Today was Princess Day in Leeuwarden! It’s organised by the Princessehof ceramics museum. The museum is located in the citypalace where the 17th century (Golden Age) stadtholders of the northern provinces lived with their families. Incidentally, those stadtholders are the ancestors of the current Dutch royal family! But the palace once had another famous tennant: M.C. Escher grew up there, too.
Every year the museum organises a Princess Day for children aged 4-12. It is held across the street from the museum in a park called the ‘Prinsentuin’, which was once a royal park. To recap: the museum is called the ‘Princess’s court‘ and the park is the ‘Prince’s garden‘. As I work for the museum (and the Fries Museum) as a volunteer 3 days a week, I was asked to help out with this year’s Princess Day. I coordinated the programme on the day itself. Not a minor task! Let me walk you through it.
A colleague and I arrived at the museum at 10:30 to start with some preparations. Around 11:00 the volunteers started arriving. Four scouts came to help put up the decorations: 100 lanterns to match the Chinese theme of this Princess Day, based on the museum’s current exhibition ‘The Mystery of Ming‘. Another handful of people came to host the different workshops for the kids. The rest of the volunteers formed the royal court, headed by the Princess. Everyone was in costume of course!
In the park, about 75 children started arriving around 13:00. At 13:30 the programme started, which included dancing performances, singing, workshops, and a costume contest, for which 3 judges were appointed. The weather was a bit chilly when the sun wasn’t there, but there was no rain and that was all we asked for! At 15:00 there was lemonade with a cookie. Around 15:30 the winners of the costume contest were appointed. One prince and four princesses received a prize. The programme ended at 16:00, when all the children received a small Chinese present from the ‘royal court’.
The day was over for the children, but for the rest of us a new, daunting task arrived: cleaning everything up in 45 minutes! Thanks to my superb coordinating (wink wink, nudge nudge), we managed perfectly. At 17:00 we looked back at another great edition of Princess Day!