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King’s Day – What is it and what can I do?

As you all probably know, the Netherlands is a kingdom and that means it has a king and a royal family. The current king is Willem-Alexander. He was born on the 27th of April 1967, so in 2024, he will be turning 57. The Dutch celebrate King’s Day or Konigsdag every year to commemorate the birth of their current king. The rules are very simple; there are no rules. It’s customary to wear orange on this day since it’s the colour that represents the Dutch people. Don’t be scared of bringing a Dutch flag or even painting it on your cheeks! This holiday is celebrated all around the Netherlands, but here in Groningen, the options are more limited than when you compare us to Amsterdam, for example. But what we lack in options, we make up for with spirit! So, if you’re in Groningen on the 26th and 27th, here are some ways you can spend your days:


Groningen has this reputation of being a cosy northern Dutch city. I mean, it’s true and I love it for it, but that doesn’t mean that Groningen doesn’t have some cool events you can visit to make your King’s Day super duper fun. Kingsland is the biggest King’s Day party in Groningen. It takes place on the 27th in Stadspark. Entry isn’t free, but they make up for it by having a ton of popular and amazing artists perform at the venue. So my advice is to find a group of friends and visit this festival to make your King’s Day unforgettable.


You might be used to seeing the Vismarkt vacant for most of the week, excluding market days, of course. However, for the king’s birthday, a large stage is always set up, and a huge party is organised for the people living in Groningen. This one is completely free, too. Not only that, but the Dutch love partying so much that it’s two days instead of one. The evening of the 26th is celebrated as King’s Night (just another excuse to dance to some energetic music if you ask me). The repertoire is also very diverse. You can enjoy everything from children’s shows and dance battles to cabaret shows and DJ parties.


If you’re too tired to go to a party but still want to enjoy the magic of King’s Day in Groningen, don’t worry, the Dutch thought of everything. Traditionally, there are free markets held along the south edge of the city centre. This doesn’t mean that the things you can buy are free (speaking as a student, that would be a dream come true). Instead, people are free to set up stands and sell second-hand items all the way from Ganzevoortsingel to Ubbo Emmiussingel. The vrijmarkt will take place on the 27th from 10:00 to 17:00. There is also a child-free version that’s located in Westerhaven that has its own music performance and food stalls. This is a more adventurous option as you never know what you can find during one of these sales. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

~ Written by A. Heric