Oranjelol (Orange Jinks!) is getting drunk publicly in support of the royal House of Orange, a yearly event in the Netherlands on April the 30th. This quick & dirty collage is made on ‘the day after’ the first of May, having seen the workmen cleaning the mass of debris left by the partying crowd in the center of Amsterdam, where I happen to live. The picture elements are from left to right: a drawing published in 1894 in the October issue of an early socialist paper “De Roode Duivel” (the red devil) by Louis Hermans (1861 – 1943) and reads: “Famous Temporaries: Lady Ka Flower Pot from Utrecht preparing herself for an Orange Jink (on the table a bottle of a cheap liqueur called ‘Orange Bitter’); next a mix of two Flickr photo-reportage pictures from the yearly Queens party on the Magere Brug (meagre bridge) over the Amstel river in Amsterdam with a drunken crowd and a blasting disco (2007; the parties look the same each year so why bother to find one for 2009?). Commentary in 1894 by Hermans on the Orange craze and the success of the Dutch new royals (the Kingdom has been established by Von Metternich’s Wiener Congress in 1814): “..an astonishing success, which can be understood easily because most members of the thinking part’ of the nation have as much brains in their head as the ass of the devil.”
The systematic policy of constant centering public attention on herself and her family by the Dutch Queen – who firmly believes “her task” is a godgiven one – showed yesterday (April 30 2009) its mirror side in the unwanted attention of a suicidal man who performed his yet unclear attack on an Orangist crowd and possibly the royal family – doing their waving from an open bus during a royal entry into the city of Apeldoorn. On the same day drunken crowds swarmed the street and canals of Amsterdam. In spite of the speed of news of modern media the public display of pleasure went on for several hours after the alleged attentat; the happy crowd wanted their party first of all. For the non Dutch – this alcoholistic euphoria is only a new tradition which has developed during the reign of Queen Beatrix starting in the mid eighties when supporters of the national football team manifested their support more and more through their public drinking habbits and dressing up in all sorts of orange paraphernalia. Critical distance as existed during the sixties and seventies toward a system of a hereditary kingdom, slowly evaporated. This was caused by the creation of a national football fever during international competitions: clad in orange and fed by endless amounts of beer. Commercial interests from beer companies and bar-owners combined with the acclaim of local authorities for this new Dutch nationalism which for them seemed to be a way out of the antagonizing effects of the multi-cultural society of the Netherlands. The partying under the orange banner seems to reunite what has been broken up.
A new national consciousness without any real political content, purely based on having a jolly good time together. When one observes the loud orange crowds pouring into the inner city streets of the main towns, one may smell other sentiments: this is suburbia taking over the city, you better join in and be happy with them and you better do not show any disapproval of the bad behaviour of throwing debris, public pissing, and shouting. I have not yet seen statistics on which percentage of the crowd is just merry and mellow and whether the aggressive ones are a mere minority. My impression is that the same group of persons may cycle during the day through all this behavioural stages depending on their intake of drugs, food and level of endurance during their pleasure drifting between the ultra loud music stages spread all over town. Just over half a million orange party-goers left thousands of kilos of tins, broken bottles and plastic cups all over town. Bar owners and free tstreet traders have made their big buck and leave their debris to the municipal workmen. Like real royals the orangist crowd have partied and left their shit behind for the servants to clean up. That is today the first of May, indeed a sad sight: orange Jinks!.