Queen’s day becomes King’s day

Not only the streets are crowded on Queen's Day, but also the canals of Amsterdam overflow with people.
Not only the streets are crowded on Queen’s Day, but also the canals of Amsterdam overflow with people.

This year Amsterdam will see it’s last Queen’s day for the foreseeable future and it’s gonna be a special, ceremonial and slightly pompous one. So for all those regular Queen’s day visitors or those who were dying to join this special event: read on and see if this last Queen’s day is worth the visit.

What is it?

Queen’s day is the official public holiday in the Netherlands to celebrate our Queen’s Birthday. Since 1948 it has been celebrated on the 30th april, the birthday of the former Queen Juliana (1948-1980). When the present Queen Beatrix ascended the throne, she kept this public holiday on the birthday of her mother as a tribute to her and for practical reasons. Queen Beatrix’s birthday is on the 31st of January, a day in the year generally to cold and dark for a good birthday party. The official Queen’s Day has since become a incredible national street party, with all night boozing, street markets and open air concerts. Amsterdam attracted around a million visitors each year on Queen’s Day, effectively doubling the number of people living there! The LGBT community organised their own parties on Queen’s Day, making this day a popular time to visit Amsterdam international travelers.

What’s special this year?

Dutch Queen Beatrix and Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander (R).
Dutch Queen Beatrix and Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander (R).

This january a special tv moment took place: all tv channels, public and commercial, uprooted their tv schedule for a special announcement of Queen Beatrix. In her own particular style, a little stiff and formal, she announced that she was going to abdicate her throne on the 30th April and make place for her son Willem-Alexander. And as Amsterdam is the capitol of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this event will take place in the center of our city.

Less carnival, more official

In practical terms this means that the usual carnival type partying will be toned down in 2013. Since the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the official ceremonies for the ascension of Willem-Alexander on the throne will attract a lot of (inter)national dignitaries, the partying in Amsterdam will be more regulated. There will be less parties on the streets. The hole purpose of this will be keeping the city clean and orderly for the official events.

Worth the visit?

If you want to join one of those special national events full of pomp and circumstance, this day might be the day to visit Amsterdam for you. Although be warned: most events will be taking place in old historic buildings, so watching these events on television is probably a better option. The mayor of Amsterdam has however announced a big party for the evening of 30th of April, after all the official events have ended. No word on the exact character of this party, but this might be a nice substitute of the original Queen’s Day party. The official Amsterdam website gives you all the latest information.

And from 2013 on?

So from the 30th of April the Dutch will have a King, who is married the an Argentinean lady and a father of three lovely daughters. So there will be no Queen’s Day no more.
The birtday of of Willem-Alexander is the 27th of April and it has been decided to celebrate a King’s Day on that date from 2014 onwards. In all likelihood the King’s Day will have a similar character as Queen’s Day if only because Willem-Alexander is known to be fond of drinking beer and his wife Maxima enjoys a party of two. Stay tuned to this website for all the latest developments on this.