Celebrating King's Day in the Netherlands: A Vibrant Tradition of Orange, Festivities, and Cultural Heritage
Travel Story

Celebrating King’s Day in the Netherlands: A Vibrant Tradition of Orange, Festivities, and Cultural Heritage

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Since King Willem Alexander officially ascended to the throne in 2013, the nation celebrates his birthday by designating the day as King’s Day.

Netherlands and Orange Color

On King’s Day, the Netherlands bursts into a vibrant sea of orange. Orange is a color associated with the Dutch royal family or the House of Orange Nassau. The color orange became a symbol of their monarchy. The dynasty played a significant role in Dutch history, making orange have a deep national meaning. Orange color is a symbol of national pride, unity, and identity. The Netherlands is proud to wear and display this color during national events. It can also be easily recognized during sports competitions and celebrations.

The King of the Netherlands is having fun on his birthday with the residents of Emmen |  The King and Queen of the Netherlands are eating together with Dutch children.
Image Credit : Instagram Koninklijkhuis


The history begins in the 16th century. It was William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), a key leader in the Dutch War of Independence against Spanish rule. The name ‘Orange’ comes from Orange in southern France, which was inherited from William. From there, the color became identical to the House of Orange Nassau and Dutch patriotism.

The History of King’s Day

King’s Day, known as Koningsdag in Dutch, has a rich history dating back centuries. It was originally celebrated as Princess’s Day, honoring the birth of Princess Wilhelmina on August 31, 1885. The celebration involved various festivities, including parades and special events.

In 1890, the celebration changed into Queen’s Day when Wilhelmina became queen. The date shifted to April 30, exactly the queen’s birthday. Queen’s Day became an important national holiday marked by festivities, markets, and cultural events across the Netherlands.




This tradition continued until the reign of Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix. The date for the celebration remains the same because Queen Beatrix’s birthday also fell on April 30

In 2013, Queen Beatrix abdicated and was replaced by her son Willem Alexander. Willem Alexander is the first king of the Netherlands in over a century. Because his birthday falls on April 27, the celebration shifted to April 27 and changed from Queen’s Day to King’s Day.

Kings Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima is offering snacks to the Dutch people in celebration of King Willem Alexander’s birthday.
Image Credit : Instagram Koninklijkhuis


Street Markets

The most popular happen of King’s Day is the street markets. This historical tradition maintains and adds to the festive atmosphere. You can see traders or ordinary residents selling their goods in town squares and public parks.




These street markets provide local communities with a chance to come together and make the atmosphere lively. Residents are allowed to sell second-hand goods and crafts without tax. Street markets offer accessible fun for locals and tourists because they only happen once a year.

The King of the Netherlands meets residents offering congratulations in Emmen | The King of the Netherlands delivers his birthday speech in front of the public in Emmen.
Image Credit : Instagram Koninklijkhuis

Mark your agenda

King’s Day is a beloved national holiday. The influx of visitors to the markets can benefit surrounding businesses such as cafes, restaurants, and shops. Cultural exchange makes King’s Day a truly inclusive and memorable experience for all involved


The King of the Netherlands talks with local officials on his birthday in Emmen
Image Credit : Instagram Koninklijkhuis


So, if you plan to visit the Netherlands, please do not miss this festival. You can see how beautiful the whole Netherlands is in orange, taste traditional Dutch snacks like fresh stroopwafels and oliebollen, witness local performances and parades, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the Netherlands. King’s Day promises moments you will cherish for years to come. Plan your trip to the Netherlands in April and experience the magic of King’s Day. Mark your agenda and join me for a celebration like no other!

Mrs. Retno Marsudi, the Indonesian Foreign Minister who also previously served as the Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands, visited the Dutch Embassy in the Kuningan area of Jakarta
Image Credit: Instagram retno_marsudi

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

King’s Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands celebrated to honor the birthday of the reigning king, currently King Willem Alexander. It’s a day filled with festivities, cultural events, and vibrant street markets.

Orange is the color associated with the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange Nassau. It symbolizes national pride, unity, and identity, dating back to the dynasty’s significant role in Dutch history.

Originally known as Princess’s Day, it commemorated the birth of Princess Wilhelmina in 1885. Over time, it evolved into Queen’s Day when Wilhelmina ascended the throne in 1890. In 2013, it became King’s Day to mark the reign of King Willem Alexander.

King’s Day is celebrated with various festivities, including parades, cultural events, and street markets. People dress in orange, sell goods at street markets, and participate in community activities across the country.

King’s Day is celebrated on April 27th, the birthday of King Willem Alexander. However, if April 27 falls on a Sunday, it is celebrated a day earlier, on April 26.

Visitors can expect to see the entire country adorned in orange, indulge in traditional Dutch snacks like stroopwafels and oliebollen, witness local performances and parades, and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the Netherlands.

King’s Day is celebrated with various festivities, including parades, cultural events, and street markets. People dress in orange, sell goods at street markets, and participate in community activities across the country.

Plan your trip to the Netherlands in April to coincide with King’s Day. Make sure to mark April 27th on your calendar and explore the various events and activities happening across the country. Don’t forget to join in the celebration and create unforgettable memories!

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