Hello, hello, hello, my dears. If you are not that familiar with the Dutch culture, you might not know, but one of the most important days of the year is approaching: *Drummroooooll*
To be honest, I often forget that we do not only live in a fantastic democracy but also in a kingdom. Sounds pretty fancy, hmm? King’s Day is a national holiday on the 27th of April where the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their King, Willem-Alexander. However, some secret sources have told me it is also a great excuse to party and drink all day long. Then while other countries celebrate their royals with huge ceremonies and formal events, the Netherlands uses this day to cover up in orange and drink even more beer than usual. The Dutch often amaze me, but King’s Day is on a whole new level. So, to prepare you for this occasion and to help you plan a probably unforgettable day, this post is exclusively dedicated to King’s Day.
You probably already know that the Dutch love the colour orange. I know, I know, orange is not really the most fashionable colour. But trust me, if you do not wear orange on King’s Day, you will stand out from the masses. Orange is everywhere! If you don’t feel like buying orange clothes, no worries, just buy a Heineken 9-pack, and you get an orange shirt for free; I’m sure you will find a use for the beer as well.
But then what to actually do on the day itself? Well, the traditions sort of depend on your age. Due to a law that allows for selling things without a license only on this particular day, many people, especially children, go on the street to sell old things or things that they just don’t use anymore for a small price. Basically a huge and slightly messy fleamarket all over the Netherlands. The Duch call it “rommelmarkten” or “kleedjesmarkten”. If you are lucky, you can also meet the royal family since they visit every year a different city where they do all kinds of activities. For young people, yep, that’s us, there are festivals all over the country. For instance, the “King’s Land Festival”, “King’s Dance”, or the “538 Kingsdag”. If you haven’t got the luck to get a ticket on time, there is also a free event here in Groningen! It will take place on the Vismarkt with many famous DJs and artists. The event will already start in the evening before King’s Day since this evening is usually celebrated as King’s Night. Yes, I also have the feeling that the Dutch use every occasion to party, something I highly appreciate. If you want to have the full King’s day experience, you should consider visiting Amsterdam. In the capital, all people come together on the streets, especially along the canals or even with boats on the canal. Basically, the entire city is upside down. But if you don’t feel like going to a big event, you can also just meet up with your friends, chill to some music in the park and drink some beers. Fingers crossed that the weather will celebrate the King as well. Something else you should not miss is the culinary side of King’s Day. Besides drinking Heineken (by the way, can someone please explain the love-hate relationship everyone has with Heineken?!), you should try drinking oranjebitter, a dutch orange liquor, and definitely eat orange tompouce. Tompouce is basically a cake with probably enough calories for two days, and apparently, there are different ways to eat it. And yes, people will judge your way of eating it.
Well, lovely people, I don’t know about you, but I’m looking very much forward to this event. I admit, sometimes the masses of orange, drunk people can be sort of intimidating. My personal survival strategy: adaption. However you will celebrate King’s day, I’m sure it will be great fun! And don’t hesitate to ask your fellow Dutch friends; they love to share their culture and will tell you exactly how your day will be unforgettable!
Written by Elli Winetsdorfer.