King's Day (in Dutch: Koningsdag) is the national holiday in the Netherlands. The whole nation is celebrating the birth of King Willem-Alexander. In 2022 King's Day will be celebrated on Wednesday 27 April. The dress code = orange. Location = almost everywhere in the city.
During King's Day the entrepreneurial spirit from the Dutch people is becoming visible at the flea market. It's the day to sell your second hand furniture on the streets, make some music or arrange some kind of entertainment to earn some extra Euro's. It doesn't even really matter if you're talented or not.
We all know Easter, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, but if you want to join an amazing Dutch event, it's time for King's Day in Amsterdam. Join the massive street party and experience the orange madness in the city!
- King's Night
- King's Day
- Dress code
- Flea market
- The royal family
- Impression (videos)
- Museums open
For the early birds. The night before King's Day is King's Night (in Dutch: Koningsnacht). This is a good reason to toast with your friends. The possibilities for this are endless. There are many parties and events organised across the city to make this possible.
Bars and clubs could arrange small podia with music till 1:00 hour. Large-scale events are not allowed in the city centre. To relieve the crowds, they're moved from downtown Amsterdam. Late night bars are working according to weekend regulations on King's Night, meaning that they're open till 4:00 or 5:00 hour (depending on their licenses). There's a cooling off period between 5:00 and 9:00 hour. There are no bars open during this period to serve any kind of alcohol.
At King's Day you will basically have two options. Or you're going to buy a ticket for one of the large-scale music events that are organised outside of downtown Amsterdam.
Or you're joining the massive street party and walk with the crowds, check second hand furnitures and entertain yourself by watching other people. And if you like it, of course with a lot of relaxing or dancing and some beers in between. Needless to say that this is probably the best opportunity to experience the orange madness.
You're not the only one who's planning a trip during these days, so make sure you have booked on time. Don't wait till it's too late, book your room as soon as possible.
Take a few good beers with you, but just be aware that it's not really allowed to drink on the streets. There's probably not much enforcement here, but we're just giving a small warning to prevent that your precious beer will be confiscated and that you will get fined.
If you carry your own beer with you, put it in a plastic bag or so. The maximum allowed cans to have with you is just one single piece of a low-alcohol beverage, otherwise you'll be seen as a seller. There's a zero tolerance policy in the trains and on the stations, at those places there's no alcohol allowed at all.
We strongly recommend to buy some cans of beer (bottles of glass are forbidden) with a bag of ice cubes for cooling purposes on the day before King's Day. If you're trying to get it in the super market in the city center on the day itself, the beer is only sold on room temperature. There's a great chance that the buying quantity is limited per person and even worse, it could been sold out.
The alternative will be that you buy your liquid at the bars and pubs, but outside they're only allowed to serve beer with a lower alcohol percentage with an aqueous flavor.
The dress code is orange. Orange clothes or orange accessories. The more overwhelming, the better. Did I forgot anything? In fact any other weird orange stuff referring to the Dutch football team is also fine, as long as it's orange. It couldn't be much easier.
Despite it's the birthday of our king, it's maybe even more an opportunity to feel ourselves as one unity. King's Day is one of the few days that you can see more solidarity at the folks. You can compare it like the days before Christmas. The people are in a better mood, more relaxing and showing more compassion on King's Night and King's Day.
So, the dress code may be simple, but there's a beautiful story behind it.
The flea market was originally mentioned for children to earn some extra pocket money. Nowadays, the sellers are in the age of 2 to 100+ years old. The flea market starts on King's Day from 6:00 hour in the early morning and ends at 20:00 hour in the evening. Nevertheless it's possible that you'll see some early birds already start selling the night before.
At the Vondelpark, just outside the city centre, there's a flea market that's especially reserved for children. The flea market at the Vondelpark will be opened on King's Day at 9:00 hour. The park will be closed the day before on King's Night from 20:00 hour.
If you're visiting Amsterdam the days before King's Day, it's possible that you will see the text 'Bezet' chalked on the ground. This means 'occupied' and with this they're saying that this spot is reserved for them and noone else. Using this spot will probably means that you will get into an argument. Friendly, isn't it?
There are some places in the city centre, where you don't find a flea market, for example on Dam Square. It's simply not allowed to sell anything here, because it otherwise will getting too busy.
More than 800.000 people are living in the city. But during King's Day, the city is attracting a lot of day trippers from the Netherlands and abroad. If the weather conditions are fine, more than 700.000 people participating the biggest yearly street party in Amsterdam.
Around 50.000 people per hour could accessing the city via the railway station, if everything is smoothly organised. Therefore it can be a pretty crowded area here.
It shouldn't be any problem to welcome this number of people in the city on a normal day, but the challenge is that the crowd is concentrated on certain locations. Among other things the Leidseplein, Museumplein, Dam, Rembrandtplein and the canals of Amsterdam are beloved by the public.
During King's Day, it will be very busy on the canals of Amsterdam. That's for sure. Each possible floating boat is sailing through the canals. If it can sail, it will be used. It's the place where you want to be. As there will be plenty of boats sailing through the canals, there are some restrictions in order to organise the traffic as far as possible.
Long boats are forbidden on certain areas and some routes are temporary one-way traffic. And if you're ends up in a traffic jam, the only thing you can do is to stay calm. It has to end sometime.
It has started with the great-grandmother of King Willem-Alexander in 1885 with the first Day of the Princesses, the precursor of Queen's Day. To celebrate the 5th anniversary of princess Wilhelmina, the first Day of Princesses was organised on the 31 August 1885. With queen Juliana the celebration with the folks was on 30 April and queen Beatrix kept it on this date. She wasn't celebrating her own birthday on Queen's Day, but the birthday of her mother.
Queen's Day has been celebrated on 30 April since 1948, nevertheless King Willem-Alexander changed the date during his inauguration. Therefore the last Queen's Day was in 2013. Since 2014 it's called King's Day. The national holiday is now on the birthday of the king on 27 April and if this falls on a Sunday, it will be moved to Saturday.
The royal family
As the whole day is in the sign of King Willem-Alexander's birthday, we should definitely give you some more background information about our king and his family. We will give you a brief but royal summary, which could be pretty usefull for Dutch inhabitants too. Are you ready, here it comes:
Two days before her 75th birthday in January 2013, Queen Beatrix announced to give up her throne. After a career of exactly 33 years, she abdicated and passed the torch to the next in line. Her oldest son Willem-Alexander became King of the Netherlands on 30 April 2013.
Willem-Alexander, also known as Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg married Máxima Zorreguieta on 2 February 2002. They're having three kids:
- Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria (born on 7 December 2003, heir apparent)
- Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien (born 26 June 2005)
- Ariane Wilhelmina Máxima Inés (born 10 April 2007)
Reread this information a couple of times and you'll know more about the royal family than a typical Dutchman. It means, you're ready to join the orange madness.
Although there's probably no chance that you'll need to congratulate King Willem-Alexander personally on King's Day, it's good to know, that according to Dutch habits you should not only congratulate the birthday boy. If you want to be polite, you'll need to congratulate every person on the birthday party.
Regarding congratulating strangers on the streets, shaking hands one by one is probably a little bit too much. But the least thing you can do is congratulating your fellow travelers with the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. Act like a real Dutchman and congratulate the locals of Amsterdam too, by saying 'Gefeliciteerd met Zijne Majesteit de Koning Willem-Alexander'.
It might seem a little bit strange, but it's just a sort of saying hello and wishing someone happiness.
The royal family is visiting one or more cities on King's Day. They're walking along the public, waving and shaking hands, accepting flowers and join some festivities that are organised for them. In 2019 they will be visiting the city Amersfoort. The parties however are also everywhere else in the Netherlands. Watch the video below to get an impression of a regular King's Day in Amsterdam.
Most of the museums are closed as it's a national holiday in the Netherlands, however the following museums are still welcoming new visitors: Anne Frank House, Artis, Diamant Museum Amsterdam, Heineken Experience, House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience, Hortus Botanicus, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum.