King’s Day, also known as Koningsdag in Dutch, is a national holiday celebrated in the Netherlands on April 27th each year. The day is a celebration of the birthday of the current King of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander. It is a day filled with festivities, parades, and parties all across the country. Let’s delve into the history of this day and how it is celebrated in the Netherlands.
The history of King’s Day dates back to 1885 when it was first celebrated as Princess’s Day in honor of the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina. When she ascended the throne in 1890, the day became known as Queen’s Day and was celebrated on August 31st. After Queen Juliana’s accession to the throne in 1949, the date was changed to her birthday, April 30th. In 2013, King’s Day was established to be celebrated on April 27th, the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, who succeeded his mother, Queen Beatrix, on April 30th, 2013.
King’s Day is one of the most significant national events in the Netherlands, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement. The day starts with the traditional “vrijmarkt,” which means “free market” in Dutch. On this day, people of all ages can set up stalls and sell their second-hand goods on the streets, sidewalks, and in public parks without requiring a permit. The vrijmarkt is a fantastic opportunity for people to declutter their homes and make some money.
The celebrations continue throughout the day with street parties, live music, and parades. The streets of major cities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague, are packed with people dressed in orange, the national color of the Netherlands, and the color of the House of Orange-Nassau, the royal family. Many people also wear hats, wigs, and other accessories that are orange-themed.
Another highlight of King’s Day is the “Koningsdagconcert,” which is a free concert that takes place in a different city every year. It is broadcast live on television and features some of the best Dutch musicians and performers.
King’s Day is a significant day for the people of the Netherlands, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement. The vrijmarkt, street parties, live music, and parades are just some of the ways that the Dutch people come together to celebrate their king and their nation. Whether you are a local or a visitor, King’s Day is a day not to be missed if you want to experience the true spirit of the Netherlands.