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To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

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Friday, April 30, 2010

QUEENSDAY AND OTHER CULTURAL EXPERIENCES


When you have moved across countries like I, one takes on some of the celebrations of the new country and keeps some of the old.
April 30 is Queen's Day. For you who do not realize it, Holland  has had a queen for four generations, and the next one in line, will finally be a King! ( crown prince Willem Alexander). On Queens Day (in Dutch: Koninginnedag) this year 72 years old Queen Beatrix celebrates her 30th year of reign. 

When a town is big enough to have a mayor the village or town or city will have something going on as a celebration, for kids as well as adults. Many street games are organized near the city 
square mostly.

Everyone will wear something orange, because the royal family is known as The House of Orange.The queen and other members of the royal family used to stand on the platform in front of the palace, to wave at everyone who comes by (yes, many hours of waving!! Their arms must be so sore the next day:)). Don't know if they have kept this tradition. Reader Wil informed me that Queen Beatrix now visits 2 towns with her family and participates in the celebrations.

In her gold carriage on the day of the Opening of Parliament in Sept.

Politically seen I know she is a figure head, but she still can veto a few things of the parliament and ministers though (we have a different political system than in the USA)! When you have grown up in a country where a president or whatever the ruler may be called is chosen, there is not that special bond with the royal family. 

It's somewhat different than with a celebrity -you acknowledge the queen of king, not because of a certain skill, but because of their birth, which is a place of favor and honor. Actually I like it, everyone should be honored for who they are, instead of a skill that is popular. 
Surprizingly, queen Beatrix is the richest of the royals in Europe, behind her  comes Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, according to the BBC news, third is Hans Adam II of Lichtenstein, and fourth Queen Elizabeth II from the Great British Empire.Since the richest, all  three are from small countries, I'm kind of stymied about how that works?

Something cultural, but a very different subject is ice-cream. When we were in China a few years ago we only once found a booth where they had different kinds of ice-cream. On my birthday we were eating in a restaurant. I tried to ask for  ice-cream, but I did not see it on the dessert list! A young family was sitting in hearing distance from us. When I was trying to make myself clear to one of the waitresses who understood a handful of English, I saw a little boy looking through the lattice partition at me.
I heard him say, "What do you want?" in perfect English. That got my attention, because he was obviously Chinese.
Then he ran back to his parents. And his mother told me, "They don't have ice cream here."
From this family we found out that the only ice-cream they usually sell in China  is in packages in a freezer in little 7-11 type of stores. That was the year before the Olympics.So, may be it changed.
Banana Split -image is from transfairusa.org

So, the other day, in our weekly Skype conversation with our son teaching over there, he very excitedly told that a dairy queen had come to town. He lives in a university city, not too far from Shanghai, where there were 6 KFC's (Kentucky Fried Chicken), a Pizza Hut, several Mac Donalds, and one Starbucks at the airport.
The prices of the ice-cream were comparable to western standards, which is much higher than the Chinese, but he just wanted a good banana split! With tongue in cheek he told me that when he and his 3 other friends were waiting for their ice-cream, a few Chinese people came in. The reason was, that they saw foreigners standing in a store, so it must be good ! And it must be a  cool thing to eat!

Foreigners in this city are  treated like celebrities When we were there, we got waited on hand and foot, and we were stared at continuously! My first reaction was, oh, you're just exaggerating... to... no, it is actually true...to... I wish I could make myself invisible...to...being very cautious about where my belongings (since all foreigners are rich!) were at all times!
Glad to get back to the USA and blend in with the crowd!

30 comments:

Twain12 said...

nothing like a good banana split

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the information Jeannette - I have friends in the Netherlands, so I shall now send them an e mail wishing them a happy queen's day.

Clytie said...

I had no idea that Holland has a Queen. That's so cool to know!

Isn't it amazing how cultures are so different, and we each feel ours is the only one - until we see another.

Thank you for this experience!

Nora said...

I have very mixed feelings about the royal family. I like Beatrix as Queen, but I wonder what sort of King Willem-Alexander is going to make. He doesn't seem to have the right ingredients, although his wife is charming. He's not that bright, it seems.

jeannette said...

