Amsterdam Starts Decorating

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Shopkeepers and cafe owners in the inner city of Amsterdam can pull out their orange and red, white and blue flags, banners and balloons beginning Tuesday. From April 23 till May 1, entrepreneurs may decorate the facades and streets for the inauguration on April 30.

Almost anything is allowed in the shopping areas, according to Christine Govaert, office manager of Amsterdam City, the business association of downtown Amsterdam. “The same rules apply now like the rules for decoration at Christmas. As long as decorations are in red-white-blue or orange then it is OK. The decorations may not contain advertising.”

At the same time, the municipality and the promotional organization Amsterdam Marketing have decorated most places in orange. Next week they will start putting up flags, tarpaulins and banners on the Dam Square, the Rokin and the IJ. The newly designed decorations include the initials W-A of the new king. Also, the Beurs van Berlage, the former Shell tower in Amsterdam-Noord and the Amsterdam Central Station will be decorated in orange.

The Kalverstraat will be decorated next week with 48 lines with flags, but not with the inauguration flags of the municipality. “We had to pay 6000 euro", says shopping manager Annemarie van Lieshout. "We have now ordered them elsewhere for 700 euro.”

As in previous years, many shops are closed on April 30. “Shops need that day to have extra security, leading to additional costs," explains Govaert of Amsterdam City. “The one often does not outweigh the other.”

The Kalverstraat remains closed. Van Lieshout says, “People are drunk but friendly. Sometimes people become unfriendly. The police have already announced that problems in stores on April 30 have low priority.”