April 26/27, 2023
The largest and most colorful festival in the Netherlands
celebrated since 1885
celebrated since 1885
On April 27, the Dutch celebrate 'Koningsdag' (King's Day), a national holiday to commemorate the birthday of King Willem-Alexander (27 April 1967).
It is by far the most widely celebrated holiday in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is packed to the gills on April 27, welcoming up to 2 million party-going visitors.
In recent years, King's Day has become more and more of an open air party, particularly in Amsterdam, which attracts anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million visitors.
Since King's Day is a national holiday and thus a day off, many people also go out and party on the evening before King's Day.
King's Day festivities begin on 'Koningsnacht' (King's Night), 26 April. King's Night is the start of the celebrations, with many cafés, pubs, night clubs and bars hosting special King's Night events and parties to get the party going.
On King's Night cafés are allowed to stay open until 4:00 at night.
Everything colours orange on King's Day, as it represents the House of Orange , which is the name of the current Dutch dynasty.
Streets and facades are decorated with orange garlands, flags and banners. People wear orange costumes, dye their hair orange and orange colored foods and drinks are sold everywhere. This all together is called 'Oranjegekte' (Orange madness).
Koningsdag is also known for its nationwide 'Vrijmarkt' (Free market), at which the Dutch sell their used items.
It is the only day of the year that the Dutch government permits sales on the street without a permit and without the payment of value added tax.
In Amsterdam many people set up stalls on the streets to sell household goods they no longer need. Typically, many children sell their toys. By the end of the day, much of the unsold is left on the streets.
There is no exact location for the celebrations and Free Market. Large-scale celebrations, music concerts and special events in public spaces take place in all districts and neighbourhoods of the city, both on the streets and on boats cruising the canals.
A large, outdoor concert usually is held on Amsterdam's Museumplein, where as many as 800,000 people may gather.
The city centre is closed to cars, and no trams ride in the heart of the city
Popular areas for the Vrijmarkt are the Jordaan quarter (especially alongside Prinsengracht), Vondelpark (where children sell their cast-off toys or garments and perform all kinds of games, shows and theatre) and Apollolaan in front of the Hilton hotel.