As you might know by now, to say that I’m a fan of a little celebration or birthday party would be an understatement. Tomorrow, possibly the world’s biggest birthday party will take place in The Netherlands, called King’s Day. King’s Day, as you can most possibly guess, marks the birthday of our King Willem-Alexander, on April 27th. Personally, this must be my favourite national holiday, as the entire country turns into one big (orange) street party. So, I’d love to tell you a little background info, some fun facts and let you in on where I’ll be spending my King’s Day!
Let’s start off with a little background info, for those who are not familiar yet with this fantastic holiday. We first got to celebrate King’s Day, formerly known as Queen’s Day, in 2014. So, only five years ago, as in 2013, the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander took place. Nevertheless, that year, we were still celebrating his mother’s, now Princess Beatrix’s, birthday, so it was still called Queen’s Day. However, the real first time that we got to celebrate, what now is King’s Day, was on the 31st of August 1885.
While the date and the name may have slightly changed over the years, one thing surely never did: it always remained to be the most “gezellige” day of the year! Here are a few little fun facts, that even the Dutchies amongst us, might even not know about:
- If the King’s Birthday, so April 27th falls on a Sunday, we still celebrate his birthday, but we do it a day earlier, on the Saturday. Which is perfect if you’d ask me, ‘cause I definitely need my day of rest after King’s Day. ‘Cause a lot of festivities (parties) actually begin the evening in advance already, which naturally is called King’s Night. Just as any other proper birthday party should be kicked off if you’d ask me!
- The city centre and the canals in Amsterdam turn into a massive sea of orange. The reason why a lot of people are dressed head-to-toe orange, is to show our pride for the Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau. And don’t be afraid to give it your all, you’ll see the craziest and wackiest orange outfits all around. Did you know that the average amount that people spend on their (orange) outfit every year is €26,-? I’m curious to see what kind off orange artworks I’ll bump into this year!
- As King’s Day is a national holiday, (almost) everybody gets the day off work to celebrate!
- The man of the hour, King Willem-Alexander and his family, visit a different town in the Netherlands each year and join all kinds of different fun activities.
- A lovely Dutch treat, called the “tompouce”, is transformed into a King’s Day edition by changing the colour of the frosting from pink to orange. On King’s Day, the sales of these delicious pastries go up by 600%!
- For a lot of people, King’s Day is also a synonym for a big yard sale. Throughout the Netherlands, and Amsterdam, you’ll find people selling some of their belongings. The “vrijmarkt” (literally translated ‘free market’) in Amsterdam actually is one of the world’s largest flea markets. So, who’s ready for some treasure/bargain hunting tomorrow?
- One of the facts that stayed with me most is that during King’s Day, between a 600,000 to a million people visit Amsterdam, which is more than twice as much than on a regular day!
I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t throw in a little suggestion, right? If you’re not that into big crowds and hectic street parties, you might want to consider strolling through my cozy neighbourhood the Jordaan. With the numbers of visitors, it will still be a little crowded but it is a very much different kind of crowded than at the major canals. And while you’re at it for that matter, feel free to stop by my place! We will be selling some items and on top of that, some very delicious treats will be served!
Have a great King’s Day-weekend everybody!