Subject: Amsterdam Public Holidays
Forwarded by Moderator - with permission.

Previous posts about Holland in general and Amsterdam in particular are available on http://home.earthlink.net/~primos/

A useful list for foreign visitors is the one of the public holidays in Holland. --Christmas and Dec 26, New Year, Easter, Pentecost, Ascension Day, the 5th of May which is Liberation day of the Netherlands, and April 30, the birthday of queen Juliana (Koniginnedag). But if April 30 falls on a Sunday, it is celebrated one day earlier because in Protestant tradition, Sunday is the day of the Lord, not the day of the queen.

Let's look more into detail of all public holidays and celebrations:

---in February: CARNAVAL. The Dutch disguise in superb costumes and dance in the streets. It's a very old but still very lively tradition, especially in the south of the country (Brabant, Limburg)

---in April and May: QUEENS BIRTHDAY on April 30. This tradition started at the crowning of Queen Juliana in 1948. Despite the actual queen Beatrix has her birthday in January, the Dutch kept the April date, because of tradition but I suspect more because of the better climate! It's the most popular, joyful and surprising festive day of the whole year. All Holland gets out on the streets. Artists, singers, ambulant musicians are swimming in euphoria. You have to taste the drink specially prepared for this occasion, the Oranjebitter. Everybody has his free day off, shops are closed and even certain museums. Vondelpark in Amstedam is reserved for young musicians who play for the first time in their life. You are allowed to sell ANYTHING in the street. They call it Vrijmarkt, which meansfree market. The Amsterdammers empty their lofts and basements and display a whole bric-a-brac, junk and other to sell it in the street. In this giant flea market you can find sometimes a good bargain. 5TH OF MAY. Liberation day (end of WWII). Same type of celebration;

---In June and July: HOLLAND FESTIVAL. Concerts, ballets, opera, theatre. Reserve your seats in advance. In Vondelpark, a lot of shows for children;

---in August: UITMARKT. Celebrated the last wee-end of the month. It's the start of the new cultural season. All sorts of performances take place in open air and on the quays and bridges of Amsterdam. Operas and ballets on immense stages set up on the water. A lot of people everywhere.

---in September: THE GREAT FLOWER CELEBRATION. On the first Saturday of the month. A parade of flourished chariots starts at Aalsmeer (city famous for its flower industry) and parades toward Amsterdam. JORDAAN FESTIVAL. Mid-September. In this popular quarter of Amsterdam, during 10 days, the cafes (bars and bruincafes) are packed with people.

---in November: INTERNATIONAL HORSE JUMPING CONTEST IN AMSTERDAM. Beginning of the month. SAINT-NIKLAUS TOURS AMSTERDAM. Happens in the second half of the month. Coming from Spain, the saint rides around the city on his white horse.

---in December: SAINT-NIKLAUS FEAST. In the evening of December 5. Santa Claus passes first through Holland before going to Belgium and France! ;-) NEW YEAR. The 31st of December and 1st of January. Mots of the museums are closed. Big ambience in the cities, turning delirious in Amsterdam. Fireworks in all directions. Look for the shelters!!

Jack