On April 27th we celebrate the birthday of our King. We Dutch like to celebrate his birthday by organizing festivals and fun activities throughout the land. In this article we highlight five cities in which you can gather to celebrate our King’s birthday with us! For each city we’ll tell you what parties are going on, where to find them and when they start. We’ll also inform you about the different markets and activities which you can partake in throughout this special day.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam turns orange on April 27th and there will be a variety of parties, markets and festivals taking place! However, these activities aren’t all to be found in the city center, so it may be hard for non-residents to find the right place. It’s with this article that we’ll try help fill you in on those Kingsday highlights in Rotterdam that you won’t want to miss.

Markets & activities

If you don’t feel like attending crowded festivals, or you’re not of age yet, don’t worry! There are enough fun activities for all ages during Kingsday in Rotterdam. For example, you can go back in time with a roller disco, stretch your limbs with yoga, show off your skills at a talent show, or you can visit the kid’s market in the markthallen of Rotterdam. Some good locations for flea markets and activities during Kingsday in Rotterdam are:

  • Market hall Rotterdam: A market where kids under the age of 16 are allowed to sell their items. Free entry.
  • Kingsday in Crooswijk: A neighborhood in the city of Rotterdam where a lot of families live. They organize a variety of activities such as yoga, a market and a talent show.
  • Sweet Kingsday: A Kingsday event specially organized for children. It consists of live music, deejay performances, a kid’s playground, food stalls and a whole lot more!

Festivals & Parties

If you feel like dancing your heart out on Kingsday, then Rotterdam is the place for you! With a selection of three different festivals and abundant parties going on, there’s plenty to choose from!

Let’s start off with one of the biggest festivals during Kingsday in Rotterdam; Oranjebitter. This festival is located in the park near the Euromast (the highest tower on the Rotterdam skyline). Every year they host an event  bigger and better than last time around, and this year is no different. With six different stages and 40+ artists coming to perform, this edition is one you don’t want to miss out on!

A little further away from the city center you’ll find the Kralingse bos festival. This festival has a wide variety of artists coming to entertain the crowd. You will also find a variety of music genres such as: Techno, Hip-hop, Bubblin’ and house. So if you enjoy various musical styles, or simply want to experience new styles, this is one festival you should check out!

Last, but surely not least, is Kroon festival. This festival is closest to the city center of Rotterdam. The bars and cafés in that area are responsible for hosting this festival which starts at 12am with music perhaps best defined as après ski and or dance music. One of the coolest aspects of this free festival is the location. It's right at the foot of the Erasmus bridge. So don’t let this opportunity pass you by! Get out there and enjoy the architecture, and of course the festival too!

How to get to Rotterdam

If you do not live in the city of Rotterdam, it is advisable to use public transportation to get you to where you’re going. But be aware of the fact that almost everyone will be using public transportation, so make sure you get to the station on time as delays will be inevitable. When in the city of Rotterdam you have multiple options to get to your desired destination. If you don’t feel like walking or renting a bike, you can take either the tram or the metro. Both work with the same public transportation card as the trains.

Utrecht

The city of Utrecht will provide you a Kingsday experience you won’t forget! Utrecht has a very dense city center, which means that most of the activities in the city are within walking distance of one another. Among the activities you will find various stages throughout the city where there will be live music and deejays. All through the city you will find people selling their items or food. If you find these particular routes too crowded for your liking, then why not visit the market in park Lepelenburg.

Markets & activities

The ‘Vrijmarkt’ (flea market) in Utrecht is well known as one of the biggest and maybe best markets to visit during Kings night (April 26th from 18.00h)  and Kingsday (April 27th). Here you will find all sorts of items of interest, snacks to try out and games where you may win a prize. This market attracts thousands of people and it will be crowded, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. In a strange sort of way that might even make it more fun!. Along the route of the ‘Vrijmarkt’ you will find several cafés and bars where you can sit and watch hordes of people go by, whilst listening to a band play live music in the background. The atmosphere at the ‘Vrijmarkt’ will be like nothing you’ve seen before!

