TicketSwap Staff recommend: The ultimate Kingsday survival guide for 2024

Orange garments at the ready; it’s going to be a big one…

  • Kate Pasola, Content Editor
  • I dag
  • THE AGENDA INTERNATIONAL

This article was written and curated by the TicketSwap team, translated for you with AI.

King's Day. Kingsday. Koningsdag. A glorified birthday party; an excuse to imbibe orange beverages; the one day a year where you can dress the colour of a traffic cone and no other person can say anything about it. 

Whatever you know about this Dutch national holiday, there’s a right way to go about it and a wrong way to go about it.And so, whether you’re a seasoned local or have never heard of Oranjebitter in your life, here’s everything you’ll need to know as you get stuck into one of the Netherlands’ biggest national celebrations. 

Sorting your party plans? Check out our handpicked King's Day recommendations...

We’re bringing you a three-part guide to Kingsday (and Kingsnight), including a refresher on what on earth this day even is (you can skip that bit if you already know), a heads up on all the King's Day events, parties, festivals and cultural things taking place across the holiday, plus the lowdown on some of the best cafes, restaurants, bars and record stores to check out if you’re swinging by the capital. 

Rest assured our recommendations are watertight, brought to you courtesy of the party experts at TicketSwap HQ. And so, without further ado, here’s how to nail your Kingsday (and Kingsnight), TicketSwap staffer style. 

King's Day 2024

First things first… what is King’s Day?

Also known as Koningsdag in Dutch, King’s Day is a national holiday, taking place on 27th April in the Netherlands. For some, it’s the biggest day (and night) in the party calendar, for thrifters it’s a day of vintage market dreams where the streets are taken over by stalls selling pre-loved goodies, and for others, it’s a day dedicated to consuming as many oranje tompouce (delicious King’s Day pastries) as possible.

What date is King’s Day?

The national holiday itself takes place on 27th April, but as TicketSwap’s Tom Stitger puts it: “You start either fresh and early, or completely hungover from the night before, Kingsnight.” In other words, those wanting to make the most of the day off on 27th April might want to participate in King’s Night festivities too, which take place on 26th April. 

But before we get onto making party plans, let’s dive into what you need to know to set your King’s Day and King’s Night plans up for success.

Kingsday tips

Wearing orange on Kingsday 

The Dutch celebrate this national holiday by wearing orange as a nod to the royal family’s name, which literally translates to House of Orange. So sure, go hard on the orange if your heart desires it. 

You can grab last-minute orange outfits from local high-street shops (which are likely to have more than their average stock of orange garments at this time of year to help their shoppers prepare for the big day), or get a custom orange t-shirts, hoodies, caps and flags online. Orange wigs also go down a treat, and why not paint a Dutch flag on your cheeks while you’re at it?

But get your timing right. Since the date of King’s Day changed from 30th April to 27th April in 2014, confused tourists can often be spotted repping orange outfits three days too late. Don’t make the same mistake, or you’ll be dubbed a ‘vergistoerist‎’. Not the vibe you’re going for.

Take out cash in advance…

You won’t be able to withdraw money amid the festivities in big cities. The queue will be too long. The ATM will run out of cash. It will kill the vibe. Take it from us: it’s worth thinking ahead.

…and bring small change!

It’s worth keeping 50c and euro coins in your pocket – mostly for the purpose of accessing toilets while you’re prowling around the city and enjoying beers in the sun. There are plenty of public toilets, but plenty of houses near main celebration areas also open up their toilets to the public for a small fee (hence the coins). And with plenty of opportunities to break your notes for coins – from incredible street stalls to plenty of culinary temptations – you won’t struggle on this one.

Speaking of which: get supplies in early

“Kingsday is very much a BYOB event,” Tom adds. If you’re planning to drink, he recommends you  “stock up on beers and other alcoholic drinks, since by the afternoon every drinks section of every supermarket in the city will be raided.”

Set a meeting point

“The people that are planning to go out to celebrate the King usually team up early for a boozy brunch or hit the meeting point for where the boat will start.” Tom continues. “Spontaneous parties will kick off at random corners, streets and squares in the city and you will find many people clustering around the canal-area. Probably because a group of people opened their windows of their canal house apartment and put a DJ set and speakers in the window. The city centre will become a big playground, like a little festival on its own. Many bars in town will sell beers on the street and have some amplified music too.”

Find music bargains and freebies

Did you know that on King’s Day, anyone’s allowed to sell on the street without requiring a permit? 

“You will find kids selling their old toys or even performing by showing their best saxophone skills in between stalls,” Tom explains, adding that you should look out for tape on the pavement that says “BEZET” or “GERESERVEERD”. 

