King’s Day: When The City Wears Orange

Over 600,000 people gathered on April 27, during King’s Day, to honour Willem-Alexander’s birthday in Amsterdam.

According to De Telegraaf, from the 66 arrests made during the day, 42 were related to the King’s Night or Day celebration. These numbers are equivalent to last year’s, which highlights the continuity of the annual event. As expected, the canals were busy yet functioning. People onboard were singing, drinking and often dancing. In the streets, people would stop to take pictures of the canals.

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Isabel Bonnet / Staff

The majority were dressed in orange and shared a common goal: to have a great time in the capital. As a bonding opportunity, Stijn van der Krogt, a carpenter from Noordwijkerhout, comes every year with his soccer team and their respective partner to Amsterdam. “I drink alcohol, I go to parties, there is great music… [King’s Day in Amsterdam] is just awesome!” said Sjors van Zantvliet, a Sportshopdirect employee, who was joining the group.

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For some, it was the occasion to discover a tradition. Youri von Woerkom, an InHolland University of Applied Sciences student from Haarlem, attended the event in Leidseplein with his Russian girlfriend Olga Voevodina, a student from St. Petersburg. It was the first time the couple attended the joyful holiday in Amsterdam. Surprised by the number of people present, von Woerkom hoped to show the celebration to his girlfriend, while discovering how King’s Day is celebrated in the capital. “There’s a really good atmosphere, it’s pretty calm,” he said. “We are just going to walk around and dance.”

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A couple holds hands in front of the Victoria Hotel in the city center of Amsterdam to celebrate King’s Day. Isabel Bonnet / Staff

Salesmen found an opportunity to make money: from selling clothes, accessories, food, alcohol or even helium balloons, everything was business-worthy.

Armo Peerboom has been coming from Maastricht to Amsterdam with 4 other friends for 5 consecutive years. Peerboom had the idea once to buy orange glasses on the internet and resell them on King’s Day. With that money, they are able to finance the costs of their party at night. Last year, they successfully sold over 2,000 glasses. This year, they offered other products such as hats and flower crowns. However, the salesmen were worried about this year’s business. “We sell more on sunny days,” he said. Even though it did not rain, King’s Day was a cloudy day this year.

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Unlike Peerboom, Juliana Moreira did not see the forecast as a barrier. “There is always a lot of people,” she said. “The weather is good enough.” Every year, the Portuguese woman travels from Braga, Portugal, to Amsterdam to sell about 400 flower crowns, an idea given by her Dutch husband 3 years ago, when she started this selling tradition.

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Post Author: Isabel Bonnet

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  • Content Manager (Fall 2018)
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Isabel Bonnet is a 21-year-old second-year student in communication science at UvA. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Amsterdammer. Before its creation, she worked as a photo editor at the Independent Florida Alligator and did an internship at Le Monde.

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