5 fun facts about King’s Day
Updated: Apr 28
The Netherlands' famous King's Day is held on April 27 and sees over a million people spill into the streets and onto the canals to paint the town orange at one of the world’s biggest street parties. Never experienced King’s Day in the Netherlands before, or want to be reminded of just how awesome it is? Here are some fun facts!
1) King’s Day is the Dutch monarch’s birthday
Could this be the world’s biggest birthday party? Very possibly. King's Day marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander on 27 April, and everyone in the Netherlands gets the day off work to celebrate. And boy, do they celebrate.
2) Everyone wears orange – and so should you
Orange is worn on King’s Day as a show of pride for the Dutch royal family – the House of Orange-Nassau. So raid your wardrobe, your friends’ wardrobes, your local charity shop and anywhere else you can think of for oranje clothes and accessories, and wear them with pride. If you’re not covered head to toe in orange on King’s Day, you’re not doing it right. Orange wigs and face paint also get a big thumbs up – the wackier the better. Yes, you’ll look like a crazy person. But thankfully, so will everybody else.
3) You can eat like a King all day
All that partying sure does work up an appetite, so thankfully you’ll find delicious treats around every corner, with hundreds of street food vendors lining the roads and squares. For those with a sweet tooth, no King’s Day is complete without sampling the local tompouce, a sweet pastry loaded with cream that will be all over your cheeks in no time. They are decorated with orange icing especially for King’s Day.
4) The party actually begins the day before, on King’s Night
If you can’t wait until King’s Day itself, then why not start the party the night before? King’s Night (Koningsnacht) is King’s Day eve, when the best clubs, bars and pubs welcome hordes of excited revellers to special King's Night parties and events. Some people carry on the party all the way through until the next day, while some pop home for a few hours’ sleep ahead of the main event. Either way, King’s Night is a great way to get in the oranje spirit – just make sure you save some energy for the day itself.
5) The city becomes one huge street market on King’s Day
One man’s trash is another’s treasure, and King’s Day is certainly a day for treasure hunting. A free citywide flea market (vrijmarkt) pops up along every street and public space, with locals and visitors of all ages setting up stalls and turning market traders for the day. Everyone is allowed to sell or trade their unwanted items, and you’ll always find plenty of bargains and interesting trinkets from the attic. If you’ve got children, then head to Vondelpark where hundreds of children set out their stalls with toys and books.
While normally a vibrant day with lots of performances, activities and joyful crowds, King's Day is another event that will be sadly different in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Make sure to have a great day at home or online wearing your orange party outfit, and postpone the large-scale King's Day feast until 2022.