Free markets flourish as the Dutch celebrate the Queen's Day
Queen's Day is celebrated on April 30 in the Netherlands. National holiday marks the birthday of the previous Queen Juliana. It is the only day in a year when a permit is not required to sell on the streets, creating large open-air markets.
While the Queen's Day, or Koninginnedag, is a national holiday, the wide public celebrates it mostly by participating in large open-air flea markets. April 30th is by custom the only day of the year when not only no permit is required to sell on the streets, but also no sales tax applies, and the Dutch eagerly take out to the streets.
"Free markets", as they came to be known, are set up in most Dutch cities. All kinds of goods are put on sale, but, as one Dutchman explains, what matters is less an actual profit-making, but rather an opportunity to socialise and spend a enjoyable day out.
By custom, the Queen's Day's free markets are also an opportunity for children to earn additional pocket money. They sell old toys or clothes, often of their own initiative.
April 30th is the birthday of previous Queen, late Queen Juliana. Her daughter, the reigning Queen Beatrix, decided to keep the holiday on April 30th as a tribute to her deceased mother and also in recognition of Juliana's popularity with the Dutch.
The Queen's Day is also a traditional day for partying, with open-air concerts, most notably in Amsterdam, and for official celebration involving politicians, veterans and local cultural organisation, such as the notorious south-Dutch brass bands.