5 May 2008


Part of a street in Utrecht has been marked with the words "occupied".

It is a remainder of the free market on Queens Day.

Queens Day is the biggest national holiday in the Netherlands.

The Dutch seize the opportunity to turn streets into a big bazaar to sell their old stuff.

It is like a garage sale the size of a city.

Now, in the Netherlands such public sales are usually prohibited.

This country takes regulations to a maddening level.

But... during the free market everybody is allowed to sell everything.

In this country the abstinence of rules is unthinkable.

Of course the Dutch have special rules for their free market.

  1. Thou shall not start your free market before 18:00 on Queens eve.
  2. Thou shall not claim any territory as your own with the purpose of exploiting commercial activities.
Any sane country would render such rules ridiculous.

Not the Dutch. They are serous about rules, so even a free market is restricted.

Policemen patrols, hunting for any violators before 18:00.

Sigh, will these Dutch never get tired of their own rules?

So, an occupied territory in a street of Utrecht... Oops, this has to be a violation.

A great idea for the next year's free market:

  1. Grab a bucket of orange paint, the Dutch Royal colour. Paint a piece of your street orange.
  2. Label your area "liberated" with white chalk.
  3. Explain to patrolling police men that "liberated" is exactly the opposite of "occupied".
  4. Do not use the liberated area to make money.
  5. During Queens Day the liberated area will be free of the free market.
  6. Any passers-by have a chance to recuperate in liberated area, before they venture back into the regulated free market.

Till next nut,

Congratulations Johan van den Boom with the year of freedom