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Het is Koningsdag! It’s King’s Day in the Netherlands

Today is Koningsdag or King’s Day in the Netherlands. Birgit, Jeroen and Margriet of the University of Groningen tell us more about how and why they’re celebrating.

King Willem Alexander celebrates his birthday on Koningsdag
King Willem Alexander celebrates his birthday on Koningsdag. Photo via Wikipedia.

It is 27 April and the Netherlands has turned orange – flags are flapping everywhere and everyone is happy. Has Holland finally won the World Cup? No, there is a different reason for a party today – it’s King’s Day!

On this day, we celebrate King Willem Alexander’s birthday (pictured above), and that means a party for the Dutch. Everyone has a day off, and many people wear orange clothes and hang out a flag. King’s/Queen’s Day is an old tradition, which started in 1885 to celebrate Princess Wilhelmina’s 5th birthday.

On King’s Day, the King and his family visit a location in the Netherlands, which has the chance to show off what is unique about it and its surrounding area. Many people get the chance to meet the King there.

Flea markets are also traditionally held everywhere, with one half of the population trying to sell its junk to the other half. In Amsterdam (pictured below), the flea market attracts about half a million visitors each year, including many foreign tourists.

People celebrate King's Day on the canals of Amsterdam
People celebrate King’s Day on the canals of Amsterdam. Photo via Wikipedia.

Because King’s Day (Koningsdag) is a national holiday, and everyone has the day off, many people take the chance to go out the evening before, which is known as King’s Night (Koningsnacht).

If you want to join the party next year, you’ll be very welcome! And you can start learning the language now, with our free online course, “Introduction to Dutch.”

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