National toast on King's Day, even though lockdown is over
The Oranjebond, a group of associations for royal festivities in the Netherlands, will organize another national toast on King's Day this year, even though the King himself will not be participating. The Oranjebond is focused on maintaining "a new tradition.”
The national toast was first organized in 2020 as a way to come together during the pandemic. At the time, King's Day changed into stay-at-home-day, because events could not continue as normal. This meant that the national celebration was also canceled. King Willem-Alexander raised a glass from Huis ten Bosch Palace and thanked everyone who kept the country running during the coronavirus crisis. Last year, King's Day also ended with a national toast.
The Oranjebond was told that 2021 would be the last year the King would make a toast. Despite his absence, the associations want to make a toast at 4 p.m. this year as well. "Let's use that moment to toast to the health of our King and each other and thus frame this festive day," says Gouda mayor and Oranjebond chairman Pieter Verhoeve. The Netherlands "has a sense of togetherness" during King's Day, according to him.
The Oranjebond also received questions about whether the Ukrainian flag may also be hoisted on Wednesday in solidarity with Ukrainians. "Of course, this is allowed in a free country," says Verhoeve. "King's Day is a national holiday. However, we can well imagine that people want to shape their connection with Ukrainians, for example by purchasing sunflowers for their home."
The Oranjebond also calls on people to send in photos of King's Day and Night or to share them via social media under the hashtag #kleingeluk, which translates to "little happiness." A jury chaired by royalty photographer Patrick van Katwijk will choose a winner from the photos.
This year's national celebration is all about freedom and solidarity and will take place in Maastricht, where King Willem-Alexander and his family were supposed to go in 2020. Last year the family was in Eindhoven, without an audience.
Reporting by ANP