On March 27th the Dutch celebrate, the King’s birthday, as their national day.
It is not unusual that a nation celebrates the birthday of their crowned head – but to make it their national day; that is seldom!
Well, if you dig a bit into the story; it wasn’t really about celebrating the king, it was more about using a royal birthday to strengthen the government at that time (see Japan). This is how the story goes:
In 1895 the government wanted to strengthen the unity of the country and the Dutch national feeling – the Netherlands we know today up through history were not one unit; and it went through long wars (80 years with Spain) to gain their independence – hence the government thought it a good idea to declare a national day to bring the Dutch together. The king at that time was not particular popular; the choice fell on the birthday of his daughter of 5 years. Her birthday was declared the national day.
The present king, Wilhelm Alexander, was born on March 27th. There you are!
A few facts
The Netherlands are a wealthy North European country; 17 million inhabitants. Dutch are traditionally liberal, and their political system is pretty close to the Scandinavian thinking.
The country is a very flat country, well-known for a lot of bicycles, and green house vegetables.
Dutchmen were up through the history hard working people (Calvinist / Protestant work ethic) and talented traders. They had in the 14 – 16th centuries a global presence which went far beyond what a country of that size would normally have had – hard work!
The world’s first financial bubble took place in the Netherlands in 1630 -37; speculation in tulip bulbs. In 1637 the bubble burst – since a couple of weeks we are again in the midst of a new burst.
Once the world gets normal again; the Netherlands are absolutely worth a visit!