King’s Day!

blog_koningsdag_printscreen_2014Yes! It’s almost King’s Day! April 26 is The Day to add to your Amsterdam Wish List–even if you’re not too keen on crowds (there’s places to go for you, too).

So many things to share about this day:

1) Everyone will be in a very good mood. Well, at least 99,9% of the people out on the streets. That in itself is a lovely experience.

2) Everyone will be wearing orange–including those who don’t normally like group behaviour. Including you? Definitely!

3) Everyone A lot of people will write bezet (‘taken’) and/or their names on the sidewalk, even weeks before, to say that THIS is where they’ll be selling their things. Suits, books, toys, bed linen, shoes, cd’s, dvd’s, vinyl, coffee machines, bikes,… There’s few things that won’t be on offer.

So… What’s the deal?

1) There will be all sorts of music, all sorts of food, all sorts of silly games, all sorts of boats on the canals, all sorts of things to buy.

2) There will be kids playing the violin/flute/…, kids painting your cheeks red-white-&-blue, kids selling their last year’s toys.

3) There will be heaps to see!

For a moment Amsterdammers thought there would be a ‘proper’ vrijmarkt again, one that starts on King’s Night, at midnight. (After the Queen‘s Night in 1996, Amsterdam’s–probably least-Amsterdammer-of-them-all–mayor Patijn forbade the night market). Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Not to worry, during King’s Day there will be a ‘free market’ all over town, starting as early as 6am.

Still, a King‘s Day? Let’s answer this in a small font:

We were the first republic (back in 1581!), now we’re a monarchy (after Napoleon left, 1806). Let’s keep that Why-discussion for some other day.

Since 1891 the Dutch have celebrated Queen’s Day, first on August 31 (Wilhelmina‘s birthday), as of 1949 on April 30 (birthday Juliana). Even though Beatrix (Queen as of 1980) was born January 31, she kept public celebrations on April 30. Partly to honour her Mum, partly for practical reasons: the weather.

April 30th, 2014 it will be exactly a year ago that Beatrix abdicated in favour of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander. His birthday is April 27, however, King’s Day is never celebrated on Sundays, hence these dates:

April 25th: King’s Night || April 26th, King’s Day.

blog_koningsdag_vondel_sarphati Where to go?

Please note: Prinsengracht (between Brouwersgracht and Rozengracht) on King’s Day redefines the word ‘crowded’. But if you’re not in a hurry? Nice! Make sure to end your walk on the Lindengracht. And don’t forget to visit Cafe De Prins: they’ll be dancing on the bar and tables.

If you’re looking for King’s Day Parties, check out Iamsterdam. We would recommend walking around as of the early morning. Jordaan, Pijp (both boroughs) and the Prinsengracht are our faves!

(c) Picture: print-screen Google © Text: Amsterdam Culture/Sheila Schenkel


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