Thursday, April 27, 2017

Koningsdag (King's Day) in The Netherlands - 1992 Netherlands National Team Frank Janssen Jersey

Today is Koningsdag, or "King's Day" in the Netherlands, which is often referred to as "Holland", when the country celebrates the birthday of the king of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander.

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The tradition started on August 31, 1885 on the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, who later became Queen Wilhelmina. Since 1949, after Queen Juiliana took the throne, the holiday became known as Koninginnedag, or Queen's Day, and was celebrated on her birthday of April 30th.

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Queen Wilhelmina

When Queen Beatrix, succeeded her mother Queen Juliana in 1980, she decided to keep the holiday on April 30th as a tribute to her mother, despite Queen Beatrix's birthday being on January 31st, which comes at a time of year that is far less suited weather-wise for a national holiday that includes many outdoor events.

When Queen Beatrix abdicated on Koninginnedag in 2013 at the age of 75, her son Willem-Alexander became the first King of the Netherlands since the observance of the national holiday, the name was changed from Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) to Koningsdag (King's Day) and the date adjusted slightly from April 30th to now April 27th, Willem-Alexander's birthday.

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King Willem-Alexander

One of the main outdoor events which Queen's Day is known for it the tradition of "free market", where everyone is allowed to sell items on the streets without having to pay taxes on their sales, with the sales in Amsterdam attracting the most visitors. While some sale areas are becoming more commercialized, others are more of a social event and the one in Vondelpark is officially reserved for children.

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An example of the Free Market sales on King's Day

Other activities are games for children and outdoor concerts as many people dress in the color orange, the color of William I, Prince of Orange, the founder of the Dutch royal family, The House of Orange.

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A scene of the oranjegekte, or "Orange Madness"

Orange is also the color worn by Dutch national sports teams, such as it's successful soccer team despite the colors of it's flag being red, white and blue.

dutch soccer photo: Dutch soccer Dutchsoccer.jpg
The Netherlands national soccer team in their traditional orange shirts

Not only do people dress in orange, but there are also orange costumes, drinks and food. The night before King's Day is also celebrated in some larger cities, such as Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hauge, and called King's Night, which began as a successful response to rowdyism in the 1990's.

Rather than continue the old tradition of citizens visiting the Queen at Soestdijk Palace, now Queen Beatrix started a new tradition in 1981 where the monarch picks a location to visit each year to meet citizens, view local dances and demonstrations of traditional crafts. This year Willem-Alexander will visit Tiburg in the south of the country, his fourth such visit since ascending to the throne.

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King Willem-Alexander and family during a King's Day visit

The Netherlands National Team first played in 1935 and is currently ranked 27th in the world, competing at the IIHF World Championship Division I Group B level, now the third highest level of international hockey. Their highest ranking came in 1953, when they were ranked 7th and since 2000 their highest ranking has been 22nd.

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They participated sparingly during their early days, finishing 14th and last their first time out in 1935 after going 0-6 and being outscored 34-0 before returning in 1939 (improving to 11th out of 13 and scoring their first goals in their 2-1 over Finland) and then not until 1950, the long gap primarily due to the outbreak of World War II which interrupted the World Championships from 1940 through 1946.

In 1950 they placed 8th before four straight appearances in the B Pool from 1951 to 1955. They returned to the international scene next in 1961 and 1963 (now assigned to the C Pool), before finally becoming regular participants in 1967, still in the C Pool.

In 1973, they placed second in the C Pool with a 5-2 record and outscoring their opponents 52-21 while hosting the tournament to earn a promotion to the B Pool, where they stayed for four tournaments prior to a one year demotion to the C Pool. They won the C Pool their first time out in 1978 with a 6-1 mark and a staggering 74-17 goal differential to immediately return to the B Pool Group 2, which they won their first year back up with a 4-0 record, which earned them the right to compete in the Olympic hockey tournament for the only time, the 1980 Games. While in Lake Placid, they posted a record of 1-3-1 thanks to a win over Poland and a tie with Japan.

