King’s Day in Holland (Koningsdag), or – until recently – Queen’s Day is a special day for the citizens of Netherlands. It is not only the day of the Queen’s / King’s birthday, but also an official state holiday, the day of national unity, actively celebrated by all the Dutch and by hundreds of thousands of tourists too.
Queen’s birthday began to be celebrated in Netherlands since the late 19th century. Since 1948, the date of the holiday was April 30th in honor of Queen Juliana’s birthday. Her daughter Beatrix decided not to change this date in memory of her mother and also because her birthday in January is not a very suitable day for outdoor activities.
But in 2013 Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne in favor of her son Willem-Alexander. As a result – surprisingly for all guidebooks – since 2014 Queen’s Day in the Netherlands is called King’s Day and held on April 27th – the day of the King’s birthday.
This slight change of date does not confuse the Dutch at all and they continue to honor their monarch, celebrating the Queen’s / King’s birthday in April. Moreover the dress code of the holiday remains the same – lots of orange: family color of the reigning dynasty.
On King’s Day orange crowds walk through the streets of Amsterdam, float on channels boats, drink in the street cafes for the health of the king and organize music concerts everywhere. And those who have old vinyl records, interesting books or just small bauble may participate in street markets, traditionally organized on King’s Day.