Like a marathon, Kingsday weekend is tiring, long-drawn, but so satisfying and fulfilling once it's complete!
Waking up to a sea of orange, red, white, and blue may seem like an oddity in any other country, but once a year in the Netherlands you will find yourself immersed in the festivities. Originally called Queensday, the name and date was changed because the King wanted it on his birthday and changed the name to Kingsday. Previously held on April 30th, it is now celebrated on April 27th. According to legend, tourists planned their visits on the 30th and arrived at Schipol airport clad in orange only to be disappointed to find out that they had missed the party by three days. As time passed, tourists and citizens of the Netherlands began to adapt to the earlier processions.
However, you may be wondering what exactly makes Kingsday special? Could it be:
•The frantic selling?
•All of the above?
There are very little restrictions on Kingsday so many people take to the streets and sell any items they no longer want or need!
There are also multiple EDM festivals spread throughout the city such as Loveland and Kingsland. They feature famous DJs from the Netherlands and all across the globe. Finally, you may be wondering about the friendships. Well when beginning Kingsday you usually start with a group of friends wandering the city and eventually that group grows a little when you meet new people in line or on canal cruises. Those friendships may be fleeting, but Kingsday can bring people together irregardless.
On Kingsday, I personally attended the canal cruise with a group of my friends presented by the ISN in Amsterdam. The boat had an open top and included unlimited drinks for essentially a three-hour canal cruise. It weaved through the city canals and we saw numerous attractions. There were also many other international students and it was great to meet people from all over the world. It was made greater by the fact that Amsterdam was invaded by orange. It really showed how the Dutch people cared for their country and their traditions.
So, finally, the part you have all been waiting for! How to survive Kingsday! First things first if you are coming from outside the country make sure to bring some orange attire. Orange isn't the most flattering colour on a daily basis but if you're not wearing orange on Kingsday you may feel left out! You might also want some face paint to represent the flag on your cheeks. However, if you're reading this and don't have orange don't fret. There are many stores dotted around the city that start selling early April. You might also want to have one designated Sherpa in your group to hold any water bottles during the day because hydration is key. It's also important to eat a good breakfast full of carbohydrates because you'll be walking through the streets all day long.
Remember to have fun and stay safe!