Sunday, September 21, 2014

Netherlands Adventures!: Prinsjedag/Little Prince's Day

This past Tuesday was Prinsejedag.  Literally, it means "Little Prince's Day."  It marks the beginning of the parliamentary year.  The King and Queen of the Netherlands come to Den Haag (The Hague) because it's the center of government, and the King talks about the government's plans for the year.  So I ventured down to Den Haag to go and see the King and Queen!  There's also a parade of sorts.  I'll get to that though.

Away from where the procession and recession takes place, there are these guys (and other cannons) shooting off ammunition into the air every minute.  I'm not sure why they're shooting off cannons every minute, but that's what they were doing!
Prinsjedag is a much bigger deal than I thought.  Right next to where they were shooting off cannons, there was this giant carnival!  This day is a big deal for adults and for children (there were SO many children).
See the number of people?  Some of these people had been here since 8am.  I took this picture around 1:30 or 2pm.  It was quite an adventure finding a spot where I could actually see.
During this time, there was a parade of sorts.  People were riding on horses carrying swords and wearing interesting hats (groups of people riding on horses wore the same hat, but the type of hat differed from group to group).  There were also musicians.  It was the coolest marching band I've ever seen.  Can you get cooler than playing in the King and Queen's honor?  I submit that they cannot.

I stood behind some old people who were about my height, so my vision was limited.  but I did manage to see the King and Queen in their golden carriage :)  This picture is from the recession ceremony.  I didn't get to Den Haag in time to see then process to make a speech.
On my way back to the train station, I got behind this school group where the boys and the girls were dressed in traditional Dutch clothing.  I was really happy to find my first sets of wooden clogs!
I'm sad that the other girls in my program didn't come with me (the floor that I live on has turned into an infirmary of sorts), but I'm really happy that I decided to go without them.  It was the first time I took the train round-trip by myself.  Something to be proud of, I think!

I feel a little special because this is an experience that the others in my program won't have.  At least not this year.

Thanks for Reading!  Tot Ziens!


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