Orange You Glad It’s King’s Day in Amsterdam?

Every year on April 27th, the city of Amsterdam celebrates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander by dressing everything in orange and holding parties and parades in the street. Approximately one million people come to the Dutch city to take part in this occasion, making the Kings Day Amsterdam Festival the largest national event in Holland.

The first royal celebrations were held in 1885 and there has been a party on the birthday of the King or Queen (called Queens day) ever since.

The streets of Amsterdam are a sea of orange, as everyone wears the traditional national hue on this day. There are carnivals held in the squares, complete with dancing, singing and an open air market. There are stages for live music set up around the city and people drink beer and dance in the streets.

Kings Day Amsterdam Festival:  Amsterdam King's Day boats on Brouwersgracht
Amsterdam King’s Day boats on Brouwersgracht: Photo Currystrumpet / CC 2.0

The reason why everyone wears orange on this occasion is because Orange is the official colour of the Dutch Royal Family. They are the descendants of the House of Orange Nassau. This colour symbolises the country and demonstrates national pride, as well as being happy and bright.

The party begins the night before on King’s Night, when bars and clubs organise a special series of concerts and parties. The celebrations go on late into the night and don’t stop until the next morning. If you plan on attending King’s Day this year, make sure that you book your hotel as soon as possible – the accommodation in Amsterdam city will fill up very quickly.

The Kings Day Amsterdam Festival

There are a lot of fun things to do on Kings Day Amsterdam Festival, including:

  • Go shopping at the Vrijmarkt, a citywide street sale in which you can swap household items and find delicious and cheap street food. Make sure that you get there in the morning, the action starts at around 9am.
  • Take a boat tour down one of the famous canals in Amsterdam. People will be playing music and dancing on the canal boats, which makes for a very memorable trip down the river.
  • There will be fantastic street parties in the Jordaan and Wallen districts as well as the other big squares. You can walk from one street party to the next, enjoying the music and drinks in the street.
  • King’s Day also features some fantastic Gay Parties, vibrant and free spirited events celebrating the LGBT community – where everyone is welcome. The main gay celebrations usually take place at Reguliersdwarsstraat, the Westermarkt and along the Amstel between Waterlooplein and Muntplein.
  • Several of the popular museums, galleries and other attractions will traditionally stay open on King’s Day.
Kings Day Amsterdam Festival: Amsterdam's Canals
Amsterdam’s Canals: Photo Carmelrmd / CC 3.0

Kings Day Amsterdam Festival is one of the most exciting days of the year to visit Amsterdam and if you happen to be travelling through during this fantastic party you will have an absolute blast. Make sure you pack your orange t-shirt so that you can join in the fun!

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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