Koningsdag or ‘King’s day’, is a day where people come out to enjoy drinks, wear lots of orange and soak in the sunlight. The entire country celebrates the head of the Dutch Royal family’s birthday but Rotterdam emerges as a particularly special place to be.
In 2013, the Netherlands celebrated the very last Queen’s day with the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander on the 30th of April. The queen’s birthday fell on the 30th (tomorrow) but with the new King and new birthday, King’s day would henceforth be celebrated on the 27th. Typically, one thinks of Amsterdam as the destination for this but Rotterdam has attracted quite a lot of people for 2014’s King’s Day as well.
You can’t have a King’s Day without a proper King’s Night. With a nightlife as infamous as Rotterdam’s, people flocked to the city. A couple from Breda said, “We first went to the Hague for the night, Amsterdam on the day and Rotterdam for the final party because we love the music here.” Anne de Boar from Hogeschool Rotterdam said, “I joined Hollywood for the day since they were open from the early morning till around 11 PM.” Madeline Franken, from Hogeschool Rotterdam explained, “As a Mormon, I don’t drink but the event isn’t just about drinking. King’s day has become part of a cultural tradition with dancing, almost perfect weather, lots of good food and fun people.”
Shopping, food and a lot of orange
The Vrijmarkt of Rotterdam opened up on King’s Day across neighborhoods like Coolsingel, Hofplein, Hoogstraat and Blaak, which was a lot of fun but unbelievably packed. Shop owners set up all sorts of orange souvenirs for those who hadn’t prepared the day before, which people very appreciatively bought. There’s also the space to sit and watch where party-boats blasted music and carried people who danced as they navigated between the canals. Rotterdam also held outdoors events like Oranjebitter during the day along with several of its famous clubs including Club Vie, Thalia Lounge and Corso.
Kralingse Bos proved to be a very popular destination to spend the day. Live music was set up featuring Nina Kraviz, Henrik Schwarz and other acts. Across the area, people danced under the bright sunshine, they picnicked and drank a lot of alcohol – something which is normally not allowed to do in public. Give Soul, an events-organization set up their first King’s Day beneath the Erasmus Bridge, which also attracted a lot of King’s Day celebrators. Bars around Beurs and the Centre of Rotterdam were filled with families and groups who cheered to the King and life in general while singing songs that everyone seemed to know. NAH