Chapter 5: Charlotte´s introduction to dutch culture
On the 27th of April, the dutch people celebrate King’s Day (Koningsdag). The day marks the birthday of current King Willem-Alexander and it is usually celebrated by partying, playing certain games, going to concerts and most importantly, wearing orange. Tom, a dutch volunteer, invited us to join. Inconveniently, the 27th of April also marks the Slovenian ´Day of uprising against Occupation´, where Slovenians celebrate the formation of the liberation front against the annexation by the axis forces. So safe to say, we had to choose between celebrating two very different holidays. I am a bit ashamed to say that we chose to wear orange that day. But that’s easier said than done because finding orange clothing outside the Netherlands proved difficult. Ilse and I eventually gave up and switched to wearing blue, white and red, resembling the dutch flag. So with our costumes and supply of Heineken, we made our way to Skofja Loka.
Tom had prepared a few traditional dutch games and decorated the “venture” with dutch flags, memes and orange. I am kind of traumatised by that colour now, not gonna lie. We were even able to borrow some orange clothing. I have no idea how long it took them to collect that amount of orange clothing and I don’t think that I want to know.
We had a fun day filled with games and soggy fries (please, dutchies, leave the fry-making to your Belgian friends) and it was fun to learn about dutch traditions. I think that is one of my favourite parts about the ESC experience: the fact that you learn about many different european cultures and not just about the country you´re living in.
Sadly, we couldn’t stay until the evening because I (Charlotte) wanted to go home to Germany over the weekend as travel corridors opened, but I booked my plane on the wrong day (I don´t know either how that can happen) so we had to rush home.
So while I spent a relaxing weekend with my family, eating German bread and realizing how much I didn’t miss German weather, Ilse´s family came to visit us in Slovenia. Basically, I enjoyed a weekend of mum-service while Ilse was frantically cleaning our apartment to prove that we´re responsible adults. After I came back to Slovenia, I spent the day in Ljubljana with Ilse and her family before our everyday life in Lucija started again.
The last dutch event was the European Song Contest, which was held in the Netherlands this year. Since Slovenia relaxed the rules on gatherings, we were able to have an ESC party with other volunteers. Even though Germany and the Netherlands did really badly (Germany got a stunning total of 3 points!) it was a good party and a fun experience to watch it with people from so many different countries.