The orange crazy days, or "oranjegekte" in Dutch, returns to Netherlands every year on April 27th, when millions of revelers wearing head-to-toe orange will hit the streets across the nation to celebrate Kingsday (King's day).
Kingsday in the Netherlands
The Dutch royal occasion has been celebrated for over 100 years and formally known as the Queen's birthday it is now the annual official celebration of the King's birthday. The national holiday is a chance for revelers to take part in "vrijmarkts", or free markets, play traditional Dutch games with their families, listen to music and get decked out in their best Saturday orange.
Kingsday in short: The night before and the next morning
People usually go out the night before (to the bars) until around 4 a.m., then go home and sleep until 6:30 a.m. - this is when the markets open the next day. So the (evening and) night of the 26th the Dutch go out for drinks and parties. Normally not yet dressed up in orange - although you would not look out of order when doing so. The next morning on the 27th they get up early top shop at local market (free markets). There is music and people have some beers until around 5PM when everything closes
Dutch orange tradition
The tradition goes back to 1891, when the holiday was created to celebrate the August birthday of Queen Wilhelmina (the mother of Beatrix; Beatrix is the mother of the current king WIllem Alexander). Queen's Day was moved to April 30 with the coronation of Queen Juliana in 1948, and has remained on that day during the current reign of Queen Beatrix.
Orange is the official Royal color
Orange is the official color of the Queen and the royal family, descendants from the House of Orange-Nassau that has played a political role in the Netherlands for roughly half a millennium.
"Around the world, people know Holland for the orange clothes, and Kingsday is the biggest orange party in the country".
Free markets are serious business
While the free markets in smaller locales have a more casual feel to them, the free markets in bigger cities are serious business. In Amsterdam and Utrecht, for instance, people are really serious about the free market. The hardcore people sleep on the streets (the night before) just to keep their places to sell stuff in the morning. For many free market veterans across the country, the Kingsday clothing sales at the market are the year's best opportunity to snatch up fashion steals at discount prices.
Everybody drinks beer
In addition to the free markets, residents of big cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague gather in the city squares to drink and listen to music. Many of the expected million people visiting Amsterdam on Kingsday will spend their day drinking beer and riding boats along the city's famous canals. It's the cheapest, it's the handiest, and everybody has it.
The night before: Kingsnight
The night before the holiday, "Koningsnacht" or Kingsnight, has become an even bigger event for young adults across the country in recent years, and many revelers take to the bars and streets of Holland for an all-night party that lasts until the Kingsday free markets open at sunrise. The Kingsday free markets are giant, often city-wide street markets where young children can sell toys they no longer want, and adults sell used clothing, records, books and antiques.
The best part of Kingsday
The best part of Kingsday is spending time with friends and everyone coming together to have some innocent fun.