SAN FRANCISCO — Crowds dressed in orange, the Dutch national color honoring the Dutch royal House of Orange, gathered near the Dutch Windmills in Golden Gate Park on Saturday, April 28 to celebrate Queen’s Day, the Dutch national holiday honoring the birthday of the Queen. The Netherlands Consulate, together with San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) and the local Dutch community organized a festive celebration appropriate for all ages and invited all to join in. Highlights of the day included a commemoration of the newly-restored Murphy Windmill, with special access to the interior of the mill and the Millwrights Cottage; a “Market to Mill” bike ride, organized by the San Francisco Bike Coalition; and Dutch delicacies served by SF food truck vendors.
“It’s great to look out and see so much orange, along with bikes, soccer, cheese and windmills here on the Pacific Coast,” said Netherlands Consul General Bart van Bolhuis. “It brings a taste of the Netherlands to San Francisco. The Consulate and the rest of the nearly 10,000 Dutch living in the Bay Area feel at home here, and we are happy to celebrate Queen’s Day together with San Franciscans in Golden Gate Park.”
The newly-restored Murphy Windmill and the adjacent Millwright’s Cottage were opened for visitors to explore during the Queen’s Day celebration on April 28. To commemorate the completion of the first phase of the windmill’s restoration, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager, and Consul General Bart van Bolhuis made welcome remarks. Lucas Verbij, the Dutch millwright who managed the restoration process in the Netherlands, was on hand to speak about the windmills. In addition, an exhibition of photographs by Ron Henggeler, documenting the restoration process, were on view inside the Murphy Windmill.
“The Dutch Queen’s Day celebration at the Golden Gate Park windmills is a great new tradition for SF Rec and Park and the rest of the City” said, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “We thank our project team, windmill advocates, and the Netherlands government for their support; the windmills are renovated and well cared for because of our public-private partnerships.”
Two special bike rides organized together with the San Francisco Bike Coalition took place. The “Market to Mill” ride started at 9:30 AM from My Dutch Bike, a local bike shop on Market Street, and followed a path through the city, ending at the Murphy Windmill in Golden Gate Park. Later, families with children were invited to join a bike decorating party and scavenger hunt that included a short bike ride between the two mills.
At the windmills, two San Francisco food trucks served Dutch treats in honor of the Queen’s Day festivities: “kroketten,” a breaded meat ragout; “patat friet,” fries served Dutch style, with curry, mayonnaise and diced onions; and other Dutch delicacies.
Last year, Queen’s Day was celebrated on Union Square in San Francisco. This year marked a new tradition with the move to Golden Gate Park, where the festivities took place next to the beautiful Dutch Windmill at the Queen Wilhelmina Garden.
Beginning in 1949, the birthday of former Queen Juliana was marked by a national celebration on April 30. Juliana was the daughter of Queen Wilhelmina, after whom the Golden Gate tulip garden was named, and mother of the reigning Queen Beatrix. To this day, Queen’s Day is celebrated by Dutch citizens all around the world and by those connected to or interested in the Dutch culture. Queen’s Day is a festive celebration for the whole family with a host of activities, including food, drinks, music, and games.
For more information about the Netherlands Consulate in San Francisco, please visit www.sanfrancisco.the-netherlands.org, and for a detailed program for the Dutch Queen’s Day celebration, please visit www.sfdutch.com/dutch-in-sf/koninginnedag.html.