10 Facts about King's Day: Amsterdam's Biggest Party
If you’re heading to Amsterdam for King’s Day, you’re in for a real treat. 27th April is probably the best day of the year to be in the city, as the whole place turns into one giant party to celebrate the monarch’s birthday. Not only do the streets get packed with party-goers from up and down the country and further afield, but almost every boat on Amsterdam’s canals are up and running, cruising through the floods of orange people and hosting their own party within a party! King’s Day is one for the bucket list and an Amsterdam experience you’ll never forget.
Check out these 10 King’s Day facts to find out more about the biggest day on the Dutch calendar…
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1 It’s the Dutch Monarch’s birthday
King’s Day is a celebration of the King of the Netherlands’ birthday. Currently on the throne is King Willem-Alexander, whose birthday falls on 27th April, calling for a giant party on this day each year until his heir takes over his position.
2 It used to be called Queen’s Day
The first royal birthday party took place back in 1885 on 31st August for the country to celebrate Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday, and from there Queen’s Day became an annual tradition! Since then, two more Queen’s succeeded the throne, meaning the name ‘Queen’s Day’ was retained until King Willem-Alexander was crowned in 2013 and the name changed to ‘King’s Day’ in his honour.
3 Everyone dresses in orange
So it’s not compulsory, but if you want to fit in then you’ll definitely want to have some orange on you. Orange signifies national pride throughout The Netherlands, as the Dutch Royal Family has links to the House of Orange-Nassau dynasty, which makes much more sense considering the Dutch flag hasn’t a spot of orange on it! Whether it’s an orange t-shirt, a wig, face paint or the whole shebang, you can always count on someone going even more mad with the colour than you.
4 Amsterdam’s population doubles in size on King’s Day
When we say Amsterdam gets rammed for King’s Day, we aren’t kidding. Between 600,000 and 1 million people arrive in the city for the festivities, in fact 250,000 people arrive by train ON King’s Day! If you’re planning on attending then you’d better book your bed fast…
5 The real party starts the day before on King’s Night
With almost 1 million people heading to Amsterdam from all over the place to experience King’s Day, of course the city turned it into an excuse for an even longer party! King’s Night is the night before King’s Day which falls on 26th April, when events pop up all over the country ranging from huge festival stages to small and intimate bar gigs. If there’s a night to rival the actual King’s Day party, King’s Night really isn’t far off!
6 The canals get clogged with party boats
One of the best things about King’s Day in Amsterdam are the boat parties. You’ll barely be able to see a patch of water without people dressed in orange drinking and dancing on board a boat and bringing King’s Day’s party atmosphere alive! If you’re there for the street party and didn’t manage to hire one out (it’s no surprise that they can be pretty pricey for this day), always say yes to a party boat invite! Lots of locals pride themselves on throwing epic King’s Day boat parties, so love to invite others on board. Experiencing King’s Day from the canal is a must, so don’t skip the opportunity if it comes your way!
7 Need the toilet? Head to a plasboot (pee boat)
Peeing can be quite a complicated task on King’s Day. When it’s time to break the seal, don’t panic. There are extra public toilets put out on the street and businesses and shops usually open their toilets to the public - but if you’re on a boat it’s unlikely it has a loo. That’s why you’ll find plasboots (pee boats) floating along the canals - if you see one, just hop aboard and pee. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
8 You can still visit a museum on King’s Day
What a lot of people don’t realise is that some of Amsterdam’s museums actually remain open on King’s Day. If you’re there to party but aren’t sure you can go the whole day doing so, you can escape to one of the city’s famous museums for a little peace and quiet. This would probably be one of the least busy days on the calendar to make the most of them! The Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum are just a few of those that stay open.
9 Everyone eats tompouce
You won’t go hungry on King’s Day, as hundreds of street food vendors line the streets all over Amsterdam, and sampling a local tompouce on April 27th is a must. They’re the perfect treat for those with a sweet tooth; pastry packed with whipped cream and orange icing on top (only for King’s Day). In fact they’re so popular on King’s day that sales go up by 600% on this day compared to any other day of the year!
10 The King’s Day festivals are crazy
Not many people realise that there are also festivals that take place during King’s Day. Don’t miss the Kingsland festival, one of the biggest and best festivals in the city. You need to buy tickets to Kingsland and it sells out pretty fast. This year’s line-up is epic with Jonas Blue, Alesso, Timmy Trumpet and more fantastic musicians taking to stage. If you’re looking for an amazing party atmosphere, good music and a pumped up crowd, then spend most of King’s Day here. The festival starts at 12pm and ends at 8pm. A regular ticket costs €43.20.
If you’re planning on visiting Amsterdam for April 27th, read our King’s Day Survival Guide for everything you need to know before you go
Article by Darcy King and Shereen Sagoo
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