Being the most highly celebrated holiday in the Netherlands, King’s Day holds a special place in the hearts of the people.
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While there are other monarchies throughout Europe, few put on such wonderfully celebrated festivities as the Dutch with one expressed purpose: to rejoice with the reigning monarch, and emphasise how important he or she is to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is no stranger to historical prominence on the world scene. Dutch merchants, agriculturalists, mariners, philosophers and genius artists such as Rembrandt and the school of the Dutch Masters among many, have been known through the centuries for their unique contributions in various spheres of influence and culture.
Today, the country celebrates its place among the nations as they joyously celebrate their ruling monarch on King’s Day. When Queen Beatrix abdicated in favour of her son, Willem-Alexander in 2013, “Queen’s Day” became “King’s Day” which is celebrated on the King’s birthday on April 27th of each year.
Cultural Events And Festivities: A Celebration of Life and The House of Orange
King’s Day, or “Koningsdag,” is an ongoing festival throughout the entire nation, major cities or small towns. No place is left out as the Royal Family, being members of the House of Orange, visits as many of their beloved subjects as they can. However, this day is also about a people’s love for their ruling monarch.
Whether it is in their capital city of Amsterdam or throughout the realm in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands put on the “Orange,” and take it to the hilt.
Whether it’s wearing the colour of orange, drinking the national drink known as “Oranjebitter” or even dying their hair an orange colour, there is no mistaking that the House of Orange is remembered fondly by the people. Stemming from a military victory in 1620 by then Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, people today join in festivities across the nation.
- Street Parties
As the world’s most festive street party, and the number one destination point of the Netherlands during King’s Day, more than a million people visit with 750,000 locals each year. This day is not to be underestimated in importance as DJ and artist-driven events have had to move to the outskirts of the city.
Actually, in Amsterdam, everything really gets underway the night before King’s Day around midnight. The Jordaan, Wallen and Nieuwmarkt squares are full of cafes, bakeries and beverages, especially oranjebitter, and you’ll find the most exuberant parties going on at these places.
- The Vondelpark
Whatever a visitor sees on King’s Day, a visit to the Vondelpark must be among the highest set priorities as one can hear the laughter of children beginning in the early morning hours. That being said, this is also a day for the children of Amsterdam as they gather in large numbers to publicly sell old toys, games and perform musical numbers for visitors.
Other Attractions and Events in Haarlem, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht
Other large cities, and smaller ones too, have their share in celebrating King’s Day. If you can’t be in Amsterdam, you’ll not come up short if you find yourself in these other major places of destination such as Haarlem, Rotterdam and other famous cities.
In Utrecht, you’ll find flea markets galore being held throughout the city with brightly decorated boats sailing through the winding canals. At The Hague, magnificent musical concerts resound through the halls of the historical seat of government in the Netherlands.
To make your King’s Day complete, every city and townships have their own spectacular fairs with plenty of wild fun rides, mini pancakes, or “poffertjes” and “suikerspinnen” known as sugar spiders or candy floss.