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That time of the year when everything turns orange has come again: Queen’s Day 2013 (Koninginnedag), the third (and most likely last) one I celebrate since moving to Amsterdam. Today was not just an ordinary Queen’s Day, today we witnessed an historic event. 30 April 2013 was a special moment for the Dutch people and for the Netherlands — it is the day when Queen Beatrix abdicated from her throne in favour of her son Willem-Alexander. It’s not unusual in the Netherlands for a ruling monarch to pass on the throne to the next generation: Queen Beatrix’s mother and grandmother both abdicated in favour of their daughters. She is continuing this tradition, and now, for the first time after a long while, the country will have a king — Willem is the first male monarch since 1890. The abdication and investiture ceremonies took place in the morning at the Royal Palace and Nieuwe Kerk on Dam Square in Amsterdam. Thousands of people gathered here to be part of the celebration and to greet Willem and Máxima on their first day as king and queen, as well as to have a good party afterwards.

Talking about parties, the special occasion did not interfere much with the usual way of celebrating Queen’s Day in Amsterdam: street markets were still taking place around the city (apart from a few central locations) and children were still selling old toys and lemonade in order to make a few bucks. Big, loud parties popped out at every street corner and everyone was dressed in funny clothes and coloured wigs, hats or anything else that they found appropriate to put on for the occasion — all orange of course; even a few drunken people were wandering around the city while the mounted police forces tried to maintain order. But most people were just having their share of fun in the sun, marking the end of an era and already making plans for next year, when the first King’s Day (Koningsdag) will be celebrated — not on the 30th, but on the 27th of April (which is the birthday of new king Willem).

We’re all curious how the Koningsdag will feel like, but until then, I’ll let you enjoy some photos that captured this unique day.

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