What is King’s Day?

The Netherlands turns orange on the 27th of April. It’s King's Day: A national holiday on which the King's birthday is celebrated. Usually the King celebrates his birthday by visiting a municipality with a central function in the region. Together with his family and other members of the Royal Family, he joins in the celebrations, giving the city and surrounding towns an opportunity to present themselves in a festive and characteristic manner. This is done with a parade, musical performances and contributions from associations and organizations that are rooted in the city and region. The Royal Family meets the public along the route. King's Day is broadcasted live on television by the NOS (the National Dutch Broadcasting Company).

Previous Editions

Throughout the country there are celebrations and activities as well. There are free markets, festivals and the Dutch play games together. Orange is the dress code. Even the food is orange-colored: we like to eat ‘orange tompoucen’, two layers of crispy puff pastry with an airy pastry filling in between and a layer of glaze on top. It’s impossible to eat it properly, but it’s very tasty! The Dutch also make a toast on the King’s birthday, saying cheers to the King and taking a sip of orange liqueur, but one without the sugar: ‘Oranjebitter’.

The King during a visit to DAF Nedschroef
The King during a visit to DAF Nedschroef

But due to the current restrictions, public events are not allowed. Not even on King’s day. Luckily there are a lot fun things you can do. What? We’ve got your back! Some some typical Dutch King’s Day Games to enjoy at home. Don’t forget to share your adventures and efforts with us using the hashtag #KoningsdagEindhoven!

Traditional games

And yes, the King and his family will still visit Eindhoven: a special TV-studio is created on the High Tech Campus where they’ll get to see what the Eindhoven region is famous for. You can watch the stream of the visit or enjoy other special items on this website. The streams are mostly in Dutch, but you can use Google Translate if you’re curious about the contents. Most parts of the program will have a link to the organisation or company behind them: check them out for more information.

The King Willem-Alexander Timeline

Previous editions of King's Day

Traditional games played on King’s day

King’s day has a long history of outside festivities. Back in the days, famous folkloristic games were played, like ‘shitting nails’ and ‘shuffling’. These games aren’t a part of official programs anymore. However, it’s still fun to play the games in addition to watching the live streams.