If you – like me and many other expats – come from the UK, one of the Americas or Germany, you’ll probably be surprised at how civilised the Dutch treat the drinking of alcohol. But all that goes out the window on King’s Day, when the city is transformed into a gargantuan party that rivals any festival, fiesta or function. The real beauty of it is that – even if you’re not much of a drinker – there are still plenty of other ways to enjoy this Dutch day of delight. Here are some King's Day highlights for each Amsterdam neighbourhood.
Noord: a right royal King’s Day experience
Become a king yourself this King's Day in Amsterdam Noord (North), and marvel at the striking view of the city's festivities from the sky. From atop the A’DAM LOOKOUT
, you can get a bird's-eye view of the orange blur of a city – all while sipping on cocktails and enjoying food that's fit for a king. If you'd rather party on ground level, head to one of the area’s many parties such as Vunzige Deuntje’s special King’s Day festival
at the industrial DEPOT.
City centre: parties, more parties and plenty of people
If you really
want to experience that party vibe this King’s Day, look no further than Amsterdam’s city centre. There truly is a party around every corner; heck, the whole area is a giant rollickin' revelry in itself! And it's not just on the streets: the canals are packed with boat-loads of orange-clad revellers, adding to the centre’s already incredible vibe. The music is loud, the drinks are flowing, the atmosphere’s fantastic and everyone’s having the time of their lives. The day before King’s Day – King’s Night – also boasts a healthy dose of parties
including lively (free) street parties on Westerstraat and Noordermarkt in the Jordaan.
Oud-Zuid: market madness
Head on down to Oud-Zuid (Old South) if you want to sample some traditional King’s Day markets
, where children and adults alike pedal their outgrown clothes, homemade wares and generally cool trinkets, odds and ends. If you'd rather party it up in South, head to Nassau Festival
at the Olympic Stadium.
Oost: a musical feast in the east
Hip Amsterdam Oost (East) is a music lover’s dream on King’s Day. The area’s iconic Bredeweg Festival
– now celebrating its 40th year – is a free family-friendly event that is all about energetic and eclectic live acts. Expect musical performances of all genres across an array of stages, as well as a street market, a fair and theatre performances. If that’s not enough, there’s a hearty selection of food, as well as fun rides, face painters, craft workshops and performance artists for the children (and the big kids!)
West: a win for the wild West
If you’d rather live it up in West, you can find an 18-hour party at the Westergasfabriek
. Naturally, the party carries on into the early hours of the following day, giving attendees ample opportunity to take in all the sights and sounds of one of Amsterdam’s most important cultural hubs.
Westerpark: mother nature, markets and merriment
Prefer things a little more green? Immerse yourself in nature this King’s Day at Westerpark
. Bring your own drinks, snacks and enjoy the festivities while surrounded by fauna, foliage and fun times. The park features one of the city's go-to King's Day children’s markets, too.
De Plantage: cool for kids on King’s Day
Amsterdam’s most elegant neighbourhood offers up a more relaxing, family-oriented King’s Day experience. You can start the day off with a visit to De Plantage’s renowned King's Day children’s market, then embrace the animal kingdom – in addition to Dutch royalty – at the area’s quintessential attraction, ARTIS
. The zoo has a whopping 750 species of animals, and there’s an abundance of nature, flowers and gardens to enjoy, which is great for the little ones.
NDSM: creative King's Day capers
If it’s diversity you’re after, the NDSM Wharf is always a good bet. The neighbourhood already has a reputation for being the creative haven of Amsterdam, so – as you'd expect – there are loads of fashionable and quirky goings-on in the area on King's Day. A particular highlight is the NDSM Vrijhaven
, a free event that invites all to revel in excellent music and great food. Just don your best orange garb, hop on a ferry and enjoy the fun – it’s as easy as that!
De Pijp: cosy, quaint and cushty
You’ll find nowhere cosier – or more gezellig
, as the Dutch would say – than De Pijp
, and this doesn’t change one bit on King’s Day. Most of the sought-after neighbourhood’s celebrated cafes and bars remain open on this momentous occasion, creating a community-like vibe that makes everyone feel right at home.
Oostelijke Eilanden: fun in the sun
Even when it’s not King’s Day, Amsterdam Roest
(currently closed for major building work but reopening in 2020) has all the special day’s festivities covered: markets, awesome events, music and more. They’ll be turning it up to 11 on 27 April, promising a night that’ll paint the town orange with a rowdy party on the Dutch capital’s best makeshift beach
Zuidoost: multi-cultural magic
is one of Amsterdam’s biggest entertainment centres, so it’s no surprise that it has a lot to offer for this year’s oranje
celebrations. This year’s highlight is the Koningsdagbraderie
, a diverse mini-festival that offers up delectable food and drinks, culture-steeped bands and markets galore – all with an international flavour. Of course, you should still expect shed-loads of orange!
Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes: party paradise
If you fancy spending your King’s Day partaking in some unadulterated, all-night-long partying – involving lots of DJs, dancing and drinking – Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes should be your go-to neighbourhood. Just head to the high-octane celebration kicking off in De School, where you can expect to party your way into the early hours – just don’t expect to remember much of it on Friday! Oh well! At least you'll get to see a delightful view on the way home...
Think you know everything there is to know about King's Day? Take our King's Day quiz
to really put your knowledge to the test!
See all King's Day and King's Night parties in Amsterdam at our King's Day events guide