King’s Day in Amsterdam is a unique experience that I am so happy to see each year! The vibe from the entire city–whether locals or visitors–is contagious. I just smile while walking around the city glowing with an orange hue.
Orange. That’s the color of the day on King’s Day (Koningsdag in Dutch). If you are in Amsterdam on April 27th, be sure to pack something – anything – orange. This is a day of celebration for the King and everyone gets involved! Why orange? Because the Dutch royal family is of the House of Orange.
Here’s the video from 2015 to get you in the mood–a super sunny one!
This is a crazy awesome city-wide party that seamlessly flows from the streets into the canals of Amsterdam. You know those high school movies that show amazing school spirit and everyone is dressed in the school colors from head-to-toe? It’s exactly like that except 1,000 times bigger and in my favorite place…Amsterdam. Actually, there are celebrations held all over the Kingdom of the Netherlands on this day, but King’s Day in Amsterdam is the most well-known and obviously with the biggest party. 😉
As a visitor, take a walk down Damrak (directly in front of Centraal Station) onto Rokin, enjoy the carnival atmosphere on Dam Square, then head to the canal belt to watch the parade of boats squeeze by each other while the occupants are drinking and dancing. Tip: Go early and take a ride on the Ferris Wheel on Dam Square for rare views above the city and into the Royal Palace’s courtyards.
Don’t worry about food or drinks as there are businesses and restaurants ready to help you out with stalls conveniently on the street. Get ready for some local specialties: from fries to herring, and even Surinamese dishes. Dig in and enjoy the taste of Amsterdam!
Be sure to have cash. Grab it the day before if you can as ATMs do run out of money. Cash will help you get your nourishment but is also essential for using the toilets set up around the city. And really, nobody wants to be desperate for a toilet!
While wandering around Amsterdam, the spirit of King’s Day is in many forms. It’s the year’s biggest flea market as anyone can sell pretty much anything on this day. Children will be walking around selling treats or playing an instrument to get your attention and hopefully earn some play money for themselves.
But the best part are the boats overly crowded with people without a care in the world. Each one is its own party and bystanders watch the parade of boats as they float on by and try to squeeze under bridges. How any boat gets anywhere on King’s Day is beyond my comprehension. There are so many that it’s actually hard to see the canal itself.
Enjoy a walk through the canals, grab some snacks, and watch as the entire city is a show to be seen and experienced. Amsterdam is a very walkable city, which is especially good on King’s Day because pedestrians take over the streets and even being on a bike is difficult.
To recap: wear walking shoes, bring small bills (and coins), wear orange, and have fun during the biggest party of the year in Amsterdam!