated 18 February 2016.

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The Queen retired. Long live the King!

Is there any nation in the whole universe whose affairs come to a complete screeching halt for a whole day just so the citizens can go to the de facto capital city and drink beer all day long? Yup, there is such a country. The country is officially known as Nederland, more formally as Koninkrijk der Nederlanden. The English version is The Netherlands, but most of us just call it Holland. The de facto capital city is Amsterdam.

The big day has been known as Koninginnedag for decades. It is known outside Holland as Queen's Day because most people outside Holland can't pronounce Koninginnedag, or they would rather not pronounce it to avoid getting a sore throat.

I have been a loyal participant in a number of Queen's Day celebrations over the years. These have been great times. Unfortunately I will never go to another Queen's Day. Nor will anybody else. The Queen retired on Queen's Day 2013. So also the annual April 30 celebration is retired.

However, those clever Dutchies have come up with a work-around. Starting in 2014 they started celebrating King's Day. I bet you saw that coming. The new King is a young buck named Willem-Alexander. He was born on 27 April 1967. Therefore, by royal proclamation the new spring holiday in Holland will henceforth be called Koningsdag, "King's Day," and will be joyfully celebrated every April 27, rain or shine, except never on Sunday. For example, April 27, 2014 was a Sunday. The celebration was moved up a day to April 26.

This web page is a photolog of my 2008 Queen's Day expedition with my friend Paula. She appears in one of the photos below.

Queens Day Starter

Actually there never was an event called Queen's Day. In Queen's Dutch the celebration was known as Koninginnedag. We began our sortie from B&B Paula on the west side of Haarlem, on bicycles. Here we pass the first of many Vrijmarkt garage and trinket sales.

Bicycle Parking At Haarlem Train Station

Pedaling all the way to Amsterdam is a little too much, especially the return trip, so we took the train. At the Haarlem Station Paula considers it best to park in the inside garage. We paid €1 for the day. Free parking is any open space outside the station, and there are thousands of bikes everywhere. No matter where you park it, lock it or kiss it good bye.

Buying Tickets At Haarlem Station

The ticket machines at Haarlem station are the convenient way to buy a train ticket, if you have a chip card. European bank cards have a chip and PIN to avoid the credit card companies. With an American credit card you are penniless at these machines. A few of the ticket machines accept coins. Or you can go to the window and pay in cash. Lines at the ticket windows are longer and the ticket costs you half a euro more. Luggage lockers at the Haarlem station also accept only chip and PIN cards. I was able to use a locker by paying a passerby who used his Dutch bank card to access the locker. Dutchies love Americans, but not our politics.

Mob At Haarlem Station

Everybody wanted to go to Amsterdam on Koninginnedag. The station was busier than I've ever seen it. So were the trains. We didn't have to wait long before being admitted onto the platform and pushing our way onto a train. It was standing room only but the trip is only 15 minutes.

Mob At Amsterdam Centraal Station

Getting off in Amsterdam the mob got moving toward the exits. That green sign with a white box and arrow indicates a stairway to the ground floor.

Follow The Crowd In Amsterdam

After exiting the station we followed the mob, most of which seemed to know where to go.

Front Steps Of Albert Hein Grocery Store

The front steps of the Albert Heijn grocery store behind the Royal Palace at the Dam was a resting place and beverage stop for some. The AH store was open for business.

Paula Having Beer In Front Of Albert Heijn

Paula pulled a beer out of her bag to get started in front of the grocery store.

Front Steps Of Albert Heijn Grocery Store

Another view of the front steps of the grocery store shows many Amsterdamers in orange, the national color.

Good Sandwich Shop

We were already getting hungry. A good sandwich and a beer hit the spot in this little bakery.

Spui Cafes

Our first objective was to reach the Spui and several of my favorite cafes in Amsterdam. Beer stands were set up out front for the convenience of thirsty celebrants. That is the Cafe Luxembourg on the left and the Hoppe on the corner.

Hoppe Side Door

Here is the side door of the Hoppe with a traditional Dutch bike parked against the window. Normally this neighborhood is swarming with bicyclers but there wasn't room to move on this day. Through the window you can see a fellow entering the men's room. This bar does not have a women's room. Ladies need to walk behind the tap and through a door to the Amstel bar next door. See the previous photo.

Burger And Beer

This young woman was grilling burgers and having fun. Any wig, hat, or scarf is OK as long as it is orange, the official color of Dutch royalty.

