Orange clothing, hats, nails, balloons, boats; everything is orange in Amsterdam on King’s Day. Every year at 27 April (except when it is a Sunday), the whole of The Netherlands celebrates the birthday of our king Willem-Alexander. In the whole country there are outdoor flea markets and parties, and Amsterdam surely is no exception.
Of course you first want to know what King’s day entails and what its history is, before you embark on this orange adventure.
Since 31 August 1885 we celebrate Queen’s Day in The Netherlands. Then we celebrated the birthday of former queen Wilhelmina. In 1949 the date bank holiday was changed to 30 April, which is the birthday of our former queen Juliana. After the coronation of princess Beatrix the celebration kept being held on April 30. She was born on 31 January, and that date is still very cold to stand outside on the flea market and to play street games.
After king Willem-Alexander ascended the throne in 2013, now King’s Day is celebrated on 27 April, his birthday. Every year the king and his family visit a town or village in The Netherlands on his birthday to celebrate King’s Day with its inhabitants.
Back to King’s Day in Amsterdam.
Everywhere in town you can visit a flea market (in Dutch we call it vrijmarkt, which literally means free market). Many people sell their old stuff for a bit of extra money, but above all for the fun of all day long talking to people, of eating and drinking.
In Amsterdam there are many places for flea markets especially for children. For instance in the Vondelpark only children are allowed to set up shop and to sell their old clothes and toys, to palm off home baked cupcakes, entertain with their music skills, or to become rich while sleeping.
Even when you don’t need any stuff, it is always fun to saunter over the flea markets (believe me, it is so busy, it is only possible to saunter) and to see what people are selling, it is just like having a peak inside their lives.
When you’re done with strolling over the markets, you can go to one of the many street parties or at one of the many big dance parties at the edges of town (entrance ticket required). Actually the parties start the day before King’s Day during King’s Night. Yes, we love the king so much we do everything to celebrate his birthday extensively!
You can also celebrate your own party and rent a boat to sail over the canals. On the canals it’s the same as on the streets; take it slow, because it is just as busy. Take your own food and drinks and of course music. Dance and celebrate, and don’t forget to duck when you go under the bridge.
In short, King’s Day is certainly an event for which to visit Amsterdam. Book your room quickly and start planning the parties and street markets you want to visit.
And when you have enough from the crowds, visit one of the museums, because some of them are open!
You can also read our blog with 11 tips for celebrating King’s Day in Amsterdam.
P.S. Also check out this fun Infographic about King’s Day in Amsterdam.