That the Dutch people love their Queen is clear, as seen in all the joyous celebration on the Queens’ Day (Koninginnedag) every year on April 30.
But their celebrations this year may have a touch of sadness as their beloved Queen Beatrix, oldest reigning monarch in Dutch history, has announced that she will abdicate her throne in favour of her son, Prince Wilem-Alexander, who is set to become the Netherlands’ first King in 123 years.
The day will mark the people’s farewell to their favourite Queen, as well as welcoming the new King on the first King’s Night on April 30.
Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard was born on 31 January 1938 as the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. In 1980, also on April 30, Queen Juliana abdicated in favour of Beatrix.
Queen Beatrix married German diplomat Claus von Amsberg with whom she had three sons: Prince Willem-Alexander (1967), Prince Friso (1968) and Prince Constantijn (1969). Prince Claus died in 2002.
It’s all go for this year’s Queen’s Day festivities when usually close to a million orange-clad local residents and visitors crowd Amsterdam’s streets, canals and parks to wave the flag and to wish the Queen well.
For visitors, it’s a real bonus to be submerged and swimming in this sea of orange as the biggest street party of the year rages on well into the night.
The distinctive deep orange is colour of Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange-Nassau, and is seen everywhere, including being prominently worn by the Dutch national football team.
The first Konninginnedag was celebrated in 1885 in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. Her daughter Queen Juliana, who succeeded to the throne in 1949, changed the day to April 30, as this was her mother’s birthday.
The world will be watching Holland for its last Queen’s Day for a while, as festive boats, packed with revellers, gridlock the normally placid canals of Amsterdam.
Here are a few of the many celebrations happening:
Amsterdam Mardi Gras
Amsterdam Mardi Gras of the gay community prances into action on the day with celebrations held on the Reguliersdwarsstraat, along the Amstel between Muntplein and Waterlooplein, on the Westermarkt by the Homomonument as well as on the Warmoesstraat and Zeedijk.
The Reguliersdwaarsstraat Queen’s Day Street Party starts from 14.00 until late with free entrance. Bear Necessity at Odeon kicks off the celebrations early on Saturday 27 April, featuring DJs and laser shows, 23.00-5.00 (tickets: 17.50-22.50 euros).
Amsterdam Noord joins in the Queen’s Day fun again this year on April 30 with the NDSM Vrijhaven event on the wharf. A big line-up of DJs will play music along the NDSM Wharf while there will be plenty of food, live art, theatre, a kids’ street market. From 9.00-22.00 with free entrance.
Royal Café at the Zuiderkerk
A short walk away from Dam Square, beautiful Zuiderkerk hosts a royal afternoon, showing guests the inauguration ceremony on a large screen, followed by DJs, live shows, with traditional Dutch food and drink included. Starts at 12.30, (50 euros, 10 euros for children under 12).
King’s Land at the Amsterdam RAI terrain
A right royal celebration this year features four stages and dozens of the biggest names in the music business, including Sander van Doorn, Sunnery James, Ryan Marciano and Armin van Buuren. Starts at 12.00 (17.50 / 22.50 euros).