The 27th of April is one of the most important dates in the Dutch calendar as the country celebrates its monarchy in the most spectacular way.
The national holiday is held on King Willem-Alexander’s birthday and was originally devised to promote national unity by honoring the Dutch royal family.
Every year, over a million people visit Amsterdam, the country’s capital, and turn the city into one major carnival spilling into the streets and onto the canals. As a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the event has been canceled this year – but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate at home.
We chatted to Wouter Vermeulen, General Manager Southern Africa at Air France-KLM, who shares how you can celebrate from the comfort of your own home this year.
What Is King’s Day?
In a bid to honour the Dutch royal family, King’s Day marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander on 27 April. The day is treated like a public holiday. Most of the country gets off work and is invited to celebrate the life of their monarch. The Dutch have been celebrating the birthdays of monarchs for over a century. In fact, the first Prinsessedag or Princess’s Day, was held on 31 August 1885 which marked the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina. On her accession in November 1890, the holiday acquired the name Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day. That was first celebrated on 31 August 1891 and the holiday was subsequently modified to celebrate those at the top of the monarchy.
Prior to Willem-Alexander’s accession to the throne in 2013, King’s Day was called Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag), and was held on 30 April in honour of the former monarch Queen Beatrix.
Celebrate King’s Day At Home In 2021!
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the popular celebration won’t be able to take place this year as traditionally celebrated. This means that the Dutch won’t be able to pour into the streets and canals, visit the flea markets or see the king on his royal parade. But – that doesn’t mean one can’t celebrate. Here’s how you can celebrate King’s Day from home this year:
The Dutch Royal family are known as the ‘House of Oranje’ so, unsurprisingly, orange has become the Netherlands’ national colour. On King’d Day, the Dutch dress in orange from head to toe – and the tackier the better! This means you can go wild with your outfits, hats, wigs and makeup!
Have other friends who want to enjoy aspects of the popular Dutch holiday? Why not set up a virtual party? Dress up and organise a group video call on your choice of meeting app that became popular during the pandemic, play some music, grab a snack and a refreshment and make the most of this untraditional King’s Day.
Indulge in your favourite Dutch foods
Food certainly makes the world go round and King’s Day party is complete without some traditional Dutch treats. The most popular food enjoyed on King’s Day is a tompouce – a sweet pastry filled with cream (similar to a napoleon or mille-feuille). On King’s Day, the treat is glazed with orange icing instead of a simple white icing and is relatively easy to make! Other delicious Dutch to try include Pannenkoeken and Poffertjes.
While travel is still limited, visiting the country during King’s Day will certainly make your holiday one to remember. Plan for 2022 by booking a direct flight to the Netherlands on national carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. As a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, canceling a booking has never been easier.
Since the onset of the pandemic, KLM has adopted commercial measures which permit the postponement or cancellation of a passenger’s trip without charge and without proof until September 2021. Passengers can request a travel voucher for future travel or request a full refund should the need arise.
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