Twain,
Especially when you couldn't buy it anywhere before! :)

Weaver,
You're welcome, Friend! They may be out on the streets, celebrating:)

Clytie,
The interesting thing is that no matter how many cultures I've lived in, there is always a culture shock with a new one!

Irene,
Since I haven't known him as an adult, I can't say much about him. But that he choose Maxima as his wife says something about him:) I heard she's very popular.

Anya said...

Het is alweer voorbij hihihi....
Net het laatste gezien op TV.
Het was weer een hoeden parade :))
Maar Maxima was het mooiste vandaag.

Ik had ook al gedacht aan de gouden koets maar het ziet zo sprookjesachtig uit hahaha....

En Ja ze staan nog altijd te zwaaien de hele dag !!!!
Traditie Hoeden en zwaaien maar
hihi.....

Fijne dag
groetjes van ons
Kareltje =^.^=
Anya:)

VioletSky said...

I was living in Holland in 1980 and remember the day very well. It is a shock to realize it has been thirty years already.
I have to go lie down now.

p.s. a small note that sticks in my craw, QEII is Queen of GREAT BRITAIN and Northern Ireland,
NOT England.
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales feel so ignored.

jeannette said...

Anya,
So, I guess you stayed inside? Is it cold there now? Yeah, especially the queen comes up with some funky hats:)
What is the reason for Maxima's popularity? Have a great weekend!

Sanna,
Hope you are okay physically!

Yes, sorry, I meant ALL of the English monarchy, including Wales, Scotland, N.Ireland -but I'm going to change it in my post:)

VioletSky said...

I'm fine. just had a sudden flashback of my youthful days and how they are gone...
yes, I know you did.

A Lady's Life said...

I love her carriage Its a beaut!
Yes China is funny that way Iremember we took our son there and everyone wanted to touch his blond hair
They never felt anything like it so its a novelty for them.
Every one was extremely nice.

Catherine said...

Een fijne Koninginnedag gehad hopelijk Jeannette! I was reminded of it by Jany our lovely daughter-in-law (in waiting!)who finds no-one here in Ireland knows about it! We were there once for Koninginnedag - in Schouwen Duiveland - in 1986, a few days after Chernobyl blew up and all the sheep in Zeeland and the rest of Europe were contaminated but we didn't know it then. I wonder if our ice-cream cones were glowing! I have fond memories of it with the kids - we had 2 boys then - enjoying games on the street.
All the best, Catherine

ayamlin said...

the gold carriage reminds me Chinderella!
It looks very beuaituful!

Reader Wil said...

Nobody could have explained better what Queen's Day is. Since Beatrix is Queen the tradition of the whole family standing on the steps in front of the palace has changed. She visits two towns on QD together with the family. They join the celebrations of thge people in those towns. Only last year they were in Apeldoorn at Paleis Het Loo, in remembrance of the late Queen Juliana's one hundredth birthday. It was then that a young man crashed his car against the obilisk, killing 7 people. It was an act of desperation. He had lost his job and couldn't pay the rent of his house.

jeannette said...

Sanna,
So sorry your youth is gone:)But maturity is marked by wisdom -that's not a bad trade off, eh?

A Lady's Life,
I just could see them do that (feel your son's hair)! In some ways they are still far behind on the mainland. Were you there for the Olympics?

Catherine,
What a small world! I've never been on Schouwen Duiveland! but I spent my childhood and teen years on Walcheren (Arnemuiden and Middelburg) and Zuid Beveland (Goes). When you were there, I was already in the USA studying hard:)

Ayamlin,
The royal families of Great Brittain and the Netherlands are I believe the only ones who have a golden carriage. Leftovers of a wealthy past I suppose:)

Reader Wil,
Thank you for the info. Wil. After reading Anya's blog I realized that the royal families visits other cities instead. But by then people already had commented on my post. I think it was on your blog that I heard about the act of desperation. (Can you believe it, we are already blogging longer than a year!)

I have known the princes only as children and teens. What is it about Friso's wife that he had to abdicate from the throne?

