King’s Day in the Amsterdam Area
Amsterdam is one of the most popular places to celebrate King’s Day, but sometimes you might fancy a change of scenery, or to escape the huge crowds of partiers that take over the city. There are plenty of King’s Day festivals near Amsterdam that promise just as much fun as the capital, with unique festivities, traditions and – in one city, at least – the king and queen themselves. Luckily, King’s Day lands on a Friday this year, setting the stage for epic celebrations no matter where you celebrate this unique Dutch holiday.
King’s Day takes over the entire city of Haarlem, with pop-up markets, live music, DJs and children’s activities spilling onto the streets throughout its charming neighbourhoods. The programme for King’s Day in Haarlem is packed: check out K-day Kenaupark in the centre of the city for family-friendly games and shows, or take your place at one of the many stages to dance all day long. Because the massive festival in Haarlem is so spread out, the city is guaranteed to be less crowded than Amsterdam city centre.
Edam & Volendam
For a more traditional celebration, head to the old Dutch villages of Edam or Volendam. In Edam, the Oranje Feesten Edam (in Dutch) features old Dutch games, workshops and competitions in which everyone can participate (including the kids!). In Volendam, the party takes place near community centre De Opperdam and features a market – proceeds go to the area’s handball club – and special bouncy castles for the kids to jump on to their heart’s content.
Almere's King's Day celebration promises to be one of the biggest throughout the whole Amsterdam Area. Following on from a King's Night celebration featuring a host of DJs and acts, on King's Day itself a huge stage erected in the city's Grote Markt will feature performances by the winner of the Dutch version of The Voice, Pleun, the party band The Euro's and DJs spinning tracks from all around the world. There will also be the chance to try and entertain the crowd yourself with some karaoke. Throughout Almere Centrum, Buiten, Poort and Haven the streets will be lined with pop-up stalls, music, laughter and merriment. Celebrating King's Day in Almere is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face and offer an unforgettable day.
Just 30 minutes north of Amsterdam is Alkmaar, and though it’s a smaller city than Amsterdam, the festivities are just as big – in fact, it was voted as one of the best places to celebrate King’s Day in a local poll. There’s an amazing array of King’s Day events going on in Alkmaar (many of which are for those 16 or 18 and older), including Gramdioze Koningsdag on the Paardenmarkt and SLAM! at AFAS Stadion. Check the Alkmaar website for more information.
Celebrating King’s Day outside of the Amsterdam Area:
On King's Day The Hague is filled with all kinds of activities, including historical tram tours, boat rides, flea markets and more. But it's not just on King's Day that the city teems with life, as The Hague is also known for its King's Night celebration, which is one of the biggest in the Netherlands. The heart of these celebrations is the free Life I Live Festival, which sees nine stages transform the city centre into a huge festival site featuring international and local acts. Find out more about King's Day in The Hague.
Breda is a bit further, but its famous King’s Day celebration – 538 Koningsdag – is certainly worth the trip. Since 2014, Radio 538 has hosted a massive festival in the centre of the city at Het Chasséveld featuring top names in music; 538 Koningsdag has previously featured internationally renowned DJ Armin van Buuren and Dutch band Chef’Special on the line-up.
While King’s Day is a festival celebrated on the king’s birthday, he’s not actually present at his own parties – except in one city. Each year, the king and queen visit a Dutch city on King’s Day; this year, it’s Amersfoort (in Dutch). King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and other members of the royal family will take a two-hour walk from Kleine Haag near Mariënhof and end at Eemplein, with special events at each of the stops. If you’d rather do a little more sightseeing while celebrating in Amersfoort, there will be plenty of flea markets, food festivals and bands playing live music throughout the city.
Find out more about King's Day in our complete King's Day guide!