Country shuts down for the first half of May

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Due to the unusually early first moon of spring, all the major Christian holidays are early this year, almost colliding with the traditional Dutch holidays. Starting next week: April 30, Queen’s Day—May 1, Ascension Day—May 5, Liberation Day—May 12, Pentacost. This year, the schools close down for the first two weeks of May, and families seem to take the opportunity to go on holidays. According to De Telegraaf (Dutch), 3.5 million Dutch people will go away for the next two weeks, up 1.5 million from last year. AD quotes (Dutch) Bas Hoogland, CEO of Landal Greenparks, as saying: “It’s as if the entire country closes down for the first two weeks of May. There is a huge sense of ‘holiday urgency.’ Many parents don’t feel like spending two weeks at home with the kids.”

The clash of holidays has also brought forward the Lintjesregen (rain of ribbons), the mass-awarding of royal decorations which takes place every year on Queen’s Day, the Dutch national holiday. Queen’s Day was traditionally held on the Queen’s birthday, but that tradition changed when Queen Beatrix ascended the throne in the 1980s. Beatrix’s birthday is in January, whereas her mother was born on the much warmer April 30, so it was decided that the latter day would be maintained.

Radio DJ Coen Swijnenberg life-long’s wish was to cross-dress as Queen Beatrix, and Veronica Magazine helped him make that wish come true this week (photo). Cross-dressing is not the norm for Queen’s Day, but people will don orange for the occasion.

1 Comment »

  1. The Netherlands is not the only country that shuts down for a week. Japan does, too, in what they call the ‘golden week’. They just shove 4 national holidays into one week and get it over with. Efficient, those jappies ;-)

    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2282.html

    Comment by Eric — April 26, 2008 @ 9:52 am

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