On 30 April each year, The Netherlands celebrates Queen's Day, or Koninginnedag to give it its formal Dutch label.
Queen's Day is ostensibly about celebrating the birthday of Queen Beatrix. Indeed, the monarch spends the day visiting towns throughout the country as part of the celebrations. This year, 2005, is a special one as it marks the 25th year of Queen Beatrix' accession to the Dutch throne as head of the House of Orange-Nassau.
These days, Queen's Day is more about having a lot of fun, especially in Amsterdam. There are street parties everywhere, with thousands of people setting out stalls in every neighbourhood to sell literally anything. It's just an enormous flea market as throughout the city, shops are closed as the pavements are filled with display after display of... whatever!
Bars do a roaring trade, as you'd expect, especially in the city center as does anyone connected with the hospitality industry. This year, there are reports that almost every hotel room in Amsterdam was fully booked in anticipation of the celebrations and parties.