Celebrating Koningsdag, Netherland’s First King’s Day

Europe_Amsterdam_NewMarketAreaWho says royal traditions can’t change? Certainly not the Dutch.

Since 1890, the Netherlands have celebrated Koninginnedag, or Queen’s Day, to celebrate the ascension of Princess Wilhelmina to the Dutch throne. With the subsequent ascensions of Wilhelmina’s daughter Juliana to the throne in 1948, and Juliana’s daughter Beatrix in 1980, the date for the holiday has moved around the calendar, albeit with the same name. However, with the rise of Prince Willem-Alexander to the throne in 2013, following Beatrix’s abdication, Koninginnedag has now become Koningsdag, or King’s Day, for the first time in the Kingdom’s history. 

While the King’s birthday is actually Sunday, April 27, the first ever King’s Day will be celebrated on Saturday, April 26 because the holiday is traditionally not held on a Sunday. And while the name will be different, the festivities will be just as boisterous as they have been in the past.

Dubbed the “biggest street party of the year,” Koningsdag will feature live music, street parties, food stalls and a city-wide flea market, the vrijmarkt (or “free market”), which lets anyone sell second-hand wares in the streets and parks. Even kids are allowed in on the sales action, peddling toys and clothes they’ve outgrown in the last year in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. It is tradition for nationals to dress in orange, the national color, while the King and the royal family visit two locations: Graft-De Rijp and Amstelveen.

As Amsterdam is a port city for Celebrity Cruises, the cruise line has a number of cruises departing the capital city this summer, as well as a number of Sea & Stay trips. A treasure chest of superb architecture, ubiquitous canals and extraordinary museums, Amsterdam blends the bustling atmosphere of a 17th-century city with the contemporary character of a modern metropolis.

 

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