My youngest daughter recently enjoyed two weeks of holiday, called the May Holiday. The first day of her holiday was Good Friday, April 19. It is Dutch logic to call that a May Holiday. Dutch Public holidays are not fixed days, so they change every year. This year it is an employer-friendly year as, for example, King’s Day and Liberation day both fell in the weekend. Unfortunately, other than for instance in the UK, such days are not moved to the next Monday in the Netherlands.

King’s Day is now April 27 as that is the birthday of our King. Before King Willem-Alexander ascended the throne, we enjoyed Queens Day which fell on April 30 and was always the start of that holiday in May. On Queen’s Day, April 30, 2013, Queen Beatrix abdicated in favor of her eldest son and resumed the title of princess. But April 30 was not the birthday of Beatrix as that is January 31. It was the birthday of her mother and Willem Alexanders’ Grandma Juliana instead. Since the Dutch are used to celebrate the day outside all dressed up in orange, she thought January would be too cold for the people and decided not to move the day of celebration to her own birthday.


In my memory, Queen’s Day has always been a warm and shiny day indeed. But since it moved to King’s Day on April 27, it has always been a colder day than January that same year. Dutch logic again. Our future Queen, if all stays well, will be Amalia who is born on December 7. We will have to see what happens with her birthday celebrations. By the way, this is one of the reasons the Netherlands is a Triple-A country. Amalia is the first A, her sisters are called Alexia and Ariane.

My oldest daughter is taking exams this year; hence she is studying each day to pass her exams to start the next phase in her and our life as parents: going to a university and leaving the house. She is looking forward to it, we as parents only partly. We found it inappropriate to go on holiday somewhere without her while she was studying and us making fun. So, we decided to stay at home these weeks and take a day off here and there and do something fun with our youngest daughter. My son is too old for that, he claims.

Accordingly, we visited the MuZIEum last week, which maybe best translates to MuSEEum. Where in most museums you can see beautiful things, this one lets you experience what is it like to be blind or partially sighted. You are entering a world in which your other senses – hearing, smell, touch and taste – suddenly play a far more important role than you are used to.


So, it is not a museum where you admire objects on displays or walls. We were an essential part of the experience by doing a tour through a living room, a garden, a supermarket, and drinking a soda in a bar in absolute darkness. You literally see not a thing. Our tour guide called Joop is 100% blind and told more about living with sight loss. He made us see the world through different eyes. They say that in the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king. I can tell you that in the MuZIEum, Joop was king and not me or Willem-Alexander.

Read more of this insightful blog by Eric Veldkamp.