King’s Day, formerly Queen’s Day
King’s Day – once a year, on April 27, Holland is bursting with orange as we celebrate the biggest street party. You will see almost everybody wearing something orange, the colour referring to our royal family.
In the whole country you can find flea markets, festivities with dj’s, live music and fairs. We call it King’s Day, formerly known as Queen’s Day and it’s an official holiday in The Netherlands.
This tradition goes back to a long time ago. As from 1949 Queen’s Day has been celebrated on April 30, the day our former queen Juliana celebrated her birthday. On April 30, 1980 her oldest daughter Beatrix became our queen. She decided to not change the date of Queen’s Day. Not only as an ode to her mother, but also for a practical reason. Her birthday is on January 31 which is, considering the Dutch climate, not a very good date for a big street party.
A king! What to do?
On April 30, 2013 her oldest son Willem-Alexander became Holland’s king. For a very long period in our history we have had queens, and now – since 1890 – we had a king. What to do with Queen’s Day?
Change of date
Well, our king decided to change the name to King’s Day, which is understandable. However, he also decided to change the date to April 27, his birthday. Now this is something we had some difficulties with, as this was asking for troubles. On April 30 the weather is always good. Even in the rare occasion we had somewhat bad weather forecasts for April 30, the weather gods were always on our side. Why ask them for trouble?
And yes, the weather forecast for this year’s King’s Day is terrible. Worst and coldest King’s Day ever. It’s going to be even colder than last Christmas. It makes you grind your teeth if you see the weather forecast for April 30 is so much better. But this is not the only problem of changing the date.
Many foreign visitors have heard of this fantastic Dutch street party and want to join us, which we like very much of course. But unfortunately the date of April 30 (Queen’s Day) is still mentioned in thousands, maybe millions of travel guides to Holland. So what do we see on our streets since a few years on April 30? Yes….tourists wearing orange t-shirts, orange sunglasses (always needed those on April 30), orange shoes and orange wigs, walking around with a big question mark on their forehead.