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There are lots of things to do in Amsterdam just check out some of the highlights we selected for you. When you are amsterdone you might want to go to Noordwijk which has a lot to offer on....

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It's the Pig in depth...

  • Lead Article: When Queen’s Day Became King’s Day. Seth Valentine looks back at the last Queen’s Day in Amsterdam...

  • Just outside of Amsterdam and on the sunny coast of Holland, The Flying Pig beach hostel at Noordwijk has some top events coming up - in and around this backpacker base...

  • In this edition we round up the best bits of what’s coming up over the summer in the city...

  • From the epic Best Press Photos exhibit and the Amsterdam Open Air music festival to the Viva Las Vega’s food extravaganza and the Its Festival, we’ve got the full line up for you. ...

  • Never been to Greece before or curious about what’s coming up this summer in Athens? Well check out our friends from Europe’s Famous Hostels – AthenStyle

  • The Hottest Tunes Hand Picked by the Piggies. Lara Bradley returns with her take on the album Hollywood, penned and performed by former couple and current band – The Falls.

  • Can you smoke in Our Hostels? Yes you can... We have smoking rooms for you....

  • Besides tha smoking you can party all night long.

  • At the beach you can do it all and chill out afterwards...

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Things to do in Amsterdam - The Pig E-zine
Issue 53 - May and June 2013



When Queen’s Day Became King’s Day

This year the Dutch got a new constitutional monarch and the most popular national holiday in the Netherlands - got a new name! With the abdication on April 30 of Queen Beatrix, the Netherlands celebrated its last Queen’s Day, at least for now. As the Queen’s son, King Willem-Alexander takes over, the royal celebrations will henceforth be known as King’s Day!

Amsterdam, 29 april 2013: de Koningin biedt in aanwezigheid van de Prins van Oranje en Prinses Máxima een diner aan voor genodigden in het Rijksmuseum © ANP
Princess Maximais now a Queen, Queen Beatrix is a princess again and prince Willem Aleander has become a King

Portret van Koning Willem III
William III
Miniatuurportret van Koningin Wilhelmina
Princess Wilhelmina

The celebration of Queen’s Day dates back to August 31, 1885. The King at the time, William III, was rather unpopular among his people, however his four-year-old daughter, Princess Wilhelmina, was not. In an effort to create more of a sense of national unity during this time of distaste for the monarchy, liberals in the Dutch government created a national holiday celebrating the birthday of the young Princess. Princessedag or Princess’s Day - soon became very popular with Dutch children because it added an extra day to their summer holidays.

Staatsieportret van Koningin Wilhelmina, 1931
Queen Wilhelmina
Portret van Prinses Juliana, 1937
Queen Juliana

The holiday became known as Queen’s Day upon Wilhelmina’s accession to the throne and became increasingly popular throughout the towns and cities of the Netherlands. On April 30, 1980, Queen Juliana abdicated and gave the throne to her daughter Beatrix. Beatrix then went on to change the date of the Queen’s Day celebration to April 30 - in honour of her mother.

Den Haag, april 2011: de Koningin ondertekent een wet © Rijksoverheid
Former Queen Beatrix

What began as an official parade and the Queen’s acceptance of a floral arrangement became (especially in Amsterdam) something much bigger, much wilder and much more fun for locals, and visitors alike. During the 33-year reign of Queen Beatrix, the celebration of Queen’s Day morphed into a day all about celebrating Dutch-ness - all without the potentially negative or dark undertones of nationalism. In a country where the national flag is rarely flown, the people turn out dressed in Orange, from their hair to their shoes, and throw one hell of a party in the spirit of being inclusive, silly, and fun.

For 24-hours, beginning the night before, live music performances are held in the squares and streets, with bars and nightclubs throwing parties aplenty, staffed with local bands and DJs. This is also the one-day of the year that the Dutch government doesn’t require a permit to sell goods or used items on the street. Dutch citizens of all ages set up tables and stands, clean out their closets, and offer their second-hand stuff for dirt-cheap prices, effectively turning the entire city into the largest flea market in the world.

