All Netherland is out and about from the earliest hours for a long day of feast and fun, to celebrate the Queen's birthday. How much of the population is actually interested in the queen or the royals is up for discussion - but it's a damn good excuse for a party, and the merriment is enthusiastic and pretty patriotic . . .
It's a day of orange - orange hats, flowers, inflatable crowns, t-shirts, shoes, wigs or full attire - whatever you dare to wear. It's a day of make-up and costume. A day of music and dance and cake and beer. A day of tom-foolery and theatrical expression. And it's a day of making money . . . everyone of the Queen's subjects is allowed to offer their wares on the streets - a free market for the common man, woman or child.
I stayed away from the city where the crowds number in tens-of-thousands, and made my way to East where a friend of mine sets up every year with his son. His son bakes cakes and they go like . . .hot-cakes ! He'd made 100 euro by the time I got there.
I'm English, and this street-trading has never appealed to me. But I'm content to watch the crowds pass by, listen to the music, browse the stalls and enjoy a beer or two (or more... depending how warm it is.).
This day, the partying went on until deep in the night . . . but I was home early - it was a little too cold this year to stay out too long.