2019 Festivals: King's Day (Netherlands)

By Caitlin Hornik

On Saturday April 27th, the Netherlands will celebrate the birthday of the King. In Amsterdam, an estimated 750,000 people will celebrate in the largest open-air festival. There will be street markets, organized music parties, and lots of people dressed in orange.


King's Day is formerly known as Queen's Day and used to be celebrated on her majesty’s birthday, April 30th. The date change occurred in 2013 following the Queen's abdication from the throne. Her oldest son, Willem Alexander, took her place and moved the festivities to his birthday, April 27th.

The Night Before

King’s Day celebrations begin at midnight on the 27th, with many people starting the party early. The markets will be open in the downtown area and there will be plenty of people (and partying) happening throughout the night. However, pubs are supposed to close for an hour before sunrise.

The Celebration

The celebrations will occur throughout the Netherlands, but Amsterdam and its suburbs are home to the largest of the festivals. In the heart of the city, there will be street markets and events for children. The “free market” is a large event where you’ll be able to find everything from broken toys to new electronics to handmade clothing and much more. You’ll also find some street performers and singers in the city throughout the day. Some of the bigger music-driven events have been moved to the outskirts of the city. These events are reachable by train and do require tickets, so book well in advance! The outdoor events all begin between 9:00am and noon, and end around 8:00pm. But don’t worry-- The celebrations will continue in pubs late into the night.

Know Before You Go

  • If you do plan to travel to Amsterdam to participate, be prepared for any and all kinds of weather. Amsterdam is notorious for its wacky April climate.
  • Book your hotel as soon as possible. King’s Day is gaining notoriety and hotels fill up fast as a result.
  • On the day of the festival, there will be no public transportation in the city of Amsterdam. No taxis, Ubers, or other cars are allowed, and all busses and trams will be rerouted to avoid the city center celebrations.
  • Most shops will be closed on King’s Day. Some supermarkets may open for part of the day for any last-minute celebratory needs.
  • The vast majority of people will be dressed in orange - the national color - so be sure to pack your best orange wear!

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