This year nearly a million people turned out in Amsterdam to celebrate the last Queen’s Day. The city centre was closed off to cars and trams, and party-goers wandered the streets drinking beers, sampling traditional Dutch food from street vendors, and bargaining for quirky items being sold by the local residents. The canals were packed with boats filled with dancing people enjoying the merriment, and perhaps the most incredible thing about the celebration was the peacefulness of it all. It’s rare to see so many people out in the streets of a major city, drinking, partying, and generally acting crazy, without also seeing some level of misbehaviour. But not on Queen’s Day. Not in Amsterdam.

- Seth Valentine



A Brand New Flying Pig Beach Hostel Video

Just in time for this ezine... A brand new time-lapse video from the Beach Hostel in Noordwijk. Get a peek of this highly recommended hostel in just 33-seconds!  

youtubeCheck our youtube channel for more vids and timelapses of the Pig open in new window



Music Reviews From The Flying Pig

Lara Bradley’s Music Review: The Falls: Hollywood

Hollywood cover art

Just when I was closing the lid of my laptop on reviews for the last edition, I came across the blissful sounds of The Falls and couldn't help but revisit the writing grindstone to share this with you.

So the fairytale goes they met, fell in love, made sweet music, fell out, broke up, over came all the bitching and upset … and (fortunately for us) carried on making sweet, sweet music. Ah, how touching. Everything about this ex-couple / band is intriguing and their breakup-makeup story adds romance to the mix.

Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown are from Sydney and have been making music together for years, sauntering in and out of the highs and lows of love with a dreamy ease.

The album depicts the ups and downs of their relationship which seems more raw and believable - because the pair have been through what they’re singing about. In their own words they: “subconsciously documented our whole relationship in our songs.”

I guess the vibe is Mumford come Angus and Julia. The song Million has that Mumford issue, quick repeated drum beat in it - accompanied by easy guitar and piano bursts. But what I like is that at points the duo have a hint of James Taylor and Fleetwood Mac. Then the simplicity of the plucky guitar in the background is over shone by the pure and even angelic voices of Mel, and Simon.

I myself wear my heart on my sleeve so I think its warming and romantic how the two are the muse of each other - unafraid to play out their lives in song. Through good times and bad the stark emotion does nothing but enhance the appeal of the artists and their music, all without seeming too lovey-duvey.

It seems these tracks are falling over themselves to be given the title of album favourite but when push comes to shove, I'm backing - Please. I love the harmonies, the heart felt lyrics and the fact it reminds me of how my Dad would play on the guitar when I was a Kid.

As their music progresses I'd really like to see more of that stripped back earthy folk sound featured in the track Hollywood, rather than going down the modern route of the song Million. All in all, this is a great discovery and I will warmly welcome the band to Holland (namely Amsterdam) with open arms. 

Listen to some songs open in new window

- Lara Bradley



News and Events from the Pig

News From the Pigs: Events in Amsterdam

Vondelpark Open Air Theatre
Vondel Park theaterFrom June 2 to August 25, 2013, the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre presents a three-month programme packed with dance, cabaret, jazz, children's theatre, stand-up comedy and music of all genres. open in new window

World’s Best Press Photos

Joy at the end of the run / Wei Seng Chen worldpressphoto open in new window

The winning images from the world's largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest begin their world tour in Amsterdam at the end of April. A reflection of trends and developments in photojournalism, it not only presents the sometimes-brutal reality of events in the world, but also the beauty of life, sports, art, science and nature. The exhibition is only in town for two-months, so catch it while you can. You can see this until June 23, 2013.

Amsterdam Open Air
After successful festivals in 2011 and 2012, Amsterdam Open Air returns for another wild, and summery weekend bash at Amsterdam’s Gaasperpark on June 8, and 9, 2013. It’s a collaboration between MTV, Club Air and other names from Amsterdam's clubbing circuit – with the shared aim of representing the city's nightlife in all its glory. open in new window

Viva Las Vega’s Food Festival Saturday June 1, 2013, the Viva Las Vega’s Food Festival takes over Studio K to showcase the full potential of vegetarian food and healthy eating! Between 11:00 and 22:00 you can experience a whole host of veggie delights, organic products and many memorable entertainments. open in new window

Open Gardens DayOpen Tuinen DagenHidden behind the stately façades of the houses along Amsterdam’s canals - lie some of the city's best kept secrets - the private gardens. Look behind these impressive canal-side homes and you'll step into a completely different world, where a quiet green oasis welcomes visitors. They’re open to the public for one weekend only, between Friday June 14 and to Sunday June 16, 2013. open in new window

ITs Festival
Amsterdam's International Theatre School Festival (ITs) brings the best of new theatrical talent to stages at theatres across Amsterdam. The festival hits town between June 21 and 28, 2013. open in new window

Check out the Facebook Page Facebook for more details - as we unveil them!



