Orange-Pride comes alive every year in the capital of the Netherlands to celebrate the reigning Monarch for King’s or Queen’s Day. First celebrated over 133 years ago in 1885 in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina, the reigning Monarch’s have moved the official date over the years to reflect the new Monarch’s inauguration or birthday. For those on a short breaks cruise to the Dutch capital, if you arrive on King’s Day you will see the city in all it’s glory as party fever takes over and celebrations begin.
King’s Day in 2018 will be celebrated on 27 April to match the date of King Willem-Alexander’s birthday and it is likewise close to the date of inauguration, 30 April 2014, after his Mother Queen Beatrix chose to renounce her place on the throne to pass it to her son. So, for those lucky enough to be in the Dutch Capital for King’s Day here is what you can look forward to.
Stalls and Street Markets
While Amsterdam is known for its flea markets and the floating flower market, hundreds of vendors come out for Kingsday as the city’s population almost doubles in size. The city has a permanent population of 822,272 and I Amsterdam are predicting that an additional 700,000 people will enter the city for King’s Day doubling the city’s population. With every street, square and canal suddenly filled with celebrations many street vendors use this to their advantage to sell their wares.
Be sure to visit the vrikmart (free market) which opens up street trading to every citizen of Amsterdam on King’s Day. Certain areas of the city are reserved for children selling old toys and clothes, however, the rest of the city is free game for any person to set up a stall, so long as they do not block the road, house or shop entrances. It is considered by some to be the biggest flea market in the world with all manner of items being sold; from clothes and books to furniture and plants. If you do partake in some purchases remember you have to get them back to the ship. The average vendor will find that they earn €90 during the King’s Day street market, which is better than the average boot or jumble sale!
Orange, orange everywhere, but not a bite to eat
Ever wondered why orange is the national Dutch colour? Simply because the ruling family is from the House of Orange-Nassau. When King’s Day rolls around the street become full of people wearing solely orange to show their pride for the Dutch Royal Family.
Many take this day as a way to go all out for their love of orange; wigs, facepaint, leg warmers and even hats, nothing is too much. If you do want to dress up for the event then be sure to purchase before you go as you’ll be hard pushed to find orange wear within the city on the day.
Did you know that the average person will spend €26 on orange outfits and souvenirs for King’s Day?
Food and Drink
Even through stroopwafel’s are known throughout the world as being quintessentially Dutch, on King’s Day there is one sweet dish that many throughout the city get their hands on; tompouce.
Rumoured to be named after a performing dwarf named Tom Pouce, this sweet treat is a cream-filled rectangular pastry normally covered in a pink icing, but, for King’s Day, it is iced orange and often has a small Dutch flag on it. On the actual day sales of the pastry increase by 600% compared to normal days which ensures that local pastry chefs are kept busy in the run-up to the big day.
Want to make your own tompoes? Check out the Dutch Table’s great recipe for the delightful pastry (with a healthier twist), but just change the icing to make it orange.
Take to the water
While there is so much to see throughout the streets and canal banks, many Dutch residents hire small boats and have their celebration within the canals themselves, taking time to decorate not only themselves but their boats and guests, and by mid-morning the canals are a-wash with orange.
When all the eating and drinking becomes a bit too much and nature calls, the Dutch council kindly provides moored plasboot’s, literally floating toilets, so revellers can keep the party going without having to pop to the nearest loo!
If you don’t have access to a boat it is always a good idea to head to one of Amsterdam’s many bridges and watch the sea of orange move throughout the city plus you will also have an unrivalled view of the parade.
For those hoping to catch a glimpse of the Dutch Royal Family on King’s Day, you may be a little disappointed in Amsterdam to discover that they will not actually be in the Dutch capital on King’s Day. Each year they travel to a different Dutch city to spread the holiday cheer to the public and to ensure they see as many people as possible. For this year’s celebration the family; King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, Princess Amalia, Princess Alexia and Princess Aranie, will be visiting the northern city of Groningen. Most famous for its very young population (the average age in the city is 35), Martinitoren clock tower and it’s shipbuilding history, it is situated around 2 hours from Amsterdam.