Last year I wrote about the Queen’s birthday and what a big deal it is here https://janeduttonutrecht.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/the-queen/ It is a national holiday and it is one of the rare moments where you see the national flag flying.

The Queen and the entire royal family visit two towns on this holiday. This year they visited Rhenen and Veenendaal, both towns in the province of Utrecht. The visits are on television and I was able to watch the first visit of the day. It looked like all the citizens of Rhenen came out to meet the royals. The visit lasted an hour and a half and there were many handshakes and smiles.

There was one event that kind of blew my mind….I actually said “I don’t think I ever thought this happened in The Netherlands.” What I saw was toilet throwing. The challenge was how far can you throw a toilet. I wondered if this was a Dutch tradition that I had missed in my year here? Oh no, I was told, toilet throwing is something that only takes place in the town of Achterberg near Rhenen. This activity is just for the town of Rhenen on Queens Day, not the whole country.

So on this Queen’s Day, they had a section set up for the challenge. The male royals were invited to toss the toilet. Lined up were five white toilets and one orange one (the national color of The Netherlands). Naturally, if you are given a choice of toilets to throw you would choose the brightest and boldest toilet, and that seemed to be the preferred one to throw. You cannot be serious or sad if you are throwing a toilet. Something happens when you lift one up and then throw it as far as you can…it puts a smile on your face. The competitors were smiling and laughing as everyone seemed to be having a great time. It may look funny, but who cares? How many times in your life do you see a toilet flying by? The winner of this non Olympic event was Prince Willem Alexander, who will succeed his mother and will someday sit on the throne (ha ha). He won a trophy with a miniature toilet on top—he must be very proud.

It was a glorious day, with blue skies and a bright sun. The royal family stepped out and made people very happy. This has been a difficult year for the royals. The Queen’s son, Prince Friso, was injured in a skiing accident and has been in a coma for a few months. I think it was good for all of us here to have a light hearted day and a little toilet throwing was just the ticket.

I knew that I could not write this post unless I had proof. These photos were taken from our television…I am telling you this so that you would not assume that I was actually at the toilet race. I was not ducking toilets, I was safe at home.

Prince Bernhard, son of Princess Margriet.

Prince Willem Alexander, son of Queen Beatrix

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  • Aledys Ver  On May 4, 2012 at 11:04 am

    This must have been quite funny! I wonder what the origin of this tradition is? And is there a hidden message in the fact that one is supposed to toss an orange toilet? mmm…. Anyway, it sounds like a big joke and fun! Ooh is that Prince Maurtis I see there waiting his turn to toss the toilet? 😉 (sorry, I got a little distracted… ehem!)

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