Queen’s Day fun in Amsterdam

Today is Queen’s Day in The Netherlands (Koninginnedag in Dutch), the day that celebrates the birthday of Queen Juliana, the current Queen’s mother.

As this day falls on a Sunday, the day of celebrations – flea markets and street parties everywhere – took place yesterday, the 29th. As has been the case in previous years, my wife Laura and I were out and about in Amsterdam with a group of friends enjoying the sights, sounds and atmosphere.

I took some 80 or so photos, all of which you can see in this Flickr set. Lots of other people took photos and there are some really great pics of the day and of the Friday evening when “Koninginnedag” really starts. Look under the Flickr tags: koninginnedag and amsterdam.

Weather-wise, it wasn’t a terribly good day to spend five hours wandering around, enjoyable though the day was. Pretty cold with a biting north-east wind keeping the temperature down in the low teens centigrade. But that didn’t put off the hundreds of thousands of people crowding Amsterdam in the areas we were in yesterday.

The flea markets at this year’s Queen’s Day had very tight control by the city authorities and police than I’ve seen in previous years. In our neighbourhood in the Oud-Zuid district, for instance, there was a ban on stands and display areas on both sides of most roads (one side only).

At one bar we stopped at, we noticed two fire brigade officials walking around inspecting the condition of the various open cooking stands. When you bought beer (Heineken only) in the many bars and drink stands in the city center, you got it in a plastic glass, as has always been the case. This year, the plastic glasses were prominently labelled by the Green Cup Foundation and the price you paid for your beer included a €1 deposit for the glass which you got back if you returned the glass. That would definitely help the litter problem and aid recycling objectives.

In all, we had a terrific day.

I did a little experiment last night – recorded a short audio-visual account of our day using Photo Story 3, the free Windows app from Microsoft that lets you make a story out of photographs.

Very simple, both the final video that the app produced as well as the process to do it. It illustrates that you can easily produce a story from static images, great for anyone who doesn’t have a video camera.

In all, it took about 15 minutes to do. Well, 30, as I did it twice. In the first one, I noticed that the audio was clipped at every photo transition. So in the second and final recording, I paused during the transitions which solved that problem.

As this blog is WordPress and it has the Podpress plugin, the other part of my little experiment is to make that video work directly in the blog with Podpress. It’s extremely easy to do. And note – Podpress isn’t only for audio (podcasts): it supports multiple video formats as well.

I’d thought about uploading this video to You Tube. But it’s in the .wmv format, not supported by You Tube.

Let me know what you think of the video.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Philip Young

    Great fun, Neville – thanks. (Can’t imagine how I spend my Sundays before I could watch and listen to you discussing blue plastic urinals!). I might return the favour with a Photo Story 3 clip about my forthcoming Dutch cycle trip….

    Seriously, it might be interesting to do something similar from Delivering the New PR, in London, perhaps including short interview clips etc.

  2. neville

    Thanks Philip. I can see you’re really glad to know about blue urinals! And re your bike trip, do please do one. I want to hear you pronounce ‘Gorinchem’ ;)

    Good idea re the London conference. We could put together a nice audio-visual segment. Let’s do it.

  3. Bryan Person

    Hey, Neville–

    Well done! A great way to tell a story, and good to read/see that this can be incorporated easily enough into WordPress through the Podpress plugin. Gives me a great idea for a project with my hundreds of photos from our family trip to Kenya last year.

    And you really did carry on about the “pristine urinals” — haha! I don’t remember noticing them on my brief wander around Amsterdam last September.

  4. neville

    Well, those blue urinals were quite impressive looking! Brand new. I’ve never seen such pretty ones before :)

    Photo Story 3 is a neat app for doing something like this with photos. The example I’ve done is quite simple. You can also do things like add music and produce something quite stunning.

    And the Podpress plugin is very neat.

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