5 weird facts to know about the Netherlands' national holiday

Dutch youth, clad in orange, during one of the parties on King's Day. Credit: Floris Heuer

Dutch youth, clad in orange, during one of the parties on King's Day. Credit: Floris Heuer

King's Day, the Netherlands' national holiday, is celebrated annually on April 27. It attracts thousands of tourists from around the globe to the capital, Amsterdam, and the rest of the country.

Here are five weird facts you need to know about the wild celebration.

1. Up until three years ago, it was called Queen’s Day and celebrated on April 30.

King Willem-Alexander accessed the throne in 2013, and changed the name and date of the celebration. When his mother, Princess Beatrix, was queen, she celebrated her birthday on April 30. To make it even more complicated, it was not hers but her mother's birth date. Princess Beatrix's actual birthday is Jan. 31, but anyone who has ever been to the Netherlands in January knows it is not the best time for a party! Brrr…

2. Everybody wears orange on this day.

Since orange is the national color, stores start selling different types of orange clothes weeks in advance. Hats, dresses, shirts, wigs, sunglasses, everything is sold, as long as they are orange. For a lot of people, the motto is: "The wackier the better."

3. It is a great time to shop for stuff you’re never going to use.

On this day, flea markets appear everywhere. Every small town and city is filled with people selling their old stuff. From books to toys to clothes and home-baked goods, people sell whatever they can find in their houses. It’s easy. Bring a plaid, spread out everything you have and make up prices as you go, a great way for kids to learn some sales skills.

And the stuff you are tricked into buying one year, you can sell again the next.

King's Day is celebrated on boats in the canals of Amsterdam. Credit: Floris Heuer

King's Day is celebrated on boats in the canals of Amsterdam. Credit: Floris Heuer

4. Parties actually start the night before.

For those who are not convinced this celebration is big, the party starts the evening before King’s Day. We call it King’s Night! Clubs and bars organize special parties that continue until the next morning. A lot of parties take place outside on squares and open spaces in the largest cities. It is not uncommon for people to party all night, and just continue the next day.

5. Rain does not spoil it for the Dutch.

This year, a week before King’s Day, the weather announcements did not look good. Although warm weather in April is rare in the Netherlands, it is not impossible. That’s why everybody starts praying and hoping for sun on this one day a year. Though, even when it’s raining cats and dogs, the party will not be ruined. Layers of clothes to keep you warm and a ridiculous orange poncho will do the trick!

Cover credit: Floris Heuer