King’s Day takes place every April 27 or 26, when the 27th falls on a Sunday, and is regarded as a national holiday. King’s Night, which is celebrated the night before, is for many people a good warm up party, before the big carnival kicks of the following day.
During the celebrations, the streets of Holland are flooded with people of all ages, all wearing “traditional” orange clothes and accessories from head to toe. The beer flows like water and the beautiful canals and streets are full of orange decorated boats, bands playing music and people dancing to the sound of traditional Dutch and other cheerful music. The event attracts an eclectic bunch, which can attract as many as a million additional, adding to the already crowded capital city of the Netherlands.
Although King’s Day has become synonymous with partying for many people, this day is about another well-known (and deep-rooted) Dutch hobby as well, that is trading. Many Dutchies like to trade any item which they deem no longer necessary in their home or basement. The trading is usually conducted amongst neighbours, fellow citizens and visitors. The free markets, or Vrijmarkten, that take place outdoors are seen as a social opportunity as opposed to areas of commerce. The market is a unique family event in which every family member participates. Although there are some real fanatics who spend hours trying to find the best bargains or most valuable items, for most people it’s more about the ambience and having a fun family day.
King’s Day is an event not to be missed. It embodies the Dutch spirit and is the perfect time of year to visit Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general. The event is completely free as it takes place outdoors and everybody is welcome to join this significant Dutch experience. So put on the most orange piece of clothing you have in your closet and see you in Amsterdam!