This year mark’s the first King’s day (Koningsdag) in the Netherlands’ – now taking the place of what was the annual Queen’s day, which, celebrated since 1885 on the 31st of August and later on the 30th April to coincide with the appropriate monarch’s birthday, is a nationwide celebration of the King’s or Queen’s birthday. This year the celebrations will be held on Saturday the 26th of April and will see the people of Amsterdam head to the streets, the canals, the parks and everywhere in-between to help Amsterdam become a giant party of colour, alcohol and flamboyance.
There’s an awful lot that happens during King’s day – not just merriment, there’s also a free market or vrijmarkt, which give everyone the opportunity to head to the streets of the city to sell their wares – expect second hand goods and homemade foods to take centre stage. The celebrations that last the entire night are of course the main event – with all night club nights, gigs and street celebrations. Perhaps the best place to head is to one of Amsterdam’s canals where you’ll find literally thousands of brightly decorated boats all packed into the narrow waters with streams of revellers dancing and drinking in celebration. Even the bridges are packed out on King’s Day – head to one to watch the boats slowly bustle by and join in the fun.
One thing you’ll notice when you’re there is the vast armies of orange-wearing people. Orange is of course the national colour and Amsterdammers don’t mind donning it when the occasion presents itself. You’ll find plenty of markets in the city selling costumes and orange Amsterdam t-shirts – in particular around Waterlooplein and Vondelpark, just incase you find your wardrobe is bereft of the right colours. If you want to experience one of the huge concerts in the city then head to Museumplein or Rembrandtplein, though if you want something a little more chilled out, then head to the urban oasis of Vondelpark or to one of the (few) open museums which often put on special events.
King’s day isn’t limited to Amsterdam of course – just head to any of Holland’s city such as Rotterdam or Utrecht and you are sure to find a party as well as lots and lots of orange.