Flying Pig Beach Hostel - What’s On at the Beach Hostel

Final of the Great Band Robbery – June 1, 2013

The Great Band RobberyThe band(its) have filled the safe with a bounty of €625 and now they have the final battle to contend with. This is one last chance to crack the safe, steal the loot and take off with a headline spot at the Piggy Pop 3 concert. And you know what? You have a vote in this because every guest at the hostel has a chance to support the Band(it) that they believe to be most deserving! Join in the fun from 21:00. open in new window

Summerjazz Festival Leiden – June 2, 2013

Summerjazz LeidenSummerjazz is a young and inventive collective, looking to connect people with a passion for music, culture and all things new. The festival is all about the visitor’s experience and senses are set to be stimulated in many ways. Look out for a smashing mix of rousing music performances, theatre, cabaret and workshops – all in the enchanting surroundings of the Het Leidse Hout forest. Tickets are €19.50. open in new window

Leiden International Film Festival Summer Edition - June 6 to 8, 2013Film Festival LeidenLike every year, the LIFF will kick start the summer by transforming the historic St. Peter's Church Square into an outdoor cinema. This year the special summer event will be bigger than ever with the addition of a second site - the stunning park De Houtkamp in Leiderdorp. This year the summer special will focus on American cinema. The films start at 22:30, with the square and the bar open from 20:00. Entrance is free but make sure you're on time because seats are limited!

Noordwijk on its Head Festival – June 15, 2013The MietersFoundation de Keune Kust and Foundation Poppodium are the organising forces behind the Noordwijk on its Head festival, sponsored by The Flying Pig Beach Hostel. This music festival offers an international line up, including The Mieters with their authentic sixties beats and catchy Dutch lyrics, along with the Def P & Beatbusters - a Dutch Ska and Reggae collective, featuring Rapper Def P.

Buckle Up Kids - The Barons of Tang Are ComingThe Barons of TangGracing stages all over the world, this rag-tag bunch of misfits are slowly building an empire out of gaffa tape and bitumen. Mixing Klezmer and Balkan feels with punk, folk music and whatever’s lying around the kitchen, these feisty troubadours are making waves. You can locate this unique sound in the big tent next to the lighthouse in Noordwijk. Entrance is free and the concert runs from 19:00 until 00:30. Afterwards enjoy the after party, conveniently located at the Flying Pig Beach hostel!

The Noordwijk Painting Festival – June 19 to 23, 2013SchildersfestivalArtists from all over Europe come to Noordwijk to make and exhibit the most beautiful art around for the public. It’s set to be a great atmosphere where everybody can manifest their creativity. On the last day there’ll be an auction to sell the newly created works of art. open in new window



Europe’s Famous Hostels – AthenStyle: Celebrating Five Years in Style

The Europe's Famous Hostels outpost in Athens will soon be celebrating five years in the business! Here's why they're so good at what they do and what they've got coming up, to celebrate half a decade as the best hostel in Greece.


Our main goal at AthenStyle is to make sure travellers experience the real Athenian style of hospitality and leave with plans to come back! We provide premium accommodation at the best price, with the friendliest staff and unforgettable views.

Rated in the top three accommodation providers in Athens by tripadvisor, everything has come together lately as a testament to our hard work! Our Rooftop Bar has been featured in the most popular Athenian Newspaper alongside the Hilton and luxury hotel rooftop bars - for its view and character.

AthenStyle isn't just a member of Europe's Famous Hostels in Greece, for its style and the personal touch. It's a member because it's got a heart. Without that we'd just be another hotel!

To celebrate all of this and more, join us for a party marking five-years in the business on June 1, 2013! When join us here at sunset by the Rooftop Bar, you can also be in with a chance to win a free stay – at any of the Europe’s Famous Hostels - in the future!

Five years in style - only at AthenStyle - where else? open in new window open in new window


More info and free booking at open in new window