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Celebrating Kingsday in Amsterdam


April 27 is “Kingsday” in the Netherlands… This is the biggest holiday of the year except for Christmas, and until you have experienced it, you can’t possibly understand what it means: Before the holiday starts, people have already put down their name in their favorite spot on the sidewalk (preferably right in front of their house), and at 7:00 am or earlier on the day itself, they are busily setting up their stand, so all junk accumulated during the year for this purpose will be displayed in the best way….

Among these are also stores with stands that look a lot more professional, and where interesting bargains might be found, but the result in any case is that in Amsterdam all traffic is banned from that time on, because it is not possible to pass the huge crowds decked out in orange… In the beginning they only fill the sidewalks, but as the day goes on, they spread out to the streets, and “nary a car can pass”…

Mixed in with everything else are stands which sell any type of food, with delicious odors wafting everywhere, and professional bands playing every type of music you can imagine, and beer is sold everywhere too, so as the day wears on, the crowds get drunker… Nonetheless the atmosphere is festive, and everyone joins in: older people, families, tourists (who have never experienced anything like this and can’t believe their eyes!) everyone! People come to Amsterdam from the whole region to experience this, so as the day goes on, the crowds get ever larger, and it becomes difficult to enter the city, especially by train…

Traditionally this holiday took place on April 30, Queen Juliana’s birthday… When Queen Beatrix took over from her mother, her intention was to keep her mother’s birthday permanently in place, but when Willem Alexander, her son, became king 2 years ago, he insisted on changing it to April 27th, his own birthday (what an ego trip…)

So that day all of the Netherlands is partying, and unsuspecting tourists are joining in, even though they may not even have known about this before coming… Even if the weather forecast is not too good, the day normally turns out beautiful and sunny after all, because traditionally even the weather gods smile on the Netherlands that day, so “Gelukkige Koningsdag, Nederland!”