Queen's Festival in Amsterdam

Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Queen's Festival in Amsterdam

My husband and I are planning a trip to Germany/Amsterdam for April 08. Depending on how we arrange our itinerary, we can either celebrate or avoid the Queen's Festival. We have never been to Amsterdam and probably won't get back anytime soon. We love experiencing unique cultural events (we were in Cadiz for Carnival a few years ago) but we want to make sure we get to see all the sights of the city too. We can only be there for 3 days. Would you recommend that we try to hit the festival, or will we miss out on experiencing 'real' Amsterdam? Thanks!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:48 PM
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IMO Queen's Day is a great one day city party. "Experience" it and you'll never forget or regret it. Hope for good weather. Reserve your room early.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Great! How early do we need to book? We are using frequent flier miles and can't book that until mid-Sept. Is 6-7 months ahead enough time for hotels?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:46 PM
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bjamie

Sept is plenty of time to book a hotel for the following April. In fact, many hotel websites won't let you book that far in advance.

In general, I book my hotels 6-8 weeks before my trip and have always found what I wanted.

Queen's Day is a lot of fun.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Is 6-8 weeks ahead enough even for the festival? Also, does the city clear out pretty fast? We don't mind crowds, but don't want to be competing with thousands of people for museum admission the next day or two!

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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 06:56 PM
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I was in Amsterdam for Queen's Day this year. It was a beautiful day -- sunny around 70 degrees. There were a lot of crowds throughout the day. I preferred the morning when things were busy, but not crowded. If I had it to do over I would have left the city by train around 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. Only downside to traveling on this day is there is no public transportation, so I would have needed to walk between my hotel and the train station.

You can read my trip report and see my photos of Queen's Day on my website. Queen's Day photos start on page 5.

www.travelswithdiane.com/2007Holland1.html
or to go straight to page 5:
www.travelswithdiane.com/2007Holland5.html
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 07:04 PM
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Sorry, I hit "send" too soon.

I know the Anne Frank House was open on Queen's Day, but I'm not sure what else was open.

Bathrooms are hard to find on Queen's Day. I used the one at the Marriott Hotel. There was a line that took about 20 minutes and they charged a small fee that was to be donated to charity. Naturally, the men's room had no waiting line.

A lot of restaurants are closed that day, so a dinner reservation somewhere would be a good idea.

Bottom line, go...it really is a unique experience.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:01 PM
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Queen's Day is April 30. Don't plan on any sightseeing then, as the streets are jam-packed with partiers.

trip report that included Queen's Day:
Excerpt:
"..Author: cmeyer54
Date: 05/04/2005, 09:21 pm
Saturday April 30th QUEENS DAY!!!!
The day started out gloomy with occasional drops of rain. We left the hotel early as usual and walked through Vondelpark. The entire park was filled with small children running their own flea market and mini-carnival. Each child had a blanket or small area marked out and selling their cast off toy, clothes, books, etc. Many also had little games of chance or pie throwing for the kids to do. There was also music playing all over the park. From there we made our way into the citycenter. This was incredible!! Everyone was wearing something orange – shirts, pants, shoes, socks, crazy hats, feather boas, etc. It had a mardi gras atmosphere but on a scale much much larger! The population of Amsterdam grows from less than one million to three million just for that day. There were beer stands, bands, blaring music, food stands, public urinals for the men everywhere. The canals were jammed with party boats so that nobody could really move. Flea markets were also on every sidewalk. Many restaurants were open, a few souvenir stores but for the most part, shops were closed. We just walked and gawked. Took a lot of pictures of the street action. There was one group of guys who were pedaling a bicycle type of vehicle with three on a side, one in the rear steering and a keg on the front….quite exceptional…especially when you consider that they had all been drinking all day. We just grabbed street vendor’s food and watched people from the plaza cafes during the day. Everyone was just walking around but they seemed to have a purpose or a place to be going, nothing seemed random. By 5pm, we decided to head back to the hotel. To give an idea..it took close to 30 minutes to cross one canal bridge; vendors were on both sides and people were in gridlock all the way across. Back at the hotel, we took a short nap finally and then headed back to the Museum park for their concert and a few snacks. We’ve never heard of the band playing but the atmosphere was Woodstock (am I showing my age??). On to the city center again where one bartender told us that “the dutch consider partying an art form; we do a decent job in the UK but here, its ART!!” True True. By 8pm, they were carrying people off on stretchers and if anyone was going to pass out, there was no where to fall. By 11, I’d had it and we walked back to the hotel. Quite an amazing scene all around. Ankle deep paper, garbage, overflowing portajohns and public urinals. We wondered how in the heck the street cleaners were going to cope! .."
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 01:27 AM
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Next year May 1st is Ascension Day so it will be a two day holiday (Three days really as most people get the Friday after Ascension day as a compulsory leave day. The shops may not not be open on May 1st, so bear that in mind!
I suspect because it is a lond weekend many Dutch people will go away rather than staying around to celebrate Koninginnedag. That doesn't mean that Amsterdam won't be packed as usual though for Koninginnedag. But it is worth noting that 1 May is also a holiday next year. We don't normally get 1 May as a day off. Given that you only have 3 days in Amsterdam you should consider this carefully.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 03:00 AM
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hetismij,
Thank you for the 2008 schedule.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 06:58 AM
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I have experienced a "3 day" Queen's Day weekend and I would suggest you secure your room as soon as possible because that's what all the Dutch will be doing. I would not wait to do it 6-8 weeks out.
As for the sights, they will either be jammed or closed during that period--the Dutch will take full advantage of the 3 day weekend and they know how to party. During our visit, the streets became so crowded with pedestrians that it was virtually gridlock at one point in the pm. The trains were shut down as well to keep more from coming into town.
It was all pretty mellow however with only minor problems near the train station. If I were looking to explore Amsterdam for the first time, I'd probably schedule around this party, especially the 3 day variety. Paul
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Thank you so much for the schedule info. I think we may be able to get to Amsterdam a few days before the festival and leave right after to avoid all of that.
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