Festivals & parties

Unfortunately Utrecht won’t host as many festivals during Kingsday (April 27th) as they do during Kings night (April 26th from 18.00h). For those of you that prefer festivals over markets and live performances, there is one option, and that is SOIA Kingsday festival. This festival will be hosted at Strand Oog In Al., It’s the only real festival in Utrecht during Kingsday. It will take place from 12am and will last until 10 (which is four hours longer than any other festivals in Utrecht). Expect a fun and busy Kingsday festival at SOIA!

For those among us that don’t want to visit festivals but do want to hear live music and enjoy a drink, well, you’re in luck! Bars and cafes are scattered throughout the city and it won’t be hard to find one! Every single bar in Utrecht will open their doors at 11am and will help ensure that the party keeps going until at least 6pm. If you want to enjoy the complete party you can not miss Kings night at April 26th.   

How to get to Utrecht

If you do not live in the city of Utrecht it’s best to travel by train to Utrecht central station. From there follow the stream of people heading towards the city center. Due to the fact that the city center of Utrecht is quite small, you can easily explore it by foot. There will be signs to lead you to the ‘Vrijmarkt’ along with signs to tell you when you are leaving the ‘Vrijmarkt’.

Amersfoort

Celebrate Kingsday in Amersfoort, together with the Royal Family, all of its residents, local entrepreneurs and the visitors! Together we will turn April 27th into one big party! This year it’s up to the city of Amersfoort to celebrate the birthday of the Dutch king. You’ll be able to spot the royals from 11am – 1pm along the 1 km route starting from the Kleine Haag all the way up to the Eemplein.

Markets & Activities

During on April 27th, Amersfoort is hosting a lot of activities throughout the city. From dance performances to pony rides, Amersfoort will be hosting it all.

There are several blocks which will host their own smaller activities, like in the nieuwe stad, where there will be carnival attractions, live music, a brewing competition, food stalls and a special morning program which will surely help you with your hangover. But don’t stay in one place for too long, because other city blocks like the Nieuwe Hof, Nieuwland, Bloemedalseweg and Hoogland are also hosting activities.

Aside from all the different kids activities and markets which are happening on April 27th, there will also be a few cultural activities to take part in, such as an exposition at the Sint Joriskerk, a vertical dance show and the Dutch King and Queen who will make their way through the center of Amersfoort around lunchtime.

Festivals and parties:

Instead of hosting multiple parties, the local hospitality entrepreneurs have decided to join forces and host one big party. The location for this party is the Hof in Amersfoort, this is one of the larger squares in Amersfoort and is home to multiple bars and cafés. At 1:01 pm the party starts. The line-up consists out of local legends and established names in the scene. The duo KAUW will open up the party with their groovy house beats and the party will be brought to a close by the disco cover band, which, you’ve guessed it, make great disco covers! It’s enough to look forward to! 

How to get to Amersfoort

When travelling to Amersfoort for Kingsday it is advisable to take public transport. This is due to the fact that the central train station of Amersfoort is only minutes away. If you are planning to go further outside of the city center, it’s possible to rent an OV-bike (which can be rented by using your public transportation card) or call a taxi.

Maastricht

Every city in Holland is preparing to celebrate Kingsday in a big way. In the city of Maastricht, arguably one of the best cities in the south of Holland, it won’t be forgotten! All through the city center there is art, music and market places to see. In previous years, the city of Maastricht noticed that a lot of their residents were traveling to other cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht to celebrate the birthday of our King. And it’s for that reason that the organization consisting of the municipality of Maastricht and Marlstone Events, decided to make this year’s party bigger than it has ever been.

Markets & activities

Instead of having several marketplaces, Maastricht has one big marketplace. The market begins at the ‘onze lieve vrouwe kerk’ and runs all the way through the ‘stadspark’, Where all the entertainment can be found. The park hosts the market, music stages, food-trucks and so forth. When coming to Maastricht the stadspark is definitely the place to visit! At 10pm, when the night has almost come to an end, there will be a fireworks show and they’ll be set off near the Complex Maastricht venue.

Festivals & parties

Maastricht is hosting one festival this year, but it does consist of eleven different stages! The stages are scattered throughout the city park  of Maastricht (stadspark), with some of the stages being indoors and some outdoors. The music will vary from live bands all the way to DJ sets, this variation also ensures that every age group will have a blast when coming to this festival!

