Istanbul celebrates the Dutch Queen’s birthday with shows

Istanbul celebrates the Dutch Queen’s birthday with shows

Wilco van Herpen ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul celebrates the Dutch Queen’s birthday with shows

The audience mostly dressed in orange attends a special music event during the annual Queen’s Day in Amsterdam on April 30, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ADE JOHNSON t

I remember one time I had a stall in Amsterdam, trying to sell old cloth and making pictures of people who wanted to pose. It was fun and I started at 00:01 at night. With some friends we found a super location, next to the Blue Bridge in Amsterdam. The night was cold but with an impressive amount of coffee, snacks and drinks we managed to survive the chilly night. A lot of people wanted to have their picture taken and an old bride dress that I had bought was very popular amongst the men. I would recommend anybody to go to Amsterdam to take part in this event. Everywhere people sell their old things and the Vondelpark is reserved for children who want to perform or sell their old toys, books or other things.

In Holland every now and then a discussion is had. Should we continue with the monarchy, or should we become a Republic? There are quite a number of people who think the monarchy is a very expensive and unnecessary institution and for that reason they want our Queen to leave in favor of a President. I personally like the monarchy and I like the Queen. She might not be actively involved in decision-making in our democracy, but I like the feeling the kingdom, or should I say the “queendom,” gives me. In subtle ways, she makes commands about things that happen in the Netherlands and gives color and substance to our country. To honor her mother, Queen Juliana, the current Queen Beatrix decided not to change the date on which we celebrate her birthday, so last Monday evening we were all invited to come to the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul and join the Queen’s birthday party. Over the course of the thirteen years I have lived in Turkey I have visited a number of these birthday parties. Some of them have been held in very nice hotels, some of them at the Dutch consulate. This year, Onno Kervers together with Daniel Stork and all the people working at the Dutch consulate welcomed us at the “Palais de Hollande.” For a lot of people this party is a way to meet people you otherwise would not see, but for me there is another very important reason not to miss this party.

Every year during the Queen’s birthday party they serve nice Dutch cheese, salted herring and bitterballen. Because I do not frequently go to Holland, this is a perfect opportunity for me to eat some of the things I cannot find in Turkey. Do not get me wrong, I love Turkish food but this is a unique opportunity for me.

Mixture of cultures

So there I was standing next to the table with all these beautiful things. I started talking with some people and one of them was a Turkish guy who is married to a Dutch woman. I asked him if he knew what a “kopstootje” (head bang) was, but his wife had never shown him this. A kopstootje is (or actually are) two drinks. You get a beer and a shot of jonge jenever (a kind of Dutch schnapps), drink the jonge jenever and right after it take a sip of your beer. If you drink just a couple of kopstootjes your world starts to change. For that reason the Dutch woman was not happy at all when she saw her husband drinking this combination. “My parents are at home, what should I tell them when I go back home and my husband is drunk?!” she shouted.

I just smiled and ate my salted herring. Outside a band started playing music and I walked around a bit more. The band played a couple of songs and continued their playing on Istiklal Caddesi, showing all the guests the way to the Hall.

Turkey, Netherlands, Dutch