Kings day, or Koningsdag to the locals, is the celebration of the King of Holland’s official birthday. Celebrated on 27th April every year, this holiday changes the quaint (albeit liberal) streets of Amsterdam and many other cities around Holland, into a sea of Orange (the orange representing the House of Orange-Nassau, the house of the royal family)!
Originally created in 1885 to generate support for the unpopular monarchy, it has now grown into a massive national celebration and is even observed in some of the Dutch colonies. Amsterdam, however, hosts the biggest celebrations.
During the day, the streets and canals fill with parties and thousands of people. The best way to celebrate is to jump on a party boat, where you tour the canals amoungst a flotilla of other boats, all throwing out the ‘beats’. The bridges and streets lining the canals are mobbed and Heineken’s are in full flow.
If you wander the streets then you’ll be faced with a plethora of ‘free markets’ where anyone and everyone is selling something, from little trinkets to beer, to stuff they just no longer want.
The spirits are high, and everyone is friendly, just make sure you wear something orange!