The Kingdom of the Netherlands celebrates
27 April, 2018
King’s Day (Koningsdag)
The Koningsdag or King’s Day is the national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is celebrated on the day of His Majesty’s Birthday on 27 April every year. The royal celebrations in the Netherlands were first held on 31 August 1885 in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina, and the Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) tradition was born. After Wilhelmina’s daughter, Queen Juliana, succeeded to the throne in 1949, the day was changed to 30 April in accordance with the new Queen’s birthday.
In 2013, Queen Beatrix, who has kept the Queen’s Day on her mother’s birthday, announced her abdication after 33 years on the throne. Her oldest son Willem-Alexander became the King of the Netherlands. King’s Day was celebrated for the first time on 26 April 2014, one day before Willem-Alexander’s birthday.
From now on, the King’s Day will be held on 27 April. The name may have changed slightly but the festive spirit of the day is sure to remain! The nation would be treated to a sea of orange as everyone – and their pets – is covered head to toe in orange as a show of pride for the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange-Nassau. What makes this national celebration so special is that the huge parties across the whole country, and street markets everywhere.
King’s Night (Koningsnacht)
Celebration of King’s Day begins already in the evening before, usually at 7 pm, and
goes on until the early hours of the King’s Day. It is so called King’s Night, when all clubs
across the Netherlands organise special festivities. Major cities are very busy that night
as many young people move from one party to another, while others prepare the next
Free market (Vrijmarkt)
The Dutch love to trade; they have it in their blood. The King’s Day is an occasion to
trade all things that are unnecessary at home with your neighbours and visitors in town.
More a social occasion than a real commercial opportunity, the free market is a unique
family event with children actively participating. Prices are symbolic and the most
important is fun.
Traditional singing and dancing
The markets are flled not only with traders, food stands and beer taps but also with
large groups of people singing traditional Dutch songs. These are simple, rhythmic
songs mostly describing the beauty of the country. While you might not be able to
follow the lyrics, the atmosphere is always unique, friendly, relaxed.
Rock concerts and partying
A rock concert on Museumplein in Amsterdam begins usually at 11 am and goes on
until late in the afternoon attracting thousands of young participants. In many cities,
speakers with disco music are put out on the street and improvised parties take place.
People dancing on the boats circulating Amsterdam canals are in fact having sailing
To celebrate the national day with the people of the Netherlands, “Dutch Days in Hong
Kong” would also conclude the festival on the same day. We hope you enjoy all the art
and culture events the festival has brought to you.