King's Day (formerly Queen's Day) festivities invite locals and visitors alike to soak up Amsterdam's open-air fun. In the streets, canals, parks and everywhere in between, the city is bursting with orange as Amsterdammers enjoy the biggest street party of the year. Amidst orange-pride, live music, DJs, parties and a citywide street market, you'll find an electric atmosphere not to be missed. In 2014, King's Day will be celebrated on Saturday, 26 April 2014.
History of King’s Day (and Queen’s Day)
Amsterdam will celebrate King’s Day (Koningsdag) for the first time in 2014, after the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander on 30 April 2013 (what was then still Queen’s Day).
The royal celebrations were first held on 31 August 1885 in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina, and the Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) tradition was born. After Wilhelmina’s daughter (Juliana) succeeded to the throne in 1949, the day was changed to 30 April in accordance with the new Queen's birthday.
King’s Day: 26 April 2014
When she became queen, the now Princess Beatrix chose to retain the day in honour of her mother but as of 2014, King’s Day will officially be celebrated on 27 April (the king’s birthday). However, the event is traditionally not celebrated on a Sunday which means that the first King’s Day will be held on Saturday, 26 April 2014.
The name may have changed slightly but the festive spirit of the day is sure to remain! You'll be treated to a sea of orange as everyone - and their pet - is covered head to toe in oranje (orange) as a show of pride for the Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau.
Citywide street sale
As a city built on trade, Amsterdammers love to haggle and bargain. The vrijmarkt (literally ‘free market’) gives everyone and their mum the chance to sell their second-hand things on the streets and parks of Amsterdam, creating one of the world's largest flea markets.
And it’s not only second-hand wares on offer - plenty of food stalls spring up to fuel your bargain hunting frenzy! Read more about the citywide street market.
Aside from children being able to try their hand at trading on King’s Day, there are also plenty more activities taking place across the city for the young and young at heart including face-painting, games and sports events. Check the King’s Day family fun page for more information.
King's Night & Day parties
King's Day is a public holiday but certainly not a day of rest. The Dutch, expats and tourists alike flock to Amsterdam for a day of celebration. Plans for the 2014 are not yet set in stone, but the fun traditionally begins on the eve of the big day (King’s Night) with the carnival atmosphere continuing throughout the city on King’s Day. DJs play parties on public squares, brightly decorated boats fill canals and live music spills onto streets from cafe patios. Read more about King’s Day events.
King's Day on the canals
Never has gridlock traffic been so much fun! On King’s Day, thousands of brightly decorated boats pack the narrow Amsterdam canals. The next best thing to being on one of the boats is watching - and dancing - from one of the many bridges. Check the King’s Day boating regulations page for more information.
Museums on King’s Day
While the majority of Amsterdam's major museums and attractions are closed on King’s Day, several notable visitor hotspots traditionally stay open. Check back nearer the time for an overview of what’s open on King’s Day.