The Netherlands marks the return of the famous herring festival in The Hague

After a three-year break, the Dutch festival of Vlaggetjesdag or Little Flags Day took place in Scheveningen on Saturday, bringing together more than 200,000 visitors to celebrate the departure of fishermen to bring in fresh herring.

The holiday, which is historically marked on the Saturday before Whitsuntide, was named after the fishing boats which would be decorated with small colorful flags as their captains tested their engines and adjusted their compasses before setting out to hunt for the delicacy. local.

The party, which was also held in the fishing towns of Ijmuiden and Vlaardingen, has over the years grown into a festival in its own right, with Scheveningen hosting a fair and an auction for the first barrel of herring.

Thilo is a German tourist and came to The Hague for the party, enjoying the popular fish as well as the music and the good weather.

“We’re from Germany and we’re on vacation and we heard about this festival here. So we come here,” he said.

“We’re taking advantage of it because it’s a sunny day and going out without a mask or anything is great. We’re taking advantage of it.”

Arthem, a fish market worker, explained why he thought the festival was so special.

“[It’s a] beautiful day and people are happy. We make them herring, fresh herring, and we give it to them so they can taste it. »

“And the fun is that a lot of people who come here have never tasted it and they like it. So we have a good day too,” he explained.

“Although most of this year’s activity took place on land, spectators were able to admire dozens of moored cutters and small fishing boats in the harbour.”

With visitors from all over the Netherlands and Germany, Vlaggetjesdag is as much a famous tourist event as it is a gastronomic experience.

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