Museumplein, Amsterdam, Kingdom of the Netherlands
GPS: 52.357255997942, 4.8823282804928
King’s Day (Koningsdag) celebrates the birthday of the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander. This exuberant and popular event is the busiest day of the year on a national scale. The boats piled up in the capital’s canals are decorated in bright colours, the crowds gather in numbers resembling a vast orange sea, and the garage sales form one of the largest street parties in the world.
On this occasion, cities and people are massively decked out in orange as a sign of national pride and support for the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau. Orange-coloured drinks are sold en masse on King’s Day. The drink is called oranjebitter, a preparation made in 1620 from juniper and orange.
King’s Day results in a great day of festivities on land and water throughout the country (parades, artistic shows, concerts, entertainment, festivals, singing, dancing, funfairs, fireworks, children’s activities, large open-air garage sales…).
The festivities usually start the day before, during the King’s night, in a good-natured atmosphere. They give rise to a carnival atmosphere, during which an orange frenzy literally takes over the country.
On 27 April, a flea market (vrijmarkt) gives everyone the opportunity to freely sell second-hand objects in the streets and parks of Dutch cities. Any inhabitant is allowed to set up a stall on the street to trade while being exempt from permits and taxes (except for the sale of perishable food and alcoholic beverages, which require a special permit).
King’s Day has been declared a public holiday and is an integral part of Dutch national heritage and culture. Each year, the King and members of the Royal Family are invited to visit one or more cities in the Netherlands and take part in the festivities in the presence of the public.