| King's Day
City center, Vondelpark
'King's Day' is a real festive occasion in the Netherlands, and especially Amsterdam is famous for staging an all out street party, which starts the night before and lasts well into the small hours the next day. People stroll through the city dressed in orange [the King is from the House of Orange], a beer in hand and the national colors painted on their face.
On this day all street trade is unregulated, so a lot of people shovel unused surplus from their attics onto the sidewalk and have fun all day selling it to passers-by. Real bargains can be had, but it helps to get there early. Getting there late means you probably won't get there anyway, because on a sunny Kingsday the center tends to block up in the afternoon. To escape the crowds you could try venturing out into the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The more pragmatic minds used to just stock up on cans of beer, cheap wine and 'sateh' and tried to make a fast Euro selling these. Because of the recent commercialisation of the street trade, in such a way that professional merchants took up the prime spots and left no place for the traders-for-a-day, the festive character of the day got somewhat spoiled. New regulations have come into place: no selling of alcohol or foods without a license, and trade in the Vondelpark, one of the hubs of the party, is off limits for anyone other than children. Also, no street trade till 6am, but this doesn't keep the party from starting much earlier. All in all a great day to be out on the street, especially when the sun shines.
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