Expatica news

Harry Potter fans savour the witching hour

15 July 2005

AMSTERDAM — Hundreds of fans have been drawn as if by magic to special parties in Amsterdam and The Hague to celebrate the release of the latest Harry Potter book.

The English-language edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince goes on sale worldwide at midnight GMT (or 1am in Amsterdam).

Waterstone’s bookshop in Amsterdam opens at midnight for fans eager to get the first copies of the book. The entire store has been given a Harry Potter makeover. The initial 100 customers will get a “surprise”, the shop says.

Waterstone’s opens again at 7am on Saturday for those who could not make it the night before. Customers who come dressed in character can enter a competition for a DVD of one of the Harry Potter films at 3pm.

The American Book Center (ABC) has organised parties in each of its stores in Amsterdam, The Hague and Leuven in Belgium to mark the launch.

The ABC’s Hans Vierdag told Expatica that “things have started to get a little bit crazy” in the lead up to the book’s publication.

By Friday afternoon 275 people had registered to attend the late-night event at the ABC’s branch in Amsterdam and 160 had registered for the party in The Hague.  

Twenty of the Amsterdam store’s 40 staff will be on hand as the doors open at 11pm (Amsterdam time).

Fans will be entertained with a “fashion contest for the best-dressed wizards and witches” to help pass the two hours before the start of book sales.

Other distractions laid on include a Harry Potter Quiz, or a Hogwarts Twister Game and “the chance to poke nasty Aunt Petunia in her bum to deflate her”.

The fans anxious about what is to come can also make use of the services of a fortune-teller.

Vierdag said some children were expected to attend but the majority are parents and teenagers due to the late hour of the event.

The party in The Hague branch of ABC also begins at 11pm. “Fans can warm up for the big moment by listening to a reading of the last chapter of book 5,” a press release said.

Other attractions include a face-painter “who can transform you into a witch, wizard, giant, owl, griffyndor, rat… or any other creature” and a yoga teacher to help you imitate the creature’s behavior.

The event in the Leuven store begins at 9pm.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, Harry Potter