Europe Travel News

Celebrate King's Day in Amsterdam

Come April 27, a sea of orange will spill across Amsterdam's canals of blue. King's Day is one of Amsterdam's greatest holidays, when the people of the Netherlands celebrate the Dutch Royal family - otherwise known as the House of Orange. People flock by foot and by boat to the event, which starts the night before and carries on through the next day.

Fresh start
King's Day is a new name for an old holiday, taking its title from the highest royal in the land. According to Amsterdam's offic?ial tourism website, the first Queen's Day was celebrated in 1886 in honor of Queen Wilhemina's birthday. The date of the event changed from August 31 to August 30 when the next queen ascended to the throne. Now, with the inauguration of King Wilhelm-Alexander during last year's Queen's Day, the event will change its name in honor of the house's new ruler.

While the date may shift, the festivities are usually much the same in program, spirit and energy. Prior to the actual day, people join to celebrate King's Night, which is usually filled with plenty of parties and concerts. Across the city, clubs boom with techno, dance marathons and out-and-out raves. It's one of the year's biggest parties, which leads into the next day, just as raucous, crowded and musical, though in the light of day. The canals will be filled with celebratory boats, just as the streets and bridges will be overrun with people drinking and dancing.  

Spring clean
The fact that the holiday celebrates a new name this year is somewhat fitting with another tradition of King's Day. Citizens rid themselves of the old and welcome in the new with a citywide street market. The market does truly spread across the entirety of the city, as anyone is free to take part in the event by selling their wares, and it can be done anywhere in the city, save for the entrances of homes and shops, and a few locations, according to I Amsterdam. There are also few exceptions to what may be sold, though items usually stick to household goods that people are trying to rid themselves of. 

There is plenty of adult celebration throughout town, but King's Day is also family friendly. The entirety of the Vondelpark - one of Amsterdam's most popular parks - is reserved for children who wish to sell toys and clothes they no longer want or need. There's also a festival held in the Oost District, complete with live music, rides, face painting and craft workshops.

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