Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Flying the Dutch Flag - and the Orange" Wimpel"

A Dutch street on Queen's Day
Photo: (c) The Writing Well
It's nearly Queen's Day, which means the flags will soon be out in force in the Dutch streets hanging from house flag poles. We don't have a flag holder on our house, nor do we own a Dutch flag to hang even if we did... but I did stumble upon "general flag instructions in Zoetermeer" on the internet and was quite surprised by the rules around flag flying around here. You can't just get your flag out and start willy-nilly waving it about how and when you want, you know!

For a start there are moments for 'general flagging' (where you and I can wave away) and there are times for "restricted flagging" (only on state building etc). Here are the dates when General Joe Public may proudly fly the Dutch flag from their houses:

30 April - Queen's Day
4 May - Remembrance day (with time restrictions and flag must be flown at half mast)
5 May - Liberation Day
Last Saturday in June - Veteran's Day
15 August - official end of World War 2
3rd Tuesday in September (only in The Hague) - Opening of Parliament

So there you have it. General Joe Public may not hoist the flag for any royal birthdays - you'll only see flags out on state buildings and the like for these occasions.

But wait, there's more. On Queen's Day you may also raise your orange wimpel with the Dutch flag. For non-Dutch speakers - a wimpel is a bit of material shaped like a long neck tie. It's the only use you'll ever get our of your orange wimpel so make the most of it on Saturday.

And that's not it... if the said flag flying day should fall on a Sunday or a Christian holiday then the date for official flag raising may change.....

And there is actually more about the size and colours of the flag, how it should be raised and how it the flags should sit should there be two together. Really. And you thought the Dutch rolled out of bed on any given Queen's Day and just 'put their flag up". Now you know......

Enjoy Queen's Day!

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