Now that it’s over…

Queen’s Day that is, I want have a short rant.

In the last year the city council has adopted a strategy aimed at changing the image of Amsterdam from coffee shops and red light district to something classier, conferences and culture. Research showed that most of the material out there about Amsterdam focused on the backpacker market which are typically travelling on the cheap. The city council realised that by moving up market a little, to conference goers and middle class visitors (I doubt the used the term, the probably used “professionals on holiday”). Since then they’ve put up the website “” and sponsored events. So far so good. In fact very good – finally there’s an official source of information about Amsterdam in English (and German, French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese).

But here’s my gripe, I saw this marking on the pavement a couple of days before Queen’s Day.

Using masking tape is the standard method to mark your selling spot. So I assumed that the good councillors had come up with some stall for Queen’s Day; selling I Amsterdam tshirts or throwing pies at images of the mayor perhaps. I looked forward to finding out on Queen’s Day.

But there was nothing – apparently this was advertising space for the city council. I really don’t get it. I doubt anyone in the Jordaan did not know that the 30 April was Queen’s Day, so the advertisement was wasted. And on the day they didn’t use the space!

I think this was a very lame attempt at guerilla advertising. It misses because it has hijacked an existing medium but with no purpose. Sorry Gemente, this is a fail.


Queen’s Day countdown

With less than a week to go everyone’s getting ready for Queen’s day. I saw huge supplies of beer in Albert Heijn yesterday, I suspect that because Queen’s Day falls on a Friday some people are planning to make a loooooonnnnnggggg weekend of it.

My plans? I’ve avoided it for the last two years but this year I’ll be here in Amsterdam. I’m planning to wander around the vrijemarkt (fleamarket) in the Jordaan and might make my way down to Vondelpark. The park is designated for children to set up stalls, which I think is a great idea from the city.

Incidentally it’s not necessary to come to Amsterdam for Queen’s Day anymore – the Dutch Embassy in the UK sponsors a Queen’s Day event in London. The only problem is, they had it last weekend.

There’s a detailed guide to events of the day on the I amsterdam site.

Countdown to Queen’s Day

The world’s biggest street party is only 8 weeks away!

Queen’s Day, Konninginnedag in Dutch, is on the 30 April. On that day Amsterdam becomes a big free market – with everyone selling their old stuff on the street.

Happy Queen’s Day

I’ve escaped the madness, gone to Paris, back Sunday.

Happy Queen’s Day.

Queensday Tomorrow

Queens Day Tshirt

Queen's Day Tshirt

I hope you’ve already got all the orange attire you’ll need for tomorrow. These tshirts were on sale in the weekend on Rokin.

Queens day crowns, you can be queen for a day

Queen's day crowns, you can be queen for a day

There was also a selection of stylish crowns.

Queensday Controversy

April 30 is Queensday in the Netherlands, it’s the biggest national holiday. The city council website has a Queensday section with information about events, rules and maps showing the walking route. It’s all in Dutch which is strange since it’s in contrast with the stated goal from the council funded “I Amsterdam” campaign of attracting foreigners to the city for Queensday.

But that campaign isn’t going so well either. The posters created feature world leaders enjoying Queensday, or rather worldleaders photoshopped into the posters as if they are enjoying Queensday. There are three posters, one features Obama and Putin walking hand-in-hand wearing tshirts saying “Kiss me I’m drunk”, the second features Hilary Clinton in an orange bikini and orange afro wig, and the third features Berlusconi and Sarkozy wearing big smiles and orange feather boas.

picture-19Apparently the French Embassy complained. I’m not sure if the problem was the proximity with Berlusconi or the feather boa. And the Obama Putin poster was thought to be over the top, particularly as Putin is a teetotally, and was withdrawn at the last minute.

Images of the posters have been removed from the I Amsterdam website, and although I saw some up on Friday they may have been removed over the weekend.

However you can still see them on flickr, along with another photoshopped image, Queen Beatrix enjoying July 4 celebrations.

Queen’s Day is….

Selling stuff

Children earning money, creatively

Outdoor Bars

Crowds (not helped by some muffin-brain trying to drive his car over this bridge)