King’s Day – a city-wide royal celebration

April 12, 2019

The 27th of April marks a very special day in the Dutch calendar – Koningsdag, also known as King’s Day, which is a countrywide celebration of King Willem-Alexander’s Birthday. As this day is a national holiday within The Netherlands, everyone dons the customary orange party gear and heads out for a day of festivities. Travelling to Amsterdam by ferry makes for a brilliant getaway for anyone looking for an exciting city break, so we’ve listed some of the highlights that might pique your interest.


Street sales

Stalls up and down the city, in parks and along the streets (provided it doesn’t inconvenience any one), form up the annual vrijmarkt – ‘free market’ – where anyone can set up shop to sell bits and bobs to passing partygoers. There isn’t any permit required, so there’s a whole range of vendors who can have an eclectic range of bargains on offer to anyone willing to haggle with them. Typically, the vrijmarkt within the Jordaan quarter has been the most popular within the city, but the Apollolaan on Amsterdam’s south side has seen a steady rise in recent years, so it’s well worth checking both out if you’re looking for something unique to take home.


Young entrepreneurs

A key part of King’s Day for the younger crowd is the Vondelpark, which showcases a heart-warming enterprise set up by the Dutch children of Amsterdam. Stalls are set up similarly to that of the vrijmarkt and  are entirely reserved for kids who want to sell off their old toys and outgrown clothes as well as putting on small street performances. Aside from the sales going on, you’ll find stalls with games to try your hand at and fun activities to tempt you to spend even more time there.


Dancing the night away

If you’re more in the mood to move to some music and be part of a more active crowd, then look to one of the many music festivals around the outskirts of Amsterdam to get your dancing on. Kingsland Festival and Loveland van Oranje prove popular time and time again, treating the iconic orange-clad partygoers to some major dance music acts and DJs. While they do take you out of the hustle and bustle of the city centre where the lively street parties are, this option is perfect for those who are more musically inclined and want to party all through King’s Day long into the night.


Take to the water

River cruises and boat parties are a staple of Amsterdam celebrations, being a leisurely way of getting around the city while soaking up the atmosphere. Things can get hectic on the canals once things pick up, but the upside of this is the fantastic floating party that forms throughout the city as rival sound systems compete for musical superiority. If you fancy going further out, then a party cruise out to sea and back could be a great option if you’d prefer a private DJ set from some of the city’s best artists.


King’s Day is the perfect time to capture Amsterdam at its most energetic, bringing almost a million people from all over to the Dutch capital to be part of Europe’s biggest street party. Booking any travel and accommodation early is essential to ensure you don’t miss out on this distinctly orange occasion.

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