King’s day is just round the corner, this is when the whole country dig deep into their wardrobes to find their bright orange clothes and get all the Dutch flags out for a huge and merry party on 27th April.
But what is King’s Day?
Koningsdag (King’s Day) is a national holiday in the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27th April (26th April if the 27th is a Sunday), the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander.
The holiday was first observed on 31th August 1885 as Prinsessedag (Princess’s Day), the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, heir to the Dutch throne. On her accession (September 6th 1898), the holiday acquired the name Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day).
King’s Day is the biggest national event in The Netherlands. Everything and everyone turns orange and celebrates on King’s Day. You will find music shows, fairs, flea markets and parties throughout the country. Even the Dutch royal family goes on tour to be received by one or more Dutch towns for an entertainment-filled day. Amsterdam is transformed into the nation’s biggest orange party town. The Hague has Koningsnach (King’s Night) with dozens of music performances in the city center, and Utrecht boasts the biggest flea market in Holland. The whole of Haarlem turns into one big party, with fairs, markets, generous hospitality, street parties and of course, Dutch flags.
The Royal Family.We must not forget that King’s Day is only here because The Netherlands has a monarchy. So who are these royals?
The Netherlands is a fairly young monarchy. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was established in 1815, and King William I was its first ruler. The first king of Holland was from the House of Orange-Nassau. The origin of Holland’s motto, ‘Je maintiendrai (“I will maintain”)’, the colours of the flag and the national colour orange may all be found in the House of Orange-Nassau.
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander was born on 27th April 1967. He was the firstborn of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus. His brothers Prince Friso (1968-2013) and Prince Constantijn (1969) followed soon. The eldest son, Willem-Alexander succeeded to the throne on 30th April 2013 and is now formally called His Majesty King Willem-Alexander.
King Willem-Alexander’s life.
After completing secondary school, the prince fulfilled his military service in the Royal Navy. In 1987 he enrolled at the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, where he graduated in History in 1993. He obtained his military pilot license and attended courses at the Netherlands Defence College. An introductory programme compiled especially for Willem-Alexander improved his understanding of Dutch society, the government and justice systems.
The world witnessed the fairytale wedding of Prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima Zorreguieta on 2nd February 2002. Their first child Princess Catharina-Amalia was born on 7th December 2003. She was joined by her sisters Princess Alexia on 26th June 2005 and Princess Ariane on 10th April 2007. The family lives on De Horsten Estate in Wassenaar.
Visit the Royal Palaces.
Palace Het Loo. [Click here for details]
William III had Het Loo Palace built on the Royal Estate Het Loo as early as 1685. It served as the royal family’s summer residence for a long time, but has been converted into a museum since 1984. The palace’s decorations alone are worth a visit and the gardens are absolutely stunning.The Royal Palace. [Click here for details]
The 350 year old Palace started as the City Hall of Amsterdam. In 1808 King Louis Napoleon Bonaparte transformed it into a Palace, which it has remained ever since. The Royal Palace is located on the ‘Dam Square’ in Amsterdam. It is one of the three palaces still used by the Royal Family.
Noordeinde Palace [Click here for details]
Paleis Noordeinde is located in the center of The Hague along the street Noordeinde. You can take pictures from the street, but the palace itself is not open to the public. You can combine a visit with a walk through the street, which is well-known for having the highest ‘density of art’ in the whole of Holland. You can also explore the palace gardens. The palace has been a Royal House since 1609 when the state presented it to William of Orange’s widow as a gift. Today, the Dutch monarch uses it as a working palace.You can find out more about The Dutch Royal Family and the other palaces and castles, here.
King’s Day in Haarlem.
The Facebook page for various events happening in Haarlem for King’s Day can be found here.
Another ExpatHaarlem article from last year can be found here.
Visit the Haarlem council website for more details here.
So mark 27th April in your agenda since we are sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on the biggest Orange fest of the year.