Once a year, the Netherlands unite in what is known as “Orange Madness.” Don’t worry – it’s a fun kind of madness: the raucous celebrations that accompany the annual King’s Day holiday on April 27. It is on this day that the people of this proud country go all-out to fete their monarch, and national color.
The first observance of this tradition (called Queen’s Day) took place in August of 1885, as the country celebrated the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina. The date was changed to April when Queen Juliana ascended to the throne in 1949, and has remained in that month until today. It became known as King’s Day when King Willem-Alexander ascended the throne in 2013.
On this day, the whole country celebrates, but the event is particularly impressive in Amsterdam. The city’s canals are teeming with boat parties, and the streets turn into a market where locals ply an impressive array of wares. There are plenty of activities for families – from face painting to games – and food stalls offer a range of tasty dishes.
And everywhere you look, there is orange. Revelers wear clothing, costumes, and accessories in the national color of the Netherlands, and the zanier the outfit the better. You’re likely to see revelers in orange wigs, dogs in orange tutus, and every manner of costume in between.
This is truly a celebration to remember, and an excellent insight into the pride and fun-loving nature of the Dutch people. Join us in Amsterdam on these trips:
- Switzerland & the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle
- Grand European Sojourn
- Rhine Culinary Discovery
- Essential Holland: Tulips in Spring
And on extensions for these trips: