Another Week, Another King: Stumbling across a state visit by the Belgian King

Around a month ago I met King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The very next week, while hoping to visit the royal palace, I ran into King Phillippe of Belgium laying flowers at the foot of the national monument in Amsterdam. I can’t avoid royalty now!

Posted by Michael Anderson at Dec 18, 2016 07:04 PM

Drummers
A military brass band marched into Dam Square, providing quite the entrance for the Belgian King

The above is a bit of the fanfare from the royal state visit I stumbled upon.

It was a gorgeous Monday and I happened to have two classes cancelled. A perfect excuse to explore Amsterdam. Also, I had planned to take a couple pictures for a future blog post about bookstores in Amsterdam (book lovers stay tuned!) so I had my camera.

Fall Day Ams Canal
Fall was beautiful here in Amsterdam

After walking through the old town and snapping some pictures of the book stores, I realized I needed to buy gloves so I could bike without freezing.

Ams Fall Canal
Running errands is much more fun when you have views like this on the way!

Protip: Buy gloves! Otherwise your hands will cease to work after biking in November and December!

I stopped by an H&M close to Dam Square to pick up some gloves, and ended up with some spare time before my practice room reservation back at school. Luckily I had my musuem card so I decided to pop into the royal palace, conveniently located at one end of Dam Square.

Ams shopping st xmas
Amsterdam's big shopping streets start to get holiday decorations in November

Protip #2: Get a museum card!!!!!! It gets you into hundreds of museums across all the Netherlands (39 in Amsterdam alone) for 60 euros. If you’re registered with the municipality you live in, you can access the attractions for a whole year! I’ll make a post about this later.

When I got to Dam Square however, it was completely blocked off and police were everywhere. I gathered up the courage (I’m pretty shy) to ask a guy standing by one of the barricades what was going on. “The Belgian king is here on a state visit” he said. Not everyday you stumble upon a royal state visit!

Empty dam square
Dam square is never empty like this!

Beside getting to see Dam Square void of tourists, which is a treat by itself, I got to see a very official ceremony, complete with soldiers in dress uniform and a military band.

Belgian King
The Belgian King is in the middle, flanked by other dignitaries

It was similar to what I imagine a changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London to be like, but with way less tourists and a king sighting!

Mil Parade
The military parade blocked off the Damrak, one of the most important roads in Amsterdam

As I said in my last blog, there is always something going on in Amsterdam. Sometimes just getting out and aimlessly exploring provides really interesting experiences!

Stay tuned for a post about all the book buying opportunities Amsterdam offers.

As always, please ask any questions you may have about student life here in Amsterdam. If anyone has had any royal encounters anywhere in the world, I’d love to hear about it! I think it’s fascinating how some countries keep royal traditions.

Posted by Michael Anderson at Dec 18, 2016 07:04 PM
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