King’s Day 2018 in Groningen, The Netherlands, on 27 April 2018 – the 5th edition since Willem-Alexander became King of the Netherlands – ended at the Vismarkt. In 2004 the royals took the opposite direction: they startet at the Vismarkt and ended at the Grote Markt. Good that there was another route this time, with a different program. No old traditional games, but innovation, earthquakes, youth, sports.
The waiting for the people at the Vismarkt was long. Several royalty-watchers I know stood at the front near the stage for hours. But it was worth the waiting looking at all their pictures on Facebook. On the screens one could see where the royals were. At the moment I arrived they were at the Broerplein, in front of the Academy Building of the University of Groningen, where noble prize winner Professor Ben Feringa appeared with several students. But finally we saw the first royals walking around the corner. The King and Queen posed with their daughters Amalia, Alexia and Ariane, but unfortunately some people with mobile phones spoilt my view. Even when the press stand was higher, so I overlooked the really huge crowd. The Vismarkt was full at the time the royals arrived and had been closed for any other people.
At first the royals lined up in front of the stage, hardly visible even from the press stand. On stage three singers performed a song about Groningen, accompanied by the Northpole Orchester. But then finally the royals were invited to go on stage. There was a short speech by the mayor, Peter den Oudsten, and one by King Willem-Alexander, thanking everyone for the great day. The national anthem was played, although to be honest in the beginning I thought they played “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, instead of the Wilhelmus, although both songs should sound totally different.
In the end Willem-Alexander, who had turned 51 this day, got his birthday song, and there were – like at the start of the day – some white and green garlands (not even sure how these things are called in Dutch) coming from the air. And then the visit had come to an end, and the royals left Groningen. Soon also people disappeared. I was home by 2.10pm, the walk home was about 20 minutes, as soon as I had managed to pass the crowds in the nearby streets. However the party went on until late in the evening with lots more music.
More photos by me can be found at: King’s Day 2018 Groningen
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