Cezar and Léia said...

oh dear friend,
I'm always enchanted by your words, intelligent and sensitive words.
I was thinking about myself, I'm a kind of girl that grew up in a farm in Brazil and this is the first time that I'm living abroad, it's a huge experience and I hope to keep learning a lot about different cultures!
Hugs
and have a nice Sunday
Léia

Sumandebray said...

You have a great Blog.
I enjoyed reading through your experiences and was intrigued by the story of the Royalty.

It was nice to have you in my blog. Hope to see you again when you have time

Kerri said...

Very interesting! I did not know anything about Queen's Day!

Zuzana said...

Lovely post! I was watching the Dutch queen walking the streets yesterday on TV. As you know, Danes have a monarchy too, thus anything royal is always broadcasts on TV.;)
I LOVE Banana Split.;)
Have a lovely weekend,
xo

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jeannette: It is hard to think about a queen over here but travelling in Europe and seeing all the castles certainly brought it to mind.

jeannette said...

Leia,
Thank you Friend! It is certainly an adventure dealing with different cultures. isn't it? Why did you two decide on Luxembourg? Your job, or...?

Sumandebray,
Thank you for visiting my blog! I was mesmerized about the incredible high rise buildings in your country. Dubai is a republic, right?

Kerri,
Glad I could give you that info.! Many do not realize that there are several royal families is Europe, and that they still do (within limits) rule their country.

Zuzanna,
Oh yes, I forgot that the TV broadcasts it -here we hardly see anything on TV about what happens in Europe, unless it's a disaster!
I was thinking when is the Denmark queen's birthday?
In Holland Italian ice-cream is popular (little expensive compared to the USA:) )

Tom,
Yes, it's another world over there, isn't it? Did you notice that each country has its own political system?

dutchbaby said...

I went to a reception hosted by the Dutch consulate in San Francisco during last year's Koninginnedag. It was rather subdued because we had just received the horrible news of the violence during the parade in Holland. I'm glad everything went smoothly this year.

I think ice cream, or gelato, is my favorite food. I'm not sure I could live in a country that did not offer it.

midwesttomidlands said...

It is interesting learning about other cultures first hand. I didn't realize that Holland had a Queen. What I do wih is that we had a Dairy Queen in the UK!!

Ted Roth said...

I'm not sure I could stand a country without ice cream. I enjoyed your observations on royalty.

A Lady's Life said...

No That was way back when when China first opened up its doors to foreigners. It was truly an experience.

DawnTreader said...

Sweden is a monarchy too, and our crown princess is getting married this summer - to a "man of the people". Big affair... The media thrive on it... ;)

jeannette said...

Dutchbaby,
Do they have that every year at the consulate? Does one need an invitation, or can anyone who's Dutch go? Yes, several people told me about the sad news of last year.

As long as it's for a vacation -I manage without ice-cream LOL

Jane,
Always new things to learn when dealing with other cultures:) Denmark and Sweden also have a queen!

Ted
The USA is so spoiled with their choices in ice cream and yogurt...it would be hard to adjust without!

A Lady's Life,
Wow, that really must have been a culture shock then at that time!...


Monika,
Oh, yes, I remember the shock waves when princess Margriet wanted to marry a "commoner."
Will she have to abdicate from the throne?

dutchbaby said...

Yes, it is an annual event. I don't know who's invited. My mother got me the invitation. I'll let you know.

jeannette said...

Dutchbaby,
blogging is very educational among other things! I never knew that about the Dutch consulate until now:)

DawnTreader said...

No Jeannette, our crown princess Victoria will not have to abdicate her rights to the throne when she marries her Daniel. The marriage has been approved of and her husband will be made a Duke (the princess is also a Duchess). On the whole our royal family and not least the crown princess are rather popular, even though we also like to grunt about them a bit. I suspect a lot of people are like me: In some ways I find the monarchy outdated; but because of traditions, and ours being such a small country, at the same time I think it contributes to a kind of stability.

jeannette said...

Monika,
Just for closure: I'm glad she can marry AND be on the throne! Have to say, having lived with a president here for almost half of my life, I have to say that I like a monarch more. I don't feel any attachment to a president!