Note to Outlook: Koninginnedag isn't the reigning Queen's Birthday

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/05/05 10:01 -04:00, original URI:

The other day in Was last night Walpurgis [Night|Eve] or May Day Eve?, I showed the following picture of my Outlook calendar:

and specifically mentioned how I was going to have us leave the Queen aside for the moment.

Reader Bart Samwel commented on the mess here that I was momentarily not stepping in here:

Still, the Queen's Birthday is not correct either. The official name of the holiday is "Koninginnedag", which means "Queen's Day", nothing more. And it's actually not the current queen's birthday, because the current queen was born on January 31st. It is the *previous* queen's birthday though. It was probably retained on April 30 because January 31 is not really a good time to hold flea markets, and run around the streets all night partying. (It will become really interesting when the crown prince Willem Alexander takes over. His birthday is pretty early in the year as well, so it'll probably stay on the same day, but be called "King's Day" or something.)

Interestingly, Queen's Day is also renowned for Queen's Night (which Outlook would probably describe as Queen's Day's Eve :-) ), which is a whole night of outside partying, with open-air concerts and the whole shebang. Does Outlook show that one as well?

Bart is 100% right here -- the holiday is Koninginnedag -- Queen's Day.

It was indeed held on the actual birthday of Queen Juliana, but when her daughter (Queen Beatrix) ascended to the throne the day was kept the same, for several good reason such as the ones Bart points out, and officially it was kept unchanged as a tribute to her mother (ref: here, in Dutch if you can read the gist, I got that from the Wikipedia article!).

Since this all happened back in 1980 on Queen Juliana's birthday (and thus the last time that Koninginnedag was the reigning Queen's birthday), before Outlook or indeed even any currently supported version of Windows or Office or Outlook existed, I can't think of any good reason for it to be called Queen's Birthday anymore, really.

Therefore, unlike the Sovereignty Day/Montenegro/Yugoslavia debacle I mentioned previously, and quite like like 80's commercial with schoolchildren being asked how the filling got in the Twinkie, this problem was just born there in Outlook....

Though it is my hope that the Dutch localized version of Office addresses this problem and calls it Koninginnedag as it should, although the localization story for holidays in Outlook has had a not always impressive face historically. So it is fervent hope with minimal optimism. :-)


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Mick on 5 May 2008 9:57 PM:

In most parts of Australia we celebrate the Queen's birthday with a public holiday on the second Monday of June despite the fact that ol' 'Lizzie was born on the 21st April. This is doubly confusing as Western Australia celebrates on a totally different day.

This is also the case in the UK: the Queen's birthday celebrations are on a Saturday in June.

As with everything there is a Wikipedia article on the topic (in relation to this monarchy, anyway - I imagine there is a similar article for the Dutch) here:'s_Official_Birthday

John Cowan on 5 May 2008 11:40 PM:

Indeed, the Queen's Birthday is celebrated in Fiji (according to WP), which doesn't even have a queen.

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 May 2008 1:19 AM:

I think of it like I would Presidents' Day in the US (third Monday in February) -- if the day took the names of specific presidents (like I think it still does in some states), I would consider that an error in Outlook's holiday list.

Of course Outlook seems much less likely to make these kinds of mistakes in the US. :-)

Bob on 6 May 2008 2:40 AM:

The name is correct in the dutch version (as far as I could find on the internet), more interesting is that this error did not make it to the list with known errors (

Maybe they are waiting for a change until her son takes over. His birthday is not early in the year but only a few days before the current holiday (April 27), but it is unlikely that the date of the national holiday is changed.

I do expect that the name will change at that time, or a new day will be added (please JP:-) we need it) because we have a king and a queen.

Michiel on 8 May 2008 3:46 AM:

One of the less-mentioned reasons to keep it at April 30th is to piss off the socialists. May 1st is International Workers' Day, but 2 official holidays in a row would be "excessive".

(And I'd wonder if Outlook knows about the "not on Sunday" rule; if April 30th is a Sunday then Koninginnedag moves to the 29th)

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referenced by

2010/11/16 "Crap, I didn't start Schedule+", [some of] why I still don't love Outlook, and other nostalgias

2008/05/08 Support of Holi^h^h^^hDAZE, in Outlook (aka Situations when competition might help customers)

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