Amsterdam is a fun city all year round but the day when the capital turns into one big party is King’s Day – one of the biggest events in the Dutch calendar. On the 27th April the whole of Amsterdam (and beyond) turns a shade of orange to celebrate the birthday of their king. With celebrations on an epic scale, up to a million people enjoy the series of concerts and events laid on for the special day. Here’s why you should book your trendy Amsterdam hotel and add it you travel list next year…
1. The Dutch really know how to party
The Dutch are known for their fun-loving ways but this is the day when the city’s residents can really let loose. Everyone is given the day off and in preparation for the huge all-day party, the city centre is closed to cars and trams. The crowds then start to descend in time for the celebrations – Amsterdam’s population on King’s Day is twice that of any other day. In fact, every street, canal, balcony and terrace is awash with orange-clad revellers up for a huge party. Being Amsterdam, of course, the celebrations don’t just start and stop on the 27th April – this is a two-day royal bonanza and the partying starts the evening before at bars, clubs and events staged around the city.
2. You’ll get to party on a canal boat
Amsterdam is known for its beautiful canals and this is the day where the city’s canals turn a sea of brilliant orange. Thousands of boats – decorated especially for the occasion – are filled with fun-seeking Dutch revellers. If you don’t have your own boat (or a friend who owns his own boat) head for one the many bridges or the corner of the Prinsengracht and Amstelveld which is one of the best places to watch all the boat parties from dry land.
3. You’ll be in foodie heaven
King’s Day isn’t just about drinking and dancing, you’ll also have access to plenty of foodie treats – with hundreds of street food vendors lining the roads and squares. Make sure you don’t leave without sampling tompouce, a local sweet pastry loaded with cream. For King’s Day they will be decorated with orange icing instead of the usual pink.
4. You’ll get to be a bit whacky
To show pride for the Dutch royal family (the House of Orange-Nassau), Orange is worn on King’s Day so this is the time to get a bit creative and ignore your previous fashion taste. The wackier the outfits the better so think orange wigs, face paint and crazy accessories. Yes you’ll look a bit odd, but don’t worry so will everybody else.
5. You can hunt for bargains
King’s Day is a great day to hunt for bargains. On the event the city wide flea market filled with stalls pops up along every street and public areas. Locals turn market traders for the day to sell on all their unwanted items. Hunt for interesting trinkets, homemade goodies or if you have kids head to Vondelpark where hundreds of children set out their stalls with toys.
6. You can opt for an extended stay – just book your hotel early!
Filled with interesting museums, art galleries and intriguing subculture, Amsterdam makes a superb travel destination all year around. King’s Day is a great opportunity to make an extended break of it so you can use this chance to explore the capital at your leisure.
The ‘Orange Experience’
The Royal Dutch airline KLM and the famous Dutch beer brand Heineken teamed up to surprise 10 lucky winners located around the world with a trip to celebrate King’s Day. Firstly they asked if they wanted an ‘Orange Experience’ (when they were ordered a Heineken at a bar) and then had to prove their worth by completing some adventurous challenges – singing ‘Oranje Boven’ (a Dutch folk song) in a packed bar for example. Once they passed the test, they were flown to the centre of the action where a boat awaited them. On it was DJ Hardwell – the number one DJ in the world. Watch the fun unfold here…