25 April 2024 | Category: Bachelor's student, Master's Student, Student life

King’s Day: A Day in Orange

By lidewij

We’ve all attended a birthday party, but have you ever attended a birthday festival? This happens here in the Netherlands on King’s Day (Koningsdag in Dutch) – the birthday celebration of the King. One that is celebrated throughout the country and has a dress code: you have to wear anything orange, and the crazier the better!

King’s Day festivals

What is King’s Day?

King’s Day is celebrated on the King’s birthday every year on the 27th of April.๐Ÿ“… This is celebrated as a big street festival that can be found in all the major cities (think of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, etc.), but is also a big happening in smaller cities and towns. All city centers are transformed into a a big chaotic orange wave, where you can stroll through the streets enjoying the open air markets, pop-up festivals and and street performers.

The King and other members of the royal family also visit a different city every year to greet the public. This year they will be visiting Emmen.

Where it all started

This nationwide birthday celebration all started as Princess’s Day back in 1885 on the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina and was then celebrated on the 23rd of November. This came as an initiative to emphasise and celebrate the Netherlands national unity. When Princess Wilhelmina was later crowned queen, the yearly birthday celebration was renamed as Queen’s Day and declared as an official national public holiday in 1902.

The date of King’s or Queen’s Day therefore switches along with the birthday of the Queen or King ruling at the time.

The current King of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander’s birthday is on the 27th of April, hence why the Netherlands now turns into a glorious orange celebration on this date.

Fun outfit example for King's Day

Fun outfit example for King’s Day

Why orange?

Even though the flag of the Netherlands is red, white and blue, the national colour is orange. This originates from the name the former king inherited in 1544 – King Willem van Oranje (Oranje = orange). Since then, all Dutch national sport teams wear the colour orange, and is why orange is the go to colour for this celebration day. ๐Ÿงก

King’s Day in Wageningen

You don’t have to go far to enjoy the orange spectacle, as Wageningen also has its fair share of the festivities. Here you can enjoy different markets and different music stages. There are also obstacle courses, bike decorating competitions and walking tours if you are looking for more. You can see the full schedule in the official programme.

This celebration is a day most people look forward to and is certainly not a day you want to miss when in the Netherlands – also a hard day too avoid as the streets are filled with music and people covered in orange!

This year King’s Day falls in the weekend before the university’s exam week, so most students have to make the tough choice of choosing between studying and partying – including myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Orange tompouce

P.S. Don’t forget to eat an orange tompouce while roaming the streets on King’s Day. A typical sweet Dutch treat turned orange for this special occasion!


Lidewij ๐Ÿ™‚



By lidewij

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *