Even as media you have to be patient nowadays when attending King’s Day in the Netherlands. I was at several Queen’s Day celebrations, but to be honest this year was my very first King’s Day. Lucky for me, because of my health, the Dutch royal family visited my city this year. Groningen coloured orange more and more in the weeks before the big day, as you might have noticed in my earlier posts in the past weeks.
At 7.45am we were all expected in a building in the centre of town. Photographer Bernard Rübsamen picked me up at my house, and I directed him to the nearest parking garage. The press centre, if you knew where it was, was easy to find. But it was on the fourth floor, the elevator not clearly pointed out, so we climbed all the stairs to the fifth floor, only to be directed to the fourth floor. There you had to tell you were there, and you got a wristlet to indicate you were press. One thing for sure, we had time enough to enjoy the absolutely marvelous breakfast.
At 9.10am the group I was in was at the press area at the Grote Markt. What followed was a wait of about 2 1/2 hours, until the royal arrival. Enough to see though: enthusiastic fans (even when there were not that many for a long time), a few republicans holding signs, flags at the Martini Tower, preparing participants on the market square including a choir. Luckily the weather wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t very warm, but at least sunny and not too windy.
Finally the royals arrived after leaving the Martini Church. For quite a while they unfortunately stayed far away and even out of our sights. Sometimes you could see a glimpse of them talking to people about earthquakes in the province of Groningen, because of natural gas extraction. An interesting subject, but unfortunately we didn’t see, nor hear much of what was going on. But finally after having crossed about the whole square, they finally got near us.
The gorgeous eldest daughters of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands: Princess Amalia and Princess Alexia.
Princess Ariane was very interested in what the children were doing and stayed talking to children for quite a while. Finally Denise Kasova, general manager of the Northern Innovation Board, presented young and innovative companies that are way ahead in the field of sustainability and the transition to new kinds of energy. She lead the family away from the main square, and that is where the family posed for a while. Unfortunately from the press area you could hardly see what they were doing on the side of the town hall.