Hundreds of thousands of people in the Netherlands marked the Queen's Day holiday Saturday, this year coinciding with the 25-year jubilee of the reign of the country's popular Queen Beatrix.
The queen received a stained-glass window as a gift from her people
Along Amsterdam's legendary canals, boats were painted and decorated in the country's national color, a tribute to the House of Orange, the family name of Dutch royalty. On the streets, people picked up on the festive mood, sporting inflatable crowns for the royal holiday, and donning feathered scarves or wearing fishnet stockings, all in orange.
"If the sun comes out, we will eventually exceed the number of people last year," said a police spokesman, who declined to estimate this year's crowd. The queen's holiday in 2004 drew about 610,000 people to Amsterdam.
And following tradition, the city was transformed into one big, orange-hued, open-air market, as the Dutch usually sell their superfluous household goods on Queen's Day.
Good marks from her people
Dutch Queen Beatrix and her husband Prince Claus at the 'Nieuwe Kerk' in Amsterdam during her enthronement on April 30, 1980
On this year's silver jubilee, Queen Beatrix found herself enormously popular with her fellow countrymen. A poll published last week showed that 92 percent of the Dutch people are satisfied with their 67-year-old queen. They approve of the role she plays above party politics believing it reinforces national unity, especially following the tensions that flared in different ethnic communities in the Netherlands after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh last November by a suspected Islamist militant.
After attending a concert to celebrate her reign on Friday, the queen and her family were the guests of honor Saturday at a special session of the Dutch parliament in The Hague. All the lawmakers were accompanied by a young man or woman born in 1980, the year Queen Beatrix came to the throne.
On Friday, more than 350,000 in Utrecht and another 200,000 in The Hague took part in jubilee celebrations in those cities.
Queen's Day is traditionally celebrated on the birthday of the monarch, which was April 30 for Beatrix's mother, the late queen Juliana. Beatrix was crowned on that day and decided it would stay as the holiday, even though she herself was born in January.
In a rare television interview aired on Thursday, Beatrix spoke openly about the loneliness of a monarch. "You always have to be available: there is nobody who can take over from you once in a while," she said. She also made it clear she was not planning to abdicate any time soon. Instead, she wants to give Crown Prince Willem Alexander, 38, "time to build up his family" before becoming king.