Are you in the Netherlands today? If yes, then you are in luck, because today, 27 April, is Koningsdag or King’s Day, the celebration of the birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Kingdom of the Netherlands! Koningsdag is a national holiday in the Netherlands.
Koningsdag started as Prinsessedag or Princess’ Day, celebrated first in 31 August 1885 to commemorate the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, the heir to the Dutch throne. After her ascension in November 1890, the name was changed to Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day. In 1948, Juliana, Wilhelmina’s daughter, ascended to the throne, and the Koninginnedag was changed to Queen Juliana’s birthday on 30 April. Juliana’s daughter, Beatrix, retained the celebration on 30 April after she ascended the throne in 1980, though her birthday was on 31 January. When Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne in 2013, the celebration was changed into today’s Koningsdag and the date was moved to 27 April.
During Koningsdag, the King and his royal family will visit one of the Dutch towns and join the festivities there. Meanwhile, in all other Dutch towns, vrijmarkt or flea markets are opened where people will sell their used goods. Many concerts and special events are also held, especially in Amsterdam. There will be oranjegekte or “orange madness”, due to people will wear orange-colored clothing, dye their hairs orange or wear orange wigs, and apply orange make up. Orange is the national color of the Dutch, in honor of the House of Orange-Nassau, which rules over the Netherlands. Orange Bitter, a bright orange liqueur, will be toasted during the feasts.
If you are in Amsterdam during Koningsdag, make sure to head to the Amsterdam’s Museumplein to watch the outdoor concerts held there! Wear your best orange clothing, accessories, or wig, and join in the feasts! And do not forget to visit the vrijmarkt. Who knows, maybe you can find things that you have been looking for with much cheaper prices!
Lang leve de koning! Hoera, hoera, hoera!