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World’s biggest street party gets a new name: King’s Day

DutchAmsterdam.com — Queen’s Day is getting a new name as well as a different date.

Starting in 2014 Koninginnedag, the annual Dutch national holiday in honour of the Queen’s birthday, will be known as Koningsdag (King’s Day) — and will be celebrated on April 27 instead of April 30.

Queen's Day crowd in Amsterdam

Queen’s Day crowds thronging through Tweede Tuindwarsstraat in Amsterdam

Actually, since April 27, 2014 falls on a Sunday, that year King’s Day celebrations will take place on Saturday, April 26.

Queen’s Day — essentially the world’s biggest street party — is celebrated abundantly throughout the Netherlands, but Amsterdam is the place to be.

Queen Beatrix Abdicates; Prince Willem-Alexander to become King

The reason for these changes is that Holland’s Queen Beatrix recently announced1 she is abdicating in favor of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander.

The official abdication ceremony, and the subsequent inauguration and investiture2 of Prince Willem-Alexander, will take place on Queen’s Day, April 30, in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Amsterdam3.

On that date, His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange will become King Willem-Alexander, and his wife, Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will become Queen Máxima.

Queen’s Day becomes King’s Day

Other than the name change and the fact that the holiday will be celebrated three days earlier, no other changes are anticipated.

Prins Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima

Prins Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima. 2008 © RVD, foto: Robin Utrecht Fotografie

Incidentally, the Royal Family is hugely popular in the Netherlands, but Princess Máxima is by far its most popular member. In an annual survey4 conducted by public broadcaster NOS last April, Máxima received 62 percent of the votes, Queen Beatrix 52 percent and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander 34 percent.

It will be interesting to see how many people keep referring to the annual celebration as Queen’s Day instead of Kings’s Day.

Queen’s Day 2013, Amsterdam

Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan has told the press that the city’s traditional Queen’s Day celebrations will take place in addition to the inauguration ceremony.

There may be some restrictions in the center of town, though. Queen Beatrix’ abdication ceremony will take place in the Royal Palace at Dam Square.

Royal Palace and New Church at Amsterdam Dam Square

Royal Palace and New Church at Amsterdam Dam Square

The inauguration will be held in the Nieuwe Kerk right next to it.

The ‘free markets’ — a city-wide flea market — will be be allowed, except in areas where ceremonies surrounding the succession will be held.

Small parties and small-scale events will take place as well. Last year large-scale Queen’s Day events that traditionally were held in Amsterdam were banned in favor of smaller ones in an effort to somewhat curtail the overwhelming number of people visiting the city on that day. That approach was a success, so it will be continued this year as well.

Hotels Fully Booked

Each year more and more foreigners come to Amsterdam specifically to experience Queen’s Day. But if you failed to book for this year’s celebration, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a hotel room in the center of Amsterdam.

Newspapers report that right after Queen Beatrix’s announcement, there was a run on hotel rooms. The run was accompanied, inevitably, by a price hike that saw the average rate climb from €92 to €147 per night.

arrow Queen’s Day: The World’s Biggest Street Party

Notes:

  1. Transcript of Queen Beatrix’s abdication announcement
  2. Investiture information, Website of The Royal Family
  3. While The Hague, the capital of the Dutch province of South Holland, is the seat of the Dutch government, parliament, Supreme Court and Council of State, constitutionally Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands.
  4. Queen Beatrix and Princess Máxima most popular Dutch royals, Radio Netherlands, April 30, 2012
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Last updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 8:30 AM, Central European Time (CET)   
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