The Best “Orange” Day in Amsterdam – King’s Day!
One of the coolest days of the year is coming to Amsterdam on 27 April, turning the city into a huge street party, causing orange madness and massive celebration. In case you’re still wondering why everybody is wearing orange or why 700 000 visitors come to Amsterdam on that one particular day (that’s almost the entire population of the city!), then it’s about time to learn more about crazy and fun King’s Day.
What is in name?
King’s Day (Koningsdag in Dutch) is an actual birthday of the current king of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander, which is celebrated by everybody and therefore, turned into a national holiday. Why not throw a whole country party for your birthday? Believe it or not, but King’s Day hasn’t been around for too long. The reason is simple-it was known as Queen’s Days for more than hundred years till 2013, as the Dutch throne belonged to the royal ladies then. The change of the name in 2014 didn’t affect the festive spirit, and the honor of the Dutch Royal Family and grand orange party prevailed.
So why orange?
The whole country turns orange on King’ Day out of patriotic feelings and pride for the Dutch monarch’s family. Orange is a national color of the Netherlands, as the House of Orange-Nassau has been ruling the country. So if you want to fit in, you’d better find an orange outfit or get some of those fun accessories: boa, hat, inflatable crown or fake plastic flowers to put around your neck, but all in orange! The whole city dresses up, including the streets, boats and dogs. Would you dare dressing up like a king? Consider the fact that you might actually see him, as the royal family comes to different cities for King’s Birthday.
Citywide fun (especially canals)
Why do you think there are thousands boats in Amsterdam? To party on them for Koningsdag! Just imagine all of them decorated and full of people, dancing, going crazy and enjoying the floating party! Just join the festive parade or watch it from the side, having a great time with the boat traffic and crowded canals (not too appreciated on any other days of the year).
The large scale celebration is not limited to the water, but to all the streets and corners of Amsterdam! And it’s not only about tons of concerts, festivals, different music and dance events, but about the citywide free market. Anybody can sell anything on the streets (as long as it’s legal of course!), without any taxes, regulations or explanations. As from the 6 am you can find just about any second hand items, home-made yummies, arts & crafts and more, more, more. Amsterdam becomes just one gigantic flea market, where bargaining is the right thing to do and the treasures can be found.
King’s Day is just like a day in paradise for children, as there are so many activities for them too. They try themselves as sellers, set up entertaining games (beware, they’ll charge you a few coins for participation!), get their face-painted and attend some small sports events. Most of the family fun takes place in Vondelpark.
Forget about museums on King’s Day- whole Amsterdam becomes a celebration museum, so embrace it and join the party. And don’t think about relying on public transport either-you will never forget your walk around the city on 27 April. For sure you will want to try some nice food, snacks or treats from street stalls, buy some old toys from kids or getting the best find for a few Euros, so prepare some coins and get cash from the ATM in advance (not a few hours in advance, but a few days-avoid wasting your time on King’s Day). Make sure to eat/drink something orange-it brings good luck and makes joyful memories. While coins are welcome, it’s better to avoid taking valuables with you. Big crowds attract pickpockets everywhere and Amsterdam is no exception. But most of all, have the best day in your life in Amsterdam!
Our next blog post will reveal the secrets of all King’s Day 2016 parties in Amsterdam and special things to do! And don’t forget about King’s Night, which is even more festive and fun!
This post is also available in: Dutch