Visiting Amsterdam on King’s Day

April 19, 2016

Every year in Holland, the country celebrates either King or Queen’s Day on the birthday of the current monarch. At the moment, King’s Day is celebrated each year on 27 April, the birthday of King Willem-Alexander.

The day is known as one of the biggest, most colourful and exciting celebrations in Holland, with huge events and parties all around the country to celebrate. So what better time to pay a visit to Amsterdam than King’s Day, when it’s not just the tourists who are there to party? Be sure not to miss 26 April, or King’s Night, when the parties actually begin.

Between 600,000 and a million people descend on Amsterdam each year for King’s Day, all dressed in orange and squeezing themselves into every single street corner, café, bar, canal-side, or wherever there is space. The city gets incredibly busy, but this just adds to the festive atmosphere, and once you get into the street markets, selling everything from bric-a-brac to wonderful tompouce topped with orange icing, you’ll understand the appeal of this special, one-off day.

As well as the street vendors, on King’s Day you’ll also see party boats, packed out with orange-clad revellers, cruising up and down the city’s famous canals. Watch them from one of Amsterdam’s 1,500 bridges, or hop onboard yourself. Be warned, most boats don’t have a toilet, so look out for one of the moored plasboots (literally pee-boats) should nature call…

One of the biggest events to celebrate King’s Day is Nassau Festival, which sees some of the biggest names in house and techno from Holland perform at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. Dance music is of special importance in Holland, and especially in Amsterdam, so it’s no surprise to see that this is one of the most consistently popular parties on the day.

A few days before King’s Day is the King’s Games, which sees children of primary school age compete in sporting events all over Holland. The day begins with a healthy and festive breakfast, and the importance of drinking enough water is pushed throughout the whole day too. Each school is free to decide what format the King’s Games will take.

Kids can also get involved in the street market fun, as Dutch children set up stalls in Vondelpark to sell the toys and clothes that they’ve grown out of over the past year. This means that the park is a great place to pick up gifts for your little ones, as well as enjoying one of Amsterdam’s largest green spaces.

Be sure to walk everywhere on King’s Day, as public transport will obviously be affected by the crowds and getting around the city by car is almost impossible. That being said, there’s so much going on all over the city that you’ll not be short of things to do near you!

So pull on your orange and get in the party mood, as locals and tourists alike celebrate Holland’s favourite national holiday!

Comments are closed