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King's Day

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New York City, New...
posts: 2,339
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King's Day

We are in the early stages of planning a trip for next Spring. Our dates are flexible but we'd like to go while tulips are in bloom and it seems our best bet for that is mid-late April (obviously this will depend on weather and there are no guarantees) so we are thinking of going the weekend of King's Day.

The info I've found makes it look like a really fun Holiday but I'd love to hear feedback from locals and others who have been in Amsterdam previously for Queen's Day. The reason I ask is that there are some holidays and events where people flock to my city but a lot of the locals leave town or stay away from the action because things either get out of control or are just annoyingly crowded. We are all for socializing and don't mind a bit of rowdiness but also don't want to be in a situation that resembles Times Square in NYC on NYE.

Also, is it safe to assume we should start looking for accommodations now if we decide to come that weekend? Thanks!

Amsterdam, The...
posts: 10,617
reviews: 70
1. Re: King's Day

Queensday tends to get very crowded, hundreds of thousands of people extra visiting Amsterdam. But special walking routes are marked and it's very doable. Lots of street parties everywhere and flea markets all over the place, and people dressed funny. (Dress in orange! or at least have orange details.)

Most of it has mellow atmoshere although if the weather is sunny and people drink a lot, it can get a bit rowdy by 4pm or so.

Do note that King's Day is a day early in 2014, because the official date (27th April) is on a Sunday they will move King's Day to the Saturday (26th April).

There may also be some parties on the night before.

Every year there is a free opera performance on the night before on Bredeweg in eastern Amsterdam. I am quite sure they will also organize this on the 25th of April 2014.

I have no idea when accommodations will start filling up but April is a popular month, and if you know the dates, why not book now? You may also want to look at apartments.

Cecilia

Amsterdam

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/amsterdam_tips.htm

Edited: 10:38 pm, September 20, 2013
Winter Haven...
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2. Re: King's Day

Also be aware that Easter is 4/20/14 - the week after is usually pretty crowded in Amsterdam visiting the museums and other attractions. Not like Times Square though.

Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: King's Day

Can't get used to it being called Kings Day!

New York City, New...
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reviews: 49
4. Re: King's Day

Thanks for the feedback. We are deciding between Easter weekend and the following but it seems King's Day will be much more fun! I'm sure calling it that is a big adjustment for everyone.

We'll probably arrive on the 24th so we can partake in the festivities the following night. The Opera performance sounds great. Is Iamsterdam.com the best site to get additional info on that and other activities as the date nears or are there others recommended?

I saw all the interesting orange ensembles in a google image search. I guess I'll have to do some shopping!

Denver, Colorado
posts: 73
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5. Re: King's Day

It will take you less than 20 minutes on a normal day to walk from the Central station to Dom square. On Queen's day, sorry King's day it will take about 2 hours. If you stay outside Amsterdam you will have trouble getting into town. It is nuts, but you have to experience it at least once. The Dutch do know how to party.

Amsterdam, The...
posts: 10,617
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6. Re: King's Day

Yes iamsterdam.com should have all the info as the date nears.

The opera performance is usually advertized quite short notice on their website http://www.bredewegfestival.nl/ (in Dutch). It's a neighborhood festival that grew and grew and is now a 'place to be' for many Amsterdammers who want to escape the non-Amsterdammer crowds in the center. It normally also continues on Queensday and I expect it to be the same for King's Day (Kingsday?).

Some of the major areas:

- Jordaan, canal belt; and Apollolaan and surroundings (south) for the flea markets, the dedicated shoppers start at 8am to find the best bargains. But basically the entire city has people selling old junk on the street.

- Jordaan and canal belt for street parties, it can get very crowded in the narrow streets (if you want to go to another part of town, follow one of the designated walking routes which use wider streets)

- There are some huge mainstream parties on Leidseplein and Museumplein, I'd avoid those... these mostly attract the young, rowdy youths from outside Amsterdam. I'd also avoid Dam Square which is just very crowded.

- Vondelpark is for kids: children perform music, dance or sell stuff, or do games to earn money (for example shooting candy high in the air and you can win money if you catch it in your mouth... if you half miss, your face will be splattered with white cream from the candy... things like that)

- Bredeweg / Hogeweg for flea markets, great food sold from stands by restaurant owners, live performances, mellow vibe.

Even though most people seem to think it's normal to throw trash on the street, please don't... there should be plenty of extra garbage bins and containers you can use. Us Amsterdammers pay for the cleaning up afterwards...

If you're up for a party and some local fun, I definitely think that weekend would be better than Easter weekend.

Do not try to use the train into or out of Amsterdam on that day.

Edited: 11:37 am, September 21, 2013
Amsterdam, The...
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7. Re: King's Day

P.S. Some good advice that is still valid on this page. …easytobook.com/tips/…

The remark about pickpocketing is very true! Just like anywhere in the world, crowded events like this are pickpocket heaven. During this year's Gay Pride loads of people were pickpocketed and over 40 thieves arrested. They used distraction tricks like pushing, standing on people's flip flops... while their partner in crime lifted the phone or wallet of the victim. You can prevent it by hiding valuables under your clothes (in your shoes if you must) and simply not bringing out too much.

And yes, many interesting orange ensembles on humans as well as pets :-)

http://www.pbase.com/cile/qday_amsterdam

New York City, New...
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8. Re: King's Day

Thank you so much for the detailed info! We're looking into accommodations now but plan to stay central. I'm thinking on the day, we could start out in Jordaan & the canal belt and then make our way over to Bredeweg since it sounds like that would be more our style. We will of course wear our most comfortable walking shoes!

Oh & I never litter!

Sheboygan, WI
posts: 93
reviews: 90
9. Re: King's Day

I'm glad you asked this because I was wondering too, though I think we will try to avoid the city now.

Question: I imagine there are celebrations in other cities as well, but on a smaller scale. Yes?

Amsterdam, The...
posts: 10,617
reviews: 70
10. Re: King's Day

Marytini: yes. And in small towns too, although the smallest of towns have nothing, and the people go to the somewhat larger town nearby. 2013 a friend and I were on a cycling holiday and saw Queensday in about 4 towns along the way. One had stages for live performances, and probably people selling stuff in the streets later on (after we left), one village was too small and had nothing, one village had a deejay and some inflatable palaces for kids to jump in and a local brass band, the last town had the same local brass band a bit later in the day (we seemed like their groupies, following them around :-) ), and lots of people selling stuff in the streets, and a stage with live performances, a bike race for toddlers, and such things. It's cute.

From what I hear The Hague has one of the best 'night before the day' parties (it used to be called "Koninginnenach", the last T of the word falling off on purpose because people in The Hague don't pronounce the 't' in 'nacht', in case you want to google it... I wonder what they'll call it from now on! Probably "Koningsnach"... the evening before Kings Day), and Utrecht is also supposed to have a nice celebration, lower key.

Whatever you do, try to avoid trains to and from Amsterdam all day on 26th April 2014, or be ready to be packed into a train like sardines and possible long delays because of people pulling the emergency alarm, walking on the tracks etc.