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Canada (in red) vs the Netherlands (white) during the 1980 Olympics

Their B Pool championship in 1979 also gained them entry into the top level of the World Championships for 1981, but they were relegated back to the B Pool after finding the going too tough when they were placed in a group with the Soviet Union, Canada and Finland and lost all three Consolation Round games against the United States, Finland and West Germany.

Netherlands in action, Netherlands in action
The Netherlands (in orange) in action against Kazakhstan

Over the next 17 tournaments, the Netherlands competed in the B Pool, with three relegations to the C Pool, where they successfully returned to the B Pool on their first try each time in 1983, 1989 and 1999.

In 2001, they remained in the newly renamed Division I, where they defended their place each time out until the new structure introduced in 2012 saw them placed in the lower half of Division I, still referred to as Division I Group B, but now requiring the Netherlands to rise up through Group A to reach the Top Division for the first time since 1981.

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The 2012 Netherlands National Team

For three years they were able to defend their place in Division I Group B, but a sixth place finish in 2015 dropped them to Division II Group A for 2016, where they dominated with 4 regulation wins and an overtime win to earn an immediate promotion back to Division I Group B, which is currently taking place this week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Ron Berteling holds the record for the most games played for the national team with 213 while  Jack de Heer has scored the most points with 210. Berteling has been awarded the Frans Henrichs Trophy as the MVP of the Dutch League, while de Heer has a trophy named for him which is given to the leading scorer of the Dutch Super Liga.

The Netherlands currently has 3,700 registered senior players and 1,200 junior players and 26 indoor rinks.

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The Dutch enjoying their Group G Olympic Pre-Qualification
tournament victory in 2012

Today's featured jersey is a 1992 Netherlands National Team Frank Janssen jersey. Despite their national flag being red, white and blue, the Netherlands traditionally wears orange in international competition, as it is the color of the Dutch royal family.

This attractive jersey was made by the Tackla company of Finland from 1989 to 1993 in a pair of distinct variations, with the earlier ones read "Holland" while the later ones were changed to "Nederland".

Janssen, a right wing, had a long career, spent almost entirely with the Nijmegen Tigers in the Dutch Eredivisie, the top hockey league in the Netherlands, playing from 1983-84 to 2001-02. He has since made sporadic appearances with Nijemegen Devils in 2010-11 (4 games), 2011-12 (6) and 2012-13 (5) while an assistant coach for the club took the place of the Tigers in 2007.

He played for the national team on nine times, seven in the World Championships B Pool, once in the C Pool, and again in an Olympic qualification tournament in 2000 with his finest tournament being the 1992 World Championships when he scored 3 goals and 6 points in 7 games.

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Netherlands 1992 jersey photo Netherlands 1992 B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1995 Netherlands National Team jerseyThis jersey was also made by the Tackla company of Finland, only with Reebok branding on the shoulders in 1994 and 1995 until a different manufacturer took over in 1996.

1994 Netherlands jersey, 1994 Netherlands jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 2008 Netherlands National Team Ivy van den Huevel jersey as worn in the 2008 IIHF Division I Group A World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria as well as the IIHF Group C Pre-Olympic Qualification Tournament in Narva, Estonia in November 2008.

The main crest, striping, name, numbers and even the IIHF logo on the back are all dye-sublimated, with the name on a nameplate which was then sewn on, while the sponsorship patch on the back is printed on a patch which was then sewn onto the jersey. The pair of sponsorship patches on the arms are embroidered patches which were then sewn on.

This very attractive jersey in the traditional Dutch color of orange features a striking main logo and some basic, yet effective striping and contrasting blue accent colors for an overall excellent look.

Netherlands 2008 jersey photo Netherlands2008F.jpg
Netherlands 2008 jersey photo Netherlands2008B.jpg

First up in the video section today, classic footage of the Netherlands versus Canada in the 1980 Olympics. The Netherlands are not wearing their expected orange color, but white jerseys with blue trim.

More classic footage, including a brief interviews with record holding national team players Berteling and de Heer from 1983, as the Netherlands takes on Hungary.

From the recent 2010 Division 1 Group A World Championships in Tilburg, the host Dutch take on Japan.

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