One of the coolest destinations in Europe is having a big street party you shouldn´t miss. We´re talking about Amsterdam, one of the 10 best cities in the world to visit according to last year´s Lonely Planet poll. This year it celebrates King’s Day (Koningsdag) for the first time in history. This massive street party will fill the canals, streets, houses and parks with music, food, drinks, activities, parties, bargain shopping and non-stop fun. Take a break and join the fun in Amsterdam for the very first King´s day ever on Saturday April 26th.
Surely, you´ve heard of Queens Day, the annual celebration that began back in 1885 in honour of Queen Wilhelmina. Well, maybe not. Queen´s Day is an official holiday in The Netherlands. Banks, post offices, and many businesses are closed. But it´s far from being a day to rest. Locals, travellers and people from all over the country gather in what is known as the greatest city party ever.
The fun traditionally begins on the eve of the big day with carnival atmosphere and continues throughout the city where DJs do their thing in public squares, thousands of brightly decorated boats fill the narrow, mesmerizing network of canals and live music spills onto streets from cafe patios.
On Queen´s Day, Amsterdam also becomes the world´s largest flea markets because everyone has the chance to sell their things on the streets and in the parks. Food stalls are everywhere, offering delicious bites to eat and drinks. The Dutch have been celebrating this from 1885 all the way until 2013. So, why has Queen´s Day become King´s Day?
It´s simple. In January 2013, Queen Beatrix, the longest reigning Dutch monarch, announced her abdication and made her oldest son Willem-Alexander the King of the Netherlands. Although the date has changed from to April 26th, rather than the 30th, the spirit will remain the same.
Although the national flag of The Netherlands is red, white and blue, expect to be surrounded by the colour orange, the symbol of the Dutch royal family. Orange flags, orange clothes, orange hats, costumes and make-up. Some people even dye their hair and pets orange. Even if you´re not Dutch, join the fun and add a bit of orange to your party attire.
Friday night, the evening before King´s Day, clubs all over the city will keep you dancing till the early hours. There´s also day parties and concerts held at several locations throughout the city. For more information, visit the Official King´s Day site.
Hotel accommodations are going fast so make sure you book your room soon. There are 13 NH hotels in Amsterdam, 8 of which have been awarded with the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor. The NH Barbizon Palace is a 17th century building right in the heart of old Amsterdam, a perfect place to join the fun just by walking out the front door. Just opposite of the city´s Central Station, the 5 star hotel, is just a short stroll away from The Red Light District and Chinatown.