King's Day, or Koningsdag in Dutch, is a national holiday in the Netherlands celebrated on the 27th of April. It's a nationwide party where we celebrate the birthday of our King Willem Alexander.
On King's Day, everyone wears orange, which symbolizes the national color of the Netherlands, and the Dutch royal family name: House of Oranje.
Another tradition on King's Day is the flea markets. You may notice people selling all sorts of things on a rug, music or entertainment on streets and parks. Only on this day, the ban on free trade is lifted. Fun fact: some people get up really early in the morning, or even midnight, to mark their territory with crayons or tape on the streets to ensure a spot.
A feast requires a toast. To celebrate our King's birthday, the Dutch people make a toast with Oranje Bitter, which is a bright orange liquor.
Next to these traditions, the Dutch people like to party on King's Day. As such, many different festivals take place across the country. No plans for King's Day yet? Here's a short guide about some of the most epic festivals this King's Day. Some festivals start the evening before on the 26th of April till midnight to kickstart the festivities!
Our beloved city of Rotterdam boasts some of the finest festivals on King’s Day and King’s Night. On Kingsday, there is Kralingse Bos Festival, hosted in Het Kralingse Bos, Oranjebitter and Kingsland Festival in the beautiful Zuiderpark. On the night before, there is TikTak Kingsnight hosted in Maassilo and Oranje Pakhuis Festival.
Next to Rotterdam, Amsterdam is home to the most epic festivals on Kingsday. To sum them up: Kingsland Festival, Vunzige Deuntjes Koningsnacht, Cartel Kingsday, Loveland van Oranje Festival, Oranjebloesem and SW Kingsday. By the way, you don't want to miss the boat parade on the canals (grachten) in Amsterdam!
In the province North Brabant, you can attend several festivals as well. Breda organizes 538 Koningsday and Kanonnen van Oranje, and Den Bosch hosts Smèrrig Koningsdag Festival and Oranjekade Festival.
Interested in celebrating King’s Day somewhere else? Check out this website for more information about festivals on King’s Day in cities such as Arnhem, Delft, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Enschede, Best, Alkmaar, Zwolle and Zaandam.
Be aware that you need to purchase tickets in advance for most of these festivals. Visit the festival's website for more information.