The island is white, but the day is orange. Wishing all of our Dutch friends and readers a great Koningsdag Sunday 26th & Monday 27th April.

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Koningsdag..  Kingsday..

Koningsdag Celebrations Around Ibiza

pio-780-copyOn the East coast Cala Llonga has two parties – one at each end of the village and on different days. The first will be held by Vicki and Appy at ‘Bar Pio’ on Sunday 26th April and will feature the Dutch guitarist Albert Aznavour for a sing-along between 6 & 8 pm.

In San Antonio our featured venue on the opposite page, Tulp, have solved the Sunday or Monday dilemma by deciding to hold a 2 day party on both Sunday 26th and Monday 27th April.  Complimentary Orange Cava and Dutch snacks will be served and they will have their DJ’s playing into the night.

All of the remaining celebrations are on Monday 27th April, Koningsdag itself.

The second Cala Llonga party takes place at the lovely Sigrid and Renate’s ‘Baron (…esas)’, from 2 pm till close of play – which will presumably be more or less when the last person leaves… For those who don’t yet know, ‘Baron’ is in the area unofficially known as the Dutch Corner at the bottom of the long straight down which you enter the village. This party will feature ‘Timothy’ performing Dutch favourites, although we’re a bit sketchy about how often or when we’ll get chance to sing? Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of time to dig out your songbook of Dutch favourites and get in a little practice, as the British often struggle with Dutch vowels.

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Elsewhere on the island, in Figueretes the main party area would appear to be the Calle Formentera, Asturias and the beachfront itself. Krimo at Café de Hoeck confirms that he has all of his party plans in hand including Dutch tapas between 8 & 10 pm. Just a short walk down the road they’re all prepared at ‘Mari Playa 2’ too. The third Dutch bar within convenient distance is the speciality tapas bar ‘Home Loos’ at C/. Asturias 2. Julian there assured us that there would most certainly be a party, and thanked us for reminding him about King’s Day – he’d completely forgotten about it!

Reading between the lines, it sounds as if they’re planning one almighty pub crawl in that area on the night, as no-one seems to be able to remember much about last year’s. However, you should have a good time as long as you remember to keep turning left (or right) on leaving one establishment for another – and stick to that plan for the whole night…

Rough Guide to Koningsdag.

For the benefit of those Non-Dutch readers who want to join in the party we provide this guide to the key things you need to know about Koningsdag.
Monday April 27th is a national holiday in the kingdom of the Netherlands, and we all know that Ibiza and its residents like the occasional day off for a fiesta. It won’t be an official ‘national holiday’ on Ibiza, but when was the last time a minor detail like that was allowed to stop any excuse to party?

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Unfortunately, Monday is not generally a great day to let your hair down, so some have decided to hold their festivities a day earlier, but it has never been fixed as with St Patrick’s or St George’s Day – the Dutch have had a habit of changing it to suit, whenever the mood has taken them – so flexibility is the order of the day (or days).

The first celebration was held in 1885 when, upon the 5th birthday of the unpopular King William III’s infant daughter, a crafty civil servant came up with the bright idea of parading the beaming and wildly waving little princess through the streets to popularise the monarchy – and it worked!

Activities for children were organised throughout the kingdom for the celebration of the infant Princess Wilhelmina’s birthday on August 31st each year, which coincided with the last day of the summer holidays, as the positive effects spread nationally. When Wilhelmina acceded to the throne the annual party was ‘officially’ named Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag).

Not one to miss a trick her daughter, Juliana, spotted an opportunity when she took over the throne and moved the party date to her birthday (April 30th), thus creating an extra national holiday at a stroke – a very popular move, especially with the young!

Juliana’s daughter, Beatrix, marked her own card as a popular and much loved queen by ‘not’ moving Queen’s Day to her own birthday. This falls on January 31st, which would have been far too intemperate for the outdoor activities associated with this splendid Dutch party.

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But there has been a recent twist with Queen Beatrix’s abdication on Koninginnedag 2013. Her son, now King Willem-Alexander, took over the throne, changed the name of the party to Koningsdad and moved it to his birthday – April 27th!

It has to be said that the people of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have responded well to this constant indecision and taken the Ibizan path of extending the party to cover the whole weekend, just to be sure…

What to expect.

King’s Day has historically been about children and outdoor activities, but since we’re on Ibiza and all of the above party venues are bars, plus the kids have to go to school in the morning, we’re predicting that, in addition to more orange balloons than you can shake a stick at, large quantities of bittebollen, Frikandellen, (see Tulp review opposite) orange pastries and a curious orange liqueur known as ‘Bitter’ will be consumed. To go native you need to follow the Dutch tradition of kissing three times, not two as in Spain, and insist upon 2 fingers of head on your beer, but if your Anglo-heritage finds that a sacrilegious waste of beer space you could try  asking “mag ik het zonder schuim alsjeblieft”, which means “may I have it without the foam, please”. Good luck with that


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Review Tulp.. Tulip.. Tulipan ..

