King’s Day 2022 in Amsterdam – April 27th is a very special day in The Netherlands. Well, because it’s King’s Day! It was much missed in recent years for reasons we all know. It is one of the biggest and most fun street parties in the world. In Amsterdam, the whole city goes orange for the celebration and it is a day not to be missed. Of course, for so many years it was called ‘Queen’s Day’. King William-Alexander was inaugurated in 2013, so in 2014 we started the current set of King’s Day parties. First celebrated in 1885, the tradition continues with a new name, but the spirit of the day remains the same : A celebration of the royal family and all the things it means to be Dutch. Everyone will be dressed in orange and the streets and canals will be filled with people having parties and fun. The king and entourage spend this special day in a different part of The Netherlands each year. Many hundreds of thousands of revellers will descend upon Amsterdam.
If you are Dutch, you will have an innate knowledge of how this day works and the best places to go. For us expats and internationals, we sometimes need some guidance. With that in mind, this blog is about some of what you will see on the special day.
Trade. A Dutch speciality. A long history of trading between far flung nations is the story of the Dutch in business. On King’s Day it is no different. Almost every square metre of the parks and pavements is taken up by people selling on belongings they wish to swap for good old hard cash. Families and children are out on the streets and parks from morning to night . They are selling on books, toys, clothes and anything they think might earn some lovely lucre in exchange. It is not only second hand objects. Many people are selling all sort of drinks and food for the thronging masses that need sustenance for all the walking and dancing during the day.
Set out your stall and start selling. There is absolutely no reason that you too cannot join in the trading fun. From mid-April, you will start to see duct tape appearing on the pavements. Chalk will also tell people who reserved the trading spot. This seems to be universally respected and no one would dare to steal the spot on the special day. It is a first come, first served system that seems to work smoothly enough. Like housing sales, it is all about location, location, location. Think about footfall and choose a good spot early or risk carrying all your stuff back to your home in the evening. Price goods keenly to sell as people are on the hunt for bargains.
On the other hand, you might be out and about bargain hunting. If so, take a back pack with you. You will then be able to snap up bargains and carry them around in the bag. It is a long day, so save all the energy you can……you’ll need it ! You can set up shop pretty much anyway as long as you do not hinder movement. So think of others. Also, if you see the words ‘Niet toegestaan’ you cannot set up shop in that area. As a guide, look at what the locals are doing and act accordingly.
Wat Leuk !
What fun ! Make some money. Move on some of the stuff at home you have been looking at for months that you no longer need. Add in drinks and snacks and you can finish the day with a wad of cash in your pocket. That income is all yours. There is no tax on it. No government would be crazy to introduce a tax on the King’s Day incomes. They would be laughed out of office…..
Kids in the parks
As a general rule of thumb for King’s Day 2022, all the parks are designated as ‘kids areas’. Here budding traders sell on all their old books and games. Families invade the parks and these area are full of activities for that age group. Forget cycling in busy parks as the sheer volume of people makes it impossible. Vondelpark park for example, becomes a great place to load up on board games, toys and clothes and anything you might need for your kids.
For families there are lots of activities. The two main ones are the King’s Games and the NDSM warf. The games take place in different places across the city. There is an app to understand where to go. The NDSM wharf will be positively brimming with families and activities. There will be games, music, fun and activities for the children. There will be flea markets, theatre and creative ideas too.
For the Non-entrepreneur.
If you are not in the mood for buying and selling, there is still a huge amount of things for you to do and see. Of course, you should plan early to get your orange garb ready as that will be your uniform for the party.
See a full list of all activities on the Amsterdam site.
Ok, let’s address the people that are looking for classic King’s Day activities that are not land-based. If you want to be on a boat for King’s Day then you are not alone. It is the sine qua non of the special day. Being bumper to bumper with all sorts of other boats has never been so much fun. Bobbing around, dancing, music and no small amount of alcohol all make for an unforgettable day.
Many people love to get on a boat for King’s Day on a boat and it is great fun. It changes everything and you feel free of the pedestrian crowd as your boats slowly avoids other boats. It is fun but requires planning and supplies. You will need to find a boat. Or, if you are lucky you will have access to a boat. That not being the case, you will need to book and rent one. Or, you will find a space on a boat and spend the day meeting others and making new friends.
Rules are rules.
Be aware boat users that you cannot go wild and do anything you want to do on King’s Day on the water. You will need to respect a 6 km an hour speed limit. It might seem like total mayhem, but always keep to the right. It helps the ‘flow’. You will have to respect the one way system in place for the day. The driver of the boat must not be drinking….ja, zeker. Boats longer that 10m are not permitted on a lot of canals as turning will be near enough impossible. So, play safe and respect the rules for King’s Day 2022.
On land and the parties.
So if, like thousands of other festivals goes, you are not on a boat – what do you do ? What don’t you do is the actual question. Choose your neighbourhood of Amsterdam that you and your friends want to visit and have some fun. We say that because meeting up with other friends across town will quickly reveal itself to be impossible. There are simply too many people to easily move around. There is so much going on in every corner of the city. Do not wander around aimlessly with no plan unless you love surprises. I mean, that works too and often you can stumble across great moments you will never forget.
King’s Night and Kings’s Day events
King’s night is big, loud and never seems to end. People pack the streets, having fun and warming up for the big day. This involves lots of being outside and lots of drinking. Look around, it is party time in central Amsterdam. Most bars are open late and there are a number of club nights. But, a lot of the fun is out on the streets. If you do want a list of venue nights for the 26th April you can find them here. The bigger ones are here. Get yourselves over to the Westergasterrein in the Westerpark which starts mid afternoon. Slightly laters on the Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat there will be music and parties until midnight. But all over the city you can find music, dancing, parties and fun!
King’s Day 2022 on the Streets
All the streets will be packed. Get out nice and early to bag some bargains and maybe drop them home if you have time (clue, you probably won’t). Two of our favourite spots for Kings day are the Noordermarkt and Elandsgracht. The whole of the Noordemarkt area is brimming with people and music. There are of course all the street sellers, but you will find great food stands and live music performances. As you move through the Jordaan in an easterly direction, you will hit Elandsgracht. This always seems a more Dutch affair so well worth seeing. You will encounter lots of great street food stands and see the Dutch enjoying Kings Days. There are stages and stands and the music selection is more Johnny Jordaan than techno.
Other parties will be on Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and Nieuwmarkt. There will be live music and various stages around, dancing and lots of fun.
The number 1 rule for King’s Day? Dress in orange. Closely followed by rule number 2: Are you wearing comfortable shoes ? From early morning until late evening on King’s Day you will not see trams buses or taxis. Why ? Because most of the city Is full of hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and it is impossible for any motorised transport to effectively function. So how do you get around ? Received wisdom says to choose wisely in the morning, meet with friends and enjoy that area. Maybe later move on to another area nearby. The reason to avoid moving around too much is the sheer volume of people and the chance of losing/not finding you friends.
Staying safe and happy for King’s Day 2022.
It’s very straight forward. Do drink too much too early. It’s a long day so pace yourself. If you like to smoke a joint, then the same goes. You will miss all the fun if you are too stoned and can’t move. So take it easy. Stay hydrated, especially if the sun is out. All obvious things ! Leave passports and other important documents as home / in your hotel. Carry cash and a back up plan in case you run out of cash. Keep an eye on your valuables at all times. Have fun, make great memories and try not to fall in the canals.
See more local articles like this in our Amsterdam blogs section.