team building based on King's Day Verita's Visit Holland

Team building based on King's Day - 3 tips

Put on your orange dress, drink some Oranjebitter and get ready to sing the national anthem.  The best way to bond is to celebrate a national holiday together. So, let's create that ultimate holiday feeling. Here are 3 tips team building based on King's Day in Holland.

National holiday to unite your team

Once upon a time there was a little princess called Wilhelmina. She lived in the Netherlands, a country that was extremely divided. People didn't want to do any activities together. Now, Wilhelmina celebrated her 5th birthday on August 31 1885. 'A great day for a national holiday', a newspaper thought. And so a new national holiday was born.  It was called Princess Day and became a huge success. The Dutch people united, the nation was one.

I know it is a bit too much to ask you to create your own national holiday. It is a good idea to look at national holidays though.  You can get inspiration on how to build & strengthen relationships . Let's have a look at King's Day!

old Dutch games King's Day teambuilding

Holiday feeling with old Dutch games: team building based on national celebration

The first tip for team building based on King's Day actually comes from Princess Day. In that time the holiday did not have the same dimension as nowadays. Focus was on strengthening relationships within your family & local community. That happened through games. Using these old Dutch games  for teambuilding is perfect as rules are simple, you don't have to use your brain a lot. They're just a fun activity to do together and a way to release any tension. Best part is also that you feel like you're getting a taste of Dutch culture. Add some orange clothes and an orange drink (Oranjebitter) and you feel like you're on holiday.

Why the royal birthday & flower parades in the Netherlands are connected

As the years went by princess Wilhelmina got older. In September 1898 she became Queen of the Netherlands and so Princess Day became Queen's Day.  Thanks to these two royal celebration; the birthday and the inauguration, the flower parades in the Netherlands became popular. Now, I let you think about it for a moment…Why is Wilhelmina’s birthday/ inauguration as Queen a good time for the flower parade? The answer is in the next blogpost.

other flower events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit HollandTeam building based on King's Day flower parade

Tip two on team building based on King's Day, is about these flower parades. Before WWII these flower processions were strongly connected to the royal family. Nowadays  the processions are used to underline the local identity & the small community feeling. Now this team building tip decorate your bike, car or other vehicle. Set some rules before you start this activity. One of these rules should be about how you combine local, regional aspects with national cultural elements. What is typical of your city? What is unique about your family or friends? When you do this group activity with your colleagues, you can also include the corporate culture and team culture in these game rules. For complete instructions & customisation of this teambuilding activity based on King's Day, contact me or book the We are one on King's Day game activity.

Team building based on King's DayBe like Dutch kids: sell what you love & they don't need

Another typical Dutch element of King's Day is the vrijmarkt, or garage sale/ flea market. This is one of the youngest traditions of the royal celebration. In the seventies, Beatrix was Queen. She is the mother of our present King Willem-Alexander and the granddaughter of Wilhelmina. She had married a German man and not everyone in the Netherlands  liked that.  Besides, you could again feel some tension building up in the Netherlands. The vrijmarkt already existed, but was not centrally organised. Here and there in the suburbs of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities these flea markets popped up. The idea was to bring these markets to the inner city centre, so the Dutch would get together in a central point. That worked!

How can you use this in a team building activity? The King's Day vrijmarkt is the ultimate way for kids to practise their entrepreneurship. So tip three in the team building based on King's Day is about negotiation skills. Try  to find some traditions or habits in your family, group of friends or team that you like, but others dislike. Imagine these habits are one of the items you sell on the vrijmarkt. You are attached to them, they see no value. How would you sell these, the Dutch way?

Liked these 3 ideas? Then contact me for the full We are one on King's Day teambuilding game.


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Meet Vermeer in Holland - From virtual museum to real life

Meeting Vermeer in Holland. It's the end of your travel through time and space. 15 december is the death anniversary of the Delft painter. On 3 December 2018 a special museum opened its doors. It shows all 37 works of the Golden Age painter. This is where you start your journey.Read more


Impression of Delft Vermeer Challenge

The bullet holes in the wall were not the reason why I visited the Museum Prinsenhof last July. In my heart, I keep a special place for Delft, the city where I was born. One of my wishes was to create a challenge, a treasure hunt in Delft. But, Delft has no festival based on a historical event or full of traditions. What could I do? Then came the request.

Rowena had organised a group bike tour through the Delft nature with Verita’s Visit and enjoyed herself. After that she approached me and asked if I could create a city challenge in Delft. I was thrilled with the request. My dream of creating a treasure hunt in Delft came true.

At the end it wasn’t difficult to come up with a theme. The exact location of the masterpiece The little street by Delft painter Johannes Vermeer had just been discovered and Museum Prinsenhof  Delft had managed to borrow the painting from the Rijksmuseum. From 25 March until 17 July 2016 Prinsenhof dedicated a full exhibition on this painting of Vermeer and its location in Delft. The news spread like wildfire and local businesses, churches and other museums joined in by offering special Vermeer products and deals. Delft was under the spell of Vermeer.

City game Vermeer Delft painting science. Photo by: Barbara van Gelder
Assignment: become a Vermeer character. Photo by: Barbara van Gelder

I had always wanted to work with Barbara van Gelder, owner of the studio Something Extra. In her studio you can become Vermeer or one of his characters. Dressed in 17th century costumes and some nice accessories added to the scene she will immortalize you in a portrait. Barbara has many ideas and is always enthusiastic. When I told her about the Delft Vermeer Challenge, she immediately came up with questions and assignments.

In the last weekend of the exhibition the participants of the challenge gathered at a special place  where they were served a cup of tea ( in Delftware cups). Rowena whispered in my ear: “Are we getting our portrait made here?”.  I smiled and said : “Who knows..”

In the Delft Vermeer Challenge the teams followed a route past different locations important to Vermeer. Through questions and creative assignments they could find out about his life, his family, the technique he used. One of my favourite assignments was in the Vlamingstraat, the location of The Little Street.  This is where Vermeer’s aunt lived. She sold intestines. The assignment was to make a video while tasting this 17th century delicacy. The looks on the faces of the participants! It was fantastic….I don’t know if they ever found out that what they ate was kokosbrood  a typical Dutch spread made out of cocos. Well, in Verita’s Visit’s tours and events things never are what they look like ;)

The Delft Vermeer Challenge finished at a special place where, how could it be otherwise, the assignment was to become a Vermeer character, pick the right costume and get your portrait taken. Love to show you this unique place in Delft!


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