King’s Day in the Netherlands: There’s always a good moment for a birthday
Happy Birthday King Willem-Alexander
On Wednesday (27th April) the Netherlands will be dressed in orange to celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday or as it’s called in the Netherlands – King’s Day. A huge celebration for the nation, which involves street parties, 2nd hand markets, festivals, King’s Day games, and lots of festive eating and drinking.
Here’s the low down on what the day is all about.
A day off for one and all
Of course, King’s Day couldn’t be celebrated if everyone was working or at school, could it? Therefore, the 27th April is officially a day off of work and school (unless, of course, you are a nurse, doctor, police officer, firefighter, hospitality worker… etc.). This year King’s Day in the Netherlands falls on a Wednesday, so unfortunately no day off the day after to recover from the King’s Day games and festivities.
The royal family visits
Don’t worry, the royal family themselves won’t be visiting every household in the Netherlands for a coffee and a King’s Day Stroopwafel, but instead they choose one city each year to visit. This year Maastricht is that chosen place, a beautiful city in the South of the Netherlands. The city is encouraged to put on quite a party for the birthday boy and his family, and is usually celebrated with music, a parade, King’s Day games and local traditions.
Sell your stuff for free
King’s Day in the Netherlands is also a day to clear out your cupboards and make some money in the process. People line the streets and parks with a picnic mat or table full of items to sell, often children selling toys, s for as little as 20cents. It’s time to grab some bargain King’s Day games!
Street parties and King’s Day games
As well as the free markets, King’s Day in the Netherlands is all about street parties and games. With festivities planned in big cities and small villages, the Dutch play traditional King’s Day games such as “koekhappen” or biting the gingerbread. So, get out your King’s Day Stroopwafels, tie them to a piece of string and see who can eat it, without using their hands, the fastest.
Other games played in the Netherlands on King’s Day include:
- Spijkerpoepen – exactly translated into English as “nail pooping”, this King’s Day game is not as outrageous as it originally sounds! The first person to be able to get a nail hanging between their legs into a bottle fastest wins.
- Ezeltje Prik – this King’s Day game is also known the world over “pin the tail on the donkey” and is usually seen at children’s parties.
- Zaklopen – this sport’s day special is the perfect King’s Day game, as participants try to race to the finish line whilst jumping in a jute bag.
- Ballontrappen – or balloon stamping! Tie a balloon to your feet and try to stamp on each other’s balloons to cause them to pop. This King’s Day game is not for the feint hearted, but an exciting and active activity.
- Sjoelen – a traditional shuffleboard game, where contestants try to get 30 shuffle stones through narrow gates to score points. No shuffleboard available? Make your own with card, and use our King’s Day cookiesg. mini Stroopwafels as stones.
Taking to the water
If you are lucky enough to live in one of the cities which is famous for its canals, it’s likely that King’s Day in the Netherlands will be spent on the water. Whether you own, or hire, a day boat, hitting the waterways with friends and family is a great way to not only celebrate King’s Day but also experience the beautiful country from the water.
Whatever you enjoy, King’s Day in the Netherlands has something for everyone, which is why it’s so widely celebrated. As a traditionally Dutch company, Daelmans will be throwing on orange colors, raising the Dutch flag to celebrate King’s Day in the Netherlands once again on the 27th April. There’s always a good moment to celebrate!
What will you be doing on the Netherlands’ King’s Day?