The shopping season in the Netherlands has officially begun with the major department store, de Bijenkorf, turning on its Christmas lights display for the year.
For the last eight years they have put on a theatrical display along with fireworks and make a huge event out of it.
The show goes for about an hour, but to get a good visual position you need to stand in Dam Square for at least 45 minutes beforehand.
This year wasn’t as cold as last year. At 10C it was still in double digits. However, unlike last year, this year we had to contend with the rain.
I love the spectacle of the performances. These acts that they bring in from all over Europe each year have the entirety of Dam Square to perform in, and they use all of it!
Weaving their way in, out, around, and though the crowds makes it a really immersive experience, and as an audience member, it keeps you on your toes!
This year’s performance seemed to be the struggle between good and evil, while climbing and bouncing and swinging from a giant orb structure.
There was a witch, there were suits, there were candy ravers, there were soldiers, there was a man in stripes and goggles, and for the finale there was a singer on a crane above us all! (That poor, cold, wet, brave girl.)
As always the highlight of these events is the fireworks display at the end of it all. I love a good fireworks display!
An added moment of surreal came with this years festivities when the compere (a new addition to the proceedings this year) was asking people why they come to the event, and if they’ve been before. De Bijenkorf have finally decided to fill the time in while waiting for the show to begin.
Well, she stopped and spoke with us didn’t she! That’s right! Yours Truly and Himself were broadcast up on the big screen across all of Dam Square for all to see, speaking our dodgy and hesitant Nederlands!
It was one of the more bizarre moments of my life, and I was giggling about how stilted and tongue tied we both were in front of the cameras for an hour afterwards!
We skipped actually heading into the stores and their extended shopping hours this year, as most of our Christmas shopping is already done. But we did indulge in our yearly tradition of walking down Leidsestraat to Leidseplein and watching the ice skaters on the rink while we drank gluhwein and ate bitterballen.
Welcome to the Festive Countdown One and All!!!