Coffee Shop

"Coffeeshops" are famous in Amsterdam, except that they don't sell coffee. It's weed.

Garage Sale Amsterdam Style

Here's a garage sale Amsterdam style. I didn't see anything that I couldn't live without.

Young Artist, Amsterdam

Here I found something I couldn't live without, that painting of an undefined bug. It cost me €1. Who knows, this girl might grow up to be a famous artist. She is certainly a very good merchandiser. Look at that smile.

Seashell Jewlery

I bought a gift for daughter Stephanie here, a seashell necklace.

Crowded Street In Amsterdam

This is a typical mobbed street on Koninginnedag. The round sign means "do not enter" and the small white one says "except for bicycles and motorized bicycles." Bicycles with engines up to 50 cc were called bromfiets in Holland but Dutchies normally call them brommers these days. Nobody is riding a bike or a brommer here today.

Another Street Sale In Amsterdam

Bring your junque and a blanket to set up shop. Here is another Amsterdam garage sale. Actually, I doubt if there are any private garages in the center of Amsterdam.

Bobbie Hats For Sale

I wanted to buy an orange bobbie's hat but they wouldn't fit me. Drats.

Drum Band In Amsterdam

Here is one of the many groups doing it's thing somewhere near the Leidseplein.

Leidseplein, Amsterdam

The whole crowd at the Leidseplein wouldn't fit on screen. The Leidseplein is one of the more famous outdoor cafe squares in Amsterdam. Not many were sitting on this day.

Echte Amsterdammers

It was the right day for an outdoor party so this happy group hauled their furniture out on the street to be comfortable. "Emergency exit" -- bah.

Spare Ribs, Amsterdam

There is no end of restaurants with outdoor grills.

Traffic Jam, Amsterdam Canal

Another canal and another parade of overloaded boats.

Bridge, Amsterdam, SRO

SRO on the bridge.

Garage Sale On The Bridge, Queen's Day, Amsterdam

Just another garage sale. It looks like the cowgirl is making a purchase.

Taking A Leak, Queen's Day, Amsterdam

Drinking a lot of beer requires a place to let it out. The city sets up these urinals for the gents all over town. It's best not to step on a wet spot. If you are bashful and don't want to piss in public use a cafe, BUT don't be surprised to have a parade of girls passing behind you as they make for the stalls. Almost anything goes in Amsterdam, especially after half of the citizens drank their fill. The trash scene looks bad but it is not nearly as bad as in prior years. As an ecological move, and certainly one to save clean-up costs, there is a deposit on plastic cups at every bar.

One Step Into The Canal, Queen's Day, Amsterdam

The raft looks like it has nearly exceeded its capacity limit. Those glass houses comprise the famous flower market on the Singel, one of the half dozen or so horseshoe shaped canals around the center of Amsterdam.

Canal Side, Queen's Day, Amsterdam

Let's see who can make the most noise, the band at canal side or the boat with its disk jockey. Notice the load of empty beer cans on the boat.

Hoppe Cafe From The Inside, Queen's Day, Amsterdam

We take a moment of repose back at the Hoppe. This is certainly one of the best meeting places in Amsterdam. I've been a patron for decades. It is very crowded after the offices and shops close.

Main Event Spui Orange, Amsterdam, Queen's Day

And then it is back outside for "The Main Event Spui Orange." Up on that bridge is a pop star, I guess, with a couple of his group dancing. If you are having a bad time you are on the wrong orb.

Six Jongens, Amsterdam

The boys saw my camera and gave it their best.

The Party Is Over, Queen's Day, Amsterdam

The party is over as we walk back to Amsterdam Centraal Station. It has been a great day.

Haarlem Finale, Queen's Day, Haarlem

But wait, it's not over yet! Back in Haarlem we stop at the Proeflokaal on Langeveerstraat where the Haarlemers are still in party mode at full throttle. Go Haarlem, my home town in Europe.

Additional Information:

Keukenhof Official Web Site.

Keukenhof overview Keukenhof, Lisse, Holland.
After a rambunctious Queen's Day enjoy the serene beauty of Keukenhof Garden. Keukenhof has 7 million tulips and other bulb flowers on 80 acres of perfectly manicured land. It is a great bike ride from either Haarlem or Leiden train stations, or a 40 minute walk from Hillegom station. Hillegom "station" is a platform overlooking the nearby tulip fields. Just getting to Keukenhof will be a beautiful experience.

