The arrival of the 30th of April becomes a huge event in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. The Dutch celebrate their national day and their queen´s birthday in an atmosphere where festive cheer and fun gather more than 700,000 people.
This year is especially unique since Queen Beatrice is abdicating her throne after the festival, after 33 years in it. Therefore it will be the last ´Queen´s Day´. From 2014, it will be the turn of her son and successor, King William, so this year´s Queen´s Day is expected to be especially emotive and multitudinous as a farewell to the outgoing Queen.
The night before
There´s so much will to party in the Dutch capital that the activities begin the night before Queen´s Day. From 7pm onwards, the parties start arising around the city and last until daylight. In the streets, in the bars… you´ll find entertainment everywhere!
If there´s something that Dutch people are passionate about, that´s commerce and this day is proof of that. From the early hours of the morning, the streets fill with stalls that sell anything and everything. Children and adults offer things that they want to get rid of (toys, books, clothes) in a jovial atmosphere, since the most important thing here is to socialise and have a good time, so everything is sold at symbolic prices. Try and bring cash since it´s a great chance to find some bargains.
The Jordaan district
This district is the most popular one during the festival since, as well as the numerous market stalls, drinks stands and food stands that you can find, there are many local bands that play traditional songs on the street and it´s a great chance of getting to know Dutch culture and folklore.
Concerts and parties
Live music is one of the main activities and you´ll come across concerts from 11am in the Museum District. The districts of Leidseplein and Waterlooplein also have a varied musical programme for those who enjoy live music.
However, it´s the parties that usually are the most popular events. From small private ones, organised in boats and bars, to the most spontaneous ones, which take place in the street, you will be welcome in all of them.
End of party
The end of celebrations coincides with the crowning of the new king. William will carry out, accompanied by his consort, a large and multitudinous boat ride in the afternoon, which you will be able to follow throughout the city.
Of course, the colour that dominates on this day is orange. Because the royal dynasty in the Netherlands is the House of Orange, the colour has become a national symbol, so do consider wearing something of that colour on this day, as well comfortable footwear since public transport is complicated on this day and you will have to walk a lot.
When it comes to accommodation, if you´re looking for a central and affordable place, choose to rent apartments for days in Amsterdam city .