– On April 27th, the Netherlands will be painted orange to celebrate the King’s birthday
– Expedia has created an interactive quiz so you can discover where you should stay in the Netherlands, as well as tips to help celebrate like a local
– Expedia.co.uk is offering a discount on a selection of hotels in the Netherlands with the coupon: KINGSDAY12
Have you heard about “orange fever”? Once a year, on April 27th, the Netherlands literally turns orange in celebration of King Willem Alexander’s birthday, and boy do the Dutch know how to throw a party! Flea markets, street parties, free concerts and traditional games dominate every village and city in the country, with all the streets decorated in orange, as well as the people. You may wonder why orange? Isn’t the flag red, white and blue? The orange madness has everything to do with the royal family, who go by the surname ‘van Oranje’ (‘of Orange’). The royal family is very popular in The Netherlands and is known to mingle with the people, especially on King’s Day, when the King visits a different Dutch town every year to join the party and the games with his wife and three daughters.
While there is no possible way to miss King’s Day if you happen to find yourself in the country on April 27th, it is still relatively unknown outside of the Dutch borders. The tourists that have celebrated King’s Day, often did so unexpectedly when they booked a trip to Amsterdam during the festivities. Talking about good surprises: who doesn’t want to party for free and surround themselves with locals? If you like to party and are a fan of the Dutch, or even if you want to get more familiar with Dutch culture, King’s Day is THE day to immerse yourself in Dutch culture and get an understanding of what Dutch people are all about.
This year, King’s Day falls on a Friday, meaning you could make it a long weekend trip! Since it’s easy to get lost in the orange craze, Expedia.co.uk have put a guide together on what to do and how to plan your trip, as well as a quiz to help you discover which neighbourhood you should stay in. Be prepared to be invited for a lift on one of the party boats that sail through the canals, dance to techno music by world famous Dutch dj’s completely for free, and score a new outfit, antiques or jewellery for a penny.
Tip 1: Get lost in the orange madness on Museum Square
Head your way to Museum Square via the Amsterdam canals and try to get a lift on a boat! The canals will be packed with orange party boats and party-goers sometimes jump from one boat to the other since everybody is friends on King’s Day. Once you arrive at Museum Square in Amsterdam on the 27thof April you can’t help but wonder if orange really is the new black. Nearly a million party-goers gather yearly to dance to famous Dutch music acts, surrounded by world famous museums like the Van Gogh museum and Rembrandt museum. Here you will find that more than patriotism and love for the royal family, King’s Day is all about community and bringing all sorts of people with different backgrounds together. Take an orange accessory/prop and you’ll be part of it! Everybody belongs and everybody is orange. And that is properly celebrated here!
Tip 2: Take the ferry to the North of Amsterdam for a free festival for all
In Amsterdam North, away from the crowds, the NDSM Vrijhaven festival will take place which is really a fun time for all. Whether you’re visiting with mates or a family, you won’t get bored. There will be plenty of food stalls, live music, art, theatre, a massive flea market for kids, karaoke and much more. It has the best King’s Day has to offer all in one location!
Tip 3: Celebrate King’s Day in the home of the royals
The Dutch city that is most linked to the royals is The Hague, where the official royal residence is based. Great King’s Day hack: arrive the day before so you can also join the King’s Night parties. That’s right, the partying already starts the night before! There’s no better place to celebrate King’s Night than Den Haag, who started the tradition of starting King’s Day early. This year, Kings Night is dedicated to the ‘Life I Live’ festival, that is all about live music. If you’re not a huge fan of crowds, this is a good alternative. The city centre is divided into several ‘music villages’ that all represent a different genre. The setting is celebratory but intimate, a great tip for music lovers!
Tip 4: Hunt for bargains on the street
King’s Day is the one day a year where the Dutch government permits sales on the street without a permit. The Dutch love haggling and hunting for bargains, so they jump on this opportunity and the entire country becomes one big flea market. Don’t expect to pay more than a pound for shoes or bags and a few pennies for books and toys. You’ll also find a lot of kids forming street bands and selling cupcakes and cookies. Fun fact: a few days prior to King’s Day you will see duct tape all over the street in squares with the words ‘bezet’ (‘occupied’) in it, which is the way locals mark their territory and claim their spot on the street flea market. De Jordaan, Vondelpark and De Pijp are the best areas to shop around.
Tip 5: Visit Groningen
In the North East of the Netherlands is the beautiful city of Groningen, where the royal family will be celebrating King’s Day this year. Local crafts, customs and traditional games will be demonstrated across the city centre and the royal family will be joining in on all the fun. Those who want to party, discover another side of Holland off the beaten track and catch a glimpse of the royals ‘of Orange’, should consider celebrating Kings Day in Groningen this year!