10 tips for surviving King’s Day

10 tips for surviving King’s Day

For many, King’s Day, on April 27, is the day they get absorbed by the party crowd and let themselves go. Even though it is a day with few rules and lots of chaos, it is always a good idea to be prepared, and know what to expect.

10 tips for your orange day

Here are 10 tips to make sure your orange day doesn’t go blue:

Choose your festival

Amsterdam may not be the hot-spot of choice for everyone. Different cities have different King’s Day vibes. Be sure to pick the festival that suits you.

Amsterdam is one wild and busy ride, Rotterdam has a family carnival, The Hague has all kinds of activities, Eindhoven is known for its parties, and a lot of smaller towns and villages have their own, more local, traditions.

If you don’t want to get caught up in the wild celebrations, one option is to have your own festival at home, or near your home. Get a traditional orange tompouce pastry, invite some friends over, and watch the TV coverage of the day from your safe and comfy couch.

Claim your spot

If you are selling on the vrijmarkt (Free market), use street chalks and other materials to rope off the section where you intend to sell, the night before.

Get there early, since it is an honour system and there is no guarantee your spot will still be there.

Take care to know where you are allowed to drive if you are bringing your wares by car, and check when the official vrijmarkt starts. In Utrecht, for instance, it already starts the evening before King’s Day, and lasts 24 hours.

Check the weather report

On April 27, the weather can be all over the place. From oppressing heat to seething rain, the real festival-goer is prepared. Fold-out umbrella, rain coat, various layers, and handy bags to carry everything in are basic essentials.

If you check the weather report beforehand, and it turns out that it will be raining, you could even get some cheap umbrellas and sell them on the street.

Bring cash

The vrijmarkt is fun to browse if you like bargain-hunting, but you should also bring enough cash if you don’t intend to shop. ATM's will be busy, so it's best to get some money beforehand.

A lot of tasty foods and drinks will be available only to those who present the right coin, and a lot of bathrooms will ask for a fee, so small change, especially, is handy to have.

Take your time

The vrijmarkt was literally created to slow down crowds. In the 60s, there were a lot of violent protests on (what was then called) Queen’s Day, and the vrijmarkt was implemented to get people filling the streets with their makeshift stalls and wares, slowing down protesters (and maybe even distracting them with cheap buys).

This year, too, your path is sure to be blocked by amateur merchants, budding child musicians, drunk party crowds and orange menaces. If you are headed to another city, the trouble will start as soon as you head out, with full, slow trains and no parking spaces.

Whatever you choose to do, take your time!

Avoid the busiest areas

Do some research on your festival city of choice, and find out which areas are where. Some areas will be known as the foods and drinks quarters, some will be the place for good vrijmarkt buys, and some will house outdoor music festivals.

Make sure you know which areas tend to get congested, in case you want to be able to, you know, move. In Amsterdam, for instance, the Dam Square and the Rokin will be extremely busy.

Be careful with orange drinks

The carefree atmosphere on King’s Day may encourage you to pour anything you come across down your throat, but you may want to be careful.

Oranjebitter and oranjelikeur are bright orange drinks that are traditionally served on King’s Day. They may seem a bit like festive lemonades, but they are very alcoholic.

Know where to find the bathrooms

Sometime during the day, you will need a bathroom. There will be crowds all around you, and not a toilet in sight. Know now that wherever you go, there will be lines, so be sure to seek out the most convenient bathrooms and get in line as soon as you start feeling the need.

Bathroom locations can be found in special portable restroom areas that were placed there for the occasion, but also in bars, the homes of people who decided to offer their facilities in exchange for some change, and, as people get drunker, the canals.

(Bonus tip, remember to keep looking up when celebrating King’s Day in a boat on the canals)

Find a place to stay over

If you are celebrating away from your home, you may want to consider finding a place to sleep over for the night. The trains back will be slow and full of drunk, raucous party-goers, and you may not enjoy the harrowing journey back.

If you don’t have friends in the area, quite some people will be offering up their city-centre apartments on Airbnb for this very popular event.

Don’t celebrate it on April 30

It’s really not Queen’s Day anymore. It’s King’s Day now, and it will be celebrated on April 27 (the King's birthday). If you show up in Amsterdam on April 30, clad in orange and looking confused, odds are that you will be made fun of.

Ready to go?

Whether you are sitting it out at home, getting wasted at a party, or making a killing with your merchandise, we wish you a tremendous King’s Day!

Do you have more valuable tips for celebrating King's Day? Let us know in the comments below!

YouTube video by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

YouTube video by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

YouTube video by The A-List Channel

Alexandra van Kampen


Alexandra van Kampen

English and Japanese theatre and culture are my forte. My mother was raised in England, and my grandmother in Japan. I studied Japanese Language and Culture, and Film and Photographic...

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