Saturday, August 30, 2014

200 years a Dutch nation

WP_20140830_002 (1300x734)The Netherlands celebrates its 200 year anniversary in Maastricht today.  It feels a bit strange to say that: so many of the stories of the Golden Age (and a lot of the city-core buildings) are much older.  But the Kingdom as it currently exists started with independence from the French at the Prince of Orange’s return in November 1813 and his investiture in September 1815. 

We’re in the middle of a 2-year celebration of that founding, and the Royals are visiting Maastricht for a day of celebration. The Dutch King and Queen are being joined by Belgian and Luxemburg royals (the Kingdom was all one country uniting the Netherlands and Belgium 200 years ago) and the Federal President of Germany.

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Plans begin this afternoon with a musical fashion show, “Everything Flows”, in the Markt Square in front of City Hall.  A lecture on Dutch foreign policy follows (lending some balance?), leading to a lavish dinner and musical theater on the Vrijthof this evening.

‘No sign of favorite son Andre Rieu on the agenda.  But Pruvenemint, the annual food fair, is also filling the Vrijthof this weekend (and the royals are dropping in for a full ten minutes to sample the food), so it will be a busy evening in the city center.

The military has set up a staging area outside my apartment along Kesselskade, communications trucks and tents, armored vehicles alongside police and emergency responders. 

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They all compete for space and attention with the cafes, spilling tables out across the street and along the river, drawing crowds that security folks would hold at arms length.  A warm rain drizzles over the entire assemblage, huddled beneath tarps and umbrellas and eying one another across the glistening street.

DSC08178 (975x1300)I was up early to wander the venues, looking for a pastry and a coffee and a good seat.

It’s been an uncharacteristic month away from these pages, I know.  But I needed a vacation to focus on various bits of life that needed attention and to recharge my thoughts.

Thanks to those of you checking in to see what was up.  Business and life are going well: no major issues to report.  I’m looking forward to sharing stories, photos, ideas (and the occasional biertje) with you all once again.

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