King’s Day in Amsterdam

What is happening?

On Friday, April 27, it is King’s Day in the Netherlands and in Amsterdam, nearly 1 million people will dress in orange and go partying on the street.

Many will try to secure a good spot on the street to sell second-hand items, food or drinks.

Others cruise the canals on a party boat or visit one of the many live music performances and dance festivals.

Cafés and restaurants are allowed to sell drinks and food on the street and generate many months’ worth of turnover in a single day.

After the party, it takes up to one week to get the city fully cleaned up.

So, you will understand that we take a couple of days off around King’s Day. 

What we will do? Well, some of us  flee the city, others go partying for two days and some stay at home with a good book.


About the history

The tradition of King’s Day, or Queen’s Day, dates back to 1891 and it is the celebration of the birthday of the reigning king or queen.

That doesn’t necessarily have to be the actual birthday. Queen Mother Beatrix has kept her mother Juliana’s birthday on April 30 as Queen’s Day. Her own birthday is January 27, but that was too cold even for Dutch people to party outside.

When Beatrix resigned in 2013, the celebration moved from April 30 to April 27, being the birthday of her son and current King Willem-Alexander. And because it was not the digital age as it is today, this led to a new appearance in Amsterdam: the ‘Mistake Tourist’ (Vergistoerist).  Dozens of foreign, orange tourists popped up everywhere on April 30 looking for the party that, according to their outdated travel guide, was held that day but in reality, as they found, out took place three days before.

We Amsterdammers felt sorry for them and for a number of years we directed them to a boat and took them on a canal cruise of Amsterdam to let them celebrate a mini version of King’s Day.


What to do?

Whatever you do when you are in Amsterdam on King’s Day, we hope you have fun and the best thing is to take it as it is. Dress yourself up in orange, go out on the streets to enjoy and try one of the many food stalls. Restaurants will be closed or booked the max so this will be your lunch and dinner. 

As a tip, we can advise you to avoid the old city center and the Jordaan area if you do not like the big crowds and to visit neighborhoods such as De Pijp or Amsterdam-West. Things are a little quieter there so you can fully enjoy King’s Day 2024.

Also keep in mind that it is very difficult to order a taxi and that many public transport does not run. And cash machines are already rare to find in Amsterdam but on Kingsday they are often empty so get your cash the day before.