Your Guide to King’s Day

Written by: Malvika Mayani

Ok, so a little history first. Until 2014 King’s day was known as Queen’s Day… yeah that was the history lesson. This is the only day wearing oranje is not a mistake! Since it’s a celebrated national holiday, there is something to do for everyone on this day. Whether it is drinking, eating food, shopping, living the festival life, going to  children’s markets or just being home and doing nothing.

Any city you choose to go to will have its streets full with lively people dancing away, drinking, having food trucks and local markets creating a buzz. When it comes to festivals, most of the popular Dutch and international DJ’s will be hopping around cities to play their beats.

Starting off,

  1. This is the day to use your bargaining skills! There are tons of flea markets in various cities, for example in Amsterdam: Vondelpark and NDSM shipyard sellings second hand  things.
  2. Going to Amsterdam: Amsterdam’s population literally doubles in size this day. You can either head out on the eve of the big day and continue drinking for 2 whole days or just do King’s Day like everyone else. As mentioned before, it’s about the vibe being created and Amsterdam is known for it, right from the DJ’s playing in the public square to canals full of boat parties. If you’re looking for a boat party, ESN is throwing one! Additionally, Amsterdam is known for its festival Kingsland and many others, but make sure to buy tickets because they sell out!
  3. To get away from all the tourists in Amsterdam, you can even go to Haarlem, which is a bigger city so it will be less crowded but the buzz will still be there. Further away from this, a city called Alkmaar is known to be the best place to celebrate King’s day from a local poll.
  4. If you want to stay in Rotterdam itself, there is lots to on King’s Night (day before King’s Day) in the most well-known clubs as well 3 festivals on the main day itself: Kralingen Bos Festival, Oranjebitter, and S’ Oranje Festival. Yes, it’s true Rotterdam is not as crowded as the other cities but it still has its charm, and it’s the best option if you’re short on money and don’t want to go too far.
  5. Maybe, just maybe if you’re lucky and the weather is great, De Hague could be an option for you! It is known for its King’s Night celebration which is one of the biggest in the Netherlands. The major celebration is the Life I Live Festival which is 2 days long, featuring 9 stages from the city centre onwards having popular international and local artists.
  6. Kind of random, but Breda is also known for King’s Day. 538 Koningsdag is certainly worth the trip. The festival starts in the heart of the city at Het Chasséveld featuring top artists.
  7. To get a more cultural experience of Kings Day, Utrecht is an option! It is known to be a mini-Amsterdam without the tourists. It has citywide parties around historical canals, urban park and Dom tower.
  8. And finally, to celebrate the King’ day with the King and Queen, Groningen is the place to be! The Royal Family go here every year and take a 2 hour walk around the city. Here again you will find food festivals, live music and flea markets.

Lastly, to be prepared for Kings Day you need to have cash, wear orange, have booze (“officially” you are only allowed to carry 1 bottle of alcohol), be prepared for all the drunk people, check transport (usually delayed), check the weather, carry food, be safe and stay hydrated!