Here’s what the Last Dutch Queen’s Day looks like from Ohio.
It’s a beautiful spring day: radiant sunshine, azure skies, flowering trees. The grass seed we scattered onto the bare patches in our lawn is finally starting to sprout. It’s warm enough that short-sleeves are sufficient, my arms only growing uncomfortably-cool on the downhill sections of my bicycle commute. Fortunately, this means I can spend the entire day proudly displaying the orange of my vintage 2004 Royal Dutch Soccer Team jersey.
There is no mention of Queen’s Day on the bottom-of-the-hour radio news update that I listen to daily. On the American news websites, there might be a small headline in the “World” section that says something like, “Queen Beatrix Abdicates in the Netherlands.” But clearly, today’s coronation ceremonies are not a major news story in this part of the world. If I drill down into the stories a bit (two or three clicks deep off of the front page), I can find some press agency photographs that give me a glimpse of the celebrations that have been happening in the Netherlands:
But if I click over to the Dutch news sites, of course, the story is front-page headlines. Multiple angles of the story are covered. Photographic galleries are featured. I get a more varied, more colorful view of the Queen’s Day festivities:
The most meaningful insight into the Dutch Queen’s Day festivities, however, actually comes (as you might expect) from social media. Facebook, especially. All my friends in Amsterdam seem to have something to say about the holiday, and often with pictures from their particular vantage point in the celebrations:
I do find myself wishing that I could see all these sights with my own eyes — but the sense of “homesickness” is actually diminished from what it was yesterday. I don’t know why. Today, I just find it interesting to observe the differences in the way that world events are perceived, depending upon one’s vantage point.
My awareness of Dutch influences on American culture are highlighted on a day like today. I take note, for instance, when I ride past Depeyster (probably originally “de Peijster”) Street in downtown Kent. My head turns when I see the horizontally-striped red, white, and blue flag (the word “BICYCLES” emblazoned across the middle) hanging in the window of the local bike shop. I smile when I see a large semi-truck in blue and orange, featuring the words “USF Holland” across the side. These things are always in the background, though. I’ve noticed them before, and I’m sure I’ll notice them again. For the most part, today is just a normal spring day.
That being said, the Royal Lion symbol is close to my heart today. Even though it’s a very different view from what it might be in Amsterdam, I’m enjoying the view from Ohio.