Orange you glad it's Almost Kings Day?
Spending Holidays Abroad
with guest blogger
The spring season in the Netherlands conjures up images of vibrant tulip fields and rustic windmills. In addition to this natural splendor every year on April 27th the streets and canals of the Netherlands are colored a beautiful orange to mark the annual birthday celebration of the King of Holland, Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand. It's truly majestic. In English, the holiday is Kings Day, but in Dutch, it is called Koningsdag. Parties rage from the evening of the 26th to the following evening. A twenty-four-hour national bash.
For the Dutch, work and school are canceled on the holiday and tourists flock in from all around Europe to join in the party. Traveling throughout Holland on this day is difficult as many roads are closed, and some train stations are inaccessible. Prior planning of accommodations and travel will be necessary for a relaxed Koningsdag experience.
Although Willem-Alexander is more of a figurehead for the nation, he stays engaged with the citizens and embraces the culture. In previous years, there has been a princess' day and a queens' day to accommodate whoever has taken the leadership role. The date of this celebration also changes per the birthday of the current reigning royalty making this holiday dynamic. Willem is the first male "ruler" of the Netherlands since William III back in 1890 when the tradition initially began. Because he was made king at the mere age of 46 back in 2013, he is now the youngest monarch in Europe. Willem was married to Máxima Cerruti of Argentina in 2002, making their reign as King and Queen multicultural.
This year the King will be commuting to Groningen, a city in the North of the Netherlands to celebrate. The whole country will be in party mode, but the hottest spots to visit this year will be in Amsterdam, the capital, and Groningen. King Willem-Alexander and his family will make an appearance in the city center where there will be a festival packed with games, music, food, and beverages for all ages. Local organizations take pride in these celebrations and try to showcase their region. One fun twist is a large local market where people can sell and buy used items (a colossal garage sale). Here vintage and new items can be found alike, and it is the only day annually that street sale is allowed without a permit. For the 18+ crowd, there is an electronic music festival, Kingsland, that boasts over 150 DJs playing over five locations -plenty of fun for young adults including live music and beverages.
No matter how or where you celebrate Kings Day there is one catch, orange clothing and accessories is a must. In Dutch, they even have produced a word for this sort of orange craziness - oranjegekte. Although the Dutch flag is red, white and blue, they have a national color of orange. I'm planning my orange outfit now!