Celebrate all things Dutch on King’s Day, when Amsterdam transforms into a sea of orange. Parties spring up on every block, flea markets take over the sidewalks and every inch of the city is filled with excitement. Though things can get a little wild, there are plenty of places to safely enjoy the fun with kids.
King’s Day vs King’s Night
King’s Day celebrations really get going the night before, with many locals putting all of their energy into the 26th and sleeping through the big day. Certainly, some of the biggest parties take place on King’s Night...
Plan your day
Whatever your celebration style, there’s a King’s Day party to suit your mood, from all-night parties to family-friendly events. Aside from the official parties the inner canal ring becomes a cacophony of orange hues. Note that the canals will be filled with party boats and typical canal cruises won’t be running. Many shops and museums will also take the day off so staff can join in the fun, and inner-city eateries will be packed. Bring cash as there are often long lines at the ATMs and the pop-up shops won't accept cards. It is also a good idea to pack your own refillable water bottle and a rain jacket so you are prepared for rain or shine. If you’d prefer something quieter, head out into the city’s neighbourhoods or check out the parties in the Amsterdam Area.
And how you’re getting there
Amid all the festivities, trams won’t be running in the heart of the city. Some streets are even too busy for cycling, with street parties filling the narrow, cobbled streets around the centre. Your best bet is to park your bike on the outskirts (by Marnixstraat to access the Jordaan, on the Overtoom for Oud-Zuid, or Sarphatistraat for De Pijp), and wear comfortable shoes.
Rummage for a bargain
An essential part of King’s Day is the vrijmarkt - the King's Day street markets that see Amsterdam’s pavements transform into a bargain-hunting frenzy. Locals set up stalls to sell off their pre-loved clothing, books and homeware items. There are also designated spots for children to set up shop. Be prepared to haggle and buy as much as you can carry.
Complete your look
If you’re not already suited up in orange from head to toe, fear not. Among the vrijmarkt stalls, there are endless opportunities to top off your outfit with orange hats, feather boas, necklaces and novelty glasses. There are also ample opportunities to have your face painted by enthusiastic kids for a nominal fee.
Take a breath
If you’re in danger of orange overload, several locations around the city provide a reprieve from all the festivities. The Hortus Botanicus (one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world) is open on 27 April, or you can explore the gardens and parks on the outskirts of the city such as Park Frankendael.
Party all night
Those with any energy left (or sensible enough to fit in a quick power nap) will top it all off at one of the King’s Day after parties.