King’s Day 2020 will be more different than ever. The last time the royal visit on that day (Queen’s Day at the time) was cancelled was in 2001, when because of foot-and-mouth disease the royals couldn’t visit Hoogeveen and Meppel. It was possible to celebrate in some other parts of the country, but the royals stayed at home. They visited theses two places in 2002. Of course also in 2013, when King Willem-Alexander was inaugurated, the royals didn’t come to De Rijp and Amstelveen, and only went there in 2014, but it was still a very festive day with the royal investiture.
An alternative program
No Maastricht for the Dutch royal family this year – they hopefully go there in 2021 – and no huge outdoor festivities like concerts or fleemarkets, all thanks to Covid-19. It is however not said that the day won’t be celebrated at all. The Koninklijke Bond van Oranje Verenigingen (Royal Association of Orange Associations) has come up with an alternative plan for this year: no Koningsdag (King’s Day) but Woningsdag (Day at Home), which of course sounds in Dutch much better than in English.
- 9.45-10.00am: The bells are ringing in the country as sign of a link between joy and grief
- 10.00am: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has come up with an alternative plan of the national aubade. The plan is that together with the orchestra the Dutch will appear in the doorways, balconies or gardens and sing or play the national anthem, the Wilhelmus. The tag on social media is #Wilhelmus2020
- 10.10am: Congratulations to King Willem-Alexander, who will turn 53 on 27 April.
- 10.15am: Video message of Dutch mayors.
- 3.00pm: Solidarity concerts, solo performances of artists for the elderly people.
- 4.00pm: National toast for the King.
What is on TV?
Also the NOS has prepared a nice day full of television. At 10.10am – until 11.40am – they will start with a special program and look back at the previous King’s Days. As the day usually can be followed online abroad also (I once tried in the UK), I would think that it will be possible also this year. At noon the digital fleamarket will start on the internet. Also children have been invited to send a digital letter to the King, to congratulate him and to tell about the impact of Covid-19 on them. It is planned that the King will receive the letters (1,500 by now) somewhere in the afternoon. In the evening, from 7pm to 7.50pm there will be a special broadcast about: “How does the Netherlands celebrate King’s Day in times of Corona”, and a moderator goes on a road trip and visits eleven of the twelve Dutch provinces, and ends in Maastricht.
Do we really not see the royals?
Like all Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, the Princess of Orange (Amalia), Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane will celebrate the day at home. Via the platform https://koningsdagthuis.nl/ they will be present (like many other well-known Dutch). The king has prepared a short speech around 10am. During the day one can see how they are celebrating via photos, television and the social media. The King will also participate in the national toast.
What else can you do?
As I am working at home, as usual, I have ordered orange cake at the nearby bakery, and I will pick two slices up on Monday morning. I have an orange King’s Day t-shirt, bought in Groningen two years ago.
Little publicity for a very nice suggestion by an acquaintance of mine: Samenkoningsdagramen. The plan, now we have to celebrate at home, is to decorate your windows and/or the facade of your house, garden or balcony with flags, balloons, etc. Orange connects and brings people together, especially at this time, it is said. Unfortunately I have noticed that lots of shops this year don’t sell any of these, and if they do, it must be in the city centre, and I am not going there at the moment. I luckily have somewhat of a collection and am planning to decorate later today, although it won’t be as good as many other people.