When walking through the streets of Amsterdam, or even throughout The Netherlands during April, you simply can’t avoid the numerous flyers promoting ‘King’s Day’. You may also wonder as to why orange coloured sunglasses, scarves, hats, whistles, t-shirts and many other accessories dominate the majority of shops in Amsterdam’s busiest streets. Well, in fact it’s almost King’s Day and the Dutch always ensure to celebrate this national event to the fullest!
A tradition was born
The Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) tradition first began 129 years ago on 31 August 1885 with the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. When Wilhelmina’s daughter (Juliana) succeeded to the throne, this then changed to 30 April in accordance to her birthday. Next in succession was Beatrix, Queen Juliana’s daughter, who chose to retain the day in honor of her mother. This year is the first King’s Day and will be celebrated on 26 April – the day prior to the official birthday of the new King Willem-Alexander since this day is traditionally not celebrated on a Sunday.
Celebrate like a King!
King’s Night & Day parties: The celebration starts on the eve of the big day with King’s Night. DJ’s play at numerous parties on public squares, decorated boats fill the canals and live music is played on café patios.
King’s Day on the canals: The busiest day on the Amsterdam canals. Thousands of decorated boats with music and people dancing pack the narrow canals.
Free market (Vrijmarkt): No one loves to haggle and bargain more than Amsterdammers! During this popular city wide street sale, you will find children accompanied with their parents, the old as well as the young taking part by selling off their unwanted items, quickly turning this into one of the world’s largest flea markets.
With the family: Plenty of activities take place across the city including a range of games, face-painting and sports.
Happy King’s Day!