Bed and Breakfast Paula B+B Paula, Haarlem, Holland.
Probably the best sleeping quarters you can find in Haarlem or Amsterdam, B+B Paula is ideally located on the west side of Haarlem. The Bed and Breakfast includes two rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a shower room, separate commode, hair blower, free WiFi, free street parking, bicycles, plus made-to-order breakfast delivered to your room. It's like an apartment with room service. And you'll never find a more pleasant area in which to ride a bike, known as a fiets in Holland.

Netherlands: Prime Travel Data

Haarlem Things to do and see.

Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

The Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C. Official Web Site.

Have a good trip!


I welcome questions, comments, and complaints. If you have any concerns about your trip to Europe that have not been covered well enough on my web site please do not hesitate to write. Ask, cuss, discuss, or whatever. I read every email and update my pages when I see a question repeating, Then I will not get that question again, hopefully. In some cases readers have been so generous with their time and talent that I have included their emails verbatim, e.g. chapters 22 and 25.

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The Complete Travelers Handbook
by John Bermont
Total Internet Edition
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
First home in Holland on the Spaarne River in Haarlem. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/01-0117-3.jpg
What's It All About?
Travel Like a Native In Europe

Chapter 2, Part 1
Bank notes used in many European countries. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/01-0117-3.jpg
On Budget in Europe
Travel Costs: How Much?

Chapter 2, Part 2
Europe on WHAT! Per Day?
My Actual Expenses

Chapter 3
Passport and Visas
Identity and Travel Documents for Europe

Chapter 4
Flying to Europe
Travel Starts at the Airport

Chapter 5
Stephanie in Paris. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/05-1895-3.jpg
What to Wear in Europe
Your Best Travel Clothes
for All Occasions

Chapter 6 Part 1
Old school backpackers and modern time travelers with a roller bag.
Pack Light Field Test
Travel Europe in Comfort and Style

Chapter 6 Part 2
Personal Care Items
Packing Your Toothbrush, Hair Blower,
and Vinegar

Chapter 6 Part 3
Travel Supplies
Small Stuff Packing List

Chapter 6 Part 4
Bringing Valuables to Europe
Not in Your Luggage or Purse

Chapter 7
Soft side roller suit cases. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/DSCN0101-BrandedBags-260-3.jpg
Luggage for Europe
Pack Light, Let It Roll

Chapter 8 Part 1
Pickpocket warning banner in Amsterdam. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/08-DSCN2791-3.jpg
Pickpockets in Europe
They're Everywhere

Chapter 8 Part 2
An ATM in Milano, Italy
ATMs in Europe
Machines Dispense Travel Cash

Chapter 8 Part 3
Cash and Credit
Paying Your Way in Europe

Chapter 8 Part 4
Money Potpourri
Cash, Coins, Transfer, Barter

Chapter 9
Your Travel Diary of Europe
Blog It

Chapter 10
Part of my library of guide books, maps, and dictionaries.
Europe Guide Books
Reviews of Tomes for Travelers

Chapter 11 Preface
Voltage cycles of American and converted European electricity.
Electric Converters in Europe
Why You Should
NEVER Use a Converter

Chapter 11
European Electricity
Converters, Plugs, Adapters.
Voltage, Power, Frequency.

Chapter 12
The Austrian Alps from Hall-In-Tyrol, just east of Innsbruck.
Photography in Europe
Take Your Best Shot

Chapter 13
Elizabeth being gifted by a police officer in Istanbul Turkey.
Bring a Smile
Travel Europe in Good Attitude

Chapter 14
The bed of my cozy cute cheap B+B in Cardiff Wales
Hotels, B&Bs, Hostels, Homes
European Travelers' Sleep Options

Chapter 15
The beautiful Montparnasse 1900 restautant, Paris 6th, France. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/12-1204-3.jpg
Eating In Europe
Travel on Thy Belly

Chapter 16
The city bus depot in Cardiff Wales. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/16-DSCN0917-3.jpg
City Transport in Europe
Bus, Streetcar, Subway, Taxi, Bike, Shoe, Gondola

Chapter 17, part 1,
An ICE high speed train parked at Amsterdam's Centraal Station. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/171-P1230436f-3.jpg
Trains in Europe
A Rail Primer

Chapter 17, part 2,
The train departure board at Brussels' Zuid/Midi train station. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/172-p1020015-3.jpg
European Rail Stations
Finding Your Way

Chapter 17, part 3,
Night Trains in Europe
Sleeping City to City

Chapter 17, part 4,
The Silja Symphony ferry servicing Stockholm Sweden and Helsinki Finland (Suomi).
Europe's Boat and Bus Services
High Seas Ferry, Highway Coach

