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King's Day in the Netherlands

The Netherlands' national holiday is known as King's Day, or Koningsdag, which is one of the most celebrated holidays amongst both locals and internationals living in the country. Celebrated on April 27 (April 26 if April 27 falls on a Sunday), the holiday commemorates the date of King Willem-Alexander's birth. As you probably already guessed, this date is not a fixed date, King’s day is always the current ruler’s birthday. Previously it was called Queen’s Day, Koninginnedag, celebrating the birthday of Queen Beatrix, which falls on the 30th of April. On April 30, 2013, Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother, Queen Beatrix as a monarch. So, from that day on, King’s Day became the new king’s birthday, April 27. The holiday was first celebrated as Prinsessedag, or Princess's Day, on August 31, 1885, and it commemorated the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, the presumed heir to the Dutch monarchy at the time. The festival was renamed Koninginnedag upon her ascension in November 1890, and it was observed for the first time on August 31, 1891. When Juliana, Wilhelmina's daughter, succeeded to the throne in September 1948, the celebration was shifted to April 30, Juliana's birthday. This date dates back to 1949, when the holiday was observed. Today, Koningsdag is celebrated by dressing up in orange, partying during King’s Night, going to fairs and flea markets, and attending festivals all over the country.

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Orange customs


Participants on Koningsdag typically wear orange attire or dye their hair orange. Orange-colored beverages are also well-liked. The Dutch Royal Family is represented by the color orange. Willem van Oranje, also referred to as William of Orange, is the ancestor of the present dynasty, which is called the House of Oranje-Nassau. Because of this ancestry, orange has come to represent the nation and inspire pride in it. This is also the reason why the Dutch national football team’s color is orange as well. This color selection is also known as "orange madness" or oranjegekte in the Dutch language. A few weeks prior to King’s Day, stores are getting filled up with tons of orange clothing and accessories. Everyone can find something fun to wear, whether it be a hat, sunglasses or even shoelaces.


King’s Night


The first phase of King’s Day is King’s Night, which is the night before King's Day. As the king’s birthday begins at midnight, the Dutch population already starts celebrating in the evening of the 26th of April. Live music is played in pubs and on the streets, while DJs spin records in clubs and restaurants in numerous locations. This pleasant and jovial evening for dancing and communal celebration in advance of the King's birthday. At midnight people say cheers with their drinks and wish a happy birthday to King Willem Alexander.




1.     Kingsland


Kingsland is the biggest King’s Day festival, taking place in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Groningen. The lineup for the Amsterdam location this year includes names like Martin Garrix, Antoon, Banzitters and many more. At the Rotterdam location, the main performers are Benny Rodrigues, Bilal Wahib, Bizzey, and lots of others. In Groningen the artists include And, Bram Krikke, Stefan & Sean, and BIIA. In Amsterdam, Kingsland opens doors at 12.00 and ends at 21.30, In Rotterdam doors open at 12.00 and close at 23.00, and in Groningen the festival begins at 13.00 and ends at midnight.


2.     Loveland van Oranje


Another edition of Loveland van Oranje will take place at the greenest location in Amsterdam, Meerpark on Radioweg 64. The line-up, as they say, consists only of royalty. Loveland van Oranje is back with cheerful tones that everyone can dance to. This event has 4 stages, Kingstage, Greenhouse, Hangar, and Clubhouse. The Kingstage will host artists like Reinier Zonneveld and Kolsch, while the Greenhouse welcomes Franky Rizardo, Menesix and others. Moody Mehran, Tsepo and many others are performing at the Hangar, and the Clubhouse hosts Sentinal Island Disco, Newtone, and others.


3.     Orange Blossom Festival


There is nothing more beautiful than rave with your favorite people on the king's birthday! A royal techno spectacle in the Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam. After last year's unforgettable edition, this year we will pop even better and even harder on this grand orange spectacle. Expectations are high, with the hope of greeting as many as 30,000 enthusiastic visitors from all corners of the country on this large-scale celebration of the national holiday. In honor of the tenth anniversary of the Orange Blossom Festival, the organization will make a big stage this year with an extra stage, an exciting addition to previous editions. The total experience is enriched with five diverse stages, each packed with the biggest names from the world of techno, hard techno and house. According to the organization, this anniversary edition promises to offer the most impressive program to date.


Markets and Flea markets


During King’s Day, there are markets and flea markets in each city. In the markets mostly farmers are selling their good, such as cheese, bread, fish (including the popular herring and kibbeling) and many other things. As for flea markets, local people bring out big stands and pack out all the things they don’t use anymore, and try to sell those for a low price. On these flea markets you can find some hidden gems. The locals are selling clothes, accessories, toys, and anything you can imagine. At 6 a.m., the Amsterdam vrijmarkt (free market) opens. The Pijp, Beethovenstraat, Olympic Stadium, Amstelveld, Noordermarkt, Westerpark, Jordaan, and DSM Vrijhaven are all noteworthy locations to visit. Local business owners fill the Marie Heinekenplein most days, selling refreshments and Dutch snacks.


We have reached the end of this article on King’s Day in the Netherlands. If you are visiting The Netherlands, make sure to read our previous blogs. In order to continue discovering more hidden gems and captivating destinations, stay tuned for more articles on our website. Follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on new releases and join us as we embark on new adventures. We will be back soon with a new article! If you're visiting Lisbon, make sure to try our Fado, Food, and Wine tour!

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