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Queen’s Day Reminder: April 30

April 21st, 2008 | Last updated: May 18th, 2011

On April 30th, Holland celebrates Queen’s Day — an annual feast initially established in honor of our previous Queen’s birthday.

There are celebrations throughout the Netherlands, but for hundreds of thousands of Dutch folks, Amsterdam is the party center of choice. Small wonder: it is the scene of the world’s biggest street — and canal — party.

Tip: Plan now for Queen’s Day, 2010! For instance, book your hotel room early. Very early.

Tips for Tourists

Amsterdam: Prinsengracht on Queen's Day
A canal full of Orange-clad Queen’s Day revelers.

Each year, more and more tourists visit Amsterdam specifically to join the Queen’s Day celebrations.

And each year, countless others tourists — unaware of the Queen’s Day festitivities — get stuck when trying to travel between Schiphol airport and their downtown hotels.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • During most of the day (April 30th) there is no public transport in the center of Amsterdam. You’ll have to walk, but due to the crowds thronging the streets, a walk that would normally take 10 minutes may now take 1 hour or more.
  • If you need to travel between the city and Schiphol Airport, take Connexxion bus 258 or 370 (to and from the Marnixstraat Bus Station)
  • The luggage lockers at Amsterdam Central Station and at Amsterdam Amstel Station will be closed between Sunday, Apr. 29 at 19:00 (7 PM) and Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 (7 AM) for security reasons.
  • Pickpockets will likely be wearing orange — like just about everyone else. Be alert. At the very least, use a money belt.

Queen’s Day Maps

Since the folks at City Hall have been twiddling their thumbs, we’ve gone ahead and scanned a print copy of 2008 Queen’s Day map. The legend is in Dutch, and the map shows only a fraction of what’s available that day.

Suffice it to say that the red numbers represent locations with live music.

Queen's Day Amsterdam 2008
Queen's Day Amsterdam 2008

The map below is last year’s map. Sorry about that, but our city officials and their staff tend to swing between

a) too laid-back,
b) too ‘who cares’?
c) too busy thinking up ways to spend money on things we don’t need, or
d) implementing changes and policies seemingly designed only to annoy and upset the natives. (Note: this year they even forgot — FORGOT! — that Apr. 20th marked the 200th anniversary of Amsterdam as the capital of the Netherlands)

Anyway, the map below gives you a good idea of how widespread the Queen’s Day party is.

Dine with the Dutch

(1) Rembrandtplein
SLAM!FM radio station celebrates Queen’s Day with a huge dance party with performances by The Partysquad and one of the world’s most popular DJ’s, Ferry Corsten.

(2) Thorbeckeplein
100% NL, a truly Dutch party with performances by Dutch artists including Bastiaan Ragas, Floortje, IOS, Sheer en Krezip.

(3) Nieuwmarkt
New bands and hot talent perform outside cafes In de Waag and The Spot. On the Nieuwmarkt itself will be various children’s programmes.

(4) Blaffende Vis (Westerstraat 118)
This café has one of the country’s most famous Queen’s Day gable photos. There will be live Rhythm and Blues and pop music with Patrick singing numbers by Ramses Shaffy, De Dijk, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, followed by a band playing Latin pop hits.

(5) Stoperaplein
By the City Hall, Loveland organises ‘Royal Fire!’, with DJs playing dance, house and Top 40 numbers.

(6) Spui
Live artists and a radio programme playing Dutch hits and disco.

(7) Reguliersdwarsstraat
Street party for gay and gay friendly people with live music, DJ’s and performances.

(8) Eerste Weterningsplantsoen
Dance party organised by TWSTD with disco, house and rap. Performances by national and international artists throughout the day.

(9) Amstel/Halvemaansbrug
Amstel Taveerne, Mix Café and Café Rouge take care of the ‘Amstel Podium’; a popular DJ plays hits the whole day long.

(10) Lijnbaansgracht 164
Bands play country, salsa and rock n roll.

(11) Torensluisbrug
Cafe Van Zuylen DJs play lounge and club jazz music.

(12) Westermarkt
The Pink Westerfeest is a gay and lesbian party with performances, acts, DJs and surprises. This year with special guest programming from XXXleather and Furball.

(13) Nieuwe Herengracht 71
Opposite the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands, the Hortus will be organising a small scale event with live performances including African music.

(14) Amstelveld
Chemistry street dance party with various club DJs.

(15) Leidseplein
A megapodium with well known DJs, bands and live artists playing a mix of Dutch and English language music.

(16) Bredeweg festival
A lively festival centred round the Hogeweg and Bredeweg in East Amsterdam. For young and old alike with various performances, a market and friendly atmosphere. There are theatre groups, clowns, salsa, latin, blues, percussiona and choral music.

Wear Something Orange

You don’t have to, of course, but if you don’t wear something Orange (either from your own wardrobe, bought at the free-market, or handed to you by the day’s sponsors) you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

Our Queen’s royal lineage dates back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange). Hence, orange is the color of choice.

During Queen’s Day the whole city turns into a spontaneous party zone. Here are some of the best events round town, guaranteed to be good fun. (Numbers refer to the special Queen’s Day map).

Rules (and Beer)

There are tons of rules and regulations meant to keep this a day of festivities for everyone. They cover such things as when and where locals can build temporary stages, moor disco-boats, and who may or may not sell food on Queen’s Day.

The main rule is that you only can have only one bottle (plastic, not glass) or can containing an alcoholic beverage with you on the street, in stations and on the trams. People with any more alcohol than that with them run the risk of being seen as dealers. No six-packs, home-taps, etcetera.

The beer sold on this day is so-called Events Beer, which contains less alcohol than normal. It is served in plastic cups for which you pay a deposit. Return the cup to the place where you bought your drink in order to get your deposit refunded.

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