The Netherlands prepares for first real King’s Day in three years

The Netherlands prepares for first real King’s Day in three years

After the coronavirus pandemic left the country celebrating rather sombre - albeit incredibly sunny - King’s Days in 2020 and 2021, the Netherlands is gearing up for what is set to be a koningsdag that’s bigger and better than ever before. 

The Netherlands gearing up for first King's Day since 2019

Businesses and families across the country are putting together the final preparations for the big day on April 27, as citizens and residents across the Netherlands get ready to celebrate the 55th birthday of King Willem-Alexander. The Dutch royal family will be celebrating the day in Maastricht, but that doesn’t mean other Dutch cities aren’t bracing for what is expected to be an exceedingly busy day. 

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) are activating their so-called Orange timetable, scheduling extra workers at stations and deploying additional train services between the major cities on both King’s Day and King’s Night. The company expects around 200.000 people to travel to Amsterdam by train on Wednesday, but large crowds are also expected in Eindhoven, Breda, Arnhem, Zwolle, and Maastricht. 

Dutch bakeries provide the tompoucen, bars provide the beer

Meanwhile, bakers are getting ready to accommodate all the orders for the classic Dutch delicacy: orange tompoucen. “We start baking eight hours earlier than usual, because we need to have enough tompoucen in stock,” Arend Kisteman, chairman of the Dutch Bread and Pastry Bakers Entrepreneurs Association (NBOV), told NU. Kisteman’s bakery in Zwolle typically sells around 2.000 orange tompoucen on King’s Day, and he expects 2022 will be as busy as pre-pandemic years.

The Dutch hospitality industry is also excited to welcome the crowds on Wednesday - especially after two years of lockdown restrictions. A spokesperson for Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), the largest union representing hospitality businesses in the Netherlands, explained businesses would welcome the extra income provided by the holiday. “For some entrepreneurs, King's Day is extremely important and provides a large part of the annual turnover. It is therefore of great economic importance for the catering industry."

Celebrating koningsnacht and koningsdag in 2022

Not sure what you should expect from a typical King’s Day in the Netherlands? Festivities kick off on King’s Night (koningsnacht) on Tuesday night with various festivals and events, and in Utrecht the vrijmarkt (free market) opens at 6pm, going all the way through the night until the end of the day on Wednesday. 

While the weather on King’s Day isn’t set to be that good - forecasts predict an average temperature of 15 degrees - that certainly isn’t going to stop anyone from making the most of this Dutch holiday. Looking for ways you can get involved in the action? Check out our list of ways you can celebrate koningsdag in style!

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

Read more



Leave a comment