Find those areas, and you’ll soon spot people bringing their pre-loved items, often music-related, onto the street. Look out for records, band t-shirts and other memorabilia for generously low prices.

Plan your travel

Over 700,000 people hit the streets during King’s Day, and transport can often be disrupted or running on limited timetables. Plan your schedule ahead of time and use an app like Citymapper to find your way round and keep up-to-date.

…And know your escape plan!

Look, we’ll be the first to say it: Kingsday is a lot. And celebrating it in the city center isn’t for everyone. Tom’s advice, if you’re keen to do your Kingsday a little more DIY, is to hit up a bar a bit outside of the city centre. More on that later…

Kingsday recommendations in Amsterdam

To cure a Kingsnight hangover

First up, coffee. TicketSwap’s Jane Evans recommends Good Beans coffee shop on Binnen Oranjestraat. And, according to Jane, they’re also great for a visit later in the day: “They do bottled coffee infused cocktails that are delish, and good for a little pick-me-up.”

She also suggests a trip to Effendy for Turkish pizza style wraps, which she’s happy to endorse as “The ULTIMATE Hangover Cure, 10/10.”

Jane also recommends grabbing a snack from from the dumplings stall near Westerparknamed, quite aptly, ‘Dumplings’, which are not only, in her words, “unbelievable”, but also right next to the gorgeous urban park itself – perfect for getting some fresh air while carbing up.

Speaking of which – If you’re in the mood to front-load carbs before a big night out, TicketSwap Magazine’s Kate Pasola’s favourite spot is Breadwinner Bagels. “The ingenious messages on this shop’s outdoor sign are worth making the trip over to Tweede Laurierdwarsstraat for. But also, the deliciousness of these bagels will engulf any hang-xiety and set you up properly for a big day” But get there quick, this place is known for selling out. 

Another bagel-related recommendation comes from TicketSwap’s Sophie Bunce, who speaks highly of Flo’s Deli, a bagel shop, with its “modern vibe, suitable for everyone.”

For dinner

Tom’s recommendations for dinner out in Amsterdam include food and wine bar V R R (also known as Voormalig Rosa en Rita), Chinese inspired bistro Cafe Wu and Taqueria Bacalar; but a particular shout-out went to wine bar and bistro Alex & Pinard, who are currently hosting a Ukrainian food pop-up. Failing that, he recommends a trip “to the FEBO, to eat from the snack wall after many beers.” If you’re after veggie/vegan food, TerraZen Centre is a favourite of Kate’s, for huge satisfying portions of vegan Caribbean & Japanese fusion dishes. Or, if you’re having an earlier dinner (and the weather allows) check out Mr Blou I Love You for wraps and soups of the how-is-this-so-delicious-yet-healthy?! variety. 

And finally, for something a little more atmospheric, Jane suggests a trip to Mediamatic, near to central station for “amazing” pizzas, before moving on to Hannekes Boom for a drink by the water.

For late night food 

Tourists accustomed to finding late night food, post booze-up, in the city might find Amsterdam’s choices a little lacking in the late night food department. While you’ll find some fast food chains still open, along with the odd burger spot, it’s worth planning ahead. But, Eethuis Sinbad on Eerste Oosterparkstraat has got a pretty good reputation for keeping the city’s partiers well fed, and stays open until 3am on Saturdays.

To escape the buzz

“We like to go to Sound Garden for a laidback and music focussed vibe,” Tom suggests. “They also have one of the best hidden waterside terraces of Amsterdam. You can find us hiding in plain sight, close to the centre at Cafe Brecht, a German beer bar with German snacks. Not one chair is the same in this place and you can play a board game to escape the orange army. Or we have a cocktail at PAMELA, a LGTBQ+ friendly bar with local talent on the decks, playing the intimate space in the weekend.

Or head to one of Jane’s favourite canalside resting spots, The Papeneiland Café, which stays open until 1am serving not only coffee, but beer and wine (plus traditional Dutch apple pie…). “Sit upstairs in the cosy part by the window, or else try grab a spot outside on top of the stairs when it’s sunny out - great suntrap,” she adds.

Otherwise, she advises heading to Cafe de Wetering: “a super cute and snug bar,” which you’ll find on (a backstreet near the Rijksmuseum.)

And last but not least: where to party

Wondering where to head to dance your way into (and out of) the King’s birthday? Fear not – we’ve also pulled together a guide to our favourite Kingsday and Kingsnight events, cherry-picked for your delectation.

And, head to our Kingsday events 2024 page if you want to see the full spread of Kingsday parties and festivals across the Netherlands.


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