The King’s Day Guide

King's Day

Koningsdag (otherwise know as King’s Day) is simply put; the biggest part ever in the Netherlands. It is the day when the whole of country celebrates the birthday of the Dutch King, Willem-Alexander. It is held on the 27th of April (or the 26th if the 27th falls on a Sunday). The day was previously known as Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) and was a celebration of Queen Juliana’s birthday on the 30th of April. This changed in 2013 when Queen Beatrix (daughter of Juliana) decided it was time to catch up on her DVD box sets and handed the family business over to her son, Willem-Alexander.

The maddness of Koningsdag/King’s Day

1) Everyone goes orange crazy (oranje gekte) to show their support for the Dutch family (The House of Orange). There are orange banners and decorations, orange coloured drinks and foods, orange dyed hair and lots and lots of orange clothes and crazy accessories. This makes it a particularly depressing day for anyone with orange colour blindness. Most of the time they probably don’t even know what is going on and just think it is a bit busy for some reason.

2) The streets become packed with people celebrating. Moving through cities such as Amsterdam in large groups on Koningsdag becomes an impossible task. The current of the crowd is too strong and before you know it part of your group is washed up on Dam square while the other half is being dragged towards Museum Plein at a speed of 12 knots.

3) No matter how hard you try not to you will end up wearing beer, even if you are not drinking it yourself. It’s a side effect of inebriated people trying to carry more beer than they have fingers.

4) Under-age drinkers will attempt to join in on the festivities on King’s Day by concealing the alcoholic drink of their choice within innocent looking fizzy pop drinks bottles. To them this is the height of deception and completely undetectable by even the greatest of minds. To the rest of us it is extremely obvious due to their loud giggling, singing, constant fighting over the contents of the bottle and the fact that Dr Pepper has suddenly become strangely fluorescent blue in colour.

5) Because of the vrijmarkt (free market) on Koningsdag the Dutch can and will gather all their unwanted belongs from their house, take them outside, dump them on the street and proceed in a desperate fashion to sell them for a few coins to any passers by using any means necessary. Crack addicts trying to score money for drugs have more subtlety and dignity.

6) Amongst the items usually available in the vrijmarkt it is still possible to find things such as 80’s aerobic workout VHS cassettes, top of the pops music cassette tapes, 2D game floppy disks and other discontinued entertainment media formats. It’s entirely possible that these items have been changing owners every King and Queen’s Day since 1985.

7) Dutch parents will force their children to sing, dance, juggle, mime, play musical instruments, recite poetry, re-enact Shakespeare or simply stand on their head for money in a way that has been outlawed by most third world countries.

8) Vondelpark in Amsterdam becomes a children’s market on King’s Day (a place where children sell their unwanted toys, not a place where parents sell their unwanted children). This makes it possible for parents to see all the money they spent on toys for the last 10 Sinterklaas pakjesavond get traded in for Pokemon cards.

9) Selling toys at the children’s market is a defining moment in every child’s life. It displays something of the kind of adult they will grow up to be. Will they be honest and generous or will they try to sell those free McDonald’s Happy Meal toys for 50 cents each?

10) By 7:00 the streets are empty once again because everyone is far too drunk to do anything. Crushed plastic beer glasses and unsold novelty items is all that remain like some kind of bizarre post apocalypse movie scene (possibly one about the zombie apocalypse at Glastonbury).

11) The madness of King’s Day is a farther proof that even the Dutch royal family dislike Dutch circle parties and will do anything to make sure their party is a lively one.

20 responses to “The King’s Day Guide”

  1. linda@adventuresinexpatland.com says:

    Hysterically funny and entirely accurate. I went down the list (even for the more sedate The Hague) and it was: check, check, check, etc. Great post.

  2. The market sounds like the one that is re-enacted by the Belgians every Sunday morning …

  3. Aryeh says:

    Correct and absolutely looking forward to it!

  4. Koos says:

    It’s not just your amazing powers of observation, Stu, but also your skill to write about them in your inimitable and humourous way. I’m looking forward to Koninginnedag again!

  5. MissNeriss says:

    “Crack addicts trying to score money for drugs have more subtlety and dignity.” bwahahaha! I love this post, absolutely spot on. Can’t wait (to stay home and avoid the masses).

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  8. Aledys Ver says:

    Hilarious!!! It’s true, at the flee market you get to see mobile phones of the first generation, cassettes, and all sorts of things for which there’s no use any longer! :D

  9. Invader Stu says:

    Linda – Thanks :)

    Unexpected Traveller – Why am I not surprised

    Aryeh – And did you have fun?

    Koos – Thanks Koos. You are too kind :)

    MissNeriss – Did you manage to avoid it all?

    Aledys Ver – I might make it my mission to collect as many out of use formats as I can.

  10. VallyP says:

    Thanks for reminding me why I never go to Amsterdam on Koninginnedag…Rotterdam is infinitely more civilised :)

  11. Invader Stu says:

    VallyP – I’ve not actually seen Rotterdam on Queen’s Day yet but it does not surprise me if it is more civilised. A warzone is more civilised.

  12. Beer Hat says:

    What a superb write-up, I love the way you write. I actually have only just tweeted this in order to share it and uncover even more subjection for your page!

  13. Ryan says:

    Brilliant! Makes me wan’t to move back now :(

  14. Dave2 says:

    You have blue Dr. Pepper?!? Aw, man… you have all the best stuff in the Netherlands.

  15. JusJodi says:

    Thanks for the belly laugh for the day, I will be there with another buddy of mine, getting to A’dam at dawns crack,, and hoping to get out of the city way before 7 p.m…Blue Dr Pepper,, whoo hooo
    Thanks for making my morning Stu

  16. janey says:

    Must buy orange t-shirt at least me thinks. Will be in your country (from BC Canada!) on this memorable day. Drinking and junk sales? Bring it on!

  17. VallyP says:

    Hope Sophie has a great Kings day too, Stu! xx

  18. Hayley says:

    Woop woop! Roll on Saturday, bring on the crazy Dutch!! Ps – I’m not underage, but I am one of those people toting a fizzy drinks bottle… it’s much easier than carrying a bottle of vodka under each arm ;-)

  19. Hoo, boy. I can’t wait for this Saturday! ^.^

    Happy King’s Day in advance!

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