Forget blue, what about Carolina oranje?

The Netherlands has had queens for more than a century

The Netherlands has had queens for more than a century

While the Dutch celebrate Queen’s Day in the Netherlands on April 30, here in the middle of North Carolina the Dutchies celebrate it when they have a nearby available weekend.

Here what it’s called in Dutch: Koninginnedag. I have yet to master that pronunciation. Want to give it a try after listening to this lesson?

Diane and Queen Beatrix go head to head at Dehullu sculpture park in Gees

Diane and Queen Beatrix go head to head at Dehullu sculpture park in Gees

We don’t have anything in the US to compare to Queen’s Day. It’s a day that the royal family, who represent the “House of Orange,” which is a family line and not an “oranje huis,” or house painted orange, come out and play with the common folks. (Sadly this year’s festivities were marred by a loony-toon who drove into a crowd in the city of Apeldoorn, killing seven people and himself.) The whole country parties, but Amsterdam really goes wild.

Though the Royals once took an important leadership role in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, they now are largely symbolic though still admired. Queen Beatrix especially still plays an important part in uniting the country in times of turmoil. And of course the royals keep the paparazzi and gossip rags busy.

Orange was the dominant color during celebrations of De Wieken

Orange dominated De Wieken feest

So every year, no doubt in Dutch clubs around the world, expatriates gather to celebrate their homeland. On Saturday, Wessel and about 40 others from De Wieken (wings of the windmill) Club gathered in Raleigh in their finest orange to dine atop orange tablecloths, and wave the Dutch flag, which in fact is red, white, and blue. They played Dutch trivia (Wessel’s team won!) and then sjoelen (pronounced SHOE-len), a century-plus-old shuffle-board type game.

Special cake to celebrate Queen's Day

Special cake to celebrate Queen's Day

Next on De Wieken’s list is our favorite event, the yearly rijsttafel, featuring Indonesian dishes that the Dutch first started eating after they invaded and colonized the archipelago in the 1600s. Regular readers will recall that Wessel won top prize for his “hete eieren,” or hot eggs. What will he cook up this year? He’s not even telling the royals.

Lang leve de koningin! Hoera! Hoera! Hoera!

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5 Responses to “Forget blue, what about Carolina oranje?”

  1. John Burns Says:

    So, Diane. Holland/Netherlands — you explained that. Why then are the people in Holland, or the rest of the Netherlands, referred to as, “Dutch”?

    Confusion with the “Deutsch” across the border like our Amish citizens in Pennsylvania?

    Or something a little more exciting?

  2. ton schoenmakers Says:

    There is a simple explanation for that.
    People from Poland are called Poles, but when they wanted to apply this “algorithm” to People from Holland, they opted for “Dutch” :)

  3. Wessel Kok Says:


    I agree it’s very confusing. Even George from Seinfeld couldn’t figure it out. Listen to this sound clip from the Seinfeld episode on Sept 25, 1997:

    [audio src="" /]

  4. John Burns Says:

    If I remember correctly (and it was very long ago) my German instructor at UNC-CH made the comment that the Dutch language was, essentially, a low-German dialect. So does the term, “dutch” better represent the pronunciation of the word, “deutsch”, in the language of the Nederlanders?

    At the time the instructor told me this he was trying to drum up some business for a course in Icelandic, another German dialect.

  5. karel Says:

    Funny this explanation and discussion. But I call myself Nederlands. I can understand that the word Nederlands is difficullt to say in many other countries and that Dutch is more easy.

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