different date but the same great party! King’s Day, or Koningsdag in Dutch, is
a major yearly event every April when hundreds of thousands of people take to
the streets of Amsterdam donning their best orange
outfits to celebrate the
birth of the Dutch King. If you are booking a short stay in Amsterdam for
King’s Day then you are in for a lot of fun.
Save the date: in 2013 it’s April 30 and from
2014 it’s April 27 for Amsterdam’s biggest festival celebrating the birth of
Dutch royalty. Street parties, special events, flea markets and all kinds of
professional and amateur performances are on the cards on this magnificently mad
day. In 2013 this is an extra special event as we celebrate the last ever
Queen’s Day which will be held on April 30 as Queen Beatrix hands the throne
over to her son Willem-Alexander meaning that from 2014 we start celebrating
King’s Day. The official King’s Day celebrations will take place on King
Willem-Alexander’s birthday which is April 27. However, the celebration does
not traditionally take place on a Sunday and since in 2014 this date falls on a
Sunday the first King’s day will be on Saturday 26th of April.
Join the party
This is the day when you can paint the town
orange, the national colour of the Netherlands, by donning your best orange outfits,
hats, crowns or frills, or even painting your hair, and join in with the
festivities to mark this special yearly event. If you’ve been before you’ll
know what to expect, and then plus some, but if this will be your first time in
Amsterdam for King’s Day then prepare to be gobsmacked when you see hordes of
people in the streets of central Amsterdam.
Every year various events and flea markets are
held throughout the city where people from all walks of life are there enjoying
the party and keeping the King’s Day spirit alive. Amsterdammers, tourists from
all over the world and Dutch men, women and children from all over the country
gather to walk the streets stopping at all the key locations where there are
organised events , partying and drinking in the bars, watching street
entertainment, browsing the market stalls and drinking and partying at the
outdoor pop-up bars with DJ’s and live music. Main Dutch radio stations such as
SLAM!FM are there too as well as popular national singers and bands representing
many popular music genres.
One of the best
Amsterdam’s famous canals with boats after boats of people partying, drinking,
eating or just cruising the canals in bright orange outfits with music blasting
through the stereos or even DJ’s spinning tracks. One of the funniest and most
random performances that we have seen is egg throwing where you pay an
insignificant amount to aim an egg at a willing individual who is absolutely
covered in egg, which on a hot day is literally cooking on them. This is all
done just for entertainment value and it always gets big crowds having a laugh.
For a breath-taking site head to Dam
square which is home to a fair ground each year and the Ferris wheel from which
you can get a fantastic birds-eye view of the masses walking the streets and if
you take your camera with you your loved ones back home will be pretty
impressed with it too, just don’t drop it!
In 2013 however Dam Square will not be hosting
a fair ground as the
inauguration of the
new king and queen will be taking place at the Royal Palace and New Church
which are both on Dam Square. This ceremony will begin at 10 AM at the Royal
Palace with the abdication of Queen Beatrix and a royal family balcony
appearance at 10.30 AM. The inauguration of King Willem-Alexander will take place
at the New Church at 2 PM.
There are other events
organised especially because of the Royal presence:
Orange Square at the
big square in Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter will be the place for crowds to gather
to watch the ceremony on the large screens that will be erected specially for the
occasion. In the evening there will be a King’s Dance where a varied programme
is planned to incorporate art and culture for all.
Royal Boat Parade
along the IJ:
the inauguration the royal couple, joined by other boats, will set sail from
the EYE Film Institute Netherlands at approximately 7.30 PM. The boat parade
will travel past the Oeverpark to the Kop van Java and conclude at Muziekgebouw
aan ‘t IJ with a ceremonial salute at 9.30 PM. A unique programme or art,
culture and sport is planned at various locations along the parade route.
King’s Day events:
There are many yearly events
organised throughout the city and below is a list of some of the regulars.
King’s Day Festival at the Olympic Stadium
featuring a great line-up of musicians.
Loveland at Oosterpark with a big line-up of
DJ’s playing the best in a range of music genres.
NDSM Vrijhaven event at NDSM Wharf by the IJ with
live music, art, theatre, a kid’s street market, karaoke, a ferry party and
food. This is a fun for all ages event.
SLAM!FM radio concert – check for location
before you go as they used to perform at Rembrandt Square but have also started
performing on Java-eiland.
Live music on Leidseplein and Max Euweplein
A number of music stages around the Amsterdam
Fair ground at Dam Square
in Dutch, is a flea market and one of the most loved aspects of King’s Day,
especially by the locals. From as early as 6 AM people are setting up their
‘stalls’ all over the city, lining up their once most loved possessions to sell
at usually very low prices. You will find all that is expected at a flea market:
clothing, toys, furniture, vases, crockery and your general bric-a-brac. There
are however many items to be impressed by, some even new or barely used but
incredibly cheap. Get practicing with your haggling skills for an even more
impressive bargain. The most popular free market is at Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s
largest and most famous city park. Another popular free market area is the
Jordaan district which is in central Amsterdam. The name
free market is given because this is the only day that the Dutch
government permits sales on the street without a permit or having to pay tax on
Because the Dutch love a good party the
celebrations start the night before and go until early hours of King’s Day. Amsterdam’s
clubs organise special nights for this occasion, DJ’s get the party going on
public squares, boats already start filling the canals and even cafes are
jam-packed with action. Some of the regular events include: concerts at
Concertgebouw at Museumplein; the Rotzooi event in the Westergasfabriek grounds
at Westerpark; party at Panama night club in the Eastern Docklands area; and
the Bezet! Event at Club 8 in Amsterdam West.
Vondelpark is generally more of a family area
on King’s Day where many kids enjoy setting up stall to make their first
earnings selling old toys and clothes or helping mum and dad out with their
sales. There are fun street performances taking place and activities such as
dancing, juggling and busking. The park is generally a quiet part of the city
during the celebrations and overall a great place for families to enjoy the
festivities. There are also other activities dotted around the city,
particularly in the parks, such as face-painting, games and sports.
Gay and Lesbian
Amsterdam’s LGBT community is as crazy for
King’s Day as is everyone else. The events attract visitors from all over the
world all sporting their best orange, and many pink, outfits for the occasion. There
are regular events held in specific areas and bars. One of the most popular
locations is on Reguliersdwarsstrat which runs East from Rembrandt Square and
holds a fun street party with the many gay-friendly bars taking part. Other fun
packed areas include Westermarkt, Warmoesstraat, Zeedijk and along Amstel River
between Muntplein and Waterlooplein. A number of clubs and bars are involved
too, including the biggest gay event called Rapido which is usually held at Paradiso
and the Bear Necessity Gay event which in the past has been held at Odeon.
If your short stay in Amsterdam falls on King’s
Day, whether planned or not, there are some things you need to keep in mind
during your leisure or business stay:
will be restricted and scheduled
differently on the day so if you plan on using public transport look up
information on your route in advance.
are allowed in central Amsterdam to
allow for street entertainment and free movement of the crowds. If you are in
Amsterdam with a car and do not plan on staying for King’s Day then it is best
to leave the city as early as possible by around 8 AM latest before crowds
gather and leaving the city becomes impossible.
shoes; you will be doing a lot of walking!
on the streets is allowed on King’s
Day but you are not allowed to carry more than one drink at a time.
: most outdoor parties and concerts
start around midday. Note: the outdoor events usually finish by 8 PM.
The main crowded areas
are not suitable for children
so if you are on a short stay with family then stick to the residential
areas around Vondelpark for a more fun experience with your children.
If you plan on visiting the
major paid-for events such as the night
clubs then it is advisable to
advance as tickets are likely to be sold out on the day.
Choosing a suitable apartment
location for your short stay
If you are the life of the party and you want to
be in the heart of all the festivities on King’s Day then you will enjoy
staying in our apartments around Dam Square, Central Station, the Jordaan
district, the Red Light District, the southern part of the Canal Belt between
Leidseplein and Rembrandt Square and in De Pijp. However, if you prefer a
quieter part of Amsterdam during this yearly celebration then you could
consider the apartments in the Plantage district, Dapperbuurt neighbourhood,
the Old West and in the residential part around Vondelpark, or even a little
further out in the Rijnbuurt area and by Amsteldijk Noord.