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Celebrate King’s Day like a Local

How to paint the town orange like a local!

See the whole Netherlands party for the annual celebration of the King´s Birthday in Holland. Taking place on 27th April each year (previously Queen´s Day on 30th April), the Dutch celebrate with exuberance with an all-out orange celebration in the streets, canals, parks and various festivals around the country.

The annual festivities traditionally see live music events organised, street parties, boat canal parties, free markets and lots of carnival spirit. It´s an occasion that is fun for everyone and an excuse to get your costume together for kids or late night revellers at the big music festivals. And dance on the roof of a boat!

What to Expect from King´s Day

Formerly ´Queen´s Day´, the current monarch is King Willem-Alexander, so Koningsdag, as it´s known to the Dutch, is a rather special birthday party which the nation celebrates together. And being Dutch, the locals invite visitors to join in the party and celebrate Dutch style! The biggest live music events, such as outdoor concerts and festivals, take place in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and the night before King´s Day (King´s Night!) has become known as one of the biggest party nights of the year. Make sure you pace yourself to be ready for the next day´s festivities because there will be lots to see and do!

One of the highlights for tourists is seeing all the brightly painted boats partying down the canals – if you´re lucky enough to get invited to one of these then careful not to fall in! You also have to follow the right directions or there are traffic jams at every bridge….

Vrije markts – shopping in the free markets

Along with wearing orange (a tradition that tips a hat to the Dutch Royal family´s House of Orange-Nassau) and getting your drinks bought before the shops run out, it´s also a great time to buy some treats from the markets taking place all through the streets.

This is the only day when it´s allowed to street-sell your things on the streets, and creates a city-wide street market through the main cities – great for picking up some bargains and interesting flea market items. Expect to haggle and have some fun as you browse the biggest Vrije markts (free-markets) in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague.

For what’s on in 2018

Rotterdam this year sees a whole host of live music events with the Oranjebitter music stage at Het Park (at the Euromast) celebrating it´s 10th birthday with a massive musical line up on the main stage and a funfair to enjoy. There´s also Code Orange street party in the center for those who like a carnival atmosphere (tickets needed) and the Kralinsge Bos Festival where six stages pump out music all night in the nearby forest! For something a bit different there´s a Royal Rollerdisco which is family friendly or you can watch the bicycle parade in Prinsenpark.

Amsterdam is known for the biggest street market, which actually becomes one of the biggest in the world, and the most canal parties – with a traditional boat parade on Prinsengracht Canal – get your dance shoes on! Each year over a million visitors flood in to take part in the extravaganza, with plenty arriving for the King´s Night parties in the many clubs around town.

For the Kids Market head to Vondelpark where there are plenty of activities, for folk singers and a lively free market head to Jordaan. The biggest LGTB parties take place on Westermarkt around the gay clubs and the biggest market is in Amsterdam Zuid. For open air music concerts head to Museumplein for some music and chilling out.

Wherever you go in the Netherlands for King´s Day you´re sure to have an awesome time – just make like a local and wear some orange!

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