The Dutch have been celebrating Queen’s Day on 30 April since 1949. Starting in this year, we will be celebrating King’s Day on April 26.
‘Koningdag’ as it is called in Dutch, is celebrated yearly. It is the King’s official birthday and is celebrated each year with parties, street markets, concerts and special events for the royal family . So, every year on the official birthday of King Alexander on April 27 (or 26 if 27 is a Sunday), the whole of the Netherlands goes wild!!! The Flags are put up, all companies and stores, the government offices are closed and people are literally in the streets celebrating. On this day the Dutch are more than proud to wear their Orange outfits, completed with funny Orange accessories.
King’s Day is an official public holiday in the Netherlands. Opening hours in stores vary. Some stores are open as usual, some are open for part of the day, and some are closed all day. Public transport runs to a normal or special timetable and there are extra train services to take people home from large celebrations. However, buses and trams in the centre of large cities may have different or shortened routes to avoid the crowds. Restaurants may be shut, open as usual or only serving special “King’s Day” meals. Cafes and restaurants may close earlier than usual.
King Alexander and Queen Maxima and part of the Royal Family will visit the Province of North Holland and visit the municipalities De Rijp and Amstelveen this year. Celebrations usually start the evening before, especially in Den Haag. Actually, the celebration of ‘Koningnach’, the night before King’s Day, can be bigger than the actual festivities during the King’s day. You can also expect an early start of the celebrations in Amsterdam, but most people save their energy for the next day, the celebration of the year!!! Every city and town has its own celebrations. Markets and Fun Fairs are set up throughout the whole country.
But of course the celebration is really big in the capital Amsterdam, the whole centre of Amsterdam will be closed off for the festivities. Radio stations are setting up grand Podia, staging performances of national and international artists on the ‘Museumplein’, ‘Leidseplein’ and ‘Rembrandtplein’. Every café and bar has an additional stand outside, where they serve all kinds of food and beverages. Everywhere is dancing and you will hear different music in every street. The Amsterdam canals are filled with private boats of all sizes, shapes and colourfully decorated.
Only on King’s day, people are allowed to sell all kinds of things in the street. Most cities have their own specific locations, where it is possible between 06.00 and 20.00 hours to sell anything you feel like selling. Old toys and homemade hamburgers or beverages, this is the only day a year when everybody is allowed to sell anything they want and where they want. Of course this is also the case in Amsterdam, there are also special areas reserved for children to sell their old goods, especially the ‘Vondelpark’ has a good variety of children’s activities.
We hope you will enjoy it!