Spring has sprung, and the traditional Dutch holiday of ‘King’s Day’ is approaching! We celebrate King’s Day on April 27th, and you can be sure that the Dutch are already planning what they will be doing on this day.

The best festivals and activities are going to sell out in the coming weeks. So we recommend that you plan ahead. That’s why we are here to make sure you are fully prepared to get the most out of King’s Day this year.

April 27 is King’s Day

According to the Royal House of the Netherlands, King’s Day honours the birthday of the reigning monarch, currently King Willem-Alexander. That is why, in recent years, people have been celebrating it on the 27th April. Originally established as Queen’s Day in 1891 to commemorate Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday on August 31. Later, Queen Juliana, moved the date to her birthday on the 30th April. Subsequently, Queen Beatrix decided to keep it on the date of her mother’s birth due to favourable weather conditions. King Willem-Alexander took the throne in 2013 and continued the tradition of establishing King’s Day on his own birthday.

As a sign of unity and patriotism, people dress in orange as a tribute to the House of Orange-Nassau, the Royal Family lastname. Every year, the royal family visits a different town or city to to see their traditions, and to participate in the activities with the locals. This year they will visit the city of Emmen in the province of Drenthe.

What to do on King’s Day?

King’s Day is a day of national pride, community spirit, and colourful (mainly orange) festivities that should not be missed. Looking for things to do on this day? Here’s what you can expect:

Explore the street markets:

One of the highlights of King’s Day are the street markets that pop up all over the country. From the iconic “Vrijmarkt” in several major cities to neighbourhood flea markets in smaller towns. You will find a treasure of second-hand goods, handmade crafts, vintage articles, and delicious snacks.

Take the celebration to the water:

For a more fun and original celebration of King’s Day, you can join a canal cruise in cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague or Haarlem. Cruise along waterways adorned with festive decorations, music and orange-dressed people. Toast the king with a glass of traditional Dutch ‘Oranjebitter’ (orange liqueur) and enjoy panoramic views of the celebrations from the comfort of your boat.

Party like the Dutch:

Join the various festivities and live performances taking place throughout the country. From street parties and concerts to traditional folk dances and cultural performances, there’s no shortage of entertainment options to enjoy. Take note because the biggest festivities in The Hague are the night before, “Koningsnacht”, on the 26th. Don’t miss out on the excitement of the renowned “The Life I Live” music festival, where the celebration kicks off early. Soak up the festive ambiance, dance to live music, and connect with locals and fellow expats as you celebrate the king’s birthday.

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