Friday, 28 April 2023, 09:32
La Carihuela felt like a scene out of Amsterdam on Thursday as hundreds of Dutch nationals packed the Torremolinos beachside district to celebrate Koningsdag, the national holiday of the Netherlands.
The King's Day party, held in recognition of King Willem-Alexander's birthday, was organised by the cultural department of Torremolinos town hall and the Voom Voom Club, and came with a street market offering Dutch handicraft products, such as ceramics, cookie boards, knitted and embroidered garments and handmade wooden clogs.
There were also food stalls with traditional Dutch cuisine including the popular braadworst sausages, and an array of artisan beers brewed in the Netherlands.
It was exactly like a typical King's Day street party in the Netherlands, except, the Spanish sun was beating down on festival goers for the entire day from 12-8pm - a scene frosty Holland may not be so familiar with.
It is for this reason that more Dutch people are making the trip down to the Costa del Sol to celebrate the big day each year, making the party one of the biggest of the year in La Carihuela.
Event organiser and Voom Voom Club director Bianca Meivogel said it was the only official Koningsdag party in Europe outside of the Netherlands.
"Seven years ago we started with 100 people and now we have 3,000 coming, many of whom come to La Carihuela all the way from the Netherlands just for this party," the expat, who has lived in Spain for 14 years, told SUR in English.
"This day is also amazing in the Netherlands but normally there it is always raining. Here is a chance to have our Dutch party in the beautiful sunshine in the wonderful country of Spain."
La Carihuela has historically been a favourite destination for Dutch people to visit and live.
On Thursday, they were out in force proudly displaying their national colours, draping them from apartment windows and dressing from head-to-toe in orange.
Caroline Welseng travelled to La Carihuela just for the party after enjoying last year's festivities for the first time.
"I just had to come back, I couldn't resist," the Arnhem resident said.
"The party here in La Carihuela is something you must feel, there are Dutch people everywhere, the sun is shining, all the people are glad, today is a Dutch day and it feels like it."
Dutch expat living in Torremolinos Sergio Effendi said Koningsdag was also an opportunity for Spanish people and other internationals to experience Dutch culture.
"With Dutch parties, everyone is welcome and we are very lucky to have La Carihuela in Spain to celebrate our culture," he said.
"A lot of Spanish people come to try famous Dutch beer and food and we are very happy to share our culture on this day."
By 3pm the En la Fuente square had turned into a dancefloor as the jolly Dutch danced in the sunshine to some live music.
"It's such a great ambience here today," added Effendi. "It feels like home in the Netherlands, but here we are in Spain, a home away from home."
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