Thursday, April 30, 2009


Today is Konninginnedag (Queen's Day) in the Netherlands. It is a national holiday celebrating the birthday of Queen Beatrix. Her birthday is actually on January 31 but she chose to keep Queen's Day on April 30, her mother Queen Juliana's birthday, because of the more favorable weather for parades and outdoor celebrations.

Here in Enschede, Queen's Day festivities began at 9 AM in the the city center with a speech by the mayor followed by a toast of oranjebitter (a type of orange brandy) and music. The celebration was planned to last until 9 PM this evening.

The queen and the royal family traditionally visit two towns every Queen's Day for a parade. This year however, the parade in Apeldoorn was marred by a car that careened through barricades and a crowd of people, narrowly missing an open bus carrying the royal family, before crashing into a monument. Twelve people were injured and two have died as a result of the crash. In light of the events, the celebration in Apelodoorn has been canceled.

I'm sure that not all celebrations will be canceled around the Netherlands, but they will surely take on a more subdued tone due to today's events.

UPDATE: The car crash was not an accident. The driver apparently plowed through the crowd on purpose in an attempt to do harm to the royal family. He has since died from his injuries as have two other people bringing the death toll to five.

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