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King's Day in the Netherlands: What to expect

King’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in The Netherlands. When you are here to celebrate, you will probably love it! We will tell you all about King’s Day (Koningsdag) and what you can expect compared to other years.

History of King’s Day

Koningsdag is celebrated every year at April 27th and is a public holiday. Although there are other countries who celebrate King’s Day, trust us, it is nothing like here. We only have one goal: celebrate the importance of our reigning monarch. The royal celebrations were held first on Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday on 31 August 1885.

Despite Holland’s small size, they have always played an important role in world trade. Many well-known artists, sailors, philosophers and masters are known to come from the Netherlands. Today we celebrate King’s Day to honor the King and celebrate his birthday. Until 2013, we celebrated ‘Queen’s Day’ under the leadership of Queen Beatrix. When she abdicated for her son Willem-Alexander, the holiday was renamed King’s Day.

Everything orange

On King’s Day, you will see everything covered in Orange. We will wear orange hats, orange clothing, we will hang the Dutch flag outside of our house and we will eat everything orange. Why orange? Because it is the national color of our royal family.

What to expect at King’s Day

Normally we will celebrate this holiday very extensive, but this year everything is a little bit different because of Covid-19. This is what it is normally like and what you can expect this year:

King’s Night (Koningsnacht)

  • Normally: The party will start on the night before King’s Day itself. The best parties will arise and most young people will party all night long at the most exciting clubs, bars and pubs. Some people will party all night long until the next day, while others will only celebrate it on the day itself.
  • Now: All parties are cancelled this year. Maybe you can enjoy a drink at home with some fun games with a friend or roommate.

Street markets (Vrijmarkt)

  • Normally: In every city you’ll find flea markets on the streets. This is where people will bring their blanket and old items they would like to sell. You will find a lot of young children who’ll sell their stuff. Normally you can find a lot of books, clothing and toys.
  • Now: You probably won’t find the big flea markets like normal, but maybe a few stalls here and there where people sell or trade their items.

Party on the canals

  • Normally: While everything is covered in orange, you will also see the Amsterdam canals full of boats with loud music and partying people.
  • Now: You will probably still see a few boats, but with less people on the boats than before. Nevertheless we can still enjoy with some drinks and music.


  • Normally: In almost every city in the Netherlands you can find a big fair with a lot of games and attractions.
  • Now: Fairs are cancelled this year, since there would be too many people at one place at the same time. Too bad, because it takes a lot away of the festiveness.

Start festival season on King’s Day

  • Normally: King’s Day is the start of festival season for most people with some big festivals in the big cities.
  • Now: No festivals this year, so you’ll have to celebrate King’s Day another way you are used to.

The best food

  • Normally: The best pastries, covered in orange glazing, are served on King’s Day. Tompoucen are the most famous pastries at this day, so go find a local bakery or supermarket and buy you some! Also popular on this day: oranjebitter, schuimpjes and oranjesoesjes.
  • Now: Still the same, so give us all the food!

Even though this year is a little different than before, enjoy this day and have fun (and stay safe of course)! And.. a day off is never wrong, right? 😉

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