Last year I surprised my younger sister to a birthday weekend trip to Amsterdam for King’s Day. King’s Day which is held on the 27th of April (previously known as Queen’s Day on the 30th) is a national holiday in the Netherlands. We heard that tourists still sometimes show up on the 30th only to realise that they’ve missed the party! King’s Day in summary is a massive party all across Amsterdam. There is no need to plan, just show up and trust that you will have a good time.
Why King’s Day should be on your bucket list:
A big part of why I love festivals is the chance to dress up and let your hair down. King’s Day is all about the orange and remember, orange is the new black. You’ll never see anything like it; people, streets and canals are all covered in orange which is the official color of the Dutch Royal Family. The vibe everywhere was just incredibly positive and relatively well behaved. People were simply there to have a good time and nothing else. I must say King’s Day was much more civilised than Notting Hill carnival for example which can turn a bit rough.
What not to miss:
The park is a perfect way to start the day in relaxed way. It’s a very family friendly environment. Kids are all over the park, putting on shows and selling stuff in a massive flea market. It’s the cutest thing and makes you kind of nostalgic, remembering those good old days when you used to make horrible amateur cakes and people would buy them out of pity.
After browsing around the market we headed off to the canal where the actual party was held. The streets are full of different parties, stages, crowds, music, food and drinks. If you want to taste the most incredible burger, queue up for Lombardo’s and trust me it’s worth the long queue. The alcohol is very reasonably priced if you find the stalls in the outskirts/right at the very beginning of the canals. The street parties finish around 8PM.
What better way is there to see Amsterdam at it’s best than cruising down the canal on a sunny day and enjoying the party scene? If you can’t get on a boat then the corner of Prinsengracht/Amstelveld is the best place to enjoy the crowd and watch them go by. That’s also where you’re most likely to sneak your way into one!
Fact: between 600,000 and a million people attend each year. 250,0000 people arrive to Amsterdam by train on King’s Day alone. Note that accommodation gets booked up very quickly around this time. The celebrations start the night before on the 26th (King’s Night) so book as early as possible. The IAmsterdam website normally posts the main events going on.