King's Day | Koningsdag
King's Day (Koningsdag) is a huge happening in the Netherlands. No matter what part of the country you're in during April 27 on any given year, one thing is certain - you'll see signs of King's Day celebrations wherever you go!
With orange decorations everywhere, Dutch flags and people dressed from head to toe in orange, this Dutch national holiday is wildly popular. So, go out and make the most of this special yearly tradition which celebrates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander.
King's Day (Koningsdag) celebrations on April 27 in the Netherlands
On King’s Day, the cities fill with outdoor parties and activities, turning the whole of the Netherlands into the biggest street festival of the year. People head out to celebrate, play music, make use of the temporary lift on sales permits by selling their goods, dress up and have an all-round good - if chaotic - time.
Five of the most active King’s Day cities are Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven. Check out how they will be celebrating on April 27 2023!
King's Day in Amsterdam
A special cultural attraction of King’s Day in Amsterdam is that many people take to the canals in boats, making the water the main area of celebration.
King's Day markets in Amsterdam
The Amsterdam vrijmarkt (free market) starts at 6am. Interesting areas to check out include the Pijp, the Beethovenstraat, the Olympic Stadium, Amstelveld, Noordermarkt, Westerpark, the Jordaan and the DSM Vrijhaven. The Marie Heinekenplein is usually filled with local entrepreneurs offering drinks and Dutch snacks.
King's Day music festivals in Amsterdam
There are so many live music events taking place in the Dutch capital each King's Day. Annual Amsterdam King’s Day parties to attend include:
- Loveland van Oranje
- Kingsland Festival (also in Rotterdam and Groningen!)
King's Day in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is known for its large number of King’s Day parties and events, as well as the distinctive atmosphere on the streets.
The Rotterdam vrijmarkt is from 9am until 5pm. You can find most of it in the city centre, around the Coolsingel, Hofplein, Hoogstraat and the Blaak. Check out some of the following annual Rotterdam King’s Day parties:
King's Day in The Hague
King’s Day in The Hague has a unique identity with several activities in the city centre, near the canals. There will be various walks, tram tours and boat tours around the local palaces and monuments.
The vrijmarkt is centred around the Frederik Hendriklaan from 7am until 4pm. Many shops will be open and there is a special children’s programme. The Lage Voorhout and the Frederik Hendrikplein will be hosting a few great carnivals.
King's Day in Utrecht
The vrijmarkt in Utrecht takes up a large part of the city centre, from Vredenburg to the Wijde Begijnhof. It starts early at 6pm on King’s Night and lasts until 6pm on King’s Day.
A grand party will be popping up behind Utrecht Central Station at the Jaarbeurs. The Kingshouse Festival can host up to 15.000 people and has two stages. Other parties in Utrecht take place in central venues such as the terrace square Neude, TivoliVredenburg and the Winkel van Sinkel.
King's Day in Eindhoven
Eindhoven is such a popular King’s Day location for its parties that there are special notifications that issue warnings about crowding and busy areas. Parties in Eindhoven feature various famous DJs and well-known artists.
The Eindhoven vrijmarkt, called the Oranjemarkt, takes place at the PSV Laan next to the Philips stadium from 9am until 5pm.
King’s Night on April 26
King’s Night (Koningsnacht) is celebrated on April 26, the night before King’s Day. Various wild parties in the city centres attract crowds from miles around. Many people head out to Amsterdam, but there are various other hotspots. In The Hague, for instance, the free Life I Live Festival is annually visited by almost 200.000 people, and in Rotterdam and Eindhoven, there are several all-night parties with live music.
Celebrate King's Day on April 27 2023
King's Day used to be called Queen’s Day, but the date was effortlessly moved to King Willem-Alexander’s birthday when the former Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne. With it came new songs, t-shirts printed with the king’s face and other references to the Dutch monarchy, providing a royal Dutch party atmosphere. By now, King’s Day is as much of a cultural phenomenon as Queen’s day ever was!
Video credit: Sanish Kumar