Chapter 18, part 1
The Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris France. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/18-0440-3.jpg
European Auto Rental
Details and Documentation

Chapter 18, part 2
Driving in Europe
Back Alley to Blazing Autobahn

Chapter 18, part 3
Driving Habits and Laws
Police, Speed Limits, Tailgaters

Chapter 18, part 4
An Amsterdam police officer places a wheel clamp on an illegally parked car.
Parking, Gasoline, Safety
Adjuncts to Driving in Europe

Chapter 19, part 1
Telephoning to, from, and within Europe
City Codes, 10-10, cell phones, PTT

Chapter 19, part 2
Sending Mail to & from Europe
Priority Mail, PTT, Poste Restante

Chapter 19, part 3
An internet cafe in Dresden, Germany. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/172-p1020015-3.jpg
Internet and Email
Europe's Cyber Cafes and WiFi

Chapter 19, part 4
Wiring Cash and Quitting Your Job

Chapter 20
Health and Safety in Europe
Travel in Confidence but with Caution

Chapter 21
Working in Europe
Get Paid to Travel

Chapter 22, part 1
Moving to Europe
Things to Know Before You Go

Chapter 22, part 2
Living in Europe
Travel to the Max as an Expatriate

Chapter 22, Special email
Dave In Ireland
Technical Details for Moving to Europe

Chapter 23
The duty free chocolate shop at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/23-P1250471-3.jpg
Shopping in Europe
Souvenirs, Gifts, and
Stuff You Can't Live Without

Chapter 24
Shipping Your Treasures Home
Travelers' Options from Europe

Chapter 25
Passing Customs in Europe
Know the Rules When Crossing Borders

Chapter 26
Sign: Please do not walk on the grass. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/26-DSC0649-3
Languages, Numbers, Alphabets
Encounter The Tower of Babel in Europe

Chapter 27
Europe's Metric System
Travel with Grams, Meters, Liters, Centigrade

Chapter 28
Sign: Please do not walk on the grass. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/26-DSC0649-3
European Dates and Time
Traveling in a Distant Time Zone

Chapter 29
Smart visitors to Paris France always have an umbrella in their day pack. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/29-DSCN1166-3.jpg-3.jpg
Weather in Europe
Travel under Your Umbrella

Chapter 30
Melding with Europe
Travel Is Interesting and Entertaining

Last Call
Having a last beer at the Proeflokaal in Haarlem Netherlands as I wrap up a long research trip around Europe, probably 1983. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/LastCall.png
Travel Prep and
Pack Lists for Europe

A Friend in Holland

A complete apartment.
In Haarlem convenient to Keukenhof, Zandvoort, and Amsterdam.

Prime Travel Data
Elementary Travel Information for Europe


A Directory of Travel Products, Services, and Information on Europe.

Major European Museums
Travelers Portfolio ™

London Amsterdam


Maps and Time Zones
A rough sketch of Europe. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/Europe-s-3.jpg
Web sites featuring free online maps of Europe.

Weather in Europe
Chart/graph comparing average temperatures in Atlanta, Chicago, Vienna, and London. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/weathergraph-s-3.jpg
Current weather conditions and forecasts.

Money Exchange
Chart/graph of the value of the euro 1999 to 2013. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/Euro-1999-2013b-3.jpg
Currency exchange rates, including the euro.

A Friend in Holland

A complete apartment.
In Haarlem convenient to Keukenhof, Zandvoort, and Amsterdam.

My day job

Broad Technical Services
Consultant and Writer

My book

The original
travel guide to

Reviewed at


My extracurricular work:

Interest Rate Speculator

US Treasury 10 Year Notes

Weave your own.

A2 Web Hosting

21st Century Internet Entrepreneurship.

Food and Beverage

Bermont's Quiche d'Eschplamb, deep dish sans crust.
Quiche d'Eschplamb

Deep Dish Recipe
Label and bottle photo of a German Riesling Nahe blue bottle wine. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/GermanWineBottleLabel-s-3.jpg
German Wine Labels

How to translate the labels and other stuff to know.

Stephanie's Blogs

A small bull chases Stephanie in Spain. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/home/BullFlight-s-3.jpg
Bull Flight, Spain

My daughter flees from a charging baby bull.
Stephanie's photo blog of a month in Paris.
O hey Europe

One month in Paris.
A story illustrated.

Happy Tulip Trademark

Free to use but not to abuse.


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