KING’S DAY NETHERLANDS 2020 IN THE TIME OF CORONA

THE DUTCH CELEBRATED KING’S DAY AT HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR

This year hasn’t been so orange colored for Dutch people. Equally, the whole world became quite grey colored, entering the year 2020 with corona virus infections. The Dutch Government had to also follow the measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, safety comes first and health too. That’s why large-scale events are banned even until 1st of September 2020 and the “Konings Dag” (King’s Day) was no exception.

BUT WHAT IS KING’S DAY?

King’s Day is a Dutch national holiday, being celebrated on 27th of April in the whole Netherlands in the honor of a Dutch king Willem-Alexander. Actually, that day is his birthday. I guess we all know that The Netherlands (still known as Holland) is the kingdom. Until Willem’s mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicate in 2013, this national holiday was known as Queen’s Day and it was celebrated on 30th of April.

People wearing orange on King's Day the Netherlands

HOW DUTCH PEOPLE CELEBRATE KING’S DAY?

Long story short – WILD! People from the Netherlands and abroad are drawn to Amsterdam to enjoy in parties in literally every club and bar, flea markets, street parties, concerts, dance events, sidewalk performances, boat parties and many more. City’s canals are filled with those party boats and everywhere you can see crowd, bottles, speakers, colors and plenty of trash too. Surprisingly, the day after, the city shines like nothing ever happened, already in the afternoon. Most Dutch people put out the flag and most of people wear orange clothes (national color).

Traditionally Amsterdam is a hotspot. the capital city is definitely the best place to celebrate this day.

Almost everyone is dressed up funny on King’s Day

WHY ORANGE COLOR?

The history of orange as national color dates back to 16st century to Willem of Orange (Willem van Oranje), a distant ancestor of the current king. He was a prince, from a tiny region in France around the city of Orange. I guess the name says it all. 🙂

WHAT IS KING’S NIGHT?

You see, many people go straight to work day after King’s Day. That’s why smart Dutch people invented “Koningsnacht” or “Kings’s Night”. The night before King’s Day is literally a chance to party hard in order to be able go to work day after the biggest national holiday in the kingdom.

Dancing people on King's Day Amsterdam the Netherlands

SO HOW DID KING’S DAY LOOKED LIKE IN 2020?

King’s Day celebrations DID NOT take place this year. At least, not outside and wild like they used to. Thus, King’s Day 2020 was very different from any previous one. Citizens were encouraged to stay home, but they still could celebrate. Some people did celebrated at home, some went to a park to drink a beer (while keeping the distance), some enjoyed home performances and concerts, digital markets, online bingo, DJ’s and their livestreams…

Those who didn’t followed the distancing rules of 1.5 meters, were punished with €390 fine! Watch the videos of King’s Day 2020.

And while King’s Day 2020 went quiet, King’s Night went even more quieter. As you know, I moved from Amsterdam to Spain already a year ago, so I wasn’t experiencing King’s Night or Day. However, I still keep a good contact with many of my friends in Amsterdam and they were so good to send me some photos of this year “celebration”.

See below photos from the empty King’s Night, taken by our dear friend Linda Milojkovic. (edited by me)

@lindamilojkovic
@lindamilojkovic
@lindamilojkovic
@lindamilojkovic

PARTY SUGGESTIONS IN AMSTERDAM

1.) INDEEP’N’DANCE EVENTS

If you love parties an techno, you have to know for Linda Milojkovic and Dejan Milojkovic (Dexon). They are the owners of InDeep’n’Dance Records, a record store, label & organization behind famous weekly Techno Tuesday Amsterdam & Kraft Amsterdam Events, both concepts are home based in Melkweg Amsterdam.

These two artistic souls are often organizing parties, and in the time of King’s Night and Day too. If you are fan of high quality modern techno music and new generation producers & artists, see their website with some great techno events and other related content. Besides the music, this lovely couple does t-shirt printing (their own collection and custom t-shirts).

2.) LOVELAND VAN ORANJE

Of course, there are many more parties and events during the King’s Day. Unfortunately, none for this year, but you can see the list of events and festivals for year 2021 (or wait a bit more since it’s still early).

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

1.) CROWD

King’s Day is really, really crowded. In recent years, Amsterdam authorities did take some measures. For example, a big events and DJ events, parties, festivals are moved to the outskirt of Amsterdam and for those you always have to pay a ticket. The events tend to sell out weeks earlier so I advise you to buy your ticket a month earlier or so.

To give you a better picture, around 600,000 to a million people descend onto the city of Amsterdam to celebrate the King’s birthday. Literally, Amsterdam becomes one giant drunk and loud place for two days, but extremely fun too!

2.) NO PLUBLIC TRANSPORT

There’s no public transport in the center of Amsterdam during the King’s Day. (that includes private cars, taxis, Uber…) If you need a taxi, bus or tram to get to the closest point, it will probably take you somewhere around Nassaukade, Museumplein or Valkenburgerstraat. Expect to walk for at least 15 minutes to get to the city center. One more reason why bike is the great way to move around Amsterdam. The ferries between Amsterdam Noord and the rest of the city are operating normally even when it’s King’s Day.

3.) IT’s CITY-WIDE PARTY experience

Amsterdammers (people from Amsterdam) celebrate this day with parties all around the city. I advise you to start exploring the city on King’s Night by simply walking around in downtown Amsterdam. You’ll spot many parties and fun people (official rule states that pubs must close an hour or so before sunrise). After, you can continue to party in one of the huge events (the best events, in my experience, are outside of the city).

However, don’t get “smashed” during the night. If you are not more or less sober, you won’t be able to enjoy and to properly experience the day after – King’s Day. Remember, King’s Day is a once-a-year unique experience that you shouldn’t miss!

Alone person in Amsterdam streets during King's Day 2020
Empty Amsterdam, a photo by @marko_arch

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • When the 27th of April is the Sunday, Dutch people celebrate King’s Day on 26th of April
  • Beatrix, who was the last queen, has her birthday in January, but since January is a very cold month for a national holiday, Dutch people celebrated Queen’s Day on 30th of April (the birthday of the queen before Beatrix – Juliana)
  • Dutch queen is called Maxima and she is Argentinian
  • During King’s Day, you can sell anything on streets in so called “Free market”. You don’t even need to have a stand. Explore King’s Day street markets.
  • Everyone will wear orange and look funny and so should you
  • You can still visit museums during the King’s Day

If you liked my article and you think it’s helpful for some future travels, share it with others on your social media! ♡

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