Queen's Day (in Dutch: Koninginnedag) in Amsterdam is a unique night and day carnival-like event on 30th of April each year and during the night before – so called Queen's Night (in Dutch: Koninginnenacht). What is special about the Queen's Day, that having elements of the huge party across the whole city, it is combined with the market in the streets of the whole city (in Dutch: Vrijmarkt).
Queen's Day in Amsterdam attracts each year ca 700 thousands visitors, which makes the city crowded beyond any acceptable norms. Despite overcrowding, the atmosphere on Queen's Day is traditionally relaxed and joyful. Usually mild, not too hot weather makes the Queen's Day the day to be in Amsterdam. To feel the atmosphere on the day please, watch the Queen's Day video.
The tradition of Queensday
The Queen's Day is celebrated in the whole Netherlands since more than fifty years. Amsterdam celebrations are the most attractive. Last years the popularity of the event grows drawing crowd of visitors from all over Europe.
Free market (Vrijmarkt)
The Dutch love to trade, they have it in their blood. The Queen’s Day is an occasion to trade all things that are unnecessary at home with your neighbors and visitors to town. More a social occasion than a real commercial opportunity, the free market (Vrijmarkt) is a unique family event with children actively participating. Prices are symbolic and the most important is fun.
Transportation during the Queen’s Day
As the large part of the Amsterdam centre is fully filled with the celebrating crowd, no transport is possible there, you will have to walk. No cars are allowed on the Queen’s Day to the Amsterdam centre. All public means of transportation, including trains, have a special schedule for this day.
Queen's Night (Koninginnenacht)
Celebrating Queen's Day begins already on the evening of the day before, usually at 7 p.m., and goes on until the early hours of the Queen's Day. It is so called Queen's Night, when all clubs across the Netherlands organize special festivities. Especially for the young people this is the night to be in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is very busy that night as many young people move across the city from one party to another, while others prepare the next day market.
Traditional singing and dancing
The quarter of Jordan is the most crowded on the Queen's Day, not only with traders, food stands and beer taps but also with large groups of people singing traditional Dutch songs. These are simple, rhythmic songs mostly describing the beauty of Amsterdam. While you might not be able to follow the words, the atmosphere is always unique, friendly, relaxed. Enjoy it!
Rock concerts and partying
A rock concert on Museumplein begins usually at 11 a.m. and goes on until late in the afternoon attracting thousands of young participants. Other places with disco music live and recorded are Leidseplein and Stoperaplein (at the Waterlooplein).
All clubs in Amsterdam organize parties on this day. In many parts of the city, speakers with loud music are put out on the street and improvised parties take place. It is natural to join them, even if you do not know the participants.
The boats full of dancing people circulate Amsterdam canals. You may observe most of them on the Prinsengracht, in front of the Anne Frank's House. Many boats have own, amplified music and are in fact sailing parties.
Amsterdam, being an important city for the world's gay scene, celebrates Queen's day in all traditionally gay clubs and bars. Usually a big open-air party for gay and gay friendly people is held on the Westermarkt at the Homo Monument (beginning at 11 a.m. on the Queen's day until late in the afternoon), and another one at the Reguliersdwarsstraat, in a 10 minutes walking distance from Leidseplein.
Accommodation for Queensday
If you plan to visit Amsterdam during the next Queen’s Day (30 April) make your hotel reservation many months in advance. There is absolutely no chance to find a good hotel or even youth hostel on the last minute, any private apartments or bed and breakfast's are usually taken years in advance.
Useful tips for Queensday:
- As you are going to spend your day among the crowd, leave you valuables in your hotel.
- You are going to walk a lot. Comfortable shoes are essential.
- Take a lot of change in your pockets, especially 50 cents and € 1 coins. You may want to buy something on the market, even if you had not intended to do it.
- All the main food stores are open on the Queen’s Day. You may get there your food and drinks.
- While you may drink alcohol in the street on the Queen’s Day, it is not allowed to carry more than one alcohol drink with you (one bottle or can). Carrying six-pack of beer in the open may be seen by a police officer as a breach of this rule. Drinks are usually €1,50 or € 2,-.
- Consider forgetting about your camera for this one, special day. Take part in the event! Free Queensday pictures and our videos: Queensday in Amsterdam and Queensday in the Jordaan. You can always download them from our web site.
Next Queen's Day: Friday, April 30, 2010!