April 05, 2004
Dutch Independence Day!

So, now that I'm working in The Netherlands, it's hard to avoid their local traditions. Especially when I live inside the walls of the actual fortress that was attacked in 1572, starting the Dutch Revolution, which lead to their independence from Spain.

Every year, on April 1st, they re-enact the storming of the fort. It's pretty cool with everyone dressing the part and acting out the battle (minus the actual blood and guts, of course). And what a great reason to take the afternoon off and hit EVERY bar in the fort. Yep, all 15 of them. The festivities for us started around 2pm, as we watched the re-enactment of the storming of the fort. A large medieval warship supposedly smashed down the main entrance (a canal leads to the main gate) to the fort using it's mast as a battering ram. The Spanish defenders pretty much fled at that point. There were loudspeakers all over the area, so spectators could follow along with the story telling. Well, only if you understood Dutch (blah, blah, blah...).

And then came the carnival rides and games, and the bar crawl. This little town called Brielle (pronounced "bree'-leh") went from about 1,000 to 10,000 for the festivities. What a party!

Check out our progress that night, from bar to bar, in my photo album. Luckily, the entire city can be covered by walking. Besides, with all the people, there was no way anyone could drive anyway. It wasn't quite the same as the running of the bulls in Pamplona, but still a fun day.


Posted by mbang at 05:52 AM