April 27 is a special day for the inhabitants of the Netherlands. This is a national mega-holiday called King’s Day. This year I was lucky to see how the Dutch celebrate this event in a small village of Landsmeer and in the crowded Amsterdam.
The tradition of honoring the country’s ruling monarchs has been existed in Holland for more than 130 years. But if earlier this holiday was called the Queen’s Day, then 5 years ago the throne was finally occupied by a man, who has established the celebration of King’s Day on his birthday. The current ruler of the Netherlands is the son of ex-Queen Beatrix, Willem-Alexander. He is 51 years old, he is married to the daughter of the ex-minister of Argentina, with whom he brings up three daughters.
The King’s Day in Holland is, perhaps, the biggest, the most cheerful and reckless holiday in the year. All people dress up in orange clothes – in honor of the family color of the Oran dynasty, spontaneous markets are unfolding everywhere, concerts and folk festivities are held. The buildings are decorated with orange garlands and national flags.
Quietly and modestly, the King’s Day is celebrated, perhaps, only in the villages. For example, in Landsmeer on this day since the morning there is no traffic in the central street, so that everyone could participate in a huge flea market. This is the only day of the year when local people can freely trade any goods: from second-hand clothes to homemade cakes baked by children.
At the same time, prices are very low. The Dutch are culturally walking in the center of Landsmeer with whole families, buying different knick-knacks and entertaining their children in the amusement park. By noon, all trade is stopped and everyone is going home.
Going to Amsterdam in the afternoon, I saw a completely different picture: whole crowds of tourists in orange dresses march along the central streets of the capital, music is booming in the squares, beer is pouring like the river, and hundreds of boats are floating on the canals, each of which has its own party.
The city center is naturally closed to transport; the only way to travel is by water. Among holidaymakers there are a lot of young people and tourists from all over the world.
The residents of the capital, especially married couples, rarely participate in such festivities, preferring to go with the children for a weekend somewhere out of the city.
Department stores and supermarkets do not work on this day, only food kiosks, bars and souvenir shops are open. You can buy everything you need on the spot: orange outfits, drinks and snacks. On this day even special urinals for men are setting at each corner. About women, apparently, they have forgotten.
Right in the alleys you can see a spontaneous disco with DJs on the balcony.
But the biggest movement takes place on Dam Square. Here the largest crowd of “orange people” are flocking, they dance, drink beer and have fun. Music does not stop here until midnight.
But parties on the water are especially popular on this day. All boats – from small to large – are filled with cheerful and slightly drunk people who dance and sing right on the deck. Even if you do not drink alcohol, you will have a lot of fun of this spectacle, loud music and fervent songs.
On King’s Day in the center of Amsterdam you can meet the most unusual public: transvestites, gays and “night butterflies”, tourists in the most original costumes and even extravagant retirees.
The holiday traditionally ends with a big fireworks display, but the next morning it is so clean and peaceful in the city, as if there was no mega party there.
Personally, I liked the orange feast. I think you must visit such a mass party at least once in your life. So if you want to participate in the celebration of King’s Day in Amsterdam next year, start preparing for your trip in advance, otherwise all hotels can be occupied. I booked the hotel in the winter on the site booking.com and I did the right thing.
Enjoy your travels and get the most vivid impressions!