King’s Day (Koningsdag) – The Dutch’s Celebration to Mark the Reigning Monarch’s Birthday and Welcome Warm Weather!
King’s Day or Koningsdag marks the Netherlands’ celebration of a return to Spring while celebrating the King and Queen!
It’s King’s Day!
Each April, residents of the Netherlands all gather together to paint the town orange. After such a long Winter, it feel good to get out and party all in the name of the royal family! This festival isn’t called King’s Day for nothing. The monarchy is a very important part of the culture and government in the Netherlands, so honoring and celebrating the King is something they definitely go all out for. And for this alone, the experience you will get is like no other festivals around the world!
A History Fit for a King
King’s Day, or Koningsdag, got its start in 1885 as Prinsesseday, a celebration for Princess Wilhemina. The more modernized version of King’s Day was first held in 1949 on the 30th of April as a small birthday party for Queen Juliana. This is when the orange cake became popularized, the King’s Day parade had its first march and bicycle races were held with the local children. Following this birthday bash, it was decided that every year after, the celebration for the reigning monarchy would be held in April- mostly due to the good Spring weather.
Most people gather together to celebrate Queen’s Night, the King’s Day eve counterpart. Gather your Dutch brews and libations and get ready for a night on the town! Just make sure you can make it to all the Koningsdag celebrations in the morning!
The King’s Day Experience
The Festival of Koningsdag is one day of carnival processions, a lot of dancing, great fun and much more. The royal family is the centerpiece of this event and are the life of the party. The great thing about attending Koningsdag is that you’re very much a part of a culture and tradition that is not showcased and celebrated anywhere other than Amsterdam, Netherlands!
With a full day of non stop partying, events, costumed fun, and contests, this King’s Day will no doubt be one of the best times of your life. Many festival goers take this festival quite seriously, so don’t be afraid to get a little patriotic yourself. Wear orange, purchase a quirky costume, dance in the streets and cheer for the royal family!
Festival Pricing and Costs
This King’s Day festival is free to watch if you just want to see the parade.That being said, the festival is can get incredibly expensive fairly quickly. Each year Koningsdag promotes opulent and elegant parties so if you want to check those out, be sure to get a look at the pricing online.
However, the average Koningsdag festival does run about 300 euros. Pick and choose wisely which events you would like to attend so you don’t end up breaking the bank. In addition to costumes and tickets, you will mostly be spending a lot of money on airfare, accommodations, dining, and travel as you make your way through the Netherlands.
First Timers to Koningsdag
So it’s your first visit to the Netherlands for Koningsdag? You’re in store for a great time learning about art, history and Dutch traditions.
Before arriving into the Netherlands, you’re going to want to prepare a little for your trip. Have the places you want to visit already planned out so you can have a general schedule to follow throughout your trip. A lot of people like to participate in the parade and dress up in their own costumes. If you would like to, do a little research and find or create an outfit to wear.
When you arrive in the Netherlands, give yourself some time to rest before heading out for King’s Day festivities! When heading out on the town, try to find a group to stay with in case you get lost or just want to make some new friends.
What to Wear to King’s Day
The best carnival celebration does indeed take place at this royal holiday! This King’s Day Festival goes all out for its annual celebration, and you should too. The first step is to take a look at photos of past festivals to get a feel for what everyone else will be wearing.
Feel free to go all out when dressing for King’s Day. Wear costumes in honor of the festival, the parades, and the Royal family! Whether you decide to try for a more traditional look or not, use your creativity! Many people will be dressed in patriotic garb, putting great pride into their outfits. You should do the same and wear A LOT of orange!
Keep in mind as you trek to and through the Netherlands, you need to have a variety of outfits. It’s a good idea to bring different costumes for different parts of the day. When it comes to shoes, you will want to be comfortable as you will be doing a lot of walking. However, if they are visible under your costume, take care to make sure they are presentable and that they go with your outfit. Bring outfits that aren’t costumes as well, in case you want to go out later in the evenings.
Getting to Amsterdam
Depending on where you’re coming from, there are several places to find cheaper flights to Amsterdam. As soon as you decide that you’d like to head to the Netherlands to celebrate King’s Day.
Grabbing a flight into Amsterdam isn’t really that difficult. Next, when booking accommodations in the city, check out local hotels, boats, and houses that are up for rent. Whatever you do, book in advance! If you’re coming for the one day festival, consider staying a week! What’s a visit to the Netherlands without a little time to look around? You’ll find it easiest to grab a nearby hotel and staying at a place that is in walking distance of all the main celebrations is a great idea.
You’ll be traveling through the festivities on foot a lot, so if you are staying in the middle of it all, you’ll be in the best position for traveling. Search online for the cheapest rates and try to find rooms that have traditional architecture so you can learn even more during your stay.
If you plan to stay at King’s Day for just one das, maybe consider booking a hotel in on of the major areas near Douai so you can prepare to see other areas in the surrounding cities before you have to leave the country. Most attendees that stay for the entire festival book accommodations near the city center as to ensure they are within walking distance of the festival.
Tips for King’s Day
When you’re heading to King’s Day festival, be prepared. If you don’t buy your tickets and book your hotels soon enough, you will end up spending A LOT of money. Additionally, you will want to be sure that your passport is renewed several months in advance as the process is time consuming. Try getting in touch with a savvy travel agent who knows a lot about the Netherlands before you head out.
Do your best to find out as much information on King’s Day before heading over there to see it for yourself. Get a detailed look at all of the festivities just to make sure you are prepared and understand the basic traditions. Try to get to understand the royal family and their history a bit more if you are unsure about their role in the festival.
Along with preparing your documents for travel you’ll need your money changed. Try to convert some of your currency beforehand so you will be prepared incase you need it. The most important thing you can bring along with you is an open mind that is ready for new experiences!
Keep in mind also that this festival is a family event! Don’t go too crazy with the marijuana or alcohol during the actual Koningdag celebrations as there will be a lot of children around. If you want to party- try to wait til the day is over and you are hitting the clubs with your friends.
While You’re in Amsterdam
While you’re visiting Amsterdam for King’s Day, do take time to see the rest of the Netherlands. Try to book at least an extra few days or a weekend to have a chance to take all the sites in. Many visitors that come to town just for the festival make it a point to stop by all the most treasured sites and attractions in the city.
So whether you have been to the Netherlands before or not, King’s Day is a festival you’re going to want to check out soon!
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