No orange crush: Dutch celebrate King's Day at home

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People observe social distancing when standing in line to buy coffee and juice on King's Day in Amsterdam Netherlands, Monday, April 27, 2020. The Dutch national birthday party was a muted affair, dubbed King's Day at Home because of coronavirus restriction, a far cry usual nationwide celebration with street parties. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE – There was no orange crush Monday as coronavirus restrictions reined in festivities marking the Dutch king's birthday.

Canals and streets in Amsterdam, normally choked with boats and revelers wearing wigs, hats, fake feather boas and anything else they can find in the national color, orange, instead were eerily quiet as people largely stuck to government requests to stay at home.

Those who did venture out observed social distancing guidelines even as people handed out free tulips.

King Willem-Alexander celebrated his 53rd birthday with his family at home in their palace in a forest on the edge of The Hague after a mass celebration in the southern city of Maastricht was canceled due to the restrictions.

Nevertheless, loyal followers, some wearing orange T-shirts and hats, cycled to the gates of the palace in the morning to peer through the railings.

In a nationally televised speech to the nation, the king paid tribute to health care workers and others battling the virus and hoped for better times ahead.

Flanked by his wife Maxima and their three daughters, Willem-Alexander said the annual holiday would be unique, “especially unique because I hope it will be absolutely the last King’s Day at Home in history.”

Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted his congratulations to the king, adding that "he is celebrating King’s Day at home like the rest of the Netherlands. The best present we can give him is to follow that example.”