Kingsday Prinsengracht parties along the canal
Lifestyle and Culture
Lifestyle and Culture
2 min

King's Day: A Guide for Expats

2 min

King's Day (Koningsdag) is a national holiday in the Netherlands celebrated on April 27th each year. It marks the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, the current Dutch monarch. The entire country transforms into a giant orange party, with people dressed in orange attire, streets filled with music and festivities, and flea markets popping up everywhere.

If you're an expat living in the Netherlands, King's Day is a great opportunity to experience Dutch culture and traditions firsthand. Here's a guide to help you make the most of this unique celebration.

Kingsday Amsterdam

What to Wear

The first thing you'll notice on King's Day is the sea of orange. It's the national color, and everyone gets involved by wearing orange clothing, accessories, and even makeup. Don't worry if you don't have anything orange – there are plenty of stalls selling orange gear on the streets.

What to Do 

King's Day is a day for outdoor fun and festivities. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Visit a vrijmarkt (flea market): Vrijmarkten are huge flea markets that take over the streets on King's Day. You can find anything and everything at these markets, from antiques and clothes to food and souvenirs.

Kingsday flea market

  • Attend a concert or party: There are free concerts and parties happening all over the country on King's Day. Find one that suits your taste and enjoy the music and atmosphere.
  • Go to a canal parade: If you're in Amsterdam, you can watch the annual canal parade, which features decorated boats and floats making their way through the city's canals.
  • Have a picnic in the park: Pack a picnic basket and head to a park to enjoy the sunshine and people-watching.
  • Explore a new city: King's Day is a great time to visit a new city in the Netherlands. Each city has its own unique way of celebrating, so you're sure to find something that you'll enjoy.

Tips for Expats

  • Plan ahead: King's Day is a very popular event, so it's a good idea to plan your day ahead of time. Book your accommodation and transportation early, and make sure you know where you want to go and what you want to do.
  • Be prepared for crowds: King's Day attracts millions of people from all over the world, so be prepared for big crowds. If you're not a fan of crowds, you may want to avoid the most popular areas or consider celebrating in a smaller town.
  • Pace yourself: King's Day can be a long and tiring day, so make sure to pace yourself and take breaks when you need them. There's no need to rush around trying to see everything – just relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
  • Learn a few Dutch phrases: While you'll probably get by with English in most places, learning a few basic Dutch phrases will help you connect with the locals and make your King's Day experience even more enjoyable.

King's Day is a fun and festive event that's sure to leave you with lasting memories. So put on your orange, grab some friends, and get ready to party like a Dutchie! 

Additional Tips

  • Bring cash: Not all vendors will accept credit cards, so it's a good idea to bring cash with you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: King's Day can be a bit chaotic, so be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.
  • Drink responsibly: Alcohol is flowing freely on King's Day, so make sure to drink responsibly and stay hydrated.
  • Have fun! King's Day is a time to let loose and have fun, so make the most of it and enjoy the experience.