The term Koninginnedag literally translates into Queen’s Day, which is a national holiday in the Netherlands. By far the most widely celebrated holiday in the Netherlands, as the name suggests, the birthday of the Queen of Netherlands is celebrated on this day on a massive scale. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Amsterdam festivities during this time rival those of Mardi Gras in New Orleans or New Year’s Eve in New York City. Amsterdam welcomes approximately two million visitors during this time.
The tradition of celebrating Koninginnedag can be traced to ancient times. The Dutch have been observing Queen’s Day on April 30 since 1949, since the throne was ascended by the new Queen Juliana. The next queen to the throne was Queen Beatrix, whose reign continued till the previous year. Though her birthday originally happens to be on January 31, she continued with celebrating Koninginnedag on April 30. This is because in January, the Dutch weather isn’t conducive to outdoor activities.
The year 2014 is going to be particularly interesting and unique in a lot of ways. Amsterdam celebrated its last Queen’s Day in 2013 as Queen Beatrix abdicated on April 30th and King, Willem-Alexander was inaugurated. The year 2014 would see Amsterdam celebrating King’s Day. The date has also been shifted. Though King Willem-Alexander’s birthday falls on April 27th, an exception has been made for the year 2014. So King’s Day 2014 will be celebrated on April 26th as April 27th, the king’s official birthday falls on a Sunday. From 2015, it will continue to be held on April 27th. So travelers planning to go to Netherlands in April should make their reservations accordingly.
The Dutch love to party. So the celebrations usually start a night before, known as Koninginnenacht or Queen’s Night. Many different parties and concerts are held all across the city. They usually start at 7 p.m. and go on until the morning of Queen’s Day.
Interestingly, this is the only day of the year in Amsterdam when people have the opportunity to trade can sell things on the street without licences. Every year, the royal family visits one or two Dutch towns to greet her country’s people and visitors. The colour orange, being the national colour can be spotted a lot during these festivities. The traditional drink on Queen’s Day is oranje bitter, which is made by soaking peels of bitter oranges.
Some Useful Tips To Enjoy Koninginnedag In Netherlands:
• Amsterdam attracts a lot of visitors during Koninginnedag. Also, most outdoor parties and concerts are well underway by 12 noon. So if you want to avoid the crowds, it is highly recommended that you start early in the morning.
• This is the time to party and parties are incomplete without alcoholic beverages. However, state that each person shall only be allowed one alcoholic drink (i.e., a can or bottle) at a time. So drink all you want, but ensure that you adhere to the law.
• Streets are packed with revelers during Queen’s Day. Driving in the city is next to impossible. So, the best bet is to walk and enjoy the Queen’s Day festivities.Also, trams and buses do run, but they run late as the crowds block the routes.
• For families, Vondelpark and the surrounding residential neighborhoods are widely known for the various competitions and games it has to offer. Do make it a point to visit this area once during your stay at Netherlands.
To enjoy King’s Day 2014, plan a trip to Amsterdam as soon as possible!