Mother's column – long live the King


Christian Life

Neline, CNE.news

Photo ANP, Evert Elzinga

Queen's Day (April 30) used to be my favourite holiday. To celebrate the birthday of Queen Beatrix, we strolled over the traditional flea market, ate orange vanilla slices, watched the ring stabbing, went to the organ concert in the church in the evening and then, to top it all off, watched a dazzling fireworks show.

But the beginning of the day was the most beautiful: the legendary procession to celebrate the Queen's birthday from the schoolyard, the toddlers in the decorated vehicles, and the older children, all clothed in red-white-blue and orange, cheerfully following the carts.

Along the way, more and more primary schools and brass bands joined in, and finally we arrived in a long, noisy procession at the market square for the aubade.

I still know all the songs we sang by heart. There were a few patriotic songs, but also some songs especially made up for the occasion, such as "In the name of Orange, open your mouth, now cheerfully put in this song!" and "Very early this morning it was still quiet outside...". With equal enthusiasm, we sang of our own hometown: "Veenendaal, village that has grown into a city, city where many good things of a village also flourish!" Strangely enough, on this national holiday, I felt more strongly than ever connected to my own hometown.

It can also work the other way around, I discovered later on, when I moved to my current hometown. Overall, I quite like the village where we live, but there is one day a year when I tuck my head deep under the covers and wish I lived somewhere else: King's Day on April 27, the birthday of our current King, Willem-Alexander.

It starts around 3.30 in the morning when the first mopeds without exhaust screech and bang through our otherwise quiet neighbourhood. The moment you have just dozed off again, they inevitably come our way for another round because the village is not that big (a hamlet that has grown into a village, so to speak). It takes until about 6.30 a.m. before they slow down.

From then on, King's Day becomes quite fun, even in our village. OK, the aubade does not involve such an impressive mass singing here. But we hoist the same tricolour. We sing the same national anthem, the same first and sixth stanzas. Lack of sleep makes my emotion at the anthem feel all the more intense.

There is no complete programme booklet of activities here, but there is an assault course, a snack stall and a real falconry show. We mingle confidently in the local revelry, and I no longer feel nostalgic for the Queen's Days of yore. Or it must be the thought of that one song line: "Very early this morning it was still quiet outside..."

About the author

Neline op de fiets.jpeg

Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (9), Abel (7), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (1).



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