On Friday night and Saturday, the population of Amsterdam will more than double in a celebration known as King’s Day (formerly known as Queen’s Day) which is part of a tradition that was started in 1885 as a big celebration of Princess Wilhemina’s 5th birthday. This will be the first ever King’s Day since the celebrations started, because King Willem Alexander is the first King to ascend to the throne since the celebration started. Previously the celebration was known as Queen’s Day.
King’s night will be held on Friday the 25th April. There are loads of street parties that cater for every taste in music. You can bring your own alcohol (according to Iamsterdam, only one unit per person, and under 15%), and there are also plenty of stalls selling it if you run out. My favourite area is the Nordermarkt, simply because there are two stages playing completely different music and you can go from one to the other depending on how you feel. It’s also great to wander around the Jordaan area and soak up the atmosphere.
Public transport does run on King’s night, including trains, metro’s and trams, but because the party goes on until late, it’s much better to cycle than to go by public transport, as long as you remember where you park.
Tip: Ladies, make sure you take plenty of Euro coins, because everywhere you go, you will be expected to pay to pee, usually one Euro.
This is the real celebration, where everyone wears orange, there is a free market which starts at 6am, and runs until around 8pm, and even more parties. The free market means that anyone can go and sell their stuff, and they don’t need a license (unless they are selling alcohol). If you love a good car boot sale, you will absolutely love this. There are even games you can play and prizes you can win.
The city centre is void of public transport because there are simply too many people in the city. GVB have a map that is in Dutch to show you where public transport is running here, and more information about public transport on their site. Basically expect to do a lot of walking. Tip: Despite what everyone thinks, the metro is NOT free on King’s Day, so be sure to have some cash, or your GVB chipcard to hand.
The trains will also be running, but it will be very busy and the timetable will be different. Check here for more information on the reduced train schedule, and be sure to buy your ticket in advance to save yourself a bit of time.
If you were thinking about coming by bike, think again. The centre is packed with people and you will be unable to move very quickly. You are better to cycle somewhere on the outskirts and park your bike there, and then walk.
I have kids, do you think it is suitable? There are definitely areas of Amsterdam that are designed for kids to celebrate – the main one is the Vondelpark, but you can also check out the Westerpark, Amstelpark and the NDSM Vrijhaven event.
How much money should I take? Make sure you have enough so that you won’t run out. You can save some cash by buying your own alcohol,
Should I drive? No, it’s pointless. You won’t find anywhere to park, and you won’t get even close to the centre.
Do I have to wear orange? No, there’s no rule against not wearing orange, but it is super fun if you do.
I am gay or lesbian and I am looking for a good party, where can I go? Check out the Iamsterdam guide to King’s day for gay and lesbian partygoers.
- Ladies, take plenty of EUR1 coins, because you’ll pay to pee everywhere you go
- Start queueing before you desperately need to go to the toilet, because the queues are always long
- Buy your own alcohol and carry it around with you to save some money
- If you do buy drinks from a vendor, be sure to take your glass back – you will get some cashback for it at the end of the night
- Make sure you withdraw enough cash, as many ATM’s will run out of money.
- Take cash for the metro, trams and trains, as public transport is not free
- It will be busy, so watch out for pickpockets
- Don’t drink too much on Friday night, the main celebration is on Saturday
- Dress up in orange if you want to blend in
Do you have any questions about King’s night or King’s Day? Also, what are your top tips for King’s Day? I would love to hear about them.