Celebrating Kingsday

Every country has its own national holiday(s). In the Netherlands, we have King’s Day, or in Dutch: Koningsdag. It is a big celebration and the whole country joins. If you’re an international, it’s quite an experience. If you also want to celebrate Koningsdag (which you should!), read this article to be prepared.

What is Koningsdag?

On Koningsdag, we celebrate the king’s birthday. It is an official holiday, so even people who’re not a fan of the royal family (or monarchy in general) are happy with it. It usually takes place in the end of April (on the 27th). But this has not always been that way, as up until 2013, before Willem Alexander became the king, we celebrated his mother’s birthday (Queen’s Day or Koninginnedag), on April 30. A little fun fact: her birthday was actually in January, but since the weather is better in April, she decided to keep the holiday in April, on her mother’s birthday. Still following?

In the years after the change from the 30th to the 27th, a lot of tourists who wanted to celebrate this national holiday with us, came to the Netherlands on the wrong day. Maybe you’ll see one of them this year! Just look for someone who looks a little lost and is dressed in orange clothes.

How to celebrate Koningsdag?

King Willem Alexander and his wife and kids always visit another Dutch city on Koningsdag. This year, they’ll visit Groningen. Luckily, the celebrations spread out over the whole country, so you won’t have to go that far. But how do the Dutchies actually celebrate this national holiday? There are a few different ways and traditions. One of them is flea markets! Mostly kids, but also adults, organise flea markets. They sell mainly small things, like toys or books they don’t use anymore. Another way to celebrate Koningsdag is by going to a party or festival. This already starts the night before, which is called Koningsnacht (King’s Night). During the day, there are festivals in most of the big cities in the Netherlands and a lot of bars host a party. You often have to buy a ticket to get in, but it’s definitely worth it!

If you decide to celebrate Koningsdag just like the Dutch people, you’ll have to make sure you follow the dress code to fit in. Luckily, this is quite easy: just wear orange! Orange is our national colour, so everyone will be wearing something in this colour. A lot of people also paint little Dutch flags on their faces.

Now you know enough to celebrate Koningsdag with the Dutchies. Buy yourself some orange clothing and join the fun!

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