I just got back home from the Netherlands, without money but with tons of energy!!
This wasn’t my first time in Amsterdam but it was the first time seeing Amsterdam dressing up in orange and hosting a lot.. I mean A LOT of people, most of them already drunk early in the morning.
King’s day is a really important Dutch holiday. Every Dutch person that I’ve talked to like their Royal family a lot, in particular their actual king, Willem-Alexander (a.k.a. Willy)- As you can guess King’s day is a day were all the Dutchies meet up in Amsterdam to celebrate their Kings birthday. The dress code is: ORANGE and a can of beer in the hand. Usually the Dutch are really picky with beer (in fact they drink a lot of Belgian beer) but just for this day Heineken is accepted; not because it is a good beer, but just because the prices for this holiday drop down.
Nowadays King’s day- or as the Dutch call it ‘Koningsdag’- is celebrated every 27th of April (William’s actual birthday). Before he became king the Netherlands did not have a King, but only a Queen. The party was the same as King’s day, but the name of it was Queen’s day and it was celebrated on the 30th of April. It was a direct request of the King Willem to move the date to the 27th, so it could match with his actual birthday.
King’s day is celebrated everywhere in the Netherlands, but if you ask any Dutchie, King’s day is not King’s day if you are not in Amsterdam on a boat.
Amsterdam is famous for the crazy bikers and the canals which end up full of bikes every year, but the Dutch are smart; once in a year they collect all the bikes that end up in the canals, fix them and send them in Africa.
What was I talking about.. ah yes, the canals. Amsterdam’s beauty is in her canals, in fact is also called the Venice of the north. During King’s day all the canals will be filled up with boats with orange people and a lot of beer and maybe some snacks. My Dutch friend told me that beer is an essential element to have on the boat during this holiday. It is so important that on his boat they left four people on the ground to make more space for the beer.
Alcohol > People
During King’s day the city becomes filled with pure energy and good vibes. You can hear music and people laughing everywhere. You will see guys suited up with orange pants, jacket and tie. Girls will wear all their orange accessories: scarf, earrings, necklaces and nail polish, and funny orange hats and sunglasses are a must for this day!
Everyone walks around in their orange outfit and it becomes almost impossible to walk around, so getting on a boat with your friends is the best option. Of course there will be also a lot of traffic in the water, but it will not bother you a lot because you will be dancing and drinking with your friends on the boat the whole time!
There are many different kinds of boats My boat was a basic one: it had a driver – or sailor- , alcohol, snacks and also a motor. It did not have music and a toilet, these two things are a luxury. I’ve seen really fancy boats which had toilets and also a DJ on board!
What if your boat doesn’t have a toilet??
For the guys the solution is really easy; they just pull it out and pee in the canal – yes, it happens for real, I’ve seen it. Some guys also did it from the bridges. I just hope they checked before if there was any boat under. There is also a solution for girls. During this day the city will be filled up with outdoor toilets, the same you can see at festivals. You can ask the captain of your boat for a pee stop. These toilets get nasty really soon so I’ve decided to invest one euro to use the really clean toilet of a bar. This has been one of the best investment so far!
Not having music on board wasn’t a problem. You are always nearby other boats, which have music. You can even decide which songs you want to dance because you will be hearing many different songs while you are stuck in the water traffic jam of King’s day.
With all the alcohol that you will find during this day, it is really easy to get drunk. In fact more that the 83% of the people in Amsterdam get really tipsy or just too drunk. I almost got knocked out of my boat by a drunk lady who completely lost her balance… and she didn’t even notice it but a good guy did and caught me.
King’s day is one of the most typical Dutch holidays that you’ll ever experience. I highly recommend visiting the Netherlands at the end of April; not just for King’s day but also because it is tulips season!!