“Vlaggetjesdag” (Flag Day) is an annual celebration welcoming the arrival of the first young herring of the season to the port of Scheveningen and Vlaardingen.
The name comes from the little flags decorating the fishing boats this day.
Hollandse Nieuwe (New Holland) is the name given by Dutch people to the herring fished with traditional techniques between May and July which has at least 16% fat, making it tastier.
In Scheveningen the first barrel with herring is sold at auction, public and traditional, and the price of which reaches very high sums of money that are usually donated for charity. In the past the first barrel of herring was given away to the prince, hence the name “Real Herring” as commonly these first herring of the season is known. Nowadays the captain of the first ship to bring to land herring has the privilege of giving himself a box with herring to the king.
Hundreds of thousands of people gather in Scheveningen for the festivities, many wearing traditional costumes, where there are spectacular demonstrations by rescue teams, the Royal Navy, modern and classic boats, music performances with famous bands, recognised chefs cooking their specialties, fishermen showing their craft traditions and many other activities for all the family, such as old Dutch children’s games and tour boats.
I was not able to attend this year, 8 June 2013, but I hope not to miss it next year, 14 June 2014 :D.