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Top 4 King’s Day celebrations outside Amsterdam

Every April 27th the Netherlands throws a big birthday party for its monarch.

Koningsdag (or ‘King’s Day’) is the celebration of the official and actual birthday of King Willem-Alexander, in an age-old tradition dating back to the 1800s.

If you’ve decided to join in the festivities, you can expect orange. A lot of orange. The Dutch national colour covers everything and everyone – tinting clothes and party props, cakes and drinks. Happy revellers pour into every available open space, crowding into squares, boarding boats, singing, dancing, and making very merry.

Revellers fill the streets in Amsterdam

Revellers fill the streets in Amsterdam

But where should you go to celebrate? Amsterdam may seem like the obvious destination, but it’s definitely not the only one. To help you decide, here’s our line-up of lesser-known King’s Day hotspots…

Utrecht played host to the first ever King's Day

Utrecht played host to the first ever King's Day

Utrecht

Utrecht played host to the first ever King’s Day, when the great-great-grandmother of King Willem-Alexander was just five years old. Then called ‘Prinsessedag’, the festivities were such a big hit that they’ve been repeated ever since.

Nowadays, the city’s free market (a one-day event where citizens can sell anything they like without a licence) starts at 18:00 on the 26th, bringing the rest of the excitement with it. Public squares like Domplein and Mariaplaats ring with the sounds of live music and hundreds of revellers, while children’s events are held in Lepelenburg Park and the Nijntje Pleintje – the square named after Dutch cartoon character, Miffy.

Sleep like royalty:

Star Lodge Hotels, Utrecht
The cosy Star Lodge is found by the picturesque Voorveldse Polder. There’s a bus stop right outside so you can whizz to the city centre in just five minutes.

NH Utrecht
A three-minute walk from Central Station, NH Utrecht is in a handy location for taking advantage of The Netherlands’ efficient rail links.

Visit Rotterdam for scenic streets filled with music and parties

Visit Rotterdam for scenic streets filled with music and parties

Rotterdam

Rotterdam stands out for its cool contemporary architecture – and on King’s Day, its festivals. Down by the famous Erasmus bridge, Kroonfestival brings house music to the Willemsplein. And there’s also S’Oranje Festival, the Kralingse Bos Festival, and Oranjebitter – the biggest one of all – known for its pop tunes and unusual fancy dress themes.

Families can head to Spinozapark for Sweet Kingsday, where the free market is in full swing, complete with stalls selling global foods. For something more historic, Hotel New York – once the headquarters of the defunct Holland-America Line – opens its doors for a free party.

Sleep like royalty:

citizenM Rotterdam
Boutique hotel citizenM’s unusual building perfectly reflects Rotterdam’s cutting-edge architectural style, and has vast windows for watching the party unfold below.

SS Rotterdam
SS Rotterdam is a former Holland-America Line ship moored up in the harbour, so you can sleep amidst a piece of Dutch history.

Eindhoven hosts a variety of parties for King's Day

Eindhoven hosts a variety of parties for King's Day

Eindhoven

Eindhoven has its own slogan for King’s Day: ‘Eindhoven = King’. And there’s plenty going on to support the claim – from the Royal Dutch dance festival taking place on the Stadhuisplein, to the huge Supersized Kingsday festival, pumping out hardcore, freestyle, and hardstyle at Aquabest.

Not your kind of music? No problem. Rock festival RocKing or hip hop and R&B event Orange Juice offer some lively variety. The pace is taken down a notch in the Stadswandelpark, where the free market flourishes, while child-friendly activities can be found at De Bergen.

Sleep like royalty:

Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven
Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven is located in the historic Philips Light Tower, right in the centre of the city. You’ll be perfectly placed to plunge into the action.

Hotel La Reine
Literally called ‘The Queen’ (albeit not in Dutch), Hotel La Reine is a fitting King’s Day choice – and they’ve even got a flair for orange decor, to really get you in the spirit.

Dutch flags form a King's Day display in the Hague

Dutch flags form a King's Day display in the Hague

The Hague

The Hague offers a whole host of interesting King’s Day activities, from historical tram tours to special canal cruises and guided walking routes. Green-fingered visitors will love the traditional geranium market, held here for the last 50 years. Numerous street parties and the Solid Kingsday festival provide the obligatory revelry.

The Haagse Koningsbal kicks off the celebrations on King’s Night (26th), with a spectacular ball raising money for charity. Tickets don’t come cheap, though, with tables starting at a couple of thousand euros each!

Sleep like royalty:

Boutique Hotel Corona
Boutique Hotel Corona is situated in beautiful 17th-century buildings just a few feet from the Centrum tram stop – an ideal base for whatever King’s Day activity you choose.

Paleis Hotel
The plush Paleis Hotel might just be the next best thing to having your own actual palace. Found in the oldest part of The Hague, it’s lavishly furnished with antique Louis XVI furniture.