On April 30th 2012, thousands of people will ascend on Amsterdam to celebrate Queen’s Day all dressed in orange to celebrate the birthday of the Queen Mother. The evening before the 30th is called Queen’s Night, where people go out to party wearing orange, but people wear more fashionable clothes on Queen’s Night than Queen’s day itself, where people dress to impress. There are boats on the canals and parties everywhere.
On the 30th there is a free market in central Amsterdam which runs from 6am until 8pm where people can sell anything they like, if it’s secondhand. If you want a good spot you need to arrive early, or chalk out the spot that you want a few days in advance. There are lots of enterprising children who sell things, or play music in the vondelpark which is reserved especially for the children.
There are parties everywhere, people just set up podiums and start playing music, so there’s a real street party atmosphere. There are a whole host of other, organised parties here and all of the pubs and bars are open. There is a list of parties which can be found here and a comprehensive map of events that are going on over the evening and throughout Queen’s Day here.
Getting toAmsterdamon Queen’s Day is very difficult, even by train as they are overcrowded and sometimes don’t even make it to Central station because people are walking on the tracks. Buses are packed and the trams only run to the outskirts of the centre because they would get stuck in the crowds of people. The best mode of transport in the city centre is your feet, as there are so many people around and people selling things. Bicycles aren’t really practical either because of the crowds and if you manage to get into the centre and park it, it could end up being a victim of a street party
Comfy shoes you don’t mind walking a long way in
Money in €1 and 50 cents for drinks, and spending at the markets
Be aware of pickpockets
For the girls – a strong bladder. There isn’t much chance of getting to a toilet very quickly, and urinals are much more easily available so a shewee might be a good idea.
Patience – it takes very long to get anywhere fast!
Accommodation – If you are planning on just turning up and hoping that there will be a hotel or hostel which has rooms left then you might spend the whole night looking and not enjoying the festivities.
The final point is to have a great day!