This year, 2014, today is for the first time, the Netherlands celebrates its first King’s Day (in Dutch: Koningsdag). The previous celebration used to be called as Queen’s day (in Dutch: Koninginnedag) which was annually celebrated since 31 August 1885 to honor the birth of Dutch Queen Wilhelmina. The date then changed to 30 April in accordance to the birthday of her daughter, Juliana as she succeeded the throne in 1949.
The next throne, Queen Beatrix, who is the daughter of Queen Juliana, decided to kept her mother’s birthday, 30 April as the Queen’s day celebration day to honor her. Queen Beatrix was very wise in deciding this as her mother played important role who inspired her people during the World War Two. Many of Dutch people pay lots of respects towards her mother. Since 30 April 2013, Queen Baetrix’s son, King Willem-Alexander, took over her throne and the Queen’s day is now changed to King’s day to celebrate his birthday (which is actually on 27 April, but only this year that the celebration is moved to Saturday 26 April – ah yey, it is bit confusing).
During this day, many Dutch (with their children) are allowed to sell their secondhand items on the streets or often called in Dutch as Vrijmarkt. Previously the Vrijmarkt aimed Dutch citizens to sell their items during the Queen”s day without being taxed. Nowadays the day also marked with orange fever – when majority Dutch wear orange clothes and customs and partying on the streets. In canal cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Dutch usually took their boats and cruising around the canals just for fun.
The best city for this celebration is Amsterdam. It is just madness there – all you can see is orange, orange, orange, orange 🙂 The Hague is also quite hectic but not as crazy as Amsterdam. Meanwhile in Rotterdam is bit relax in celebrating the day, somehow the orange fever in Rotterdam is greater during the World football cup or Euro football cup. Anyway, this year I spent the first King’s day in Rotterdam with orange crowds but at least it is not driving me crazy.
PS: in some cities, most tourist attractions like museums, and shopping centers are usually closed during this event.