  • Nick Gibbs

tulp-779-copyMy own fondness for Dutch food was developed way back in the days of school trips and the rather odd concept by today’s standards of the ’booze cruise’ on which families would endure the worst of the North Sea on rolling boats to gain the duty free advantages on Alcohol and Tobacco bestowed upon our European neighbours. Though sometimes a lux version would include a longer stay and venturing inland, quite often the procedure was to disembark, follow our Dads around the closest ’fag n ale’ superstore listening to gasps of awe as to how much more cheaply the worst habit in the history of the world could be maintained, and then an hour or so on a bleak and windswept seafront, the booze cruise season being very much when nobody else in their right mind would cross the North sea. In it’s bleak greyness the seafronts resembled those along the corresponding stretch of coast across the water, but the ports and resorts of Belgium and Holland had something different, something supremely exotic. They had sauce.

Of course we had sauce, a red one and a brown one, each with their function in life, but I remember walking into the first Dutch/Belgian take-away where they had shelf after shelf, row after row of every sauce you could imagine. Actually more than I could imagine because I hadn’t imagined anything other than red or brown existed or needed to exist. I can’t remember what I had and doubt I’d have had a way of knowing, so perhaps the man selling chips just squirted a big dollop of suitable for foreigners on my chips. Did I mention that – every bottle had a big jar top pump dispenser – and there we were slapping the flat ends of glass bottles like Neanderthals. I decided there and then that clearly these people knew what they were doing on the food front, and it stuck.

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Perhaps the best known Dutch snack/taps/take-away foods are the Bitterballen and Frikandel. They are to Holland what fish and chips is to Britain, the difference being they still sell and eat theirs.  Tulp will prepare a mixed platter of tapas (plenty of other options aside from the Dutch specialities – their pot of prawns are renowned) and it is a great option for sharing as the prelude to a big night out. Today was about the Dutch specials including Bitterballen, a deep fried ball of chopped beef, parsley and spices rolled in egg and breadcrumb coating, and everyone’s favourite sausage patty Frikandel, and I do mean everyone. We have taken various friends and families to Tulp over the years and everybody likes it. It is like sausage but somehow friendlier, easier. It even comes in its own house to stop any risk of plate roll, being compliantly delicious with every easy-cut slice. My advice is to go Dutch as typically Tulp will serve Frikandel to English speakers plain as it comes. Probably too many instances of confusion and disbelief when serving it the Dutch way, with fresh chopped onions and a tangy relish-cum-sauce. “What’s this stuff mate, its like sauce, but it’s not red and it’s not brown, what the hell is it?”. What it is, I am happy to volunteer, is very, very, good. If Frikandel is every man’s friend then another of their specials, the pickled whole herring is much more the acquired taste to us Brits. I really like it with a beer, great pub snack, but only when you see Tulp owner and all round good guy Paul Hopman throw his neck back and consume one with the style and love of a performing seal, do you realise what a staple they are in the Dutch food repertoire.

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All the Dutch snacks have the common thread of being ’light’, hence the perfect party starter food comment, but this thread doesn’t stop at Tapas. Nasi goring is to the Dutch what Madras is to the English, but whereas a big curry can leave you feeling heavy and sluggish, The Nasi Goreng packs the same punch, the same richness of flavours, but in a much less artery clogging way. And it comes with a fried egg on top  which I like in its randomness. Literally meaning ’fried rice’ nasi goring comes in many varieties—Tulp’s with some delicious skewered satay, lemongrass, egg and a huge cracker—but it is in the rice there is the ’knack’.

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My bad, I cannot at time of writing find my note of the name of the Pork in Pitta bread dish. For me it is a perfect football lunch – big game on the telly, in the sunshine, pint, pork-pitta-chips-salsa combo (I’ll call it that), what could be better? Actually not having the match on the box. Though they wheel one out for big occasions Tulp is a bar that does not have a TV. Nor do they have P.R’s, and though it is one of the most relaxed and easy going bars I know, they actually maintain a limited dress code – just that blokes can’t be bare chested at night – pretty astute as this usually equates to having been on the lash all day, and without a bouncer in sight I have never seen them have a spot of trouble.

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All of these things go to make up the best thing about Tulp, and that is it’s ambience.   It is relaxed but stylish, cool without trying too hard, it has the high tables, typical of a Dutch bar that encourage communication instead of TV gawking, it has an interesting but unpretentious menu, it has every type of seating possible from hammock to sofa to dining to oil drums. All of these quirks come together to make it a special place, one of that limited number of places that you have a certain mood for.

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Of course Tulp does have a good following in the Dutch community and I have met many new faces there. Though dangerous to ever generalise about nationalities, as this is a King’s Day feature I will say that in my experience the Dutch as a people seem far more engaging than many others. Often when meeting new people you find they are solely interested in pursuing their own agenda, talking about themselves. Dutch people see more inclined, as a rule, to engage in mutual conversation. A dialogue feels genuine more often than superficial. Well, it’s a better stereotype than lager lout.

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Find Tulp on the San Antonio Promenade, see Ad for Details. Did I mention they have a direct view of the best sunset in the world?

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  • Top Tulps; Diana, who loves photography, and Paul, who loves being photographed 🙂

 

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