King's Day 2014 - Amsterdam (formerly celebrated as Queen's Day)

Queen's Day used to be the Netherlands' biggest national holiday, marking the Queen's mother's Birthday, since Queen Beatrix was born on Januray 31 - not too handy for a party!). Now that Queen Beatrix has abdicated, and her son Willem-Alexander is the ruling King of the Netherlands, the national celebrations have been moved to his birthday.

A new date, 26 April, instead of 30 April, but the orange madness is just as exciting!

So what do we all do on this day? Party!!! It all starts with massive parties on King's Night (formerly known as Queen's Night), where all clubs and bars put on some special performances and hold special orange parties. Many stages are set up to host a variety of bands and djs. Most bars, clubs and restaurants have special permits allowing them to serve booze and snacks outside, and stay late beyond regular opening hours.

The streets of Amsterdam (and the rest of the country) turn orange and Dutch flags hang on almost every building and house. All party animals are out drinking, smoking, dancing and generally soaking up the spirit of orange craziness! The pleasant scent of ganja flows freely in the air...

On King's Day, people usually start the day early (except for those who partied the night through, unless they are pulling a multiple day party session ;-) It's the only day in the year where you are allowed to sell your private possessions tax free! That's why you will see many people selling old clothing, furniture, art, jewellery. Little kids often set up stands to sell their toys, or to perform (check out the Vondel park, which is a kid only zone during this day).

Ok, the center of Amsterdam is usually filled with pretty wasted, but happy people, both locals and tourists. Those visitors who arrive in Amsterdam not realizing its King's Day, are in for a special treat! (apart for the few fools dragging their huge luggage arround town, shocked that there are no taxis in operation). That's right, all traffic is stopped for most of the day, to give room for walking and dancing.

King's Day is hard to describe in words. You just have to come here to see for yourself....It's ttally worth it!

Check out this video from SGTV to get an idea of how the very first King's Day was celebrated in Amsterdam: