I hope orange is your color, because Holland is getting ready for one of the most popular Dutch festivities of the year: King’s Day!!!
On the 27th of April the country turns orange and everyone goes out to celebrate the birthday of our king, Willem-Alexander. Before Willem-Alexander became king, this national holiday was known as Queen’s Day (April 30), celebrating the birthday of his dear mother Beatrix. Her actual birthday was on January 31st, but as you may know that is not the best day for an outdoor party in the Netherlands so she decided to celebrate it on her mother’s birthday instead.
King’s Day is celebrated by means of music shows, flea markets, fairs and parties all around. Our very own Utrecht is home to the biggest flea market in Holland. The streets of Amsterdam color orange, turning the city into the country’s biggest orange party town. No matter where you go, you will find yourself surrounded by music, games, dancing crowds and drinks to the king’s health.
And not just you, but also the Dutch royal family passes by one or more cities to join in on the party and enjoy a day of entertainment. Beatrix started this tradition when she became queen. Instead of letting the people come to her palace in Soestdijk to lay down flowers, she joined them on the streets where she would be treated with traditional songs and dances and many other folklore activities. King Willem-Alexander eagerly continues this tradition. The location of the Royal family’s visit this year is still a secret; keep an eye out on the news if you want to get a glimpse of them during this special day.
You may feel a bit lost in all this chaos of nation wide celebrations. Therefore, I have created a King’s Day 2015 To Do List to make your King’s Day experience worthwhile:
- The King’s Day party already starts the night before, during King’s Night. The Hague is famous for its nightly entertainment and is definitely worth a visit. There will also be many King’s Night parties in Utrecht and Amsterdam, make sure to get tickets if needed!!
- Dress up in Orange. The crazier the better.
- Learn the Dutch anthem, or ‘Het Wilhelmus’. You will be hearing this a lot during King’s Day and wouldn’t it be great if you could mumble along?!
- Drink a glass of Oranjebitter. This special beverage is created from an Orange liqueur that goes way back to the time of the Prince of Orange; Frederick Henry.
- Buy something cute on one of the flea markets to remember this special day. Bring change!
- Get on someone’s boat on the canal and enjoy the orange craziness from your spot on the water.
And most of all enjoy!! You will never feel as Dutch as you will on King’s Day, and you better make the most of it!