Some facts about King’s Day (Koningsdag)
For more than a century, The Netherlands has been used to Koninginnedag (Queen’s day) with even VanDale (dictionary) having made a place earlier for the word Beatrixkapsel (Haircut of Queen Beatrix). 😵 Earlier known as the Princessedag (Princess’ Day), celebrating the 5th birthday of Princess Wilhelmina on the 31st of August in 1885, and after ascending the throne, the Queen’s Day then came to the fore. With her daughter, Queen Juliana’s birthday on the 30th of April, the Queen’s day was then celebrated on the 30th every year until 2013. Though the birthday of the last queen, Queen Beatrix, was on the 31st of January, the tradition of Queen’s day being celebrated in April continued. Instead of a parade and receiving visits at the palace, The Queen celebrated her birthday by visiting the people, towns and cities; thereby, starting a new tradition. Even after being attacked, the Queen remained in high spirits to visit the people on Queen’s day. 🙇♀️After abdication of the throne in 2013, this day is now replaced with King’s Day on the 27th of April, marking the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. 👑
Some things to look forward to during this day:
1. Vrijmarkt – A flea market where a commoner chooses to sell his used items at minimal prices or can even wish to give it for free without a licence to sell. Children also play an active role on this day in selling off their items. By the way, Queen Beatrix is also reportedly said to have bought a floor lamp from this sale. 😷Do not be surprised when you find different owners for the same items you had once purchased years ago. 😜 Keep some extra cash on you and change (kleingeld) 💰 because ATMs might be awaiting an endless queue.
2. Oranje – A day when the demand for orange clothes and accessories is at a maximum representing the House of Orange-Nassau. A sense of belonging on this day when the entire country is painted orange. Oranjegekte (orange craze or fever) does the rounds during football matches and King’s Day! Try and learn the lyrics of Het Wilhelmus, the Dutch anthem, and join the crowd.
3. Tompoes en bier – Are you a zoetekauw (do you have a sweet tooth)? Don’t forget to try this Dutch ‘delicacy’ which turns orange on King’s day. A rectangular puff pastry 🍰with a pink and white icing generally, and shaking a leg at concerts 💃🎙with a beer or Oranjebitter ̶ an orange-flavoured alcoholic drink ̶ will make you groove.
🍻Stock up your beer in case you don’t want to pay too much, as you might not be allowed to loaf around with more than one in your hand. By the way, King Willem-Alexander had earned a nickname ‘Prins Pils’ for his love for beer during his studenthood.
4. Royal ontmoeting – King’s marriage to a commoner, Queen Maxima, is said to have raised many eyebrows, but she undoubtedly won the hearts of the Dutch when she learnt their language. Get a glimpse of the Queen and King who step out of their palace to visit the commoners, keep your cameras ready and don’t forget to pout. 🤩😎The King did not want to be called ‘Willem Vier’ (Willem IV), perhaps, because it rhymes with bier? 🤔
5. Bewolkt of bevolkt – Blink of an eye and you get to see the city’s every square metre suddenly running out of space. Every nook and cranny of Amsterdam is overflooding during this time of the year ̶ the most loved destination on this day. Neem maar de benenwagen! 🚶♂️A little extra exercise for your feet on this day to reach where you want because public transport might be limited.
6. Bootfeestjes – Get ready to enjoy the wildest of parties on boats, you never know when someone might allow you to walk their red carpet decks to get to the other side of the canal. Naar de wc – Ouch! This can be a pain. ☹ Everyone’s making money so don’t be surprised to pay extra in case you don’t want to pee your pants. 😋 There might be a Plasboot around (arrangement to empty your bladders) to give you some opluchting (relief).
7. Curaçao, Sint Maarten en Aruba zingen en dansen ook mee! Though these islands are separate entities and not a part of The Netherlands, Koningsdag is an enormous celebration here also. 🎼
Do not forget to start on the eve before (i.e. Koningsnacht) with your celebration! ?