20 Reasons why King’s Day in Amsterdam is the worst street party in Europe

Koningsdag or King’s Day (27th April) in the Netherlands is such a boring day. Especially if you go to Amsterdam – then it’s particularly awful. I wouldn’t recommend you go, definitely not. You’ll have a rubbish time. Honest.

1. Everyone wears sensible, somber clothing. Mostly black or grey.

Kings Day

By DirkvdM (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

2. No one drinks. At all.


3. Especially not on the street. There is a high level of class and decorum at all times.

Drinking cider on Queens Day

4. No fun is allowed. And especially no dancing!

Dancing at Kings Day

5. And strictly no Dad Dancing.

Dancing on Queens Day

6. The canals are really empty and boring too. Nothing going on there.

Amsterdam Canals

By Carmelrmd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

7. The streets are deserted. Nothing to see here!

Jordaan on Kings Day

8. There’s nothing to do. You can’t get funny caricatures of yourself drawn on the street by Stan Heinze, Dutch caricaturist and comic artist.

Getting caricature drawn on Kings Day

8. Or throw wet sponges at your mates for shits and giggles.

Wet sponge throwing

9. You definitely can’t do that. I told you – no fun allowed.

Queens Day Sponge Throwing

10. There’s no messing around or being silly. Or you’ll get arrested by the fun police.

Queens Day Fun

11. The parks are completely desolate on King’s Day. Especially Vondelpark. Completely empty.

Vondelpark Queens Day

12. There’s no one taking advantage of the vrijmarkt (free market) and selling their old tat.

Vondelpark Queens Day

13. Or asking you to pay 50 cents to look in a box.

Queens Day 2011

14. And did I mention… NO DRINKING!

Drinking on Kings Day

15. And under no circumstances can roads be closed or traffic stopped for revellers.

Queens Day 2011

16. Later on in the evening, everyone is completely sober. No parties, no staying up late. Everyone just has an early night.

Kings Day Holland tshirt

17. Completely, 100% sober. I told you, right?

Queens Day drunk people

18. It definitely doesn’t get blurry. And people definitely don’t crash their boats whilst drunk.

Queens Day Late

19. You see, King Willem-Alexander is a very sober man. Never had a drink in his life… and his nickname definitely wasn’t Prins Pils (Lager Prince) in his student days, before be became King.


By Erikt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

20. Happy King’s Day everyone. I hope you have a really ongezellig time. Better to just stay at home that day really.

Queens Day

Hayley x


Being Dutch – Part 6: Koningsdag!! (King’s Day)

I simply love Queen’s Day King’s Day (Dammit! I keep doing that!) aka Europe’s biggest street party!

King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) is my favourite Dutch holiday and this year I just happen to live here, so it’s double spannend!

Queen's Day 2011

Queen’s Day 2011

A little bit of history:

King’s Day celebrates the birthday of the King, Willem-Alexander and is to be held annually on the 27th of April (or the 26th if the 27th falls on a Sunday – like this year). 2014 is the first ever King’s Day in the Netherlands. Formerly Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day), last year saw the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander on 30th April 2013 – the last Queen’s Day following the abdication of Queen Beatrix. (Full story.)

So now, it’s ALL about the King!

Apart from the name change, I’m expecting the same level of enthusiasm, atmosphere and celebration in Amsterdam as the past 3 years I’ve attended!

So what happens on King’s Day?

Basically everyone goes oranje gekte (orange crazy) … lots of people will be dressed head-to-toe in orange! Even the more modest will wear at least something orange. Some people even dress their pets in the colour. Seriously.

It’s all a show of pride for the Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau… and man are they proud!!

Our King's Day accessories box.

Our King’s Day accessories box. Every Dutchie I know has their own collection of orange memorabilia for special occasions.

The whole of the Netherlands is a massive party on this day, but nowhere more than in Amsterdam! The main roads are closed off to cars and trams so that crowds can party in the streets and there’s live music, LOTS of booze and an electric atmosphere wherever you go!  You could even call it gezellig! 😉

What should I bring?

In addition to your orange get-up:

1. Loose change. Make sure you have plenty of loose change as many toilet facilities charge between 50 cents – 1 euro to use their powder room on King’s Day.

2. Comfy footwear. You will do a lot of walking and/or dancing – so wear comfortable shoes!!

3. Beverages (and money for more beverages!) Strictly speaking, you must not carry more than one alcoholic drink with you but I have never seen this enforced.

4. Camera. You will obviously need a camera to take #selfies of you and your mates having an awesome time (yes, I am taking the piss)… I am way too old for selfies or hash tagging.

5. Phone = pointless unless used for number 4.  You can try to use your phone… but it won’t work. Generally the networks are as crazy as the parties on King’s Day.

What can I expect to see / do?

Well that’s up to you of course! There’s plenty, believe me!  Just walk around and you’ll find parties of all sizes and description, live music, fun attractions, games and general drinking and merriment. 

Vrijmarkt: If you want to buy some old tat, or just soak up a great atmosphere, head for Vondelpark. Special rules on King’s Day mean that anyone can sell their second-hand things on the streets and in parks, thus turning the city into a vrijmarkt (free market)! Anyone can take part, so there’s a load of old junk on offer! Vondelpark is swarming with children selling their wares. There’s a buzzing atmosphere in the park, with singing, dancing and children-turned-street performers for the day! There are also a wide variety of stalls and games, from wet-sponge throwing to funfair style games.

Looking in a box cost me 50 cents...

Looking in a box cost me 50 cents…

Parties: there are parties all over the city, ranging from small bars with live music acts, to huge organised events (for these you’ll need to buy tickets in advance). Visit iamsterdam for details.

Personally, we just prefer to bar crawl, that way you get to see more of the city and check out various venues before making your choice. A firm favourite of ours is the Kashmir Lounge bar on Jan Pieter Heijestraat with it’s relaxed vibe.

Go around the party please.

Go around the party please.

Canals: The canals are absolutely heaving on King’s Day, you will probably only see a sea of orange rather than any actual water. It’s all in good fun though and a sight not-to-be-missed. If you’re lucky enough to know someone with a boat, take a boat ride after 8-9pm… the lightweights have drunk too much and will have headed home by then, so it’s much less busy 😉

Maybe see you there. I’ll be the one with the gold tiara, orange jumpsuit and a bottle of orange fizz!

Hayley x