Amsterdam King for a Day
Amsterdam King for a Day! Or I should say Queen?
I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam! But for a reason or another I had never managed to organize my trip to the Netherlands before. Finally, last April I decided I had to go! What better occasion to visit Amsterdam than King’s Day (and Night)?
Do you know what is King’s Day? Koningsdag is the public holiday dedicated to the birthday of the King of the Netherlands, Willem Alexander. Every year, on the 27th of April, the full country stops to throw a huge street party to honor His Majesty: in every town people gather in the main squares wearing something orange (the official color of the country, but also the Family name of the Royal Family) ready to party all day long! Until 2003, the celebration was called Queen’s Day (there was a Queen reigning in fact): it became King’s Day after the abdication of Queen
In all honesty, the celebrations start on the night before: the King’s Night. As a proper travel planner I landed to Schipol in the early afternoon of that day, just in time for the commence of the parties!
Warning: I have been told that usually the weather in the Netherlands at the end of April is warm enough. For that reason all the main celebrations happen open air: Street parties everywhere, local markets in the main streets of every city… but obviously, due to my proverbial luck, this year the Netherlands had the coldest April in decades! I literally froze my arse off!
I spent King’s Night in the small, yet beautiful city of Utrecht. Kees, my host, lives in Utrecht: a lively town full of energy. King’s Night was definitely a cold night, but we managed to stay warm thanks to the alcohol and the bar hopping (as you know, I am a professional at that!). Utrecht has also an interesting gay life: we spent a good part of the night in the Cafe Kalff, a fun place full of friendly people. Nice barmen and good pop music, along with tons of good Dutch beer on tap kept us going until very late!
Although every city and town has its own way of honoring King’s Day, it’s Amsterdm to organize the biggest celebrations: up to a million of locals and tourists arrive to celebrate this day around the canals… usually! Not as many this year! Due to the rain and the cold, many people decided to celebrate in the privacy of their places. But I had a blast anyway!
Every square of Amterdam hosts a different street party. And of course I spent most of the day in the gay spots! There are a few different areas throughout the center of Amsterdam where the gay community gather: very famous is the Westermarkt by the Homomonument (a memorial that commemorates all the gay and lesbians who have been persecuted due to their homosexuality).
My favourite party spot? The Pink stage along the Amstel between Muntplein and Waterlooplein, in an area where there are plenty of gay bars! I had the opportunity to enjoy a very nice drag show and to meet many new friends.
With a crown like that I really felt like Amsterdam King for a day. The atmosphere of the city was unbelievable. Everywhere people were friendly and welcoming: the street party was incredible and, despite the weather, I definitely enjoyed it. The Dutch people really know how to throw a party! It made me wonder how fun Amsterdam Pride must be! The Parade takes place not on the streets, but on the canals: Boats instead of coaches! Amsterdam Pride takes place on the first weekend of August, and this year the city will host the EuroPride Parade. Do you need more reasons to plan a visit to Amsterdam Pride? Just drop me an email and I will help you plan your gay visit to Amsterdam and the Netherlands!
Date of last visit: May 2016