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Celebrate King’s Day like a local


King’s Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands, celebrating the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. It lands on the 27 of April, and the Dutch like to celebrate it with a lot of music, dancing, and fun fairs. Here is some historical background and the main events taking place in The Hague on this day. 

This national celebration began in 1885, to celebrate the then Queen’s birthday, Wilhelmina. The local celebrations for her birthday slowly built up, until 1902, when it came to be an official national holiday. All the monarchs after her continued the tradition, until today, where the Netherlands turns orange for a day in celebration.  


                                  Traditional activities to celebrate like a local: 

There are certain traditions upheld on this day every year in the Netherlands. First, one should wear orange, to represent the royal family House of Orange-Nassau. Then, start celebrating a day earlier, during King’s Night (26 April) where large festivities are held. You can also join a canal boat party, eat something orange (traditionally a tompouce) or cruise several flea-market-stands across the city. 

                                          Events on King’s Day in The Hague: 

The celebrations kick off on King’s Night (Koningsnacht) on 26 April with open air festivals such as The Life I Live here in The Hague. This is a free of charge concert, and accessible by public transport or on foot.  

We recommend leaving the car at home, since the celebrations attract large crowds and road traffic may be affected. Extra NS trains are scheduled, but we do recommend being mindful, especially when travelling with children, as the intercity trains are usually abnormally crowded on this day. 

If you want something fun and affordable right next to the Central Station, Malieveld is setting up the King’s Fair with a Ferris wheel and all sorts of festival attractions for all ages. The fair will be running from 5 to 27 April. 

Lange Voorhout, as usual, also has something in store for us. The market space will be filled with the National Geranium market, offering a wide range of spring-summer flowers and gardening tools for sale. On this holiday, The Hague streets also become a free-for-all market, allowing for stands to display and sell their goods in several more spots across the city than on any other holiday.  

If you’re looking for somewhere to party away, there will be open air music concerts across the city, and Zuiderpark is hosting a techno rave in a covered space, in the case of rain. The options are endless on this day! 


                                             Spotting the King on his birthday: 

Every year the King and his family follow the tradition of choosing a new city in the Netherlands to visit each year. This year, 2024, they will be visiting Emmen (Drenthe), where the King will give a celebratory speech and mingle with the locals for the day.