When is King’s Day 2023?
King’s Day is on April 27th 2023 – By far, this is the greatest day of the year. It is a very special day in The Netherlands. Well, because it’s King’s Day! It is one of the biggest street parties in the world. In Amsterdam, the whole city (and the whole country, for that matter) goes orange for the day. King William-Alexander was inaugurated in 2013, so in 2014 we started the current set of King’s Day parties. 10 years already! It was celebrated in 1885, the tradition continues, and 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. In 2023, the King will celebrate in Rotterdam. In Amsterdam, many hundreds of thousands of revellers will descend upon the city to party and have fun. Estimates say that up to 700,00 people will flood into Amsterdam to celebrate this year on King’s Day.
The Dutch all have an innate knowledge of how this day works and the best places to go. Us expats and internationals, we often need some guidance. This article is about some of what you will see on this special day. We hope that this will help you to decide when to go, to have a better idea of what you will see and to have the best possible experience this year.
Street markets and stalls
The Dutch have a long history of trading between far-flung nations. On King’s Day, it’s no different. In fact, it is a very important part of the day. Almost every square metre of the parks and pavements is taken up by people selling the belongings they wish to swap for cash. Families and children are out on the streets and parks from morning to night. They are selling their old books, toys, clothes and anything they think might earn some lovely cash in exchange.
It is not only second-hand objects. Many people are selling all sorts of drinks and food for the thronging masses that need sustenance for all the walking and dancing during the day. There are hundreds of street food stands and various drink stalls. You will not have any issues finding food and drink. One tip is to have lots of cash on you during the day. There will be huge queues at the ATMs and they may indeed be empty as the big day progresses.
Sell your Stuff
You can join in, set out your stall and start selling. You can join in the trading fun. From mid-April, you will start to see duct tape appearing on the pavements. Sometimes, people will also use chalk to tell people who reserved the trading spot. Reserving your spot is universally respected, and no one would dare to try to steal a reserved spot on the day. It is a first come, first served system that seems to work smoothly for decades. And remember, 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. Price to sell! 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.
Or, you might be out and about bargain hunting. If so, take a backpack 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!
No one likes to pay taxes! On King’s Day, everything you sell on your stall is tax-free. 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 income.
The Parks are for the Families
For King’s Day 2023, all the parks are designated as ‘family areas’. Here budding traders sell all their old books and games. Families invade the parks, and these areas are full of activities for them. 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 wharf. The games take place in different places across the city. 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 activities too.
If you are looking for more kid’s events through the year, see our handy local overview.
Get On Board!
The streets might be packed on King’s Day, but the canals are too! If you want to be on a boat for King’s Day, then you are not alone. For many, it is the very best way to enjoy the party. Being cheek-to-jowl with all the other boats has never been so much fun. You will meet other boat users, dance to the music, drink and make merry.
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 boat 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 a canal cruise. Or, you will find a space on a boat and spend the day meeting others and making new friends.
Rules Are Rules – Regels Zijn Regels
Please take note – boat users cannot go too wild and do anything they want on King’s Day on the water. Firstly, there is a speed limit of 6 km. Also, stick to the right-hand side. It helps the ‘flow’ of all the traffic, and there will certainly be a lot of boats out there. You will have to respect the one-way system in place for the day. The driver of the boat must not be drinking…and a heavy police presence will be on display. Boats longer than 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 2023.
King’s Night and King’s Day 2023 Events
Yes, King’s Day is a massive party, but it really starts the night before. That is called King’s Night. 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. 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 of 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 later on the Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat, there will be music and parties until midnight. All around the Noordekerk and the Jordan is very busy too. But all over the city, you can find music, dancing, parties and fun!
King’s Day 2023 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 King’s 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.
King’s Day Tips
The number 1 tip for King’s Day? Dress in orange. Closely followed by tip number 2: Are you wearing comfortable shoes? Another great tip is to stay in one place. 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 function effectively. 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 your friends.
Staying safe and happy for King’s Day 2023
It’s very straightforward. 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 at home / in your hotel. Carry cash and a backup 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 into the canals.
So enjoy your King’s Day 2023! For more articles like this, see our blogs section.
The iAmsterdam King’s Day page is also a great resource.
Our local events page is an easy overview to see all the great events happening in Amsterdam.