2013 brings a special Queen’s Day for the Dutch. It’s the last one for a while, as Queen Beatrice is using the national holiday-and-party day in her honour to abdicate the throne after 33 years. Her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, will become king, which means next year, it’ll be King’s Day.
So where will you be when the Prince of Orange is invested as King of the Netherlands? The Dutch ambassador will be at the official London party at the Dutch Centre, Austin Friars, and that particular do is sold out, sorry.
Trafalgar Square’s an obvious place to gather but there’s no organised celebration taking place, which strikes as us odd given how nuts London goes for its own royal occasions. Holland House must have broken itself during the Olympic partying up Ally Pally.
But never fear, we’ve ferreted out some other ways to celebrate the Dutch national day and toast Queen B. as she passes on the royal mantle to her son.
De Hems is the obvious place to be, a most excellent pub with true Dutch heritage, but it will likely be jam-packed all day on Tuesday. You’ll need to get there super early to secure standing room, let alone a seat. If you make it, toast yourself with Oranjeboom.
It’s probably too late to join the “Dutch Queen’s Day Night” Shoreditch pub crawl which happens tonight (Saturday) but you can recreate it on the proper day or night with your mates and not have to pay £14 ticket for orange face paint, flags and entry and shots along the way. There’ll be fewer arseholes about and all the venues will be free entry. Although the only Dutch/Shoreditch connection we’ve found is the Damn that Dutch club night at The Shoreditch, which isn’t happening this week.
The poshest tiki bar in town is another unlikely place to toast the Dutch royal handover but Mahiki will be open from 5.30pm for just that. And, of course, you may bump into an actual royal.
Lower key, is Lowlander in Covent Garden, where you could quaff a Dutch micro-brewed beer and chow down on some Double Dutch Fries.
My Old Dutch is the place to go for bitterballen and gouda, just order the my old dutch platter at their restaurants in Holborn, Kensington or Chelsea.
If you want to toast the outgoing Queen and incoming King in the traditional way, you need to get hold of some Oranjebitter. You can buy the real deal online (or try the Amathus shop in Soho) or make your own with this recipe.
The main thing is, if you want to join in the Dutch fun, wear orange, eat orange, drink orange.
N.B. When researching this article Google offered “throne exchange” as a translation from Dutch of “royal succession”, a turn of phrase we rather like.
Koninginnedag 2013 is on Tuesday 30 April.
Photo of Queen’s Day 2012 in Trafalgar Square by Nelson Pereira via Londonist Flickrpool