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King's Day for n00bs

Date:04 April 2018
The Dutch are even crazier than usual on King's Day. Photo: Leeuwarder Courant
The Dutch are even crazier than usual on King's Day. Photo: Leeuwarder Courant

King’s Day is the national holiday of the Dutch, much like Independence Day in America. On King's Day, people dress up like crazy and celebrate their love (or obsession?) for the country. For those of you that are spending their first King’s Day in the Netherlands, here’s what you absolutely need to know about it.

  • Show up on the right date...

King's Day is celebrated on the reigning monarchs birthday, so the exact date shifts when a new king or queen rises to the throne. Don't be like those tourists who use travel guides from 2012 and show up on the previous King's Day date!

... and remember that the party starts the night before!

Because King’s Day is a national holiday, the entire country has the day off. The ideal time to have a party the night before and sleep in the morning after. The biggest parties in Groningen are Kingsland Festival and a Paradigm of Excellence.

  • The King is coming to Groningen

Every year, the king and queen (Willem Alexander and Máxima) visit a city or village somewhere in the country to take part in the festivities there. This year, Groningen is hosting the royal couple, so this is your chance to see the King irl!

  • People dress up in orange...

On King’s Day, the Dutch collectively dress up in orange costumes with varying degrees of ridiculousness.

...and raise the flag

Additionally, if you have a Dutch flag (preferably with a little orange banner attached), now is the best day to fly it.

  • Flea markets everywhere

Some people choose to skip the partying and instead try to sell their old stuff in the largest countrywide garage sale of the year. So if you’re ever looking for random stuff that’s too crappy to find in a store, but that you still want for some reason, (like that one old video game or a stuffed animal from 1998), start here!

  • Questionable Dutch food: Orange edition

´╗┐With the help of a hefty dose of food colouring, the Dutch paint all of their favourite (and way too sugary) cakes orange on King's Day. Some of the best (or worst) examples: the "tompouce" and the "oranjebollen". Still want to try it? Try the local bakery or grocery store from next week onwards.

What are you doing on King's Day? Let us know in comments!


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