Celebrating King’s Day in Amsterdam has been in my bucket list for a few years and I am so happy that I have finally ticked it off this year!
King’s Day was formerly known as Queen’s Day and is a national holiday in the Netherlands that has been around since 1885, celebrating the birth of the then Queen Wilhelmina.
This party is, in fact, a huge open-air drinking feast around town, a flea market, a carnival and a music festival all at once. Oh and don’t forget to wear orange!
Orange. That’s the color of the day on King’s Day (Koningsdag in Dutch). Why orange? Because the Dutch royal family is of the House of Orange.
You can celebrate the holiday anywhere in the country, but as a tourist, Amsterdam is the place to be. The city turns into a madhouse, but just go with the flow, and you’ll have a blast. I cannot even describe the contagious party vibe in the entire city – you just have to be there!
Start with KONINGSNACHT (The night before King’s day)
Be sure to look up what’s going on the night before on Koningsnacht! The festivities start the night before, at KingsNight. Numerous venues all over town host amazing parties to celebrate King’s birthday.
Buy your orange ahead of time
This one is absolutely mandatory if you don’t want to look like a tourist!
Be on a boat or rent one yourself if you are with a group
If you plan on coming to Amsterdam during King’s Day, do note that rental boats are already all booked at least one month in advance but you can of course always give it a try. You could also try your luck and ask people on boats if you can join their party, this works if the boat is not already full, and it’s an awesome way of making new friends!
Enjoy free concerts and crazy crowds
The best way to be a part of this is by going to the main town squares such as Leidseplein, Rai or NDSM or to parks like Westerpark or Vondelpark.
Enjoy a walk through the canals, grab some snacks, and watch as the entire city is a show to be seen and experienced. Amsterdam is a very walkable city, which is especially good on King’s Day because pedestrians take over the streets and even being on a bike is difficult.
Get drinks and food the day before King’s day
Most supermarkets will sell out of beer on King’s Day. If you want to be prepared, stock up on beer the day before at a supermarket.
Have cash for bathrooms
Be sure to carry some extra euros for you to pay for the toilets as you see them. They’re rare and you might spend a significant amount of time in line/looking for one.
Book your accommodation in Amsterdam way in advance
Unless you book far in advance, hotels and hostels sell out, and the ones that are left are Expensive with a capital E.
Most hotels and hostels will be booked up and prices will be significantly higher. Book in advance to get the lowest rates.
To recap, plan in advance, pace yourself with drinking, wear orange, bring some cash, and enjoy the orange madness!
For more tips and recommendations for Amsterdam, check out my AMSTERDAM GUIDE