Ways to celebrate King's Day in 2020

Ways to celebrate King's Day in 2020

King's Day is usually the most unmissable event on the Dutch social calendar. It's important not to miss out on celebrating this national holiday whilst sticking to the important social distancing measures needed to curb the spread of coronavirus. The measures are in place until April 28 (at least), so below are ways you can still celebrate!

Celebrate King's Day at home

"King's Day 2020 will be all about solidarity," said Pieter Verhoeve, chairman of the Royal Association of Orange (KBVO). The KBVO, who devises the special yearly celebration, has brainstormed to come up with safe and fun ways to mark this special day from home. Here are a few ideas on how you can still have a King's day to remember:

Fly a Dutch flag or put up orange decorations

You'll see red, white and blue flags in many neighbourhoods and you can fly one too! Flags may or may not be your thing, and if not, then maybe you have orange decorations to adorn your front window or balcony with. Or you can simply wear something orange!

Arrange to have virtual drinks with friends

This would normally be a day out and about and many are sad and disappointed to see it cancelled. That's no reason to feel cut off from your usual group of friends. Have a video call with the friends you would usually have hung out with on King's Day, have a few drinks, compare orange outfits and keep the King's Day merriment going!

Sell your old clothes online

In Dutch cities and towns there are usually citywide flea markets where you can buy and sell old clothes for great prices. Don't let the coronavirus stop this wonderful circular economy that fights against textile waste. Sustainability in fashion is unbelievably important, so offload your unwanted garments or get some great new looks with clothing marketplace apps like Vinted or the Netherlands-based United Wardrobe.

Get your kids to write to the king

King's Day is, after all, a celebration of the birthday of King Willem Alexander. On the occasion of this unusual King's Day while we are still under social distancing measures, the KBVO has arranged “Tell the King”, a fun activity for kids in the Netherlands in the lead-up to King's Day.

Children aged 12 or under are invited to write to the king about their experiences living in the Netherlands during the coronavirus crisis. Selected letters and drawings will be compiled into a book that will be presented to the king on his birthday. Find out more on the KBVO website (in Dutch).

Play or sing the Dutch National Anthem

Do you play an instrument? Do you like to sing? Then why not play or sing the Dutch National Anthem, known as “Wilhelmus” on your doorstep or balcony on King’s Day? The Concertgebouw is preparing for a live-streamed playalong / singalong, taking place at 10am on April 27.

Go to the Concertgebouw website, where you’ll find parts that you can download and play away to your heart’s content. Don’t know the words? That’s what the vocal scores are for! So, download and practise your parts, and make fun music with those around you (or even practice together remotely online!).

Watch a Dutch TV programme about previous King’s Days

Do you like to tune into Dutch television? Well, this may be the perfect occasion for it. Watching Dutch TV is actually really beneficial for anyone who is learning Dutch.

Either way, on King’s Day at 10.10am, many Hollanders will be tuning into the TV programme on NOS chronicling King’s Days of times past. There have not been many King’s Days, because the then Queen Beatrix was on the throne until 2013, so up until her abdication, the celebration was Queen’s Day.

National Toast to the Dutch King nationale-toost.jpg

At 4pm on King’s Day, there will be a National Toast, where we’ll all raise a glass to King Willem Alexander for his birthday. This is also a chance to toast to each other and to ourselves, spreading positivity in the midst of the difficult and bizarre world event that is the coronavirus crisis. This is a time of solidarity despite the physical distance between citizens on a day that would normally be bringing the people of the Netherlands outdoors in their droves.

King's Day 2020

So, it’s going to be a very different King’s Day this year! Those who have experienced it will feel a stark difference from usual, without the hordes of people dressed in orange, roads closed off, open-air concerts, fleamarket stalls selling odds and ends. Don’t be disappointed – instead, stay at home, stay safe and feel free to take part in these little but very meaningful acts of solidarity.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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