DutchAmsterdam.nl — French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a well-meant embrace with Italy’s president Silvio Berlusconi. Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin walking side by side, both wearing T-shirts saying, “Kiss me, I’m drunk.” Or Hillary Clinton with a well-filled bikini and wearing an orange wig.
That’s the new poster campaign with which Amsterdam Partners, charged with promoting the Capital of the Netherlands, hopes to inspire more foreigners to visit the city for this year’s Queen’s Day celebration.
[Update: One poster withdrawn]
Best Party in the World
Queen’s Day — billed as the Best Party in the World — is an annual event celebrated throughout the Netherlands. Originally designed to celebrate the April 30 birthday of the late Queen Juliana, her daughter — Queen Beatrix — opted to keep the national holiday on that day as Dutch weather on her own birthday, January 31, tends to prohibit outdoor festivities.
Queen’s Day may well be the world’s biggest street party, as Amsterdam’s 750.000 citizens are joined by up to one million visitors from across the country and abroad.
Revellers are attracted to anything from Queen’s night parties the night before to the city-wide so-called ‘free market’ — during which locals take to the streets to sell anything and everything imaginable, and then some. Others comes for outdoor music concerts with big name artists and popular DJs. Still others take to the water, where thousands of boats in various sizes — many, if not most, carrying lots of people dancing and swinging to the music blaring from powerful sound systems — show that gridlock can be lots of fun.
There is nothing quite like Queen’s Day anywhere in the world, a fact that in recent years has been discovered by increasing numbers of foreigners
It’s all too much for some Amsterdammers, hundreds of which escape the year’s largest crowds by taking refuge in nature preserves, small villages, or even abroad.
Small wonder. The all-day party, with many festivities starting the night before, with good weather brings out wall-to-wall crowds. Music is everywhere: from impromptu but professional jazz bands to an opera singer whose laptop dog ‘sings’ along; and from the sound systems at cafes and on-board boats, to a number of batucada bands.
Tourists are often flabbergasted at overwhelming presence of the color orange: t-shirts, wigs, bikinis, balloons, beer… you name it, and you’ll see an orange version of it. Orange, after all, is Holland’s national color — after the House of Orange-Nassau, a branch of the European House of Nassau, which has played a central role in the political life of the Netherlands since William I of Orange (also known as “William the Silent” and “Father of the Fatherland”) organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years War (1568 – 1648) led to an independent Dutch state.
The Dutch are fiercely loyal to — and protective of — their Royal House.
World Leaders Welcome
Whether the world leaders whose pictures were photoshopped into Amsterdam’s Queen’s Day promotional posters will be equally proud to be pictured wearing orange remains to be seen.
The three posters will be seen at public transport stops and other advertising venues, including 160.000 ‘Boomerang’ postcards — available for free at cafes throughout the city.
“We want to show that we are proud of Queen’s Day,” Geerte Udo of Amsterdam Partners tells Amsterdam daily Het Parool. “We think everyone should come, world leaders included.”
When confronted with the posters, a spokesperson for the Italian embassy told the paper it had not been approached about the matter. His colleague at the French embassy said, “At this time no permission can be given for use of this photo composition.” The spokesperson made it clear that no permission would be forthcoming until at least some time next week.
Campaign designer Karel Beyen, of marketing firm Beyenmeyer says there shouldn’t be any problem with his use of the photographs since his company purchased usage rights for all of the pictures. He hopes the world leaders won’t take the posters too seriously.
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