Sun brings out crowds on Queen’s Day
3 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands celebrated Queen’s Day in true style on Friday as Amsterdam’s city centre streets swelled with 500,000 revellers enjoying glorious sunshine. During her official visit to Groningen Queen Beatrix thanked the Dutch public for its support.
In comparison to 30 April last year when just 350,000 people took to Amsterdam city streets, Queen’s Day was much busier this year and Dutch rail operator NS estimated that about 160,000 people had travelled by train to the Dutch capital.
The NS was forced to use extra trains between Schiphol and Amsterdam to transport the large number of people coming from The Hague, Leiden and Schiphol. The crowds started slowly dissipating at the start of the evening, news agency ANP reported.
The sunny day started off slowly on Friday as Amsterdam recovered from the previous evening, after it celebrated Queen’s Night (koninginnenacht) for the first time the in nine years. The street market kicked off at 6am and crowds started to swell at about 2pm.
Despite the death of Queen Juliana on 20 March, official Queen’s Day celebrations proceeded as Queen Beatrix and other members of the royal family visited Groningen. On the steps of the city hall, the Queen thanked the public for a “special Queen’s Day”.
The Queen also said she was “especially, especially thankful” for the public’s wishes of support and its condolences after the passing of Juliana, whose birthday is celebrated on Queen’s Day.
And referring to her decision made when she ascended the throne in 1980 to maintain Queen’s Day celebrations on 30 April, Beatrix said the nation could continue commemorating Juliana in “this fantastic festive manner”.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende also said in an address to the nation that Queen’s Day celebrations would continue to be held on 30 April. He said it was important to use the day to honour the deceased monarch.
Balkenende also said the day was a chance for spend fun time with family, neighbours and friends. He also said it was a day to realise how beautiful and prosperous the Netherlands is.
About 12,000 people had gathered in the village Warffum on Friday morning to welcome the nation’s monarch, while about 100,000 people gathered later in the day in Groningen to greet the Queen.
Beatrix was accompanied among others by royal couples Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima and the married Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien.
But despite the royal visit, festivities continued as normal throughout the city of Groningen as pop singer Sita, rapper Brainpower and singer Ilse de Lange performed at the Grote Markt.
Meanwhile, despite the crowds in Amsterdam — where city squares were extremely popular and about 100,000 gathered in Museumplein as Idols finalists Maud and Boris performed — police said the day passed without serious problems. There were a few minor incidents relating to the sale of poor quality food.
But Rotterdam police arrested dozens of people on the Stadhuisplein and the Wilhelminapier on drunkenness and public nuisance charges. The Stadhuisplein was temporarily sealed off as arrests were carried out and six people were detained at the Wilhelminapier as a group of 50 youths hassled security personnel.
Elsewhere, 16 people were injured — nine of whom were taken to hospital by ambulance — after two groups of people used furniture and glass work to violently attack each other at the start of the Queen’s Day evening in Breda.
And police arrested 35 people in the city centre of Zwolle after violence broke out on the Melkmarkt and the nearby Voorstraat at about 8.30pm.
About 50 people were arrested on Queen’s Night in Utrecht, but police said despite the large number of arrests, the event proceeded relatively peacefully. It was especially peaceful in and around the street market, which was opened at 6pm on Queen’s Night.
A police spokesman said Queen’s Night in The Hague was relaxed and atmospheric, estimating the number of party goers at 125,000. The organisers of the event — which offered musical acts on four stages — approximated the crowd at about 200,000.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Queen’s Day