Just a few minutes away from Maastricht’s central station lies a venue called Complex Maastricht. This venue will be hosting two entirely different events during Kingsday. By day, the venue will host an event they call: Jeu de Orange. This outdoor feel-good festival has it all, whether you like to play Jeu de Boules with oranges, enjoy a refreshing cocktail, eat delicious food at the food-trucks from food companies or simply just want to enjoy good music and a nice drink. This festival starts at 2pm and ends at 10:30 pm. You don’t have to buy a ticket to enjoy this festival, so swing by and judge it for yourself.

The second event - Complex Maastricht - will host an indoor event. This will be a ticketed event, so make sure to get your tickets in time! The event is called: Hush Hush Royal Rush. The theme of this festival is described as a crazy circus, so expect a whole lot of surprises. The festival also offers two deejays who will play throughout the night, DJ Eldon will play from 11pm – 2am. German, DJ Microwave, will close the night with his three hour set. What can you expect when coming to Hush Hush Royal Rush? Well, house and techno music, and of course, the unexpected!

How to get to Maastricht

Maastricht lies in southern Holland. Depending on where you’re traveling from, the journey can take some time. Direct trains to Maastricht also depart from Utrecht CS, but will take you over two hours of traveling, which is something to keep in mind. Luckily both Stadspark and Complex Maastricht are located within walking distance from the train station. 

Groningen

Groningen is the biggest city in northern Holland. It’s also one of the cities with the highest (international) student population, and this can only mean one thing: that on Kingsday, the city of Groningen is one big party! During April 27th there will be two ticketed festivals, marketplaces, and a whole lot of free events going on throughout the city.

Markets & activities

The Groningse Vrijmarkt (flea market) is located just a few minutes away from Groningen central station, which makes it easily accessible for tourists coming to Groningen. The Vrijmarkt takes in a number of streets, such as: Emmiussingel, Praediniussingel, Ganzevoortsingel and the Coehoornsingel. The market will be accessible at 9am.

Besides the markets, there are other activities to partake in. Kingsday in Groningen stands out for multiple reasons, one of them being the boat parade in the canals. During this parade you will see boats of all shapes and sizes which are dressed up for the occasion.

Festivals & parties

Free entrance:
If you don’t feel like paying for ticketed festivals, there are still quite a few options. The biggest free event takes place at the Vismarkt. Just like the night before, the Vismarkt will host a variety of music genres. If you are still recovering from Kings night, Poeleplein is the place to go to! The party at Poeleplein starts at 1:30pm and lasts until midnight. There will be a large terrace on the square, where you will be able to chill, have a drink and enjoy the music. When you picture yourself drinking well-deserved beers all Kingsday long, then you should consider going to the Uurwerkersplein. It’s here that two bars - de Uurwerker en de Pinterlier -  have joined forces to offer you an unlimited supply of nice cold beer!

Ticketed festivals:
Two festivals will take place in Groningen, Kingsland and Paradigm of excellence. Kingsland is one of the biggest Kingsday festivals with parties in five different cities at the same time! Whilst Paradigm of excellence is one of the longest parties that takes place on Kingsday. Kingsland Groningen takes place between from 1pm – midnight and has three stages. The mainstage will feature artists such as: Yellow Claw, Alesso and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano. Then we have the spinnin’ sessions stage, with artists like: Kriss Kross Amsterdam, Tony Junior and Mike Williams. And last but not least, we have the TIK TAK stage, with artists like: Bizzey, Ronnie Flex and Lil Kleine. Paradigm of excellence lasts from 4pm – 8am the next day, which means, that you’ll be able to enjoy 16 straight hours of techno music. This festival isn’t for the faint of heart! It's designed for those of us who like to rave all night long, past the break of dawn. So if you feel like participating in a real rave then this is the festival for you!

How to get to (wherever you’re going in) Groningen

If you don’t live in the province of Groningen it’s probably best to use public transport to get to your desired destination. Most of the Kingsday activities in Groningen are in and around the city center, so there’s no need to rent a bike or any of that. If you are going to one of the ticketed festivals, it might be useful (depending on the location you depart from) to check if there is a party bus which will bring you to the location itself. If not, then I recommend taking either public transport or a taxi.