Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
When is King's Day in the Netherlands?
This is a national holiday which was declared in 2014 to maintain the tradition of a holiday to celebrate the monarch of the Netherlands.
It is the National Day of the Netherlands and is celebrated annually on 27 April, unless it falls on a Sunday, in which case Saturday 26 April will be the observed holiday.
History of King's Day in the Netherlands
The day officially commemorates the birthday of Willem Alexander who became King of the Netherlands following the abdication of Queen Beatrix on 30 April 2013.
Willem Alexander was born in Utrecht on 27 April 1967.
The tradition of a holiday to honour the current monarch began in 1890. Initially it celebrated the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina on 31 August.
From 1949, the day celebrated of the birthday of Wilhelmina's daughter, Queen Juliana, on 30 April.
The tradition of changing the holiday to match the birthday of the reigning monarch took a break when Queen Beatrix succeeded Juliana in 1980. Beatrix decided to keep that the Queen's Day on April 30 as a tribute to her mother. Additionally her own birthday is at the end of January 31, so celebrating it outdoors would have been difficult.
With Willem Alexander's ascension to the throne in 2104, his birthday was close enough to the old date to make the switch happen without causing any issues.
How is King's Birthday Celebrated?
Traditionally, on this day the King visits one of the cities in the country, and meets some of those who have come out to celebrate his birthday.
On King's day many people will celebrate by dressing in orange clothes (the royal family are the House of Orange), painting faces and hair orange and wearing mock orange crowns.
A popular pastime on King's Day is going to a flea market. King’s Day is the only day of the year when the Dutch government allows street selling without a permit and without the payment of value added tax, so most cities and town will host large flea markets (vrijmarkt) with people having saved up their used or unwanted goods to sell.
As this is an official public holiday, banks, post offices, and many businesses will be closed. Some stores are open as usual, but trading hours may be changed. Public transport usually runs to a normal or special timetable and there may even be extra train services to help people get home from large celebrations in the cities.
Koningsdag around the world
Koningsdag is also a holiday in: