The Dutch are known for being a responsible, civilized bunch. On a typical weekday in the Netherlands, you’ll see fleets of people dutifully biking to their jobs. Dropping the kids off at school. Opening shops and museums at the appointed hour….
Yes, the Dutch are an orderly bunch—except on King’s Day, when the whole country goes, well, wild.
King’s Day is being celebrated on April 27th, the birthday of the reigning monarch, King Willem-Alexander.
Traditionally, every Dutch man, woman, and child—as well as every dog—dresses in bright orange, the national color. (The Dutch royal family is called the House of Orange.) Dutch flags wave from every window.
Then there are the celebrations: people singing, dancing, and playing their instruments—in the streets, in parks. King’s Day is about the whole country partying, some while floating down canals in boats or occasionally even rafts.
There’s also a unique possibility to shop: Dutch streets become a giant flea market. You can find anything from a 1940s typewriter to a fortune-teller who, for a euro or two, will tell you where you’ll be in five years….
Happily, King’s Day is an open affair—not just for the Dutch, but for tourists and locals alike. Be sure to put this event on your to do list!