Flag day

On June 16th there will be held a traditional “Flag Day” or, as it is also called, “Herring Festival” in Scheveningen. Why herring and flags? It’s very easy: on this day the harbor of this small town on the Northern Sea coast is decorated with multicolored flags. But all the festival-goers gather here only for one thing – the first herring catch of the new season.

They start to prepare the herring for the festival already early in the week: the fish is gutted in a special way, salted, spiced and placed in barrels to have it well soused by Saturday.
In accordance with tradition, the first barrel of the choicest herring will be delivered to the Royal Family. The second one will be auctioned off. Interestingly, a few years ago one fish lover dropped 30 thousand euros on such a barrel. All this money was given to charity.

All the remaining fish is for the visitors of the festival and banquets. Next to the fresh and tender herring, Flag Day is usually remembered by numerous orchestra concerts, horseback riding competitions right on the quays and shooting from old rifles. Scheveningen harbor will be a riot of colour with ancient sailing boats and modern ships.

By the way, the Dutch advice to eat the first herring catch of the new season with fresh onion, brown bread and to wash it all down with an abundance of beer.