Thursday, May 5, 2011

Queensday .... The Mother of All Garage Sales

Clark Griswold: Aw, there's Buckingham Palace, kids. That's where the Queen lives and works.
Audrey Griswold: She works? What does she do, Dad?
Clark Griswold: She queens... And she vacuums.

April 30th, Queensday (Koninginnedag) is a huge a event in the Netherlands.  It is the celebration of the queens birthday and is supposed to be a day of national unity and togetherness. Historically the day of celebration has been on the reigning queen's birthday, however the current queen was born in January and that isn't a fun time to party outside so they kept it in April as a tribute to her mother's birthday.

The largest gathering is in Amsterdam where they estimate between 700,000 and 800,000 come to celebrate.

This is the Queen's residence which is about 5 miles away from us and which we pass every time we go into The Hague.

Everything is orange on Queensday as the royal family is the House of Orange, decendants of Willem of Oranje. 

The other big aspect of Queensday is the free market.  People do not have to pay taxes on the sale of goods and are free to set up shop wherever they would like.  On the main shopping streets people set up tables and blankets right out side businesses and sell their old stuff, baked goods, and things they have made. Our town's shopping district felt very similiar to Melrose on gameday.  Except the goods being sold were of much higher quality than that of Gameday Iowa :)

Some goods for sale

As you can see some people would set up shop right outside a real store

What would bargain shopping be without picking up some real bargains!  Our first purchase was the stroller below.  We couldn't see the price so we asked if it was for sale.  The response was, "Yes, for 25 euros but that is negotiable".  We would have bought it for the 25 euros but out of principle now had to negotiate so we got it for 20 euros.  It is almost new and we thought we were getting a good deal, but when we got home and looked it up we found that we got a REALLY good deal.  The stroller sells for $500 and the accessories it came with another $200.  Plus as an added bonus it has an american flag looking logo.

We purchased this toy for 3 Euros from the same lady.

The little one found a new ride for 7 Euro, with the new stroller in the background

Our next purchase is a bike seat we got for 5 euro which normallly retails for 30 euros, more on how it works on a follow up post.

 The wife got a bike for 75 euro. We couldn't tell whether the girl was selling it or had just bought it.  When my wife asked, the girl looked confused because she didn't speak english.  So we found a close by good samaritan who translated our questions and we now have some transportation over here.

 There were also activities for the kids.  This one seemed like a great idea.  Hey kids, you two play over here while your brother shoots an arrow.  Remember, arrows don't kill people, kids with arrows kill people.

 The family in Orange!

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