King’s Day (Koningsdag) is the most important day in the Netherlands. We get a national holiday in celebration of King Willem-Alexander’s birthday.
King’s Day starts early in the morning when everyone sings the national anthem and watches the King deliver an important speech on national television. Then everyone lines up on the streets in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the King in his parade and scatter flower petals in his path. The Dutch sing praises of the beloved King all day.
… Just kidding!!
What really happens is that the streets bleed orange and people party the night before (King’s Night), then all day, then all night long again – as the Dutch do best!
It’s the biggest party day of the year, and this year King’s Day falls on Thursday, April 27th. People don orange (the Dutch national color) and spill out into the streets and canals. The city is comes alive after a long winter hibernation, celebrating with festivals and flea markets.
With an overabundance of choices on what to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. We’ve done the legwork for you and asked the locals for their top picks. Here’s Party with a Local’s definitive guide of the top parties happening on King’s Day in 2017. Don’t forget, you can always log into the Party with a Local app to find people to join up with at these events!
Taking place in Amsterdam’s favorite park and beloved outdoor venue, Westerpark, Cartel is a festival that goes from day to night, with both outdoor and indoor stages. A techno and house festival, headliners include house heavyweights Hunee and Mr G.
And tickets are a steal! A daytime ticket is only €10, nighttime ticket is €12.50, and a combo ticket is €20.
The biggest nationwide King’s Day in the Netherland, the Kingsland Festival hits five of the major Dutch cities as Groningen, Maastricht, Den Bosch, Twente and of course, Amsterdam!
This festival celebrates all things Oranje. If you’re a dance music fan, you may know that a large majority of the world’s most well-known DJs hail from the Netherlands. As such, the festival features some of the famous Dutch DJs as Tiesto, Martin Garrix, and Chocolate Puma. Besides Big Room and Future House, there’s a Hardstyle stage (also a product of the Netherlands). Lastly, there’s a Dutch top 40 stage, for example Lil Kleine is a well-known Dutch rapper & The Flexican combines Dutch hip hop, house and electronic. Definitely a good musical & cultural experience!
Oranjebloesem, which means, “Orange Blossom”, takes place at Blijburg Aan Zee, which is a beach on the IJmeer river, about 35 minutes away from Amsterdam by tram. It’s a great festival alternative, away from the craziness of the city center and in a gorgeous natural venue. The festival has 5 stages featuring house and techno artists, and this year they even bring a stage full of exciting live acts. Headliners are âme, KiNK, Bicep & Jungle by Night.
4. FREE PARTIES: Koningsdag Op Straat & Koningsdag Uit Je Bak
Partying doesn’t have to cost any money… Especially on King’s Day where having fun is a basic human right!
There are a couple free parties around Amsterdam. Koningsdag Op Straat, featuring A Man With No Shadow, is in Frederiksplein, in the South part of the city center and close to the Heineken Experience. It’s a good choice if you want to stay central, though it’s almost guaranteed to be packed.
If you’re looking for a free King’s Day party away from the craziness of the Center, Koningsdag Uit Je Bak is a good choice. It’s a house & disco party on NDSM Wharf, just a short 10 minute free ferry ride from the Amsterdam Central Station.
5. Boat Parties
Finally, a great way to do King’s Day is on a Boat Party! Locals sail the canals all day, dancing and drinking on boats.
If you already have a group of people, rent a boat on Barqo, the Airbnb for boats, and roam the canals to your heart’s content, freeing your inner captain.
If you’re trying to join a big group, several boat parties are organized by student groups or tour companies:
Fun Amsterdam King’s Day Boat – €90 per person, 3 hours, unlimited drinks (beer, wine, liquor)
King’s Day Boat Party – Organized by Amsterdam Boat Parties, this boat is €65 per person (price may rise), has several 3 hours shifts throughout the day, and includes beer, wine, vodka, and finger food.
Looking for More Parties?
Go on Party with a Local to discover more King’